Advocates Sue Rhode Island to Require Civics Ed for Students

"Are civics classes a constitutional right for high school and elementary school students?

That novel question is the basis of a lawsuit against Rhode Island, alleging the state has failed to prepare young people for the rigors of citizenship. The plaintiffs, made up of students and their parents, contend that the U.S. Constitution requires Rhode Island to educate students to 'function properly as civic participants.'

'Students are not adequately educated in civics and how our government functions,' says Michael A. Rebell, lead lawyer for the plaintiffs.

Rebell, a veteran litigator, is executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Teachers College, Columbia University, and an adjunct professor at Columbia Law School. He brought the case on behalf of the plaintiffs based on his seminar for Columbia law students called Schools, Courts and Civic Participation."


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