The U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday that students in the state have no constitutional right to learn about civics while in school.
The ruling, written by U.S. Judge Denise Casper, denied an appeal from the group, upholding a decision rendered from a lower court.
In the case, the students argued that current civics education has left them unprepared to participate in government and society. While a state law mandates students receive the form of education, the students argued the curriculum does not go far enough. Therefore, it is more difficult to justly become involved in government, vote, or sit on juries.
While the judicial branch acknowledged that many Americans are unprepared for these activities, the group failed to prove the need for legal action.
Because the state has not denied civics classes, the judge explained that “Rhode Island law, which has since 2007 required at least some civics education in its schools, even if it is not as comprehensive as the framework Appellants desire, and this law was amended recently during the pendency of this appeal to require civics proficiency, among other changes.”
In arguing the case, officials for the state contended that education should be left to the state and local levels.
“We conclude by echoing the district court’s observations in dismissing this case, that the Students have called attention to critical issues of declining civic engagement and inadequate preparation for participation in civic life at a time when many are concerned about the future of American democracy. Nevertheless, the weight of precedent stands in the Students’ way here, and they have not stated any viable claim for relief,” the ruling said, add that “an adequate civics education is not a fundamental constitutional right.”
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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Declaration of Independence” by John Trumbull. Background Photo “Teacher Educating Students” by steveriot1.