Rights to Public Education?
The discussion of human rights limps along on the Forum:
Political theories are often too abstract--too etherial to stand fast in the high winds of everyday life. Let us turn to some everyday topics where human rights might be invoked. I'll put a simple one on the table, and others, I hope, will up the ante. Once upon a time it was assumed that parents were obligated to provide for their children's education, either by teaching them at home, paying for the private schools they sent them to, or, by the later 19th century in some parts of the US, by pooling resources with other families to establish a community or neighborhood school, hire a principal teacher, and pay his or her salary. By the later 19th century, a number of classical liberals (T.H. Greene) acknowledging the reality that for everyone to able to fulfill his aspirations as a liberal, the people (through the government) would have to provide free (that is, paid for by the taxpaying citizens) for little boys and even little girls. Eventually, access to "free" government provided education came to be regarded as a right.
I am not interested in the question of whether or not government schooling is a good thing, but only in whether or not the rights-based argument has any validity or any essential utility.