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April 27, 2020

ICYMI, last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit held in a 2-1 decision that “the Constitution provides a fundamental right to a basic minimum education,” including access to literacy. Sure to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Worth the read. Note: North Carolina is in the Fourth Circuit.

“The recognition of a fundamental right is no small matter. This is particularly true when the right in question is something that the state must affirmatively provide. But just as this Court should not supplant the state’s policy judgments with its own, neither can we shrink from our obligation to recognize a right when it is foundational to our system of self-governance.

Access to literacy is such a right. Its ubiquitous presence and evolution through our history has led the American people universally to expect it. And education — at least in the minimum form discussed here — is essential to nearly every interaction between a citizen and her
government. Education has long been viewed as a great equalizer, giving all children a chance to meet or outperform society’s expectations, even when faced with substantial disparities in wealth and with past and ongoing racial inequality.

Where, as Plaintiffs allege here, a group of children is relegated to a school system that does not provide even a plausible chance to attain literacy, we hold that the Constitution provides them with a remedy.”

In other news, the UNC School of Education will host the webinar “Beyond Online Learning: Student Safety and Well-Being During Coronavirus” on Tuesday, April 28, at 2:30 p.m. Moderated by assistant clinical professor Chris Scott and featuring Dorothy Espelage — William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education and a leading expert on school bullying, violence, and harassment — and North Carolina school professionals, the online event will focus on how we address student safety and well-being in the time of coronavirus. The biggest part of the narrative around the closure of schools has focused on online teaching and learning. But what about the most vulnerable students in our schools? Teachers and school leaders are often first reporters of physical and sexual abuse, abuse, and other issues of wellness. How do we help those students now? This discussion will provide insight into how some teachers, principals, counselors, and social workers are working to keep students safe during these unprecedented times. This event will be hosted on Zoom at the following link and will have a Q&A feature on the platform:

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Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.

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