U.S. Statement at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
As Prepared for Delivery
UN Human Rights Council – 29th Session
Geneva – June 18, 2015
Thank you, Madame Chair.
The United States acknowledges the work of Mister Kishore Singh, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education.
Today, more than ever, it is important that education at all levels promotes excellence and equal access, and is enriched by diversity. In this regard, the United States believes that diverse educational environments benefit students in an increasingly diverse global community. Our aspiration of high-quality education for all depends in part on providing equal access to educational resources. In 2014, our Department of Education released guidance to help ensure that all students – regardless of race, color, national origin or zip code – have equal access to educational resources. Students are more likely to have an equal opportunity to succeed in school, in careers, and in life when they have equal access to resources, such as academic and extracurricular programs, strong teaching, technology, instructional materials, and safe school facilities.
We must also continue to help communities provide safe educational spaces free from bullying and violence and discrimination. Inclusive education must be a priority so that all students – including girls and students of color, students learning English as a second language, and students with disabilities – have the best chance possible to learn and thrive.
With respect to the comments concerning private education in the Special Rapporteur’s recent report, we underscore that the role of public education in the United States has deep and strong historical roots. Today, public education is highly-valued as a mechanism for the advancement of all persons. At the same time, we appreciate that private schools play an important role and can provide a critical and viable option for students from all backgrounds. Education is stronger when students and their families have the opportunity to be informed honestly about the education programs offered and the results achieved. We support appropriate measures to address fraudulent practices in public or private schools, which harm all students. Finally, with respect to the reference to the use of public money in the United States in the Special Rapporteur’s recent report, we note that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the use of public funds to support private school vouchers within certain limited circumstances.
We have one question: what are some best practices of States working with private education providers to promote diversity in and access to education?