Download PDF

A Human and Constitutional Right to a Quality Public Education: Looking ahead in the Struggle for the Rights of Teachers, Parents, and Students

Victor Narro & Janna Shadduck-Hernández

October 21, 2019

Civil Rights, Education, Labor Law, Working Class History, Policy Brief


In recent years, activism on the part of teachers, such as with the United Teachers of Los Angeles strike of 2018, the Red-for-Ed movement, and multiple other strikes across the nation has ushered in a renewed focus on quality education as a human right. While the importance of a quality education is spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right to it is not promised by the United States Constitution and is therefore left to the states. Although all 50 states’ Constitutions do entitle children to education, funding and resources for many schools has significantly decreased as of late. A total of 29 states provided less funding in 2015 than in 2008. Furthermore, the gaps between spending on predominantly white school districts versus predominantly people-of-color schools signifies a decline in quality education and overall success for latter communities. Examined through the lens of both the Declaration of Human Rights and the U.S. Constitution, this study encourages discussion surrounding ensuring quality education and teacher labor protections as human rights in the hopes of bringing justice and change to classrooms.

Back To All Publications