EDUCATION: IS IT A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT?
> Hi, Mr. Coates, I wrote to you at the end of November about a quote by > Jefferson regarding an informed citizenry being essential to a democratic > society, which I wanted to include in a paper I was writing. You were so > helpful! Thanks again. (I think i wrote to you from my fiance's account, > different screen name) anyway, now i am writing again, this time a column for > the local newspaper (!), and I had just written the words "a public education > is a constitutionally guaranteed right" when I realized that of course, it > isn't. it's a law, but it's not in the constitution. and i wondered if you > knew why it isn't. jefferson was clearly adamant that publicly funded > education was paramount! i'm rather ashamed to not know more about these > vital issues. if you'd care to enlighten me, or direct me to another source, > i will continue to be in your debt. No, a public education is not a constitutionally guaranteed right, and although Jefferson never suggested that it should be (that I am aware of), he DID exert his influence to see to it that the legislature of Virginia made provisions for universal education. He also recommended that the Constitution be amended to provide funds for public education in his 6th Annual Message. Please see the sections at: Educating the People Publicly Supported Education Jefferson praised the new Spanish consitution because it limits the franchise to persons who can read and write. "There is one provision [in the new constitution of Spain] which will immortalize its inventors. It is that which, after a certain epoch, disfranchises every citizen who cannot read and write. This is new, and is the fruitful germ of the improvement of everything good and the correction of everything imperfect in the present constitution. This will give you an enlightened people, and an energetic public opinion which will control and enchain the aristocratic spirit of the government." --Thomas Jefferson to Chevalier de Ouis, 1814. ME 14:130
Table of Contents