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A Federal Right to EducationFundamental Questions for Our Democracy$
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Kimberly Jenkins Robinson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781479893287

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479893287.001.0001

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Protecting a Federal Right to Educational Equality and Adequacy

Protecting a Federal Right to Educational Equality and Adequacy

(p.303) 12 Protecting a Federal Right to Educational Equality and Adequacy
A Federal Right to Education

Joshua E. Weishart

NYU Press

In this chapter, Joshua E. Weishart notes that courts have resolved lawsuits invoking state constitutional rights in ways that have subdued the tension between two principles of justice: equality and liberty. The equality versus adequacy debate in school funding challenges at first stoked that tension until court decisions gradually demonstrated their potential interrelation. State constitutions, however, do not fix standards for the mutual enforcement of educational equality and adequacy, and thus, courts have struggled with remedies that serve both aims. Weishart contends that reconciliation ultimately must come through reconceptualizing children’s equality and liberty interests as an integral demand for equal liberty, one that treats differently situated children according to their needs so as to cultivate positive freedoms for equal citizenship. A federal right to education can elucidate this demand and facilitate its enforcement, aligning with the newly professed synergy between equal protection and substantive due process.

Keywords:   adequacy, equal protection, substantive due process, equality, libertystate constitutional rights, state courts, state constitutions, equal liberty, equal citizenship

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