US State Settles Lawsuit about Students’ Access to Quality Education

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. litigation / ˌlɪt ɪˈgeɪ ʃən / (n) – the act of settling a legal issue

    The company agreed to settle to avoid litigation that might take years.

  2. settlement / ˈsɛt l mənt / (n) – an official agreement that ends or resolves an issue

    The two parties have finally reached a settlement.

  3. inferior / ɪnˈfɪər i ər / (adj) – having poor or bad quality

    The roof of the house collapsed after heavy rains because the carpenter used inferior materials.

  4. unsanitary / ʌnˈsæn ɪˌtɛr i / (adj) – not clean

    Health inspectors report unsanitary practices at restaurants.

  5. ventilation / ˌvɛn tlˈeɪ ʃən / (n) – the movement of air in and out of a closed space

    The diner is small, but it has good ventilation.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• How do you think the condition of the schools cited in the lawsuit got so bad? Explain.
• Aside from inferior facilities and unqualified instructors, what can possibly hinder quality education? Discuss.

Discussion B

• Do you think public schools in your area/country are well taken care of? Why or why not?
• What improvements can be made to public schools in your area/country? Discuss.