My son graduated in June from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in legal studies and philosophy. As you might imagine, he’s an avid reader who enjoys the lively exchange of ideas, particularly around our family’s kitchen table during visits home. Over Labor Day weekend, while we were grilling steaks together, he asked me a question: why isn’t there a constitutional right to education in the U.S.?
I thought it a good question. Why not indeed? Given how important education is to human growth and potential, to political and social stability, to vanquishing poverty, and to participation in democracy itself, there should be.
Although education is not enumerated (yet) in the U.S. constitution, it has been honored in other ways. The United Nations, recognizing the critical role education plays in transforming individuals and society, established International Literacy Day, observed on September 8. Hanna Hasl-Kelchner, author of the blog Legal Literacy, salutes International Literacy Day in the latest edition of Blawg Review, the weekly review of the best in legal blogging.
Literacy can’t function in a vacuum. It must be nurtured before it can flourish, and thrive, and enrich us. Celebrate literacy. Ignorance of anykind is dangerous. It can turn our daily playing field into a mine field. Literacy, on the other hand, lets us successfully navigate the dangers and gives us the freedom to succeed. It feeds the mind, the heart, and the soul.
I think my son would agree.