Home > Uncategorized > In Michigan, Courts Determine That Literacy is Not a Right… And No One in Government There Complains

In Michigan, Courts Determine That Literacy is Not a Right… And No One in Government There Complains

In the “you can’t make this stuff up” category is the report from Fox News in Detroit Michigan that attorneys for the Governor are asking that a lawsuit against Detroit schools be thrown out because “literacy is not a right”. Here’s the summary paragraphs from the story:

Seven children filed the lawsuit in September, saying decades of state disinvestment and deliberate indifference to Detroit’s schools have denied them access to literacy.
The plaintiffs say the schools have deplorable building conditions, lack of books, classrooms without teachers, insufficient desks, buildings plagued by vermin, unsafe facilities and extreme temperatures.
The Michigan Attorney General asked a federal judge to dismiss a class action lawsuit arguing that Detroit schools are obligated to ensure that kids learn how to read and write. The state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit says: “there is no fundamental right to literacy”.
But, the Michigan Attorney General DOES acknowledge that the State must operate schools:

“Michigan’s constitution requires only that the legislature provide for a system of free public schools”, leaving the details and deliver to specific educational services to the local school districts.
In other words, the state must provide for schools, but there’s no obligation to make them work.
And, notably, the news report did not indicate that the State AG rebutted the plaintiffs claims that Detroit Schools, which have been under state receivership since 1999, “…have deplorable building conditions, lack of books, classrooms without teachers, insufficient desks, buildings plagued by vermin, unsafe facilities and extreme temperatures.” I suppose that’s because the details and delivery of specific educational services are left to the local school district… which in this case is the State. Round and round the attorneys and legislators go… and in the meantime the children in Detroit attend schools that are not required to teach literacy and have deplorable building conditions, lack of books, classrooms without teachers, insufficient desks, buildings plagued by vermin, unsafe facilities and extreme temperatures. And the problem with all this is teacher’s unions? Puh-leeze!
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