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The state of Michigan settled a lawsuit regarding students’ right to a quality education.
After four years of litigation, the state agreed to settle a case calling for the improvement of school facilities and learning environments in the city of Detroit. The settlement comes after a federal appeals court recognized education and literacy as a constitutional right. Michigan state governor Gretchen Whitmer said that with the settlement, children will be able to access quality public education in Detroit as well as the rest of the state.
In 2016, seven students from Detroit public and charter schools filed the lawsuit, asserting that the poor condition of their schools hindered them from receiving a quality education.
According to the lawsuit, the schools had unqualified instructors, scarce learning materials, and inferior school facilities. Other complaints in the lawsuit were smelly and unsanitary hallways as well as classrooms with poor ventilation. The lawsuit also claimed that classes were often combined, resulting in as many as 60 students per classroom.
Following the settlement agreement, Governor Whitmer will propose legislation that will allocate at least $94.4 million to improve the Detroit Public School Community District’s literacy initiatives. The state also agreed to give $2.72 million for literacy-related assistance in the district.
The seven students who filed the lawsuit will receive $280,000 from the state, which they will divide among themselves. The students are expected to use the money to access good quality literacy programs and other means to improve their education.