US appeals court finds no constitutional right to civics education
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US appeals court finds no constitutional right to civics education

The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled that there is no constitutional right to an adequate civics education, denying an appeal by students in Providence, Rhode Island.

The lawsuit was filed in 2018 on behalf of 14 students arguing that the US Constitution entitles all public school students to a civics education that prepares them to meaningfully and effectively participate in a democracy. Although the case was dismissed in October 2020 by US District Judge William Smith, Smith commended the students for bringing the case and stated in his ruling that “it highlights a deep flaw in our national education priorities and policies.”

The appeals court agreed with the district court, stating Tuesday, “we affirm the district court’s conclusion that the students have not plausibly alleged the deprivation of a fundamental right,” as students were not deprived of a minimally adequate education.

One of the lawyers for the students, Jennifer Wood from the Rhode Island Center for Justice, said that the students will appeal their case to the US Supreme Court.