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Appeals Court: Constitutional Right to Literacy


In a landmark ruling in Gary B. v. Whitmer, a federal appeals court says that children have a constitutional right to literacy. Students in five Detroit schools sued the state of Michigan, saying that teacher shortages, out-of-date textbooks and deteriorating buildings prevented them from learning to read. The ability to read and write is “essential” for a citizen to participate in American democracy, according to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. It said the Detroit students had been deprived of an adequate education, violating the 14th Amendment.