Franz Reimer

Compulsory School Attendance: An End in Itself – or a Means to an End?

How Constitutional Law Frames Education and Equal Opportunities Before and After the Pandemic


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In Germany, the concept of compulsory school attendance usually serves as the starting point for constitutional law reasoning about education and equal opportunities. School attendance duty is normally thought of as a corollary of the educational mission of the nation state. The experiences gathered during the Corona pandemic (such as distance learning) have shaken this conventional wisdom and should lead to an unbiased interpretation of the constitutional bases of state schooling. The article argues that, rather than compulsory schooling, the right to education and a (limited) duty to educate oneself is at the heart of the constitutional law framework for schooling.

civil liberties, constitutional law, Corona pandemic, educational mission, compulsory school attendance, free learning, homeschooling