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Federal appeals court to hear Detroit literacy case

Multi-colored books.
Kimberly Farmer

A federal appeals court has thrown out a groundbreaking decision that said Detroit students had a constitutional right to education and literacy. The move comes just days after Michigan's governor settled the case by agreeing to seek millions from the Legislature to improve education programs.

Detroit students claimed poor conditions in schools had made learning impossible. In the 2016 lawsuit, the plaintiffs blamed the substandard academic performance of Detroit school children on poor conditions within their classrooms, including missing or unqualified teachers, physically dangerous facilities, and inadequate books and materials.

In April, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, ruling the students have been “denied a basic minimum education, and thus have been deprived of access to literacy.”

But that ruling is now vacated, with the Tuesday decision from the full 6th Circuit Court agreeing to hear the case.  
Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s spokeswoman says the governor is reviewing the decision. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting.
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