Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are fundamental rights. (At least I think they still are. I haven’t yet read the Rump’s latest overnight twitter meltdowns.) However, according to a Bush appointed judge, [Stephen Murphy III] literacy, the ability to read and write, is not!
What the hell happened to the country I grew up in?
A bit of background to bring you up to speed on this atrocity:
The judge’s ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by Public Counsel, a public interest law firm. The suit, filed on behalf of students in Detroit, sought remedies from various Michigan officials, including the governor, for failures that inhibited the students’ ability to learn to read and write.
Among other things, the suit called for school repairs and a system-wide reform of instruction. The Detroit Public Schools Community district said it would cost $500,000,000 to accomplish that. That seems like a lot of money until you break it down. There are about 44400 students, currently in school, which would put the price tag about $11,260 per student. But, that’s just the number of current students. When you factor in the thousands and thousands of future students that would benefit, the cost per student goes way down.
The state’s argument was that there is no fundamental right when it comes to literacy. And, besides, officials are “all too familiar with illiteracy’s far-reaching effects.” (“Familiar” with a massive problem, is a hell of a long way from “doing something” about that massive problem.) Besides, it’s not really a problem they can solve. According to them,
Widespread illiteracy has hampered the City’s efforts to connect Detroiters with good-paying jobs; to fill vacancies on its police force, and to grow its tax base. Illiteracy, moreover, has greatly exacerbated the effects of intergenerational poverty in Detroit.
How’s that for circular reasoning. They have lots of illiterate poor people, so they can’t fill good paying jobs that would solve the poverty problem and result in higher tax revenue that would alleviate the literacy problem. So, poverty and illiteracy is passed down generation to generation.
In his ruling on the case, the judge paid lip service to the problem, that was mostly equivalent to “thoughts and prayers.” (Well, he is a Republican.)
Plainly, literacy — and the opportunity to obtain it — is of incalculable importance. As plaintiffs point out, voting, participating meaningfully in civic life, and accessing justice require some measure of literacy. But those points do not necessarily make access to literacy a fundamental right.
He went on to say that SCOTUS has ruled that just because a service is good, “does not determine whether it must be regarded as fundamental.”
So, the status quo remains in Detroit, and potentially a lot of other places. And, particularly in Detroit, that is NOT a good thing. The dumbing of ‘Murica proceeds apace, subjecting some areas to a continuing cycle of poverty and illiteracy. ( Regressives have to get their votes some place!)
p.s.: If my ramblings don’t revolt you, check out my FaceBook page (“Grouchy’s Grumbles”) you might just enjoy it. Better yet, you might “like” it. I’d love it if you did. It’s free (and worth every cent) and almost completely painless (other than the usual bad jokes).
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