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Realizing Educational RightsAdvancing School Reform through Courts and Communities$
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Anne Newman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226071749

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226071886.001.0001

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Historical Attempts to Advance a Right to Education

Historical Attempts to Advance a Right to Education

(p.43) Chapter Three Historical Attempts to Advance a Right to Education
Realizing Educational Rights

Anne Newman

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 3 addresses a likely challenge to arguments for a right to education as a matter of equal citizenship: that they are just utopian musings. In response, the chapter focuses on select moments in American history that illustrate that arguments for a right to education have deep roots in our social and legal history. The chapter first considers education proposals from three historical periods during which foundational questions about rights, citizenship, and democratic entitlements were considered at the federal level: the Revolutionary period; Reconstruction; and the New Deal. It then focuses on the landmark Supreme Court case, San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez(1973), which decided by a narrow 5-4 vote that education is not a right protected by the US Constitution. Although the efforts discussed in this chapter have not led to federal recognition of a right to education, they underscore that the idea is an enduring part of US politics that carries through to the advocacy efforts discussed in the next two chapters.

Keywords:   American history, Legal history, Right to education, Equal citizenship, San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez

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