A group of Detroit schoolchildren filed a lawsuit against the State of Michigan for their right to receive sufficient education. They argued that they had a fundamental right to learn how to read and write — despite being educated in some of the worst public schools in the state and by teachers who don’t have the necessary materials.
The lawsuit itself sought remedies that included literacy reforms, a systemic approach to instruction and intervention, and fixes to the crumbling Detroit school buildings, according to Detroit Free Press.
Without a doubt, the children and advocates for a better education believed that the lawsuit would finally improve the educational system.
Unfortunately, they were wrong.
U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III ruled that children have no fundamental right to learn to read and write. “Literacy is of incalculable importance, however, the importance of a good or service does not determine whether it must be regarded as fundamental,” Judge Murphy wrote in his 40-page opinion.
Kids in America struggle to receive the best public education
Although the Michigan Student Test of Education revealed that only 44% of third graders who took the test passed, it has become evident that this is not the only state in America seeing the demise of our education system.
The online education tracker, Dosomething.org, reported that 1.3 million high school students don’t graduate on time yearly; with Black students having a 69% graduation rate, Hispanics having a 73% graduation rate, and Caucasian students only having an 88% graduation rate.
According to the site, America is ranked 36th in the world for education. Additionally, it cited that only 1 in 4 high school students graduate college-ready in the 4 core subjects of English, Reading, Math and Science. If having the ability to read and write will ensure a bright future for our nation’s children, then why do we continue to ignore the importance of providing the tools necessary to guarantee this?
Children grow to become contributors to our society, ensuring that it moves forward and can compete with other countries. Technology is a driving force that requires sharpened minds to assist with its continued progression. How can America compete with countries like China if we can’t properly educate our young people?
According to the Detroit Public Schools Community District, it would cost $500 million to bring school buildings up to par. The cost would not include hiring more qualified teachers, purchasing necessary supplies, or even improving the meals that are served in the public schools. This only represents one state and, unfortunately, these education issues can be found throughout the nation.
We are incredibly selective about those things we deem important enough to invest in. The same goes for individual states that have to make a list of priorities on things they deem worthy of their funding.
One can only ask if more support would occur from state legislatures if they received more pressure from the public, and if so, why do we fail to pressure the decision makers that we vote into office? Does the blame for our children’s lack of education throughout the nation fall on the shoulders of the adults who are failing to prepare them? Finally, is the push to Congress for better education only the responsibility of the parents who have children in the lower-income communities? These are questions that no one seems to answer, and if they do, it’s only half-answered.
The future of the next generation is something that concerns every American citizen because the children of today will become the leaders of tomorrow. If they are not prepared, then we can’t get upset when they lead us all straight into the ground. It’s something to think about…but don’t take too much time doing so. Our children need us right now—and our future depends on it.