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Advocates Demand U.S. Uphold International Right to Education

Organizers from Los Angeles to New York are finding that the international right to education resonates strongly among the families and community members with whom they work locally. In a new effort, advocates with the Education Caucus of US Human Rights Network want to hold the U.S. government accountable to the international community for the state of American education.

The Caucus disagrees with the government's “very rosy” report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which is overseen by the UN Human Rights Committee, and states that the lack of guarantee to an equal and adequate education is a violation of the ICCPR. In an effort to provide a more accurate report to the HRC, the Caucus and other non-governmental organizations are soliciting input. Challenging questions will be sent to the Committee for use when the Committee reviews the U.S. report next year.

For more information on joining this effort, see Global Right's invitation below:


This is a great opportunity to shine an international spotlight on the issues of education that the government would prefer to sweep under the rug, whether you are a national policy organization working on NCLB or a local organization working to ensure your school has good textbooks and clean bathrooms.

If you are interested in contributing to the discussion, please join the Education Caucus by going to www.ushrnetwork.org/join.cfm.  Also, a coordinating coalition of groups has formed to address overall NGO input into the process; you can join the main discussions by sending an email to erictars@gmail.com, and you will be invited to join a listserv.

The Committee's first deadline for NGO input is December 27, by which point they would like to have a list of priority questions to ask the government to focus the US 's reporting when they come before the Committee for a formal hearing in 2006.  The immediate task before the Education Caucus is to come up with a list of a maximum of three questions BY DECEMBER 19 to forward to the coordinating coalition, who will compile our questions with questions on other issues, and send out a combined list to all the working groups to try to get maximum sign-on before the Committee deadline.  Though three questions is a short list in light of all the challenges we face, the Committee will have very limited time to address the government, and it is better for us to choose our priorities rather than the Committee.  These questions can respond specifically to statements made by the government in its report, or address other issues not brought up by the government.  The government report itself can be found at: http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/55504.htm
and references to education are in paragraphs:
46-53 (discrimination in education, NCLB, disability, and affirmative action),
55-56 (religion and education),
57 (DC vouchers),
58 (education and aliens),
69-76 (sex discrimination in education),
136 ( Mississippi training schools),
367 (discrimination in education),
368-371 (disability and education),
439-441 (NCLB), and
442-446 (NCLB and LEP).

Once the list of questions has been submitted, we will then begin discussing a fuller “ shadow report ” which can address more issues, more in depth, beyond our three questions.  We will also be looking to the Human Rights Committee's session in March in New York City , and exploring different methods of advocacy, whether lobbying the Committee itself or doing public advocacy.

For follow up or more questions, contact Eric Tars at 215-392-0298 or erictars@gmail.com.