May 18, 2020

#RightToLiteracy is historic win for students of color across the state

After 3 years of legal battles and relentless organizing, Detroit students won a major victory on Thursday when Governor Whitmer agreed to settle the Right To Literacy lawsuit. The lawsuit, lodged by seven Detroit students and their families, argues that students in Detroit are being denied their basic right to literacy because of the state of the city's schools. This decision was upheld by an appellate court in late April, and was preserved by the Governor’s decision to settle this week. 

This is a historic win for families and students not just in Detroit, but across Michigan and the country. In Michigan, our ability to advocate for students has been limited because the State constitution only requires that students be guaranteed access to public education. The #RightToLiteracy decision ensures that Michigan students now have the right to access a quality public education that guarantees them their basic right to literacy.

In our community, similar to Detroit, many Black and Latinx students attend schools that struggle to provide their students with a quality education. This reality emerges from a history of racist policy-making that has created a separate and unequal educational landscape for many of our children.

Looking forward, we know that the loss in state revenue due to COVID19 will result in major cuts to education funding. School districts across Michigan are going to be forced to make some difficult decisions in the near future. We are at a critical moment where we need to ensure that the changes that are coming do not further harm our children. That is why we are committed to working with parents, teachers and community members across Kent County to form advisory circles that can engage their local school district as they make key decisions in the near future.

If you are interested in forming an advisory circle with your school district, or want to stay connected to our ongoing education justice work, please reach out to kyle@uccgr.org.

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