Benjamin Franklin once wrote “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”[1] However, nearly 200 years later the United States Supreme Court in San Antonio Independent School District vs. Rodriguez found that there was no fundamental right to education for American citizens found in the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.[2] For the purpose of this research, the definition of a fundamental right is “… a group of rights that have been recognized by the Supreme Court as requiring a high degree of protection from government encroachment.”[3]Because of this, students in America have different opportunities in education depending on the socio-economic status of the area they live in; a factor that children cannot change. Most believe that the right to education is something that all American citizens have access to from birth.[4]While the ability to attend school is available to most citizens, the quality and opportunities vary greatly because education is not recognized as a fundamental right, allowing for inequity in the system. The author of this thesis will detail the importance that learning plays in the working of a functional democracy, as well as showing how the United States government currently fails to provide an education system that does this. The author will draw upon the Due Process Clause, to argue why education should be considered a fundamental right guaranteed by the Constitution.

[1] EU Funds for Malta, https://education.gov.mt/en/education/myScholarship/Documents/Endeavour

[2] San Antonio Independent School District vs. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973)

[3] Fundamental Right, Cornell Law School, https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fundamental_right)

[4] Your Right to Equality in Education, ACLU, https://www.aclu.org/other/your-right-equality-education.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Merriam, Eric


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences


Political Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date