On one of the email lists, a member, in all sincerity, recently posted a warning from HSLDA about a proposed Congressional amendment, HJR 29, the right to public education. “House Joint Resolution 29, introduced by U.S. Rep. Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., (D-Illinois) in 2005, is eerily similar to language in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The dangers of the UN Convention are well known.”
In a search, I found that this bill was proposed back in 2005 by Jesse Jackson, Jr. It has languished since its introduction.
109TH Congress, 1st Session, 2 March 2005 H. J. Res. 29
Section 1. All persons shall enjoy the right to a public education of equal high quality.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce and implement this article by appropriate legislation.
The search turned up links not only to the HSLDA page, but also to what the Congressman had to say about the proposed amendment, a topic he has been talking about since at least 2003. Congressman Jackson links the right to a quality education not only to civil rights via his comments about states’ rights, but also to a “jobs program.” Education is not his only concern, so are the “individual right to vote,” and health care. By March of 2005, he had proposed eight amendments.
Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., 7 March 2005, Jackson Reintroduces Eight Constitutional Amendments
Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., in addition to introducing his Voting Rights Amendment … reintroduced eight other amendments … : the right to a public education of equal high quality (H.J. Res. 29) … ; the right to health care of equal high quality (H.J. Res. 30) … ; equal rights for women (H.J. Res. 31); the right to decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing (H.J. Res. 32); the right to a clean, safe, and sustainable environment (H.J. Res. 33); taxing the people of the United States progressively (H.J. Res. 34); the right to full employment and balanced economic growth (H.J. Res. 35); and an amendment to eliminate the Electoral College and elect our President and Vice President through the direct vote of a majority of the American people (H.J. Res. 36).
Now, these are not proposed laws, but proposed amendments to the Constitution. In addition to passing both houses of Congress by a 2/3rds majority, the proposed amendment would need to be ratified by 3/4s of the states, something HSLDA is probably aware of as they like to write constitutional amendment proposals, too.
Apparently, sponsoring constitutional amendments is something of a political cottage industry.
According to a study by C-SPAN, this is a count of the number of amendments proposed in each of the sessions of Congress in the 1990′s:
106th (1999 only): 60
105th (1997-98): 103
104th (1995-96): 158
103rd (1993-94): 156
102nd (1991-92): 165
101st (1989-90): 214
The last amendment that made any headway was the Equal Rights Amendment which was first proposed in 1923. It has yet to be ratified.
There does not appear to be any imminent danger of a Constitutional right to a public education being enacted in the near future, regardless of which party has the legislative majority.
For those who are interested, a discussion took place on HEM-Networking.