Jeopardy Question 16 - What is the right to the privilege of an education?
The Carolina Declaration of Rights, the North Carolina state version of the Bill of Rights, includes several rights not specifically mentioned in the Federal Constitution. One of these is Article 1 Section 15-
" The people have a right to the privilege of education, and it is the duty of the State to guard and maintain that right."
In 1994 five counties with large percentages of low income families filed suit against the state because local schools there were not getting the funding needed to provide an equal education to children in other North Carolina counties and were thus having their rights under Section 15 violated.
The court ruled that while there was no right to "equal funding", all children residing in North Carolina - have a fundamental state constitutional right to the "opportunity to receive a sound basic education." In addition, the State had the responsibility for ensuring that right.
The Court defined a sound basic education as that which provides children and youth with all the opportunities necessary to become an adult possessing:
- Sufficient ability to read, write and speak the English language and a sufficient knowledge of fundamental mathematics and physical science to enable the student to function in a complex and rapidly changing society;
- Sufficient fundamental knowledge of geography, history, and basic economic and political systems to enable the student to make informed choices with regard to issues that affect the student personally or affect the student's community, state, and nation;
- Sufficient academic and vocational skills to enable the student to successfully engage in post-secondary education or vocational training; and
- Sufficient academic and vocational skills to enable the student to compete on an equal basis with others in further formal education or gainful employment in contemporary society.