Fight Detroit illiteracy in classroom, not court

Jul 28, 2018 by

Reading is the gateway to a successful life, and it’s one of the fundamental skills children should learn in school. But many kids, especially in Detroit, aren’t gaining that basic building block. This is a shortfall that must be addressed in the classroom, however — not the courtroom.

A federal lawsuit filed in 2016 on behalf of several Detroit students and their families had sought to prove a constitutional right of access to literacy. Late last month, U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy III dismissed the case.

But the California law firm, Public Counsel, representing the Detroit students isn’t giving up and has recently begun to appeal the decision, which would go before the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Students sued the state of Michigan because they said their school conditions were so bad and that their resources were such that learning was next to impossible. The lawsuit also sought to use the 14th Amendment equal-protection clause to prove that the students were being denied equal access to a good education, compared to their largely white, more affluent peers in the suburbs.

Murphy had rejected those claims, ruling that literacy is not a fundamental right. And he said the plaintiffs didn’t prove the state was directly responsible for conditions in the schools.

Source: Editorial: Fight Detroit illiteracy in classroom, not court

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