Photo credits: Carlos Osorio/Associated Press
A sad state of academic affairs exists in the upper-Midwestern state of Michigan.
Over a period of about 20 years, the Michigan Department of Education has totally controlled Detroit’s public school system. The state takeover occurred due to the city’s failure to operate independently in order to provide Detroit’s predominantly black K-12 school students with an education that meets the minimum federal standards.
This summer in 2018, legal action was taken against the state of Michigan for its historic inability to teach minority children. Pro bono attorneys working with the Los Angeles, California firm Public Counsel are representing five children from Detroit who attend some of the worst schools in the entire state of Michigan.
These Public Counsel attorneys have filed a 100-page class action legal complaint against Michigan, which charges that the state has failed to teach these children how to read, as well as other basic academic functions that are essential to learning.
“The State [of Michigan] has failed to ensure that Plaintiffs schools have basic school supplies. As a result, Plaintiffs’ schools must either go without or must rely on donations from teachers or more affluent schools, unfairly stigmatizing students as victims in need of charity,” the complaint alleges.
The attorneys pursuing this historic lawsuit (on behalf of these five Detroit public school children) are seeking to litigate in the federal court system to remedy their legitimate claim. State-level courts in Michigan’s jurisdiction do not normally look into cases, which deal with civil rights regarding public education issues.
According to Bridge Magazine, a publication sponsored by the Center for Michigan, African-American fourth-graders in this state rank the lowest in the nation when it comes to reading. The case surrounding these five inner-city children is a travesty that has already affected or is awaiting nearly every black public school child being educated in America.
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