Are good schools a constitutional right?

Despite repeated evidence that public schools overall are failing to educate students, spending per student goes up nearly every year. Calling the situation a “disgrace,” Dave Welch, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, is fighting to get on the California ballot the “Constitutional Right to a High-Quality Public Education Act.”

At its heart is the assertion that bad teaching is a “constitutional violation.”  At first glance, who could disagree? But is the failure to educate solely the result of poor instruction?  What about the responsibility of students to learn?  Other countries whose schools are models of excellence make learning a partnership between teachers and students.

The U.S. is unique in placing the burden solely on teachers.  Until that changes, I don’t think Welch’s initiative will make much difference in outcomes.

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