Volume 20, Issue 1, 2010
Richard Jacobs, O.S.A.
Ensuring that Education Remains a Human Right in the United States
Upholding the Prior Parental Right in the Education of Their Children
This article considers the topic of the prior parental right in the education of their children, unequivocally asserted in the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR, Article 26, subsection 3). Discussion focuses upon the origins and nature of this right as it is described in Catholic Church teaching as well as the Supreme Court’s 1925 decision in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, both of which antedate and provide principled support for UDHR’s assertion. The purpose here is to use these principles to identify the injustice arising when a State or its agents deny parental choice in education by limiting that choice to public schools. In the United States, this action imperils the foundation of UDHR’s goal that education be “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”