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Michigan Supreme Court won’t take up “right to read” case against state, Highland Park schools

Phil Dowsing Creative

The Michigan Supreme Court has refused to hear a case that alleges the state and the struggling Highland Park school district are failing in their legal obligation to adequately educate students.

The so-called “right-to-read” lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union. 

The ACLU says the state and local districts have a legal obligation to meet certain education standards, or face consequences.

The ACLU’s Kary Moss says the Supreme Court’s decision is bad for students in low-performing districts. 

“When the courts don’t take the responsibility for making sure that the whole system works, it just puts increased pressure on the Legislature to do that,” she said.

The ACLU won an early court decision. But the Michigan Court of Appeals said the controversy cannot be settled by the legal system. The state Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case essentially upholds that decision.

“Detroit and major urban areas are never going to recover economically until our education system gets fixed,” Moss said.

A bill before the Legislature would require schools to provide the resources to ensure that students are reading at their age-appropriate level by the third grade. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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