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Thread: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

  1. #1
    Elder Arcanist
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    U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    On Friday, dumped out with the least desirable news of the week came word that a lawsuit arguing that Detroit students were being denied an education had been dismissed.

    Perhaps you remember the case. MT presented a cover story about it last year. With the help of a public interest law firm, a handful of Detroit students charged in federal court that educational officials in Michigan — including Gov. Rick Snyder — denied them access to an education of any quality.

    The lawsuit took pains to illustrate how Detroit's schools — run under a state-appointed emergency manager — were a welter of dysfunction: overcrowded classrooms, lack of textbooks and basic materials, unqualified staff, leaking roofs, broken windows, black mold, contaminated drinking water, rodents, no pens, no paper, no toilet paper, and unsafe temperatures that had classes canceled due to 90-degree heat or classrooms so cold students could see their breath.

    At times, without teachers or instructional materials, students were simply herded into rooms and asked to watch videos. One student claimed to have learned all the words to the film Frozen in high school. The lawsuit even mentions one eighth grade student who "taught" a seventh and eighth grade math class for a month because no teacher could be found.

    We had described such teaching methods as a sort of "throw a book at them and hope they learn something" method of education — only without the book to throw. Student cannot be expected to learn when they are simply "warehoused for seven hours a day" in "an unsafe, degrading, and chaotic environment" that is a school "in name only." It is hardly surprising that, at the plaintiff's schools, which serve almost exclusively low-income children of color, almost 99 percent of the students are unable to achieve proficiency in state-mandated subjects.

    Last year, the state moved for dismissal, arguing that the 14th Amendment contains no reference to literacy.

    Then, last week, U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III agreed with the state.

    Literacy is important, the judge noted. But students enjoy no right to access to being taught literacy. All the state has to do is make sure schools run. If they are unable to educate their students, that's a shame, but court rulings have not established that "access to literacy" is "a fundamental right."

    At the close of last year's story, one of the plaintiffs in the case, Jamarria Hall, had reflected on his experiences at Detroit's Osborn High School and described the institution as a "crab barrel" — where you can't escape because you keep getting pulled, or pushed, back in.

    He had said the state was one of those forces pushing any crabs who'd escape back in. "'Cause, starting out, they're the ones at the top of the barrel."

    Apparently, we may add the U.S. government to those pushing crabs back in their barrel.

  2. #2
    Ellsworth M. Toohey
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    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    Is the judge wrong?

  3. #3

    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    Morally he is, Legally probably not.

    And in America you can bet this wont change because the government has never given a fuck about city schools.
    "When you name your baby Jeeves...you've pretty much set up his career for life. You don't see many Hit Men, for example, named Jeeves. "Pardon me sir, but I must wack you now."
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    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    Quote Originally Posted by FilanFyretracker View Post
    Morally he is, Legally probably not.

    And in America you can bet this wont change because the government has never given a fuck about city schools.
    An educated electorate is the last thing most governments want - the current one particularly.
    The more I learn the more I realize I have yet to learn.

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    Banjo Duellist, 8th Dan
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    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Arinath View Post
    An educated electorate is the last thing most governments want - the current one particularly.
    Exactly!
    They want dumb bastards who'll vote for the likes of Trump, and never rebel
    And be mostly useless in an advancing society, but our leaders would rather have banana republics than reach for Mars etc

  6. #6
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    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    Meh, the "access to literacy is not a constitutional right" conclusion isn't surprising. But they had 3 prongs for their Equal Protection claim, and they apparently botched the other 2: for the race-based argument, the plaintiff's lawyers did not cite any other schools with different racial makeup, but in similar financial circumstances, and they failed to argue the rational basis correctly (citing a case that was not successful on that basis, and also failing to explicitly allege that Michigan's funding scheme and governance systems are irrational, nor did they give specific examples of implementation that were irrational).

    IOW, this case wasn't particularly well argued.
    Last edited by Zarbonius; July 8th, 2018 at 04:38 AM.

  7. #7
    No prison can hold me!
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    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    Unless you were planning to conscript teachers, what exactly is your plan to get people to move to Detroit and teach?
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    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Article excerpt
    The lawsuit took pains to illustrate how Detroit's schools — run under a state-appointed emergency manager — were a welter of dysfunction: overcrowded classrooms, lack of textbooks and basic materials, unqualified staff, leaking roofs, broken windows, black mold, contaminated drinking water, rodents, no pens, no paper, no toilet paper, and unsafe temperatures that had classes canceled due to 90-degree heat or classrooms so cold students could see their breath.
    Because the solution to the majority of those problems involves conscripting teachers.

  9. #9
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    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    Quote Originally Posted by Delores Mulva View Post
    Because the solution to the majority of those problems involves conscripting teachers.
    The solutions involve a lot of money the district almost certainly doesn't have. The biggest one is lack of teachers. The overcrowding, and having a student teach the other students. The rest would still suck, but at least students could get an education.
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  10. #10
    Mangina at large.
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    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    The lack of money is due to the state's funding decisions, which was the point of the court case. "Lack of teachers", while a pressing issue, is not as concerning a problem as the physical conditions described in the article - broken windows, leaking roofs, black mold, contaminated drinking water, rodents, lack of toilet paper, unsafe temperatures. Not only are those hazards to students, which should never be allowed to occur by any administration, it's also a sign that the infrastructure is being allowed to decay, which will cost even more in the future to repair or replace versus maintaining it properly now. It's poor asset management, and a real conservative government should be ashamed to be associated with it.

  11. #11

    Re: U.S. Court: Detroit students have no right to access to literacy

    We could fix that rather than build a wall in the desert.
    "When you name your baby Jeeves...you've pretty much set up his career for life. You don't see many Hit Men, for example, named Jeeves. "Pardon me sir, but I must wack you now."
    — Jerry Seinfeld

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