Judge rules there’s no fundamental right to learn to read and write


Kill your babies via abortion? That’s a right!

Educate your babies to read and write via compulsory, taxpayer-provided education? Fuhgetaboutit!

By Lori Higgins at Detroit Free Press: Few could dispute the importance of literacy. But children have no fundamental right to learn to read and write, according to a federal judge whose ruling in a closely watched lawsuit Friday left some disheartened and others raising questions.

“I’m shocked,” said Ivy Bailey, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers. “The message that it sends is that education is not important. And it sends the message that we don’t care if you’re literate or not.”

The ruling came in a federal lawsuit that was closely watched across the U.S. because of its potential impact: Filed on behalf of Detroit students, it sought to hold a dozen state officials — including Gov. Rick Snyder — accountable for what plaintiffs said were systemic failures that deprived Detroit children of their right to literacy.

The lawsuit sought remedies that included literacy reforms, a systemic approach to instruction and intervention, as well as fixes to crumbling Detroit schools. Earlier this month, officials with the Detroit Public Schools Community District said it would cost $500 million to bring school buildings up to par.

The City of Detroit, the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, the community group 482Forward, Kappa Delta Pi, the International Literacy Association and the National Association for Multicultural Education all filed briefs in support of the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit was filed by Public Counsel, a Los Angeles-based law firm that is the nation’s largest public interest law firm. Mark Rosenbaum, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, declined to comment Saturday, saying he wanted an opportunity to first speak with his clients.

Spokespeople for Snyder couldn’t be reached for comment.

The ruling also comes as the state ups the stakes for third-graders. Beginning with the 2019-20 school year, schools must begin holding back third-graders who are more than a grade level behind on reading assessments. Last year, just 44 percent of the third-graders who took the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress passed the exam; the year before, it was 46 percent. In Detroit, far fewer students are proficient in reading.

The state had argued in its motion to dismiss the suit that there is no fundamental right to literacy. Lawyers for the city, in a brief opposing the motion to dismiss, said city officials are “all too familiar with illiteracy’s far reaching effects.”

“Widespread illiteracy has hampered the City’s efforts to connect Detroiters with good-paying jobs; to fill vacancies on its police force, and to grow its tax base. Illiteracy, moreover, has greatly exacerbated the effects of intergenerational poverty in Detroit.”

U.S. District Judge Stephen Murphy III (appointed by George W. Bush), in his ruling Friday, noted the importance of literacy.

“Plainly, literacy — and the opportunity to obtain it — is of incalculable importance,” Murphy wrote in a 40-page opinion. “As plaintiffs point out, voting, participating meaningfully in civic life, and accessing justice require some measure of literacy.”

But those points, Murphy said, “do not necessarily make access to literacy a fundamental right.” And, he said, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized that the importance of a good or service “does not determine whether it must be regarded as fundamental.”

A similar lawsuit claim was made in so-called “right to read” litigation the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed in 2012 alleging Highland Park students had been denied a benefit guaranteed under Michigan’s constitution.

That constitutional provision states that “the means of education shall forever be encouraged,” and “the Legislature shall maintain and support a system of free elementary and secondary schools.”

But the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed that lawsuit in 2014, saying:

“The cited provisions of the Michigan constitution require only that the Legislature provide for and finance a system of free public schools. The Michigan constitution leaves the actual intricacies of the delivery of specific educational services to the local school districts.”

The ACLU appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which opted not to hear the case.

Read the whole story here.


35 responses to “Judge rules there’s no fundamental right to learn to read and write

  1. Since according to Judge Stephen Murphy, there’s no fundamental right to learn to read and write, then why must taxpayers support public schools?

    Liked by 9 people

  2. I agree with the judge. Forcing schools to deliver something isn’t the way. They should be forcing out the teachers who can’t teach.

    As always, leftists (unions) are at fault. If students had real choice in the way of vouchers, you’d watch these problems dry up quickly as schools started to compete for the money that came with those vouchers.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Jurist . . . . Some may call me racist for what I am about to write. I really do not believe that I am a racist, but a realist. We probably all know that Detroit has a very high population of black students; unfortunately it is also a given that among many of this population there is no REAL DRIVE to become educated. Many of these single mother’s do not encourage their children in the home to become proficient in reading, writing and basic math skills. When teacher’s do not have the backing of the parent(s) in the endeavor of educating their children . . . there is little wonder why the effort fails. How much money and effort need be put into attempting for force certain children to learn the very skills that will allow them to move upward and onward? There probably are also those in these blighted communities that feel how much education do you need in order to qualify for monthly welfare payouts?

      On this very site we have heard from teacher’s who truthfully tell the world how difficult it is to teach those who are unwilling and those who put forth no effort to soak up an education. Is this the fault of the taxpayer? Is this the fault of the non-black community? Is this the fault of frustrated teacher’s who are trying to make the best of a situation where they cannot possibly win?

      I dare say even if the $500 million were put into bringing old buildings up to sterling standards . . . how much would this change the hearts and minds of those who see no value in becoming educated? I rather think it may well be an exercise in futility.

      When Western Europeans immigrated to this country, they had a yearning, an unquenchable thirst to have their children learn and be educated, and thus was born the American school system. Until all parents, regardless of color, race, ethnic background come to have this same yearning for their children–nothing will change.

      My heart goes out to the black community because those who do not yearn to become educated people and quality for highly skilled, and highly paid employment opportunities are totally missing the boat. God Bless those parents from these communities who do push their children to become educated. God Bless those teacher’s who do manage to educate at least a portion of the student’s who come through their classes.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Doesn’t it seem like the Blacks in Dee-troit and Chiraq are actively fighting to STAY uneducated and low-income? Listen to them speak-they’re actually DEVOLVING the English language into a form of slang that can’t be understood easily unless you’re FROM their neighborhood. That raises “English as a Second Language” to a whole new level.
        Imagine that-Fighting to FAIL.

        Liked by 2 people

      • “How much money and effort need be put into attempting for force certain children to learn the very skills that will allow them to move upward and onward?”

        The money was never intended for this result. It was supposed to go into the unions’ pockets. Have you noticed that every union request is for more money?

        Let’s look at police unions, for example. They clamor for more pay because their job is so dangerous. Yet they never clamor for more protective gear, only bigger salaries.

        Loathsome liars, all of them. If they wanted less danger in their jobs, they would quit and work the same jobs the rest of us do, where the chief danger is Bankruptcy.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Reblogged this on kommonsentsjane and commented:

    Reblogged on kommonsentsjane/blogkommonsents.

    For your information.

    It is mandatory that you attend school; but, not mandatory that they teach you anything. Instead they are spending your time and talent brain-washing you to hate your country.

    It is time to MAKE the educators accountable – that is what they are being paid for or FIRE THEM.


    Liked by 4 people

    • “It is mandatory that you attend school; but, not mandatory that they teach you anything.”

      Good point!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Say, they “graduate” from high school with a second grade reading level and move on to college because they play “knock your opponent” football scholarship. So sad to see them giving a knee or raping a girl fríend or killing somebody, and they go to jail, and from beginning to end it is the taxpayers who pay for it all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It may not be mandatory according to that judge, but we owe our children better than what they are getting. For what we pay. Yes, it should be mandatory. If they are not teaching and the kids aren ‘t learning, why even have schools or teachers? It seems the only one profitting are the unions.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Public school is based on the Prussian model.
    Vouchers/Choice/Charters are economic fascism – They are ALL literally taxation without representation (top-down corporate money grab of tax money). Locally controlled property tax money would go to private hands, there is no controlling your own tax money. Bottom-up duly elected officials would be useless, because they have no control over private corporations taking your tax money. The nicer it sounds, the more you should be suspicious! Don’t fall for the voucher/charter trick, it is not a good solution! You want to add more problems to the school system, keep throwing money at it…
    and the technology is also a waste of money. Public school students are forced to complete their “school work” on an expensive computer program. This is the way they are teaching and doing homework – using an ipad like a $200 pencil and paper. This is what they call “innovation”.
    The magic fix (no one can think of for some reason) would be to bring the real school books and academic work.
    I’ve been homeschooling for the past few years… because my child went through 5 years of public school and it was all behavioral modification and socialist brainwashing. No spelling, no grammar, no vocabulary, no literature, no cursive, no history. I was told by the teachers numerous times that “the children don’t need to memorize the multiplication tables for math anymore”. My child had major problems with the math she learned at school. As soon as she had real lessons, math is now one of her best subjects [we use old editions of Saxon math now, highly recommended]. She also learned cursive in a few weeks, so my child can read The Constitution of the US and Bill of Rights but her friends in public school can’t read those documents in cursive (that can’t read the Holiday Inn sign either, sadly).
    Whatever they are doing all day in public school, it’s not academic. The public school focus has been on “socialization” and this needs to go, because they are doing more harm than good.
    The teachers and unions have no clue what is going on and they will be extinct very soon. The teachers are so nasty to parents and students, no one will object when they are replaced. The replacement will be much worse: an inexpensive babysitter and a computer program will be the ‘teacher of the future’. It’s already happening, I see ads for Teach for America in my local Craig’sList. Charter schools are full of these babysitters instead of teachers.

    Bring back the real lesson books, say goodbye to the computers, and lots of these problems would be much better. I am teaching my child with textbooks, paper and pencil, and it is VERY cheap and effective.

    I would say bring back God to the lessons, but the truly satanic schools would not allow that.

    We must be very careful about so called “rights” to education, because this will inevitably used against the population and be defined as “brainwash them properly”.
    There are 12 Career Clusters, one is chosen for your child in middle school. You want to be frightened? Look up National Career Cluster Framework. This is the opposite of “rights”. They have no choice or rights, no matter how nice the sales pitch sounds, it’s a trick!

    The only way is homeschool – like all of our Founding Fathers!

    Liked by 4 people

  5. As a professor within a family of teachers (and now with 3 young teachers living on my block), I will agree that the “right to literacy” is a good idea. But just as you can “lead a horse to water but can’t force it to drink”, you can’t force a child to learn or even value thinking, let alone education and literacy… or even to behave in the classroom (or show up, or participate.)

    Unless and until we change society’s value system to think that literacy, learning, & education are GOOD things to pursue in life, rather than the pursuit of money through any immoral means, or that only athletes & entertainers are to be admired and emulated, no amount of money is going to force children to learn to read, write, and speak proper English, let alone get good grades in STEM and other courses we NEED to progress and evolve as a civilization.

    Learning is hard, disciplined, and often tedious work without the instant gratification today’s culture so values. It doesn’t typically get you recognition and accolades, and may never result in proper remuneration for your work.

    So it’s looked upon as something people who aren’t cool or strong or effective will “fall back on” when they can’t be a superstar at collecting immediate fame & fortune. It’s not looked upon in admiration.

    And who do the hot chicks want to date? President of the Latin, debate, or chess club? Or the quarterback of the football team? And who gets $154Million for a 4 year contract, a science professor or a guy who plays a kids’ game a few nights a week, 6 months a year? Yeah. Why study? Play.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Who needs Common Core to dumb down students, with a judge like this? What’s next? 6 hour recess?

    I’d recommend home-schooling, but there are a lot of inner-city parents that shouldn’t have been permitted to breed in the first place, much less the fact that they’re probably not much smarter than their kids. I could go off on a tangent, and say that eugenicists are onto something, but that’s for another topic

    Liked by 1 person

  7. No comment on the fact that less than 50% of third graders (third grade????) could pass tests for their grade level. And these teachers want respect, they want raises? Hah !! Do your job and those things should follow automatically, right? It is frightening that these kids will be running this country in 30 yrs and snowflakes are only a few years from running this country. With that being the case, we are doomed. Thank you, teachers.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Look at the litigants. It reads like an uber-left-wing cabal. We sink more and more into public schools and receive poorer and poorer results. This groups wants more $$ and better delivery of public education is a much lower priority. I recently saw a Washington DC student on TV with his high school diploma. He said he graduated and still cannot read. We need to go after the educators with the RICO statute.

    Liked by 2 people

    • JudyNM . . . . And exactly why did his parent(s) not raise Hell with the school for his lack of reading skills. Did the parent(s) attempt to instill a habit of “reading in the home” in order to reinforce what was being taught to him in school? I would be very, very interested to know the answer to these questions.

      My sister, who is now 75 years old was taught phonics. When I came along four years later, then “sight reading” was in vogue. Well, I could not read for a darn. My Mother went up to the school and demanded that I be put in “Special Reading” where I was taught phonics. At that time I was in the fourth grade. By the end of that year–I was reading on a sixth grade six months level. There began my love of reading, words, writing–a whole new world was open to me.

      To a great degree, it depends on whether or not you have parents who are willing to demand what you need to succeed. Unfortunately, there are far too many parent’s who believe that once they “birthed” you, they have done their bit, and it is time for other’s to now shoulder the responsibility of “educating” their child.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. DCG . . . . Excellent article! Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. This is the continuation of the “deliberate dumbing down of America” agenda. They can’t let kids learn to read, or they may actually catch on to why they’re dumber than their peers in other “civilized” countries.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I doubt it would cost $500 million to simply begin teaching Phonics again! +Spelling +Grammar (including the fun sentence diagrams!), +”Real Writing” (what “Cursive” was called in my grade school days) +Comprehension (pick out the main point in paragraphs) +Multiplication Tables, etc.

    Oh, that’s right. The TEACHERS themselves these days have not been taught those things either. The Dumb leading the Dumber. Tragic. “Frankfurt School” infiltration of the Uni’s after WW2 comes to mind & Education has been on a fast downhill slide ever since.

    Back in 2007 I ordered a boatload of “OLD” DVDs re the NWO, cost $2-$5 each (the site was “Suppressed Videos” who, last I heard, had moved to Facebook after google kept messing with their site).

    One of those DVDs was a very long presentation by Dean Gotcher re the purposeful destruction & dumbing down of the Educational system. It was really good! I’m not sure if this is the same exact lecture, but it is also very long (3 hours) posted at YT in 2011:

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sorry, but I agree that literacy is not a right, it’s a choice. You can sit some kids in a classroom for years, till kingdom come, and they will do little more than disturb everyone else, harass other students, even beat up teachers. They may even “graduate” from high school, but will leave the hallways and benches of no notion that learning is a lifelong occupation, and it requires willingness, commitment, etc. Many teachers (thank heaven not the majority) because they are unionized, can’t be fired, and do nothing more than spend their days burning hours, some, not even teaching – which they would not be able to do anyway.
    So, no, literacy is not a right. It’s a choice, because you can take a cow or an ass to the water, but can’t force them to drink.
    The dumbing down of America is the spreading, acceptance and normalization of the idea that everything should be compulsory.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Thanks to poisoned vaccines that cause autism and other mental disabilities, it may not even be possible to teach a child so affected anything, if we are to believe the dangers of vaccines. This being said, if there is “no fundamental right” to become literate, why do we have government schools, and why do we compel children to attend them and why do we compel taxpayers to fund them?
    Let’s get a few fundamental things correct. First, there is no such thing as a “public” school; As much as they are open to all members of the public, they are GOVERNMENT schools, and government remains free to use them to indoctrinate its pupils. But even this does not address the scam involved, namely, receiving a “free” education for twelve years, only to pay for that “free” education for the rest of one’s life! So it would seem to me that education IS NOT the primary objective or INHERENT objective of government education: INCOME REDISTRIBUTION seems to be the primary goal of the matter, given the results that have obtained.

    Government has a monopoly on brute force. It would seem that government also wants a monopoly on BELIEF, or at least the practice of civic virtue. This is where government exceeds its boundaries: Government has more than proved that it IS NOT CAPABLE of doing that job. It is a job that only a church can fulfill.
    I would demand that government GET OUT of the job of educating youth—at least on a mandatory basis.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And paraphrasing what you just wrote, I would demand that government Gernment is not the boss, it’s the servant. The government exists (well, shouET OUT of the job of doing anything on a mandatory basis. The govld!,) to serve we the people, as per the limited powers derived from the consent of the people. Sadly, we are nothing but slaves today, we own nothing, property is taxed, transactions are taxed, income is taxed, and governments, federal and local, will use force, extreme force if needed, to extract money from the populace. The saddest part of it all, is that the PTB have managed to divide and conquer, and those who work for and serve the purposes of the government in abusing the governed, walk among us, are our brothers, sisters, neighbors, parents, sons, daughters. We stand no longer to the government, we stand divided against each other, and are enforcers of government abuse. It’s July 4, the fireworks brighten the night skies, but the cry echoes throughout the country: The king is dead, long live the king! The founding fathers are turning in their graves.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Weird, but when posting, words keep disappearing and what I write is mangled… I’ll give it another try:

        And paraphrasing what you just wrote, I would demand that government GETS OUT of the job of doing anything on a mandatory basis. Government is not the boss, it’s the servant. The government exists (well, should!,) to serve we the people, as per the limited powers derived from the consent of the people. Sadly, we are nothing but slaves today, we own nothing, property is taxed, transactions are taxed, income is taxed, and governments, federal and local, will use force, extreme force if needed, to extract money from the populace. The saddest part of it all, is that the PTB have managed to divide and conquer, and those who work for and serve the purposes of the government in abusing the governed, walk among us, are our brothers, sisters, neighbors, parents, sons, daughters. We stand up no longer to the government, rather, we stand divided against each other, and some are enforcers of government abuse. It’s July 4, the fireworks brighten the night skies, but the cry echoes throughout the country: The king is dead, long live the king! The founding fathers are turning in their graves.

        Liked by 2 people

  14. traildustfotm

    There is (or should be) a fundamental responsibility to learn to read and write.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. If there’s no right to learn reading & writing (isn’t math excluded also), then, as you say, there’s no reason to maintain public schools. 2 things: 1. Is this the first sally in abolishing free, public education & only allowing private schools-still at taxpayer expense, of course? And. 2. Does this mean the end of grades for performance, end of testing & end of testing programs like common core? I hope this goes to the supreme court.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sadly, this is exactly what many want, the dumbing down. We have kids graduating that cannot read or write. How sad for America. We keep dropping in lists of education around the world even though we have such a high rate per student ratio of money spent.
    Then I see countries like Japan and even South Korea beating our rears in everything. Those children are started at a young age, of maintaining their schools from the restrooms out. They are taught respect and honor and they have a dog in the fight to keep their schools running top notch. They serve the lunches and clean up and even do the floors. Without any resentment. They kick butt in test scores and enter the best schools and colleges, because they are ready. Our children are not ready, look at the interviews we see in TV, they can barely tie their shoes.
    Now we have colleges in this country that discriminate against Asian children, because of their intelligence.
    We have critical jobs dumbing down their requirements for qualifications for the jobs, such as air traffic controllers. That is one scary story.
    The US is not moving forward in education and intelligence. I would hate to see the results of IQ tests.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. There is so much trash and filth going on in public schools it’s ridiculous! I could post hundreds of these type of links, but here is just one recent:


    Liked by 2 people

  18. Public Education is just THAT—an education provided BY THE PUBLIC—it is NOT solely the domain of the teacher or administrator—-Public Education is a 4-legged stool in which one leg is the teacher/administration, one leg is the student, one leg is the parent/guardian, and one leg is the will of the PUBLIC by participation/guided /funding of that PUBLIC education.

    I speak as a teacher of many years: ever since Johnson’s “Great Society,” our education system has been increasingly viewed by parents and students as a “right” in which they have no reciprocal responsibility and no stake.Too, in the last half century, the “duties” of the classroom teacher have expanded to include so many things that USED to be the domain/duty of the parent/home instruction. These parents and students wish to receive, but do not extend or reciprocate actively in their own education. You can not GIVE someone an education. One must participate aNd reciprocate. I teach in a lower middle class area with many ESL students (about 80%)….In a population of about 1500, fully a THIRD of them are failing EVERY subject—EVEN ART. No participation in classwork, no homework done, no requirements met….I have kids who won’t take a pencil out in art class: they “ram around” the art room “playing” with their buddies, interrupting, causing problems, defying instructions/requests….literally STEALING the education of the kids who are there who come prepared to learn, behave curteously to each other and teachers…. Do we set up interventions? You bet we do—most of it on our own time before or after school—being a middle school…we meet with parents as a TEAM…no teacher sets up solo meetings with parents. Our counselors monitor and meet with failing students, our counseling secretary sets up student/parent meetings with the student’s whole TEAM of teachers. We follow up with another meeting to review the interventions set in place to see if they are working (maybe about 10% of the time they do—otherwise, the parent and student continue on as usual…..)

    Of course, there are “bad teachers” just as there are bad car mechanics, bad engineers, bad cooks…..and I’ve experienced my share of bad teachers in my own education—but all the other legs of my “stool” were there to support me through it and I did not turn out to be illiterate or aimless as an adult. I believe that the problem today with most education, esp. in those highly-populated areas with cultures ginned up by the late “Great Society” policies that continue to support them today in complacency….is the lack of support and participation in our local schools.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. How the heck can the SCOTUS rule last year that schools needed to ensure special ed students were provided more than barely deminimus education and then this judge in a lower court rules that schools don’t need to ensure students learn how to read???!!! Besides the fact that No Child Left Behind was supppsed to ensure students were literate by 2020, which as we now know has been ditched for Every Student Succeeds Act which is more like the Wild West and schools and states are on their own to define progress.

    At least some of the students in this case have to be special ed students one wold presume just based on statistics. In which case last year’s Endrew vs Douglas County School District should have had some impact on anruling that should have at least note that students should be making some progress when they are attending public schools every day for minimal of 180+ days a year!
    “It’s not often that a unanimous Supreme Court decision on special education makes national headlines. But that’s exactly what happened yesterday, when the justices issued their ruling in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. The issue in the case is undoubtedly important to many American families: What kind of “educational benefit” does the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act require public schools to provide to students with disabilities? The Supreme Court unanimously rejected the lower court’s ruling that schools only need to provide a non-trivial benefit.”

    Liked by 1 person

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