Brittany Walker


For decades, education as a right has been an issue between U.S. citizens and U.S. courts. U.S. courts maintain that education is not a right, as it was not explicitly stated in the U.S. Constitution. Since the U.S. Constitution is silent about education, U.S. courts have applied the 14th Amendment to defer educational matters, such as compulsory school requirements, to each state. Currently, education in the United States is generally a right until middle school. After middle school, the American government allows parents and students to determine whether additional education is necessary in their situation. This view causes disparities for students desiring to further their education at colleges and universities, between those that can and cannot afford post-secondary education tuition. One segment of the American population that has been excluded from obtaining higher or post-secondary education are incarcerated individuals. Until recently, the American government prohibited incarcerated individuals from having access to post-secondary educational programs within prisons. Offering post-secondary educational programs in state and federal prisons could be as effective as substance abuse programs or vocational trainings currently offered, to provide them with the tools to be productive citizens once released. If the United States permits incarcerated individuals to receive post-secondary education, they will in essence, acknowledge education as more than a right for all of their citizens and live up to the international human rights standards.