The decision by the Michigan Court of Appeals that access to literacy is not a constitutional right not only potentially undermines the public education system, but also potentially limits a community’s right to use the courts to hold government accountable.
The July 4th edition of the New York Times reported the result of a Michigan court decision which found: “Detroit residents have repeatedly pushed back against the Public Acts and state actions that supplanted local control. At each step, courts affirmed the legality of the State’s interventions. Now, facing the deplorable conditions alleged in the Complaint, Detroit students seek to hold someone responsible…The conditions and outcomes of Plaintiffs’ schools, as alleged, are nothing short of devastating. When a child who could be taught to read goes untaught, the child suffers a lasting injury—and so does society… But the Court is faced with a discrete question: does the Due Process Clause demand that a State affirmatively provide each child with a minimum level of education by which the child can attain literacy? Based on the foregoing analysis, the answer to the question is no.”
Mark Rosenbaum, who represented the students, said he planned to appeal the decision.