Defend the Right To Literacy for Students in Detroit
Defend a Right To Literacy for Students in Detroit Schools
The state of Michigan is fighting a lawsuit by seven Detroit schoolchildren by countering that “there is no fundamental right to literacy.”
The state of Michigan is fighting a lawsuit by seven Detroit schoolchildren who say their schools are horrible — by countering that “there is no fundamental right to literacy.” Michigan’s attorney general made the bizarre argument in requesting that a federal judge toss the kids’ lawsuit, Fox News in Detroit reported. Please sign this petition to demand that children in Detroit and across Michigan are taught the most fundamental skills they need for success in life.
The students sued the state in September, saying that decades of indifference have left Detroit’s schools in deplorable condition. Schools don’t have enough teachers or books, are plagued by vermin and extreme temperatures, and have unsafe conditions, the kids argued. The state is obligated to teach kids to read and write, they assert in the lawsuit, which was filed by Public Counsel, a California-based law firm that helps the underprivileged.
But the Governor of Michigan is asking that the judge dismiss the case outright because under its constitution, state officials are required only to “provide for a system of free public schools.” What goes on in the schools isn’t their responsibility, they claim, and besides, “there is no fundamental right to literacy.” The lawsuit counters that the state has been responsible for Detroit’s schools since 1999, when it took them over.
Literacy = Prosperity
According to the World Literacy Foundation, the impact of illiteracy on personal income varies but it is clear earning potential is limited. Illiterate people earn 30%-42% less than their literate counterparts and do not have the literacy skills required to undertake further vocational education or training to improve their earning capacity. One study shows the income of a person with poor literacy stays about the same throughout their working life. However, individuals with good literacy and numeracy skills can expect their incomes to increase at least two to three times what they were earning at the beginning of their careers. And young people who do not complete primary schooling are less likely to obtain jobs good enough to avoid poverty.