PHRGE’S Right to Education Program

Since 2009, PHRGE has been building its work to advance every child’s right to a quality education. To date, this work has been focused on bringing international human rights standards into the discussion of disparate educational outcomes in the United States. We are now strengthening our connections to movements and organizations working on the right to education globally, particularly those addressing the worldwide trend toward the privatization of education.

Our 2014 Human Rights Institute entitled, “Rethinking Education Reform: A Human Rights Perspective,” convened educators and education activists to analyze the key features of current U.S. educational reform from a human rights perspective. As a product of that Institute, PHRGE published, “At What Cost? The Charter School Model and the Human Right to Education.” In April 2015, PHRGE hosted a “community dialogue” on the legal and policy issues relating to a pending litigation challenging statutory cap on the number of charter schools in Massachusetts on the grounds that such caps violate the civil rights of students who wish to access charter schools, but are unable to do so.

Right to Education Research

As a follow-up to the 2014 PHRGE Institute, PHRGE is conducting an analysis of the impact of a recently settled lawsuit concerning services for students with special needs in New Orleans schools. The case, brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center on behalf of a group of parents of children with special needs, challenged the adequacy of educational services for their children in the New Orleans school district, which became nearly 100% charter schools in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Specifically, the plaintiffs were concerned about perceived barriers to enrollment, inadequate procedures to identify students with special needs and provide Individual Education Plans, and patterns of disciplining students with special needs. The research explores the likelihood that the settlement will successfully address these concerns.