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right to read

asbestos warning sign
ktorbeck / Wikimedia Commons

A new audit this week says Michigan needs more inspectors and more money when it comes to asbestos remediation. According to the report, there are only four inspectors in the entire state to respond to complaints, issue violations and inspect landfills. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about why the program is falling behind. 

Robert Bobb was the first in a series of emergency managers who ran the Detroit Public Schools from 2009-2016.
Sarah Hulett / Michigan Radio

Does the state have to ensure that all Michigan students get at least a “basic education?”

That’s the question at the heart of a lawsuit filed on behalf of students at five Detroit schools, and that lawyers battled over in federal court on Thursday.

This “right-to-read” lawsuit argues that conditions at those five schools are so bad, they are unconstitutional. Those conditions include lacking sufficient numbers of qualified teachers, books, labs and computers; and where classroom temperatures range from freezing to over 100 degrees,” the plaintiffs say in their complaint.

flickr.com

The city of Detroit is signing onto a federal lawsuit that claims many Detroit students are being denied a fundamental “right to read.”

Activists and pro bono legal groups filed the suit last September, with support from groups like the American Federation of Teachers.

But now the city of Detroit is also jumping on board. City lawyers filed an amicus brief this week.

A ceiling hole at Noble Elementary Middle-School in early 2016
Detroit Federation of Teachers

There was movement Thursday on two federal lawsuits filed over poor learning conditions in Detroit schools.

The American Federation of Teachers announced a settlement with the Detroit Public Schools over decrepit building conditions in some schools.

The settlement lays out a process for reporting, logging and prioritizing requests for building repairs, as well as timelines for following through.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

Learning conditions in many Detroit schools are so bad, they violate students’ basic rights under the U.S. Constitution.

That’s what a new federal lawsuit contends. It was filed on behalf of students at five of the lowest-performing Detroit schools, including one charter school.

The suit cites an ongoing lack of basic educational resources, including teachers, that together deny children of their “constitutional right to literacy.”

Phil Dowsing Creative / Flickr

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. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Last month the ACLU’s lawsuit on behalf of eight Highland Park students was thrown out by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision.

The suit says the schools didn’t provide students with even basic literacy or math skills, and that therefore the state and the district should be held responsible for that failure.

But the court of appeals tossed the suit, basically because of three points.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

“Right-to-read” suit continues

A Wayne County judge is allowing a suit against the Highland Park school district to proceed.  “The suite says the district failed to comply with a state law that requires remedial assistance for students not reading at grade level in the fourth and seventh grades,” reports Michigan Radio’s Lindsay Hall.  The “right-to-read” suit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union last year.

Duggan supporters consider write-in campaign

Mike Duggan will announce his next steps today in the Detroit Mayoral race.  Michigan Radio’s Sara Cwiek reports that Duggan’s supporters are preparing a write-in campaign for him.  Duggan was ousted from the race last week when courts decided he was ineligible after filing his paperwork outside of the approved dates.    

Detroit City Council President ousted

Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh has been relieved of duty.  Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr stripped him of his salary and authority after he failed to turn up for a final deadline Wednesday evening.  Michigan Radio's Julia Field reports that Pugh is also under scrutiny after allegations surfaced of an inappropriate relationship with a high school student.

The Michigan ACLU has filed what it calls a “groundbreaking” lawsuit against the Highland Park school district, and state education officials.

At issue: The state’s responsibility to make sure every child can read.

State law says school districts must provide any special assistance “reasonably necessary” to bring a child up to grade level in reading.