Advance Notice: Briefs

Education advocates call on Whitmer to settle literacy suit 

By: - May 12, 2020 3:02 pm

DPSCD Literacy Night at Academy of the Americas school | Ken Coleman

Last month, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a group of Detroit students who filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan claiming their right to a “basic minimum education” was being infringed upon. 

On Tuesday, parents, students and education justice advocates called on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who is listed as the defendant, to settle the “right to read” lawsuit, Gary B. v. Whitmer.

The suit, which was originally filed against the state during then-Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration, demanded Detroit students have “access to literacy by ensuring that they are provided with evidence-based, grade-appropriate programs for literacy instruction and intervention and monitoring conditions that deny students access to literacy such as lack of teachers and deplorable school conditions.” 

Whitmer calls for state’s removal from literacy suit

“This suit was brought on behalf of all students present and future who will be guaranteed the right to literacy under the U.S. Constitution. However, the full Circuit Court has been asked to hear the case and may overturn this ruling,” said Arlysa Heard, a parent and policy director of 482Forward, a BLANK. “The students of Detroit deserve the right to literacy and our Governor has the chance to add this to her legacy.”

Education advocates held a press conference on Tuesday to urge Whitmer to settle the lawsuit this week. 

“Just as the Brown v. Board of Education was about more than Topeka this case goes beyond Detroit. Literacy and education must be top notch everywhere for our state to be at its best,” said Trina Bean, an Oakland County parent. “That’s why I am urging Gov. Whitmer to settle this case as soon as this week. Michigan taxpayers should not be on the hook for more legal bills when an equitable solution is right before us now.”

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue is a former Michigan Advance reporter who covered education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8.