This policy paper provides analysis showing that if governments and donors make concerted efforts to meet the promises they made in 2000, basic education for all could be achieved by 2015.

Recent years have seen an explosion in methodologies for monitoring children’s economic and social rights (ESR). Key examples include the development of indicators, benchmarks, child rights-based budget analysis and child rights impact assessments. The Committee on the Right of the Child has praised such tools in its work and has actively promoted their usage. Troublingly, however, there are serious shortcomings in the Committee’s approach to the ESR standards enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which threaten to impact upon the efficacy of such methodologies. This article argues that the Committee has failed to engage with the substantive obligations imposed by Article 4 and many of the specific ESR guaranteed in the CRC in sufficient depth. As a result, that body has not succeeded in outlining a coherent, comprehensive child rights-specific ESR framework. Using the example of child rights-based budget analysis, the author claims that this omission constitutes a significant obstacle to those seeking to evaluate the extent to which states have met their ESR-related obligations under the CRC. The article thus brings together and addresses key issues that have so far received only very limited critical academic attention, namely, children’s ESR under the CRC, the relationship between budgetary decision-making and the CRC, and child rights-based budget analysis. This article includes references to the right to education.

In this paper, the Global Campaign for Education  identifies ten key principles for improving the amount, quality and effectiveness of aid to basic education.

This paper intends to demonstrate the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) role in constraining countries from increasing public expenditure in education to meet the Education For All (EFA) goals and the education-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The findings are based on research and country case studies undertaken by ActionAid International offices in Guatemala, Bangladesh, India, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Sierra Leone during 2004-05. These findings are complemented by similar research by the Global Campaign for Education GCE.

 

From humble beginnings in the early 1990s, charter schools have grown explosively to become a pillar in a market-oriented national education reform in the United States. The fiscal fallout from the financial crisis of 2007-08 constricted educational budgets and intensified the public debate around directing resources to all aspects of educational reform, especially charter schools.

The human right to education is well established in a variety of international treaties and covenants, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The right establishes the obligation of states to provide all young people with a quality education, as defined by the prevailing social and economic context of each country. Guidance provided by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, focuses attention on the acceptability, availability, adaptability and accessibility of education in every context.

The impact of charter school expansion on the ability of U.S. states to implement the right to education for all children has, to date, been little considered in the national debate around education reform. Given the diversity of the legal foundations of charter schools in the states, it is difficult to carry out such an analysis at the national level.

Despite the fact that its public education system is rated among the most effective in the country, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has been the site of large-scale implementation of the charter school model. Prominent educational research institutes have analyzed Massachusetts charters and found them - especially the schools located in Boston - to be among the most successful in the country.

The experience of Massachusetts charter schools undoubtedly includes positive effects on the implementation of the right to education. A significant number of students who had difficulty accessing quality education in traditional public schools have been able to do so in charter schools. Many of those students are from racial or ethnic groups that have faced historic discrimination in U.S. public schools. In addition, charter schools are, by their nature, adaptations of the public education model and, therefore, increase the adaptability of the system.

At the same time, other aspects of the charter school model raise concerns from a human rights perspective, some of them serious concerns. The extreme school discipline models employed by some charters and the increased use of disciplinary exclusion to maintain social order in the schools both raise human rights concerns that go well beyond the right to education. Also, the existence of an “enrollment gap” between charter schools and traditional public schools, especially in relation to the enrollment of Students with Special Needs and English Language Learners is the source of further concern. Finally, the way in which charter schools are financed, in Massachusetts and in most other jurisdictions, gradually degrades the financial capacity of public school districts. This loss of financial capacity often leads to mass school closings or other major disruptions to the system. In districts with high charter density, this process can reach the point where the capacity of the district to provide for even the basic educational needs of all students comes into question.

Massachusetts and other states with relatively high charter density in urban centers should reinforce regulatory mechanisms in place to ensure the accountability of existing charter schools to legal and regulatory frameworks. In addition, legislative bodies considering laws to allow further expansion of charter schools should carefully consider the impacts of charter school growth on the human right to education of all children in their jurisdiction before enabling such expansion.

In describing the state courts’ active new role following the U.S. Supreme Court‘s decision in Rodriguez v. San Antonio Independent School District,1 this chapter emphasised the dramatic change in the outcome of challenges to state education finance systems that occurred beginning in 1989. From that year up until the time of the book‘s publication in 2009, plaintiffs, who had lost over two-thirds of the cases in the preceding decade, prevailed in more than two thirds of the final liability or motion to dismiss decisions of the state's highest courts. This dramatic turnabout was attributed to the shift in plaintiffs’ legal strategy from an emphasis on equal protection claims to a substantially increased reliance on adequacy claims; the text also stated that the burgeoning standards-based reform movement had a significant impact on the capacity of the courts to craft effective remedies in these cases.

From late 2009 through the end of June, 2017, there were seventeen rulings of state supreme courts or unappealed lower court decisions in cases involving constitutional challenges to state education funding systems. Plaintiffs prevailed in eight of these cases (California (Cal. Sch. Bds), Connecticut, Kansas (2) Louisiana, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Washington), and defendants prevailed in nine (California (Coalition), Colorado (2), Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Rhode Island, and South Dakota and Texas). Thus, plaintiffs prevailed in less than 50% of the major cases that were decided in these recent years.