Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) —
Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and plaintiffs in the Gary B. literacy case, initially filed against Governor Rick Snyder, signed a settlement agreement that resolves all of the plaintiffs’ claims against all of the defendants. This settlement marks a first step toward ensuring children in Detroit and all across Michigan – regardless of where they live – have the right to quality education.
The legislation states that during the Governor’s first term, at least $94.4m of funding for literacy-related programs and initiatives will be provided to the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD).
“I have always said that every student, no matter where they come from, has a birthright to a quality public education,” said Governor Whitmer. “Today’s settlement is a good start, but there’s more work to do to create paths to opportunity for our children.”
The state agreed to provide $280,000 to be shared among the seven individual student-plaintiffs to access a high-quality literacy program or otherwise further their education. These funds will be held in trust by the Detroit Public Schools Foundation for the student-plaintiffs. The state also agrees to provide $2.72m to be paid to DPSCD to fund various literacy-related supports.
“Today, I’m overwhelmed with joy for the opportunities this settlement opens up for students in Detroit,” said Jamarria Hall, a 2017 graduate of Osborn High School and part of the class of plaintiffs in Gary B. v. Whitmer. “Starting this journey four years ago parents and students knew we wanted a better education, and now to really be heard for the first time means everything.”
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON THE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT:
· Guidance on evidence-based literacy strategies: The Governor will request the Michigan Department of Education to advise school districts throughout the state as to how they might use evidence-based literacy strategies, initiatives, and programs to improve access to literacy and literacy proficiency, with special attention to reducing class, racial, and ethnic disparities.
· Recommendations from task forces: The governor will receive recommendations from two Detroit-based tasks forces that will be created to help ensure a quality education for students:
· The Detroit Literacy Equity Task Force will be created outside of state government to conduct yearly evaluations around literacy in Detroit and will provide state-level policy recommendations to the governor. This task force will include students, parents, literacy experts, teachers, a paraprofessional, and other community members.
The Detroit Educational Policy Committee will focus on the stability and quality of the overall educational ecosystem in Detroit; the accessibility of a quality school to all children in Detroit; and school improvement, facilities, teaching, and educational materials. The governor will either create this advisory body or recognize an already existing body to perform this function.