ACLU of Michigan Launches “MPowerED” Campaign to End Inequality in Education
DETROIT—With public schools in decline statewide and Michigan tumbling from national leader in public education to faltering also-ran, the ACLU of Michigan today kicked off a major reform campaign aimed at ensuring the state honors its obligation to provide quality education to all its schoolchildren.
If the right to a public education means anything, it means that students should be taught to read. In a groundbreaking case that has garnered national attention, the ACLU of Michigan filed a class action in 2012 on behalf of students in the Highland Park Public Schools who are the victims of outrageously poor oversight, management and teaching controls on both the state and local levels.
The ACLU of Michigan has devoted a large part of its mission to reforming education in Michigan. Along with our efforts to guarantee that the state’s schoolchildren have a right to read, we are also working alongside experts and activists to implement a host of other reforms aimed at boosting the quality of education in our schools.
Through our communications, legal and legislative work, we seek to shed light on some of the most pressing problems facing our school districts—inadequate funding, lack of transparency, unstable and unsafe learning environments—and to work with teachers, administrators and other experts to provide recommendations to address these problems.
We believe that Michigan has the potential to be a national standard-bearer for public education, and we think it’s our role to help push the state to such heights.
As part of this role, we have developed the MPowerED campaign, an ongoing, statewide effort to transform how we think, talk about and, ultimately, operate public education in Michigan. From capital expenditures to standardized testing, from literacy education to zero-tolerance discipline policies--Michigan has seen a dramatic decline in everything from the conditions of its schools to the resources so essential to teaching and serving students and maintaining successful districts. In big cities and small towns alike, literacy education is suffering; school facilities are crumbling; and many of the leaders tasked with fixing the problem seem torn between bad ideas for education reform and no ideas at all.
Meanwhile, many of our students—especially those in financially strapped districts—find themselves inundated with a growing host of problems that stem from the state’s educational shortcomings. In many districts, children read far below grade level. Standardized test scores suffer. Fewer Michigan public-school students are finding a path to college—or the means to stay even if they do manage to enroll.
With MPowerED, the ACLU of Michigan adds yet another dimension to its ongoing fight to make the change many of our districts so desperately need. Driven by our vision of quality education for all, we continue to take up the challenges of empowering Michigan education for one central reason: Our children cannot afford for us to fail.
Experts Join Call For State Supreme Court to Hear “Right-to-Read” Appeal
DETROIT — As part of an ongoing push to guarantee a quality education for all Michigan schoolchildren, 35 respected education experts today joined with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan to urge the state Supreme Court to review a lower-court decision that said the state has no legal obligation to make sure students learn to read.
ACLU Asks Michigan Supreme Court to Hear “Right to Read” Appeal
DETROIT — In an ongoing effort to compel state officials to enforce Michigan children’s right to read under state law and the Constitution, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today asked the state Supreme Court to review a lower court’s decision that Michigan has no legal obligation to ensure that public-school students are literate.
Judge Rules ACLU’s “Right-to-Read” Lawsuit May Proceed
DETROIT – A Wayne County judge ruled today that children in the Highland Park School district may sue the district, emergency manager and state for failing to take effective steps to ensure that students are reading at grade level as set forth by state law and Constitution. In addition, the judge set a trial date for July 22. The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed the class-action lawsuit in 2012.