Michigan settles suit after landmark ‘right to read’ ruling

Michigan settles suit after landmark ‘right to read’ ruling
Posted at 6:25 AM, May 14, 2020

The state of Michigan early Thursday announced a settlement in a lawsuit filed by Detroit schoolchildren, after a federal appeals court issued a groundbreaking decision recognizing a constitutional right to education and literacy.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the plaintiffs announced the agreement in a joint statement.

“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement that will help secure the right of access to literacy for students in Detroit who faced obstacles they never should have faced,” they said. “This landmark court decision recognizes that every child in Michigan deserves an opportunity to obtain an education, which is essential to having a strong foundation in life and a brighter future.”

Michigan's governor has agreed to ask lawmakers to provide $94.4 million to Detroit's public schools as part of a lawsuit settlement.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that she will ask the state to pay for literacy-related programs and other initiatives. The state also will provide $280,000 to be shared by the seven students named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. That money is to be used for a high-quality literacy program or other ways to further their education.

The Republican-led Legislature recently asked the full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to set aside the 2-1 ruling. It said managing K-12 education is a job for state and local officials, not the federal judiciary.

On April 23, the court said students at poor performing, dilapidated Detroit schools are entitled to a basic minimum education under the U.S. Constitution. The decision could lead to millions of dollars in new spending.

Whitmer, a Democrat, replaced Republican Gov. Rick Snyder as a defendant after being elected.