Human Right to Education Program

We work with youth, parents, educators and advocates to ensure that our public school systems create learning environments that protect human dignity and support the full academic, social and emotional development of every child.

A Focus on Dignity in Schools: Every young person has the human right to a quality education and to learn in a safe, respectful school environment. Yet, in our public schools serving students of color and low-income students, classrooms are overcrowded and lack adequate resources, students and teachers face degrading environments, and schools use harsh, punitive discipline practices that deny students the opportunity to learn. Each year, over one million young people drop out of school, and millions more receive a substandard education.


NESRI believes that human rights standards, recognized in treaties like the Convention on the Rights of the Child, offer a framework for how to transform our schools based on principles of equity, accountability, dignity and community participation. The Education Program currently focuses on three areas that impact the rights to education and dignity in school: 1) School climate and classroom environment; 2) Discipline policies and police intervention; and 3) Parent, youth and teacher participation in decision-making. The Program works with community partners to generate human rights documentation, analysis, advocacy and training resources.