The Right to Education in the United States and Abroad: A Comparative Analysis of Constitutional Language and Academic Achievement

March 2018


This article analyzes the right to education in the United States and around the world while addressing the potential correlation of constitutional language to academic achievement. Although the United States does not recognize a right to education in the federal constitution, states do recognize a right to education in their individual constitutions. We’ll compare four countries, each of which have established a right to education in their national constitutions. Two of these countries are classified as high academic achievers and the other two are classified as low academic achievers when assessing reading literacy, mathematics literacy, and science literacy. With this as a backdrop, we’ll explore recommendations for constitutional changes at the federal and state levels in the United States. The article concludes by asserting that although a right to education is not directly correlated to academic achievement, such a right serves to bolster a culture supportive of education and gives citizens a legal foundation to focus their litigation on when seeking to establish more effective and equal education policies.

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