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Looking for Rights in All the Wrong PlacesWhy State Constitutions Contain America's Positive Rights$
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Emily Zackin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691155777

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691155777.001.0001

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Education

Education

A Long Tradition of Positive Rights in America

Chapter:
(p.67) Chapter 5 Education
Source:
Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places
Author(s):

Emily Zackin

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691155777.003.0005

This chapter examines the campaigns to add education rights to state constitutions, with particular emphasis on how the common school movement was able to establish the states' constitutional duty to provide education. The leaders of the common school movement insisted that government had a moral duty to expand opportunities for children whose parents could not otherwise afford to educate them, and that state legislatures should be legally obligated to fulfill it. This movement's central claim was that the value of constitutional rights lay in their potential to promote policy changes by forcing legislatures to pass the kinds of redistributive policies they tended to avoid. The chapter considers the evidence for an American positive-rights tradition that exists primarily at the state level and discusses Congress's motive for the creation of constitutional rights as a case of entrenchment. It argues that education provisions found in state constitutions are positive rights.

Keywords:   education rights, state constitutions, common school movement, education, state legislatures, constitutional rights, Congress, entrenchment, positive rights

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