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What Does the “Right to Education” Refer To?

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What Does the “Right to Education” Refer To?

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In the United States, children are typically required to attend school in some form from age 6 to 16, although most students enroll from age 5-6 through 18; the requirement for children to attend school and the laws surrounding that requirement are referred to as compulsory education laws. These laws are intended to ensure every child’s right to an education is protected and enforced.

All children must receive a basic education; however, parents are allowed to choose the method of schooling.

The United States provides free public education for every child in elementary through fundamental stages (i.e. elementary school through high school). However, if a parent does not want their child to attend public school, they may choose to enroll their child in a private school for which they will have to pay, or to homeschool their child for which costs they will also be solely responsible. Some parents may choose a combination of school-types throughout their child’s academic career, but it is important to remember that access to equal education is paramount in every method of schooling.

The Constitution of the United States requires that all children receive equal educational opportunities.

This rule applies regardless of the type of school a child attends, and cannot be altered by a student’s race, ethnic background, religion, sex, economic status, etc. In fact, even children who were brought into the country illegally have the right to attend public school. Even if a child does not speak English, they may still be enrolled in a public school, whose job it is to provide an English-language education in addition to other subjects.

Additional protections may vary from state to state, but may also include explicit protection of students who become pregnant or contract HIV during their academic careers. Students with disabilities must also receive the same educational opportunities as other students, including any necessary modifications to make their educational experience as successful as possible.

According to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights published by the United Nations, education is a fundamental human right.

Those who do not receive or complete an education as children will likely have a difficult time entering the workforce as adults. The structure of society depends upon the basic education of children so that they can be prepared and ready to take on any challenges which face them in the world of adulthood, employment and otherwise.

Failing to provide an equal education to each child is illegal. In fact, if a child misses a certain number of days at school without good reason and the parents fail to satisfactorily communicate the situation to school faculty, the parents may face truancy charges and find themselves with a sizable fine. The importance of education cannot be undersold; most employers will not hire someone without at least a high school diploma or GED.

If you believe your child has been discriminated against in their academic environment or is otherwise not receiving an equal opportunity education, reach out to a civil rights attorney to discuss your options.

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