Education Right -Grassroot Perspective – Aug. 1, 2006

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Education is a good thing, a very good thing. But it isn’t a right.
Perhaps we need some education about rights. As human beings we have rights to speak, to worship, to trade, to associate, to move throughout the country unimpeded and so on. These are all things that we do for ourselves. No one has to provide anything for us, but simply permit us our freedom.

But an education — or, say, health care — cannot be obtained by right in the same way. Yes, we have a right to educate ourselves and we certainly have a right to care for ourselves and to freely make use of medical services, but we cannot have a right to the services of others. Teachers and doctors and nurses aren’t our slaves.


I bring this up because the Washington, DC city council just declined to pass a measure called the DC Education Rights Charter Amendment. It would have added to the city’s essential governing charter the requirement that DC provide a “free, high-quality education” to all citizens.

Sounds like a good thing, you know, “a free, high-quality education.”
But what would politicians really do by passing a mandate that the same public schools that today are failing shall, by their decree, hereby instantly provide a free, high-quality education?
Well, it would certainly launch a million lawsuits. Today’s lack of quality schooling would be actionable. But lawsuits forcing even higher taxes won’t solve a problem more basic than school budgets.
Education is an opportunity. Not a right.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

”’Paul Jacob is member of the Board of Advisors for GRIH and is an acclaimed commentator who serves as the Senior Fellow for Americans for Limited Government. More of his columns can be found at”’

”’This editorial is intended to provoke thought, discussion and an examination of issues. It does not reflect official policy of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii or any attempt to influence legislation.. See the GRIH Web site at:”’

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