Literacy is essential to giving children access to all other academic skills and subject areas. Experts agree that literacy instruction must begin in the earliest grades and continue through middle and high school. Students must not only develop the skill of decoding letters and words, but must also develop the ability to comprehend, compose, and synthesize knowledge.
This case, filed in Detroit by Public Counsel and Sidley Austin LLP on behalf of seven students from five different schools, demands that the State of Michigan ensure that Detroit students receive evidence-based literacy instruction at the elementary and secondary level, along with the material conditions necessary to support learning and teaching (a stable, supported, and trained teaching force; grade- and age-appropriate books and instructional materials; and safe school conditions). The lawsuit claims that the State has shown deliberate indifference to the rights and needs of the children of Detroit, mostly students of color, by requiring them to attend school yet depriving them of access to the most fundamental educational building block: literacy.