Skip to main content

W.Va. Court Say Education Is Basic Right


In 1975, a group of West Virginia parents brought suit arguing that their children were receiving an inadequate education in violation of the state constitution’s education and equal protection clauses. In 1979, in Pauley v. Kelly, the state Supreme Court holds that education is a fundamental right under the state constitution and sends the case to a lower court to determine whether the school system “develops, as best the state of education expertise allows, the minds, bodies and social morality of its charges to prepare them for useful and happy occupations, recreation and citizenship, and does so economically.” In 1982, after a lengthy trial, the lower court will rule that the state is failing to meet that standard and issues a blueprint for overhauling the system. The court will watch over the state’s public school system until 2003, when oversight will be discontinued.