AFT Michigan & DFT: ‘Right to Literacy’ Settlement a Landmark Victory for All Students

Educators union applauded the plaintiffs and Gov. Whitmer for settlement

After years of litigation, the constitutional right to literacy and a quality public education was won thanks to the brave efforts of Detroit students who secured a significant legal victory for the rights of their peers in Detroit, throughout Michigan and across the country. The case, which began in 2016, was originally filed against Gov. Rick Snyder and was settled by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.  

The announcement of the settlement, which has been referred to as a fight for “Right to Literacy” since its filing, came in the early morning hours on Thursday. AFT Michigan and the Detroit Federation of Teachers (DFT) lauded the efforts of the Detroit students who fought for their education and Gov. Whitmer for agreeing to the settlement.

“This case is a landmark victory for students and families in Detroit, across Michigan and throughout the country by setting an important precedent that the right to education and literacy is fundamental,” said David Hecker, president of AFT Michigan. “We applaud both the brave students who came forward in 2016 to fight for their rights and Gov. Whitmer for working to settle this case. This decision will benefit students in Detroit, throughout Michigan and across the country. Every child has a right to receive a quality public education and every child deserves the opportunity to set themselves up for a bright future.”

“Every student wants and deserves a quality public education and students in Detroit were willing to fight for that right. We couldn’t be prouder of those students who stepped up and did the right thing despite years of contentious legal battles,” said Terrence Martin, president of DFT Michigan. “Educators are used to having to fight for their students, but having students step up and be their own advocates is inspiring and a testament to the power of the public school community in this state. Gov. Whitmer did the right thing settling this case and we thank her for coming to the table and helping make this settlement possible.”

The case began in 2016, when Detroit Public School students who had been in state-managed public schools felt they were not getting the education they deserved under Gov. Rick Snyder’s emergency manager policies. In April, a federal appeals court sided with students, giving more fuel to the years-long legal battle for a quality public education. The case moved to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, where a settlement was announced by the Governor’s office.


In solidarity,
Terrence Martin

Thank You to Our Members

Thank you to all of the teachers and support staff for everything you have done to make what could be a difficult transition during the most difficult of times enjoyable and feasible. You have trained yourself, your students, parents and each other on distance learning and technology! You are worthy of recognition!

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Expanding Provisions for K-12 Learning and Early Childhood Programs for Remainder of School Year

Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed Executive Order 2020-65 to extend and clarify Executive Order 2020-35, which ordered all K-12 school buildings to close for instructional purposes to students for the remainder of the school year, and provided continuity of learning infrastructure by setting guidelines for remote learning. In addition to continuing the actions taken in the previous executive order, Executive Order 2020-65 also suspends in-person instruction of both the Great Start Readiness Program and early childhood programs for the reminder of the 2019-2020 school year.