July 17, 2019
By PAULA HERBART/President – Michigan Education Association
In late 2016, the Detroit News ran a story under the headline, “State says literacy not a right in Detroit.”
Think about that.
That story was part of a long running legal battle launched by seven Detroit school students who claimed that decades of disinvestment in public education have denied them access to literacy. Lawyers for then-Gov. Rick Snyder argued that there was no fundamental right to literacy for Detroit schoolchildren.
If literacy is not a fundamental right, it should be.
Literacy is the gateway to exercising rights like free speech and citizenship. On a more basic level, literacy is essential to applying for a job, securing a place to live, voting and accessing our court system. In short, you have to be able to read to enjoy the unalienable constitutional rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.