5 Android apps you shouldn’t miss this week! – Android Apps Weekly

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Welcome to the 220th Android Apps Weekly. Here are the big headlines from the last week:

  • Disney purchased Fox this week. This is a big deal. That means all of Marvel’s property is under one roof again. Disney’s upcoming video streaming service is starting to get a lot more appealing to many people. Some claim that Netflix should be nervous. However, Hulu, Netflix, and others have co-existed for years. The addition of Disney’s streaming service probably won’t change that.
  • Google revealed the top search trends of 2017. Among them are the famous Mayweather vs McGregor fight, 13 Reasons Why, the various hurricanes that buffeted the American south, bitcoin, and many others. In consumer tech, the iPhone 8 and X dominated along with the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, Galaxy S8, OnePlus 5, and the Razer Phone. Hit the link to see all the trends!
  • The latest Humble Bundle is live! This time it’s a bunch of Noodlecake Studios games. That’s good news because that studio is fantastic. Some of the games include Alto’s Adventure, Pug’s Quest, Invert, Framed 2, The Bug Butcher, and others. Four games are available for $1. Beating the average price nets you four additional games. Finally, you can get every game in the bundle for a flat $5. That’s a great deal for some great games.
  • Bridge Constructor Portal already has a decent buzz about it. We now have more to report. The game features Ellen McLain, the original voice actress for GLaDOS. That’s getting people excited. The eccentric robot AI was a fan favorite in the Portal games and remains an icon of the game. It’s really neat to see the actual GLaDOS returning for this mobile game.
  • Microsoft Edge on mobile is doing surprisingly well. It amassed over one million downloads in just a few short weeks. Microsoft Edge browser isn’t half bad. Most of its critiques compare its lack of features to that of Firefox and Google Chrome. However, a mobile app offering shored up a lot of those weaknesses, including cross-platform syncing. It’s good to see some quality competition in the browser space.

For even more Android apps and games news, updates, and releases, check out this week’s newsletter by clicking here. You can also subscribe with the form below if you want. Of course, the best way to stay up to date is with the Android Authority app!

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Storyboard

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Storyboard is one of two new apps from Google this week. This one is a bit unique. It turns videos into comic strip-style storyboards. The app uses experimental research technology for its layouts. You can refresh over and over again until you get one that you like. It’s not overly useful. However, it is a lot of fun to use. Plus, some of the layouts look pretty nifty. The app is also entirely free with no ads or in-app purchases.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Storyboard

Ticket to Earth

Price: $4.99 (on sale for $3.49)
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Ticket to Earth is a new puzzle RPG. You play to save a colony from destruction. The game includes various types of puzzles, tile matching, and a decent story line. Most of the game is on a board game style layout. The game first appeared on Steam. The mobile release is more recent. The game is a pay-once experience. That means no ads or in-app purchases. It goes for $4.99 usually. However, the developers are having a launch sale. The game is temporarily $3.49.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Ticket to Earth

Selfissimo

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Selfissimo is the second new Google app this week. This one is another experimental app. It tries to automatically snap pictures of you when it detects your pose. Thus, you just pose, it takes a picture, and you repeat until done. For now, it only takes black and white selfies. It may not be suited for much more than the occasional Instagram or Facebook post. Still, it’s kind of neat to watch an app take your picture automatically. The app is free with no in-app purchases or advertisements.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Selfissimo

Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty

Price: $7.99
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty is the latest adventure game in the popular franchise. This one follows Abe as he attempts to save his friends. The evil Molluck wants to turn everyone into food. Obviously, that’s a bad thing. The game comes with decent graphics, support for hardware controllers, cloud saving, leaderboards, and achievements. It’s a tad expensive at $7.99. However, it doesn’t have ads or in-app purchases. It’s a decent game for its price.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY


Grammarly Keyboard

Price: Free
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Grammarly Keyboard was released this week. It’s by the same devs who do the Grammarly extension on Google Chrome. The keyboard works okay. It has a fairly basic set of functions and the layout is a little boring. However, it does attempt to correct your grammar as you type. That makes it unique. Grammarly is having a rough start with this one, though. There are a few bugs and only a few customization options. This one may take a while to get going. It might end up being one of the better Android keyboards over time. At the very least, it’s free with no in-app purchases if you want to try it.
DOWNLOAD ON GOOGLE PLAY
Grammarly Keyboard

10 best Android keyboards

For many people, the default keyboard that comes on their devices is passable. It is usually either the stock Android keyboard or the OEM keyboard from Samsung, LG, etc. However, those are not your only options. …

15 best RPGs for Android

RPGs have one of the most loyal followings of any gaming genre. Whether it’s Final Fantasy or World of Warcraft, people spend dozens of hours crafting characters, playing story lines, and enjoying themselves. RPGs were …

If we missed any big Android apps or games news or releases, tell us about it in the comments. Check back next week for more!

Invisible Flying Wizards

In one of my campaigns in one future session the group will come upon a castle. The gates are locked, there are guards on the battlements. Thus there is a challenge to the group to overcome: How do they get into the castle? Now this sounds like classic situation for Dungeons & Dragons. However through most of the history of D&D this was more of a headache for DMs if their group was at least level 5: Wizards had spells like Fly and Invisibility, and that made “sneaking into the castle to open the back door” boring instead of a challenge. So why would I put it in one of my adventures? Because 5th edition cleverly solved the invisible flying wizard problem!

Many of the spells in 5th edition are now using concentration, a new concept. If you want to fly, you can cast the Fly spell, but you will need to concentrate on it. Not only does that mean that if you are hit by an arrow, you have to do a concentration check or fall to the ground; it also means that you can only concentrate on one spell at once. Flying, yes, invisibility, yes, but not both at the same time. Thus the Rogue, who *can* be simultaneously stealthy and climbing walls, isn’t put out of a job by the invisible flying Wizard any more.

Having said that, for some classes the concentration concept is overused and ends up making their spellcasting overly weak. A prime example is the paladin, who has very few non-concentration spells, at least at lower to mid-level. Spells like the level 1 smites really shouldn’t be concentration, as they are already not very powerful and concentration means they don’t work with more important spells like Bless or Compelled Duel. For the Warlock the fact that Hex is a concentration spell and the very staple of his existence, makes any other concentration spell nearly useless.

So, yes, concentration is a useful new concept. But I think it is currently applied to too many spells and could be better balanced.

JavaScript Interview Questions for Freshers


What is JavaScript, really ?

JavaScript (“JS” for short) is a full-fledged dynamic programming language that, when applied to an HTML document, can provide dynamic interactivity on websites. It was invented by Brendan Eich, co-founder of the Mozilla project, the Mozilla Foundation, and the Mozilla Corporation.

JavaScript is incredibly versatile. You can start small, with carousels, image galleries, fluctuating layouts, and responses to button clicks. With more experience, you’ll be able to create games, animated 2D and 3D graphics, comprehensive database-driven apps, and much more!

*For online documentation on JavaScript , refer the doc of creators – mdn

**For the best class-room training on JavaScript at Mumbai connect with Rocky Sir

Leaving out the very simple and basic Interview Questions, at what questions do the fresh web developers get stuck ?  Here is a list :

1. Before-the-first-Round-of-JavaScript-Interview-Questions

      download a short and sweet PDF


2. 10-common-JavaScript-interview-questions (Click on the Question for viewing the answer)


3. Step-by-step solution for step counting using recursion

step counting _sctpl

For example, if you wanted to climb 4 steps, you can take the following distinct number of steps:

1) 1, 1, 1, 1
2) 1, 1, 2
3) 1, 2, 1
4) 2, 1, 1
5) 2, 2
So there are 5 distinct ways to climb 4 steps. We want to write a function, using recursion, that will produce the answer for any number of steps
answer-to-step-counting-using-recursion

4. Determine overlapping numbers in ranges

You will be given an array with 5 numbers. The first 2 numbers represent a range, and the next two numbers represent another range. The final number in the array is X. The goal of your program is to determine if both ranges overlap by at least X numbers. For example, in the array [4, 10, 2, 6, 3] the ranges 4 to 10 and 2 to 6 overlap by at least 3 numbers (4, 5, 6), so your program should return true.
answer-to-determine-overlapping-numbers-in-ranges 



5. Find all duplicates in an array



This is a common interview question where you need to write a program to find all duplicates in an array. The elements in the array have no restrictions, but in this algorithm we’ll work specifically with integers. Finding duplicates in an array can be solved in linear time by using a hash table to store each element as we pass through the array. The general algorithm is: 


(1) Loop through the array
(2) At each element check if it exists in the hash table, which has a lookup of O(1) time
(3) If the element exists in the hash table then it is a duplicate, if it doesn’t exist, insert it into the hash table, also O(1)

for-complete-solution-to-finding-all-duplicates-in-an-array


6Two sum problem


The two sum problem is a common interview question, and it is a variation of the subset sum problem. There is a popular dynamic programming solution for the subset sum problem, but for the two sum problem we can actually write an algorithm that runs in O(n) time.

The challenge is to find all the pairs of two integers in an unsorted array that sum up to a given S. For example, if the array is [3, 5, 2, -4, 8, 11] and the sum is 7, your program should return [[11, -4], [2, 5]] because 11 + -4 = 7 and 2 + 5 = 7.

for-complete-solution-to-Two-sum-problem

7. Stock maximum profit

You will be given a list of stock prices for a given day and your goal is to return the maximum profit that could have been made by buying a stock at the given price and then selling the stock later on. For example if the input is: [45, 24, 35, 31, 40, 38, 11] then your program should return 16 because if you bought the stock at $24 and sold it at $40, a profit of $16 was made and this is the largest profit that could be made. If no profit could have been made, return -1.


for-complete-solution-to-Stock-maximum-profit


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

I’d write my thoughts about my Switch, but frankly I’m still too busy having fun with Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battles. And I haven’t even started Zelda or Super Mario Odyssey yet!

Elemental Evil: Sessions 13 & 14

I just noticed that I am behind on my reporting on the Elemental Evil campaign. In the previous reported session the group had reached level 5 and was about to head for the Sacred Stone Monastery. Sessions 13 and 14 were about the adventures of the group in that monastery. However once again it has to be remarked that this particular group is mainly interested in the combat aspects of D&D, and less interested in the role-playing aspects. And the campaign has been chosen with this preference in mind, containing a lot of dungeon crawls. Nevertheless even in that campaign the group still managed to avoid most opportunities to find out more about the story, and spent those two sessions mostly in combat encounters.

The group entered the Sacred Stone Monastery via the garden and from there into the main hall. However that was exactly what the bad guys had planned for invaders, as the main hall contains a trap that drops the group down into the dungeon and into a cage with an Umber Hulk. Having beaten the Umber Hulk and then some orog and ogre guards, the group liberated a group of slaves used for mining work. That included members of the Mirabar delegation, which in the book is the official story hook. However the group showed absolutely no interest in asking them about what had happened to the delegation, and allowed the slaves to leave unescorted.

Next the group entered a part of the dungeon in which a Lich lives. A Lich is a challenge rating 21 monster and obviously not meant as a combat encounter for level 5 characters. But in spite of the Lich just being a bit grumpy and not immediately attacking, the group decided against getting information from him, and just fled. Having otherwise cleaned out the basement, the group found another staircase up, and found themselves in the middle of the monk’s quarters, where a big fight ensued. That included the boss of the place, a blind female monk with the name of Hellenrae. Just like in the previous two elemental keeps, the group killed the boss, looted the magical key part the bosses are carrying, and then legged it.

Then they returned to Red Larch to rest and recuperate. But the next morning at breakfast in the inn, they were attacked by four hell hounds. That was a bit annoying for the sorceress, who mainly had fire-based spells like scorching ray and fireball, to which the monsters were immune. But although they took heavy damage from fire breaths, the group prevailed and sent the dogs packing. They (correctly) concluded that the hell hounds had been sent by the one cult they hadn’t visited yet, the fire cult. As they had previously heard about druids planning a fire ritual at a location which corresponded to the location of the fourth elemental keep on their ancient map, they plan to go there in the next session.

Retraction

For weeks I have been having problems with my XYZ Da Vinci Jr. 1.0w 3D printer. Some prints work just fine, while other fail. Even worse, some prints which work fine if I try to print a single figurine then fail if I try to print multiple copies at the same time. It was driving me crazy, until with a lot of testing and observing I finally found out what the problem is: Retraction.

So what is retraction in 3D printing? Imagine printing a model of the Eiffel Tower. There is a lot of empty space in such a model. Because the print is done layer by layer, from the bottom up, the print head has to print a small thickness where a girder is, then move without printing to the next girder. In order to prevent PLA from coming out of the print head and causing strings to appear between the girders, the stepper motor is pulling the filament back a little bit before moving. That pulling back is called retraction.

Now what is happening with my printer, and I am not 100% sure how or why, is that the stepper motor is more efficient during retraction than during moving the filament forward. It basically retracts too much, and then after the movement pushes forward the filament by too little. So if I print a piece with lots of empty spaces and lots of retraction happening, while the solid sections are relatively thin, I end up retracting more and more, until the end of the filament has completely left the hot part of the extruder head. While the print head is still moving, there is no more plastic coming out of the nozzle at all, and the print fails.

Now there is a lot of 3D printing software with millions of settings where you can change the setting for retraction. Unfortunately the XYZ Printers don’t work with any of those 3D printing programs. They only work with their proprietary XYZWare. Which is deliberately simplified to make “plug and play” printing for the average customer possible. Somewhere in the depths of the code there must be a retraction setting (you can observe the filament moving backwards), but there is no way to access or change that setting. And I don’t want to “jailbreak” my 3D printer with some modified firmware, because that has the potential to completely break it.

Right now my solution is simply to avoid printing models with too much empty space in them. That means printing miniatures one by one instead of in batches, which would be more practical for prints during the night. But the long-term solution will be buying a better 3D printer which isn’t so limited with what software I can use, and what settings I can change. Right now I am thinking of still waiting a bit with that, as I haven’t found the printer of my dreams yet. One important feature for me is being able to print via WiFi, and surprisingly few printers have that. I want a pre-assembled 3D printer with a sturdy frame, not a wobbly self-assembly kit. But of course I don’t want to spend a fortune on it either. My $500 printer is maybe not high enough quality, but I wouldn’t want to spend more than $2,000 even on a good printer. As the market is developing, I might find the printer I want next year.

Google expands booking features for travelers with price tracking and deals

Google

We are a week and a half away from Christmas, but it’s still not too late to fly away for the holidays — it’ll just cost a pretty penny to do so. If you’re okay with that, Google updated its suite of travel applications and services to feature price tracking and deals.

Starting with Google Flights, the search giant is leveraging its machine learning chops to take a look at historical price data to let you when is the best time to book a flight. Once you let Google Flights know where you want to go, you can choose to have it send you tips like “prices won’t drop further” or “prices are less than normal.” That way, you can be better informed as to whether you should book your flight now or wait a bit longer.

Editor’s Pick

Moving right along, Google’s hotel search results offer similar information. Because you’re dealing with hotels, Google lets you know if rates for a specific room are higher or if the surrounding area is busier due to a local event. That way, you can better plan when to make a hotel room reservation, though you can opt for email alerts whenever prices fluctuate.

Finally, Google’s Trips app now features a “Discounts” section. As the name implies, the section nets you deals for things like tickets, tours, activities, and attractions. Discounts vary based on where you’re located, though the app also leverages Google’s travel-booking features.

Overall, the new features sound very familiar to what services like Kayak and Hopper already offer. The main difference is, since many folks are already deeply immersed in Google’s ecosystem, these are just more reasons why they shouldn’t leave that ecosystem.

The flight and hotel price tracking are currently rolling out worldwide, whereas the Discounts tab inside of the Trips app will be available in English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Here is how tech companies are responding to the repeal of net neutrality

Save the Internet

Unless you’ve been in living under a rock the past several months, you knew that a vote on net neutrality was coming. It played out just as everyone suspected and the FCC voted to reclassify internet service providers like Comcast, Spectrum, and Verizon. The vote removed restrictions on the companies that many felt were vital to an open and fair internet.

Here are how some large tech companies are reacting the vote.

Google

Google is a proponent of net neutrality and has repeatedly voiced its support of it in the past. In a statement released to news organizations after the vote, Google pledges to continue to follow the policies of net neutrality. Here is its statement in full:

We remain committed to the net neutrality policies that enjoy overwhelming public support, have been approved by the courts, and are working well for every part of the internet economy. We will work with other net neutrality supporters large and small to promote strong, enforceable protections.

Facebook

Facebook is another company that voice support for strong net neutrality regulations. Many fear that with the repeal of net neutrality, world-changing companies like Facebook may never be able to sprout up. Facebook’s COO released the following statement after the vote:



Netflix

As the largest video streaming service on the internet, Netflix has a vested interest making sure people are able to stream their content. Even though the company has seemingly waffled on its net neutrality, it came out with a firm statement stating, “We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality.” Here is the company’s full statement:

Amazon

Amazon is another of the tech giants that stood behind net neutrality. With its repeal, Amazon’s Chief Technology Officer took to Twitter to share his statement:

Microsoft

Microsoft is a staunch supporter of net neutrality, saying earlier this year, “Without an open internet, broadband internet access service providers gain the power to outright prevent edge content and services from reaching their customers, levy tolls on edge providers and customers for access to edge content and services, and pick winners and losers in the internet economy, thus subjecting edge provider success to the control of broadband internet access services providers rather than the forces of customer demand.” After the vote, its Chief Legal Officer made the following statement:

Reddit

Reddit bills itself as the “Front Page of the Internet”. It’s another company like Facebook that was started by a couple of kids and turned into a phenomenon. If you’ve used the site any time in the last few weeks, you’ll know that the site and (most of) its users are strong supporters of net neutrality. In a statement today, Reddit CEO Steve Hufmann (Spez) said in part:

It is disappointing that the FCC Chairman plowed ahead with his planned repeal despite all of this public concern, not to mention the objections expressed by his fellow commissioners, the FCC’s own CTO, more than a hundred members of Congress, dozens of senators, and the very builders of the modern internet.

Nevertheless, today’s vote is the beginning, not the end. While the fight to preserve net neutrality is going to be longer than we had hoped, this is far from over.

You can read the statement in its entirety here.

Comcast

Comcast is one of the companies that could seemingly benefit from the net neutrality changes. Many fear that companies like Comcast could wield its power to prevent users from reaching sites or streaming video content to benefit its own platforms.

But, According to a blog post by Senior Vice President David L. Cohen, Comcast believes that Congress should move to enact net neutrality laws. Its stance is that the rules enacted by the FCC were just governmental overreach, but it really supports net neutrality. Whether you believe that or not is up to you, but you can read the full blog post here.

Charter/Spectrum

Charter is the second largest ISP in the country and obviously had its eye on the FCC’s meeting. After the vote, the company released a statement on its website that read in part, ” Charter has been consistent and clear: we support a vibrant and open internet that enables our customers to access the lawful content of their choice when and where they want it. We commend the FCC Chairman and Commissioners for their action today that re-establishes the light touch regulatory framework that had been in place for decades when the Internet took root and grew into an important tool for daily life and a major engine of economic growth.”

You can read the rest of its comment here.

AT&T

AT&T repeated many of the same sentiments as Comcast and Charter. AT&T’s Senior Executive Vice President of External & Legislative Affairs, Bob Quinn, took to the web to express that the repeal of net neutrality laws isn’t that big of a deal.

In the post, Quinn states, “AT&T intends to operate its network the same way AT&T operates its network today: in an open and transparent manner. We will not block websites, we will not throttle or degrade internet traffic based on content, and we will not unfairly discriminate in our treatment of internet traffic (all consistent with the rules that were adopted – and that we supported – in 2010, and the rules in place today).”

You can read the full post here.

Verizon

Verizon hosts a Broadband Commitment website that states, “Verizon supports the Open Internet, and is committed to offering services that allow our customers to take full advantage of all of the lawful content and services that the Internet has to offer.” Speaking to Inverse yesterday, Verizon spokesperson Rich Young backed up that sentiment with this statement, “Verizon fully supports the open Internet, and we will continue to do so. Our customers demand it and our business depends on it.”

T-Mobile

T-Mobile released a very short statement after the vote. It reads, “We always have and will support an open internet that enables us to provide new and innovative services to our customers and keep them first! We will continue to provide amazing service and support to our customers each day!”

Sprint

Sprint’s statement on the repeal of net neutrality is longer than T-Mobile’s, but says just as little. It reads, “Sprint applauds the FCC’s efforts to simplify a complex and challenging issue, while balancing multiple stakeholder interests in this important proceeding. Our position has been and continues to be that competition is the best way to promote an open internet. Complex and vague regulations previously created uncertainties around net neutrality compliance. The Commission’s decision today eliminates those uncertainties and appears to allow Sprint to manage our network and offer competitive products.”


Which company had the best response?

There Is No Constitutional Right to Education. That Needs To Change.

Legal scholar Derek Black argues that the 14th Amendment should have included a right to education.

Public school funding has shrunk over the past decade. School discipline rates reached historic highs. Large achievement gaps persist. And the overall performance of our nation’s students falls well below our international peers.

These bleak numbers beg the question: Don’t students have a constitutional right to something better? Many Americans assume that federal law protects the right to education. Why wouldn’t it? All 50 state constitutions provide for education. The same is true in 170 other countries. Yet, the word “education” does not appear in the United States Constitution, and federal courts have rejected the idea that education is important enough that it should be protected anyway.

After two decades of failed lawsuits in the 1970s and ‘80s, advocates all but gave up on the federal courts. It seemed the only solution was to amend the Constitution itself. But that, of course, is no small undertaking. So in recent decades, the debate over the right to education has mostly been academic.

The summer of 2016 marked a surprising turning point. Two independent groups – Public Counsel and Students Matter – filed lawsuits in Michigan and Connecticut. They argue that federal law requires those states to provide better educational opportunities for students. In May 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a similar suit in Mississippi.

At first glance, the cases looked like long shots. However, my researchshows that these lawsuits, particularly in Mississippi, may be onto something remarkable. I found that the events leading up to the 14th Amendment – which explicitly created rights of citizenship, equal protection and due process – reveal an intent to make education a guarantee of citizenship. Without extending education to former slaves and poor whites, the nation could not become a true democracy.

Why a federal right to education matters

Even today, a federal constitutional right to education remains necessary to ensure all children get a fair shot in life. While students have a state constitutional right to education, state courts have been ineffective in protecting those rights.

Without a federal check, education policy tends to reflect politics more than an effort to deliver quality education. In many instances, states have done more to cut taxes than to support needy students.

And a federal right is necessary to prevent random variances between states. For instance, New York spends US$18,100 per pupil, while Idaho spends $5,800. New York is wealthier than Idaho, and its costs are of course higher, but New York still spends a larger percentage on education than Idaho. In other words, geography and wealth are important factors in school funding, but so is the effort a state is willing to make to support education.

And many states are exerting less and less effort. Recent data show that 31 states spend less on education now than before the recession – as much as 23 percent less.

States often makes things worse by dividing their funds unequally among school districts. In Pennsylvania, the poorest districts have 33 percent lessper pupil than wealthy districts. Half of the states follow a similar, although less extreme, pattern.

Studies indicate these inequities deprive students of the basic resources they need, particularly quality teachers. Reviewing decades of data, a 2014 study found that a 20 percent increase in school funding, when maintained, results in low-income students completing nearly a year of additional education. This additional education wipes out the graduation gap between low- and middle-income students. A Kansas legislative study showed that “a 1 percent increase in student performance was associated with a .83 percent increase in spending.”

These findings are just detailed examples of the scholarly consensus: Money matters for educational outcomes.

The new lawsuits

While normally the refuge for civil rights claims, federal courts have refused to address these educational inequalities.  In 1973, the Supreme Court explicitly rejected education as a fundamental right. Later cases asked the court to recognize some narrower right in education, but the court again refused.

After a long hiatus, new lawsuits are now offering new theories in federal court. In Michigan, plaintiffs argue that if schools do not ensure students’ literacy, students will be consigned to a permanent underclass. In Connecticut, plaintiffs emphasize that a right to a “minimally adequate education” is strongly suggested in the Supreme Court’s past decisions. In Mississippi, plaintiffs argue that Congress required Mississippi to guarantee education as a condition of its readmission to the Union after the Civil War.

While none of the lawsuits explicitly state it, all three hinge on the notion that education is a basic right of citizenship in a democratic society. Convincing a court, however, requires more than general appeals to the value of education in a democratic society. It requires hard evidence. Key parts of that evidence can be found in the history of the 14th Amendment itself.

The original intent to ensure education

Immediately after the Civil War, Congress needed to transform the slave-holding South into a working democracy and ensure that both freedmen and poor whites could fully participate in it. High illiteracy rates posed a serious barrier. This led Congress to demand that all states guarantee a right to education.

In 1868, two of our nation’s most significant events were occurring: the readmission of southern states to the Union and the ratification of the 14th Amendment. While numerous scholars have examined this history, few, if any, have closely examined the role of public education. The most startling thing is how much persuasive evidence is in plain view. Scholars just haven’t asked the right questions: Did Congress demand that southern states provide public education, and, if so, did that have any effect on the rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment? The answers are yes.

As I describe in the Constitutional Compromise to Guarantee Education, Congress placed two major conditions on southern states’ readmission to the Union: Southern states had to adopt the 14th Amendment and rewrite their state constitutions to conform to a republican form of government. In rewriting their constitutions, Congress expected states to guarantee education. Anything short was unacceptable.

Southern states got the message. By 1868, nine of 10 southern states seeking admission had guaranteed education in their constitutions. Those that were slow or reluctant were the last to be readmitted.

The last three states – Virginia, Mississippi and Texas – saw Congress explicitly condition their readmission on providing education.

The intersection of southern readmissions, rewriting state constitutions and the ratification of the 14th Amendment helps to define the meaning of the 14th Amendment itself. By the time the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, state constitutional law and congressional demands had cemented education as a central pillar of citizenship. In other words, for those who passed the 14th Amendment, the explicit right of citizenship in the 14th Amendment included an implicit right to education.

The reasoning of both Congress and the state conventions was clear: “Education is the surest guarantee of the … preservation of the great principles of republican liberty.”

The rest is history. Our country went from one in which fewer than half of states guaranteed education prior to the war to one in which all 50 state constitutions guarantee education today.

The new cases before the federal courts offer an opportunity to finish the work first started during Reconstruction – to ensure that all citizens receive an education that equips them to participate in democracy. The nation has made important progress toward that goal, but I would argue so much more work remains. The time is now for federal courts to finally confirm that the United States Constitution does, in fact, guarantee students the right to quality education.