A lawsuit [complaint, PDF] was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan [official website] on Tuesday alleging inadequate education facilities and standards in Detroit. Seven students are contending [WSJ report] that the state of Michigan has denied them their constitutional right to literacy due to “infestations of mice and cockroaches, unqualified staffs, unsafe buildings, and inadequate teaching materials.” The lawsuit is seeking class action status for those who attend school run by the Detroit Public School Community District. The suit was brought by Public Counsel [advocacy website] as a pro bono matter. The suit cites [press release] numerous examples of inadequate education including an example where an eighth-grade student was forced to teach seventh and eighth-grade math because no teacher was available.
In recent years legislation surrounding education and teachers has generated controversy in the US. Earlier this year an education reform group, Students for Education Reform Minnesota initiated a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the state claiming state laws governing teacher tenure violates students’ fundamental rights to an education. In August 2014 education advocacy groups in New York challenged the state’s teacher tenure laws [JURIST report], claiming that laws protecting teacher employment violate the civil rights of children to a quality education. In June of that year a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that the California’s system for tenure and seniority for public school teachers is unconstitutional [JURIST report]. In March 2014, the Supreme Court of Kansas held that the state’s legislature violated the Kansas constitution when it underfunded K-12 public education [JURIST report] during the 2009 through 2012 school years.