This article will first briefly outline the evolution of public education in the United States from a national perspective. Next, it will focus in on a couple of states, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, setting forth in more detail the history of public education in those states, the constitutionalization of the government's responsibility for public education in those states, and judicial interpretations of that constitutional responsibility. Finally, this paper will attempt to draw some inferences and propose a set of principles to guide the formulation of a national role for providing a system of public education in emerging constitutional democracies.





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