Sep 18, 2017
Picture a wealthy public school. Imagine what would happen IF wealthy students at that school, week after week, had no teacher, no desk, no chair, no book. Would THAT be considered providing an education?
Seven Detroit schoolchildren brought a lawsuit against the State of Michigan over this very problem. In their poor district – Detroit Public Schools – a basic environment to allow for learning and literacy is no longer provided. Their lawsuit asks Michigan to do better in the future. The State of Michigan’s answer so far? No!
Opening arguments were heard on August 10th at a federal courthouse in Detroit. Arguing on behalf of the children was Public Counsel, a national pro bono law firm. They took on this case because Detroit has the lowest educational outcomes in the U.S.
According to 2015 national test results, in 8th grade, only 7 percent of Detroit students are proficient in reading and only 4 percent are proficient in math.
The lawsuit describes crumbling schools with rats and mold. Classrooms are overcrowded, essentially warehousing students, often without teachers.
Arguing on behalf of Michigan is the Office of the Attorney General. Led by Bill Schuette, candidate for governor in 2018, the state argued it has no responsibility to ensure students in Detroit Public Schools have access to materials or to teachers – in other words, access to literacy.
The State argues that the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution, invoked by this lawsuit, didn’t mention literacy. The State of Michigan even argues that when the state appointed emergency managers – to run Detroit Public schools – THAT was local Detroit control!
Judge Murphy, who will make a ruling in this case, hinted a decision will be reached by the end of September. If he rules against Detroit’s children, he is an educated fool!