Candidate Whitmer: A right to literacy. As Michigan Guv: No need to address.

So-called “access to literacy” lawsuit filed in Michigan in 2016 was an attempt to recognize a quality education as a civil right. The state of Michigan filed a brief Friday seeking to dismiss the case on more technical grounds without addressing its central argument.

On the campaign trail last year Democratic candidate for governor Gretchen Whitmer was candid and passionate, criticizing state Republican leaders for opposing a lawsuit to ensure Detroit students have a right to literacy from their schools.

Despite what the federal court said, despite what [GOP Attorney General and then Republican governor candidate] Bill Schuette and Gov. [Rick] Snyder say, I believe every child in this state has a Constitutional right to literacy,” Whitmer told Bridge and its Detroit Journalism Cooperative media partners in 2018.

But last week, the “access to literacy” court case against the state re-emerged with Whitmer as the target now that she is governor. Instead of reversing the state’s position, a lawyer for the state sidestepped the issue in asking a federal appeals court to dismiss the case. The brief noted, and seemingly accepted, the position that no federal court has found students have a right to literacy. “This court need not address the merits of Plaintiffs’ constitutional claims,” the brief argues.

Attorney General Dana Nessel — usually a Whitmer ally — didn't sign on to the brief. That's because she intends to file an amicus brief in support of Detroit's schools, she told Bridge in an interview Wednesday, which puts her at odds with the governor. 

"It's my obligation, separately as an elected leader, to represent the best interests of the citizens of this state, whatever that looks like," Nessel said. "So if I disagree, or I decide to go another way in terms of certain arguments, I have the ability to do so."

Nessel has set up a "conflict wall" that enables her to voice her support for the plaintiffs, she said.

"We're putting together the arguments right now," she said. "And I expect it's not going to be a long time until that's filed."

In its official pleading, the state repeats arguments first made under Snyder that it did not discriminate against Detroit students in its educational policies and that, because the state no longer controls the budget in Detroit’s schools, the suit’s claims are now moot and should be dismissed.  

Eric Restuccia, the state’s deputy solicitor general, filed the brief on behalf of Whitmer and the state school board in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals last week, noting that Detroit schools are no longer controlled by a state emergency manager as they were under Snyder when the case was filed in 2016.

Restuccia also argued that attorneys for five Detroit students named in the class action lawsuit did not prove there is a constitutional right to literacy. It’s the same argument then-state Attorney General Schuette made when the Republican successfully persuaded a district court to dismiss the case.

It’s the same argument Whitmer last year said was wrong-headed.  

Tiffany Brown, the governor’s spokeswoman, told Bridge that despite the state’s efforts to dismiss the suit, Whitmer’s request to increase school funding proves she believes in providing a quality public education for all students.

“The Governor’s Office has signed onto the first part of the lawsuit only, which argues that the State of Michigan is no longer a proper party to the lawsuit due to changed circumstances and the fact that local control has been restored,” Brown said in a written statement.

“The governor believes that every student deserves a quality public education. That’s why her proposed budget will make the biggest investment in public school operations in a generation of kids, including more than $22 million for Detroit Public Schools.”

Mark Rosenbaum, attorney with Public Counsel, the California-based law firm that represents the students, claims the governor’s failure to address the right to literacy in the suit is a flip-flop from what Whitmer said on the campaign trail last year and a promise broken to students from poor communities.

“Too often, as here, once votes are secured by candidates by promising to fight for these rights, the communities suffering from their denial can no longer count on those candidates to keep their word,” Rosenbaum said.

“I believe you have a birthright to a good education. And it includes having a great teacher in your classroom, having facilities that promote the kind of learning that today’s day and age requires,” Whitmer told Bridge and the Detroit Journalism Cooperative partners on the campaign trail last year.

“It is of course unimaginable that the governor would break her word to the children of Grosse Pointe and Bloomfield Hills  ... As matters now stand, Gov. Whitmer is leading the court fight against the children of Detroit.”

At least one of the other defendants in the lawsuit, Pamela Pugh, the vice president for the state school board, broke ranks with the governor and released a statement saying students do have such a right.

Pugh, a Democrat, said in a written statement she is exploring how she can best express opposition to arguments the state is making on her behalf in the suit.

“I am reminded that in 1964, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King pronounced, ‘The walling off of Negroes from equal education is part of the historical design to submerge him in second-class status.’ Dr. King went on to say, ‘As Negroes, we have struggled to be free and had to fight for the opportunity for a decent education,’” Pugh wrote.

“We owe the children of our state a decent education that includes adequate literacy skills as a core component to their training. This is an urgent matter, especially in the face of the cumulative effects of destructive policies that have derailed the educational progress of our low income children and children of color, and caused the failure of Michigan’s K-12 public education system.”

Should free be a guarantee?

In 2016, Public Counsel filed the class-action lawsuit against the state of Michigan on behalf of Detroit students in low-achieving public schools, contending that Detroit children were denied access to literacy due to state disinvestment in the schools. The lawsuit accuses the state of “separate and unequal” treatment of students in Detroit’s low-performing schools, who are mostly poor children of color.

At the center of the lawsuit is the argument that access to literacy - by way of adequate supplies and teachers - is a right under the U.S. Constitution.

Judge Stephen J. Murphy III, a federal district court judge in Michigan, last year dismissed the class-action lawsuit saying that education is important, but that the U.S. Constitution does not provide a fundamental right of access to literacy nor the right to a “minimally adequate education.” (The Michigan Constitution guarantees residents a free and public education, but it does not speak to quality.)

Murphy also noted that while the state was accountable for problems in the Detroit schools, the lawsuit didn’t prove the state had discriminated against Detroit students.

The access to literacy lawsuit was filed a year after the so-called “right to read” lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union hit a dead end in state courts.

In 2012, the ACLU filed a civil lawsuit on behalf of eight Highland Park students claiming that the state and Highland Park school system had failed in its obligation to provide students an adequate education.

The Wayne County Circuit Court initially dealt the students a victory, albeit brief, when it denied motions to dismiss the case. However, a state appeals court reversed that decision, ruling that the state Constitution “encourages” education, but does not mandate it. Then in 2015, the Michigan Supreme Court refused to hear the case, effectively ending the lawsuit’s journey through state courts.

This latest literacy lawsuit was filed in federal district court in 2016 a few months after the Republican-majority state legislature voted to reorganize Detroit’s schools. At that time, the Detroit Public Schools had accumulated more than $500 million in debt and the worst test scores on the National Assessment for Educational Progress - commonly known as the Nation’s Report Card  - while the district was under state control from 1999 to 2005 and 2009 to 2016.

The lawsuit included photographs and descriptions of overcrowded school buildings that were falling part, infested with roaches and rodents - conditions that prompted teachers to stage a walkout in 2016.

The lawsuit blamed years of low achievement in Detroit schools on what it called the state’s “deliberate indifference” to the city’s students. Detroit’s public school system ranked last among 27 of the nation’s large cities on the Nation’s Report Card reading tests in 2017 - for the fifth consecutive time.

The state’s low student achievement is not lost on Whitmer, according to Brown, her spokeswoman.

Recognizing that statewide students in Michigan rank among the bottom 10 states in the nation in fourth-grade reading scores, Whitmer has identified literacy as a key education problem she wants to address.

Her 2020 budget proposal would triple funding for literacy coaches statewide, adding $24 million to hire experts to help schools boost reading skills.

That money would increase the number of literacy coaches in the state from 93 to 279 for the 550 school districts and 300 charter schools in Michigan. Under the proposed budget, the state would pick up the full tab for those coaches, instead of the current system in which local districts pay half the cost.

If the federal appeals court dismisses the Detroit literacy lawsuit, the next step could be an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which has discretion as to whether it will hear the case.  

David Hinojosa, an attorney at a New Mexico-based law firm who works nationally in civil rights and education, said that while he believes quality education is a constitutional right, it could be decades before that notion is upheld in federal court.

“On a national level, it’s probably going to take a different set of Supreme Court Justices,” Hinojosa said, referencing the current court’s conservative bent.

“Supreme Court justices, with the way they think and the way they want to rule on these cases … that’s the biggest challenge. Is now the time to take this issue up to the Supreme Court? I emphatically have stated no.”

Bridge reporter Riley Beggin contributed to this report.

Like what you’re reading in Bridge? Please consider a donation to support our work!

We are a nonprofit Michigan news site focused on issues that impact all citizens. In an era of click bait and biased news, we focus on taking the time to learn both sides of a story before we post it. Bridge stories are always free, but our work costs money. If our journalism helps you understand and love Michigan more, please consider supporting our work. It takes just a moment to donate here.

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Donate now

Comment Form

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Comments

Matt
Wed, 05/29/2019 - 2:37pm

The new left wing definition of rights!!! A right to healthcare, a right to housing, to food, to education? So why not a right to read, be numeric, and live to be 100 in a really awesome home? And with this lawsuit, then how about a right to calculus, a right to understand quantum physics and to speak Chinese? Aren't these plaintiffs Gov Whitmer's people???

duane
Wed, 05/29/2019 - 7:51pm

What is always forgotten is that these so called 'rights' come with responsibilities, it takes work by the individual to learn how to read, it takes work to learn and get an education, it takes work and good choices to be healthy. It may be possible to give someone a house, but it takes work to maintain it and to make it a home.
Since these 'advocates' don't mention anyone they are suing for having any responsibilities or any role in all they are suing for it leaves on one conclusion it is for politics and the money.

middle of the mit
Wed, 05/29/2019 - 8:58pm

The new right wing definition of education! No need for quality.

"Judge Stephen J. Murphy III, a federal district court judge in Michigan, last year dismissed the class-action lawsuit saying that education is important, but that the U.S. Constitution does not provide a fundamental right of access to literacy nor the right to a “minimally adequate education.” (The Michigan Constitution guarantees residents a free and public education, but it does not speak to quality.)"

I am so happy that conservatives care more about the quality of the roads they drive their nice cars on, than how their kids are being educated.

Apparently, you are too!

Tell me, how is it that you plan on putting Christ back in the Government?

Matt
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 7:48am

MoM, Simply put this preposterous definition of rights acts as though education is as simple as taking a pill. And since I won't, don't, can't give it to my offspring the state will, no MUST, step in and do so? Maybe this absurd understanding of education is at the heart of our problems for he last 50 years? Since as a Conservative(?) I/we did everything possible to help our kids and believe everyone should do likewise I'm not sure what to do with what to do with that other than assume your answer is to declare it a right and leave it at that. As far as putting Christ back in the government .... huh???? Sounds like ADD.

middle of the mit
Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:28pm

If education was as simple as conservatives say it is, we would have no problems. You say that you conservatives did what ever it took to educate your kids yet you are the ones that are complaining the loudest about how the schools are failing YOUR KIDS. I want to know where is the personal responsibility within the conservative community? Ohh I am sorry! Community denotes communism. Where do you stand in your town?

And education a right? No! According to conservatives only those that can afford it should be able to access it.

Remember that readers. And if you dare, look up public education in Michigan or America for that matter.

Take the time to find out why the rules are the way they are.

I did.

I hope you will too.

middle of the mit
Sun, 06/02/2019 - 8:25pm

No what you are doing is saying that the people who came before us didn't know how to set up an education system, the same system that educated you and me.

You don't believe education should be a right? Should we do away with all public schools? Let parents be in control? I thought that was part of the problem, parents can't control their kids. They aren't learning. Or is it all put on the teachers? Take some time and look why public schools were put in existence. Without them at least half the kids go without an education. If that is the world you want to live in....

And when parents are in control, should they be the ones that bear the full burden of educating their kids. Should the community bear any cost?

And as for putting Christ back in the Government and me being ADD? Ask the VP

duane
Fri, 05/31/2019 - 12:10am

I get the feeling that you have your preconceived notion about things and you can't hear what others are saying. My point is that learning is done by the individual, by doing the studying, and unless that is integrated into to the educational model then it will fail.
No matter how much money is thrown at education, no matter how many people are employed in Michigan education, no matter how new the facilities, if the student doesn't do the work they will not learn.
You are deluding yourself if you believe people ['conservatives'] don't put education as a priority for their children, a good example of that is the nice cars they drive because being able to own a nice car debt free is a common telltale of someone valuing education. In out current knowledge based economy without added training they are much less likely to have a well paying job.

As for you concern about Christians [that appears the most likely way Christ is present in government] getting involved in government, I am more fearful that you want to deny them involvement because they are Christians. Your remark sounds like the bigotry that made freedom of religion a foundation block of the founding our country and liberty for all.

middle of the mit
Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:47pm

"I get the feeling that you have your preconceived notion about things and you can't hear what others are saying. My point is that learning is done by the individual, by doing the studying, and unless that is integrated into to the educational model then it will fail.
No matter how much money is thrown at education, no matter how many people are employed in Michigan education, no matter how new the facilities, if the student doesn't do the work they will not learn."

I think you have preconceived notions about me. I used to be a republican. I switched when I realized that they were for the Globalists! ha ha ha! That was 20 years ago. Where have y'all been? Lootin' the system?

"No matter how much money is thrown at education, no matter how many people are employed in Michigan education, no matter how new the facilities, if the student doesn't do the work they will not learn."

You are right on this. But what you are stating is that Northern MI should be able to compete with Southern MI period. Even though we can not afford the classes, elective/and or required to compete.

It's the same thing me and you have been going for the last couple arguments.

You want to cut costs and get better material for the same price.

Corporate America wants less quality for more price.

You are on the same side and you don't want to pay for corporate America.

That is why our roads are going to go to gravel.

As for Christian America?

"As for you concern about Christians [that appears the most likely way Christ is present in government] getting involved in government, I am more fearful that you want to deny them involvement because they are Christians. Your remark sounds like the bigotry that made freedom of religion a foundation block of the founding our country and liberty for all."

If Christians are the most likely way that Christ is present in America, Why do they think communism is atheistic?

From each according to their ability to each according to their need was WRITTEN 2000 years ago. It IS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS.

Anonymous
Wed, 06/05/2019 - 12:47am

Middle,
My view is that learning is determined by the individual, it is their desire that determines if they learn or not. The geography doesn’t matter, if they are in a classroom made of cement blocks or a brand new brick and air conditioned classroom, it is what they are willing to do, to sacrifice that will impact their learning. It is even the parent’s financial status, it is what the student will do to learn. We hear much about learning early to read, but whether a student sits with a book in their hand and looks for pictures or if the work at understanding what is said on each page is decided by the student. It isn’t how much money is spent; it is how effective that money is spent in sparking the desire to learn in the student. My overriding principle is start the conversation with the student desire to learn and work forward from there to determine what means and methods achieve the desired results [students wanting to read, wanting to learn] then determine the cost of providing those means and methods.
I am not about cutting cost I am about receiving value, measurable value, about results the students are achieving through their learning. Currently the preoccupation is with more money [how many of those commenting talk about money after they have talked about the student and their learning process?] so they start with money and never even get to the student’s role/responsibilities in their learning, and without that our educational system will always disappoint.
Before we talk about the necessary classes, we should be talking about what are the basics a student should have when they graduate and why.
As for what businesses deliver is decided by what the marketplace will buy, why do you think we have cheap and expensive phones, large and small houses, ever changing styles of clothes, ever improving medical care. There are certainly companies the make and sell on the cheap, but there are also companies that are always investing in change [simply consider the difference in phone from 30 years ago] and as the marketplace rewards for quality so will companies deliver better quality, better products and services, and even be more responsible for how they are made. I do want more value and for the best price available, so I am will to pay up for the value or shop for the sales.
As for the roads turning to gravel, since I live on one of the few gravel roads in my town, I can say there are places where they provide the right cost benefit. But I also understand how we have to build [and pay up for] the quality of road for the use. It is much like the runways at the major airports vs the local grass air strips sprinkled across Michigan. Not all runways need to land a 747 so only pay for the runways that land Cessna 150s or 172s.
For some of us that are old enough we recall how the Soviet Union was a stated atheist country, how the MAO and his Part purge China of the Christian churches, so I shouldn’t be surprised that such a reputation persists.
I am not clear on you last line, are you suggesting you have never heard a politician quote from the Christian Bible in their campaigns for power, or that if words and phrases are spoken they have some magical power that should sway the minds of all that read or hear them, or that if it is taken out of context that is carries the same authority as the whole of the verses [does it not matter it was about those in Judaea over 2000 years ago?].

zooman
Thu, 06/06/2019 - 11:13am

I wonder if any of the folks writing these comments about "student motivation" have spent any time in an urban elementary school. I have. These kids face challenges every day that those of us with more comfortable lives cannot fully understand. These stressors impact kids physical and mental health. To expect these kids to be as motivated and prepared for school as kids in more affluent districts is a pipe dream.

duane
Thu, 06/06/2019 - 10:50pm

Zooman,
Are you suggesting that the kids of today are the first ones to face these stressors, that the conditions associated with poverty are something new and students of the past did overcome similar stressors?
What I am saying is that people/kids with the desire can/do overcome stressors, even severe ones.
What people drawn on the most to overcome stressors is their person desire, the what they see as possible, hope gives individuals strength to survive the most severe of conditions and to succeed. If we don't invest in helping students to see a future they want, if we done help them hope by feeding their desires we contribute to their failure and despair.
If you want a 3rd grader to read you need to help them find what they want/need in books. It can be adventure, bucolic lands, it can be magic, or even the ideal of peace and comfort, but it is a place n their mind that for a brief time is place the fills their need/want, it is a place of hope, then you will have a reader.
The other part of it is that if that child didn't have that desire when they were young and are a poor read, when they do find that desire they will become an active reader. Though their skills may not improve greatly, the value of reading will, the comprehension will grow with use, and though they may struggle they will be able to use their reading to succeed in whatever they want to do.
There is no doubt that those in wealthier districts have an advantage, they see learning in their everyday world, they see those succeeding helped by their learning and ability to read. But simply giving up on kids because their parents are 'poor' and they have more to struggle with is to relegate them to a life time of disappointment and failure.
Dr. Ben Carson and his brother seem to be an examples of where desire broke their bonds to poverty as their illiterate mother help them fire their desire to learn. As I understand it, she saw the importance of books and reading in homes of the wealthy she was cleaning and she focused on her boys valuing reading and this was later in elementary school.
Personal desire is much more powerful that you fully appreciate, it is what gives the will power to do what others don't we believe we are capable of.

duane
Wed, 05/29/2019 - 2:41pm

It is simple, candidates such as then candidate Whitmer wanted to remain ignorant and say what ever they feel will diminish the person they are running against, then once they win and are confronted with the facts they make the same choices as the knowledgeable candidate they defeated did.
It is all politics, facts be damned, nothing matters except winning.
The first and perennial casualty of campaigns is reality, and Governor Whitmer is only the latest in demostrate this partisan practice.

middle of the mit
Wed, 05/29/2019 - 9:08pm

Would those dem candidates be the same as Mitch saying we have to hold up Supreme Court Justices a year before election and then the other day saying he would fill that same position that he denied Obama?

Jesus had a name for that. It is called Hypocrite.

Speaking of reality, did ya see Muller today? Oh and by the way, check Kingsford charcoal. I have it on good word that their bags are going from 18.6lbs to 16.8lbs and the price? The same.

So tell me. Do you like paying more for less?

Only when you are paying more to a private corporation and their profits?

Did the Government make them do that?

Hey! Come up here!

Less taxes!

Matt
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 9:37am

Mitch, SCotUS, Jesus, Kingsford, corporations? Maybe take some Adderrall and try again?

duane
Sat, 06/01/2019 - 12:45am

You seem so locked in on one Party that you can't hear when people are talking about both Parties. My comment was about all candidates, about all Parties even the single issue ones. As long as they can claim ignorance they say what ever the want and never expect to be held accountable because they will claim ignorance of all the germane facts.

As for the price of charcoal rising, if you didn't figure out that when the amount in the package drops and the price stays the same that the price of charcoal is rising then I would encourage you to go back to you algebra teacher and complain since it has to their fault and it can't be the students.

Kevin Grand
Wed, 05/29/2019 - 3:44pm

Didn't Candidate Whitmer also laugh at the suggestion that she would raise taxes to "fix the damn roads"?

I'm sensing a pattern here...

middle of the mit
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 12:35am

I thought that the Republicans had fixed the roads with the last 8 years that they hiked fees, not taxes, for the averages.

They raised taxes on the gas tax, the registration tax and the tax for State parks. Not to mention fishing or hunting licenses. Is that a sore subject?

Hey! It is fees NOT taxes!

Didn't seem to bother you then, why does it bother you now?

I DON'T WANT TO PAY!!!!!

Kevin Grand
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 7:34am

You have obviously mistaken me for a democrat.

I don't want free stuff paid for by someone else.

I DO want to see a value of what my money is going for.

I've already pointed out recently completed roads that are now under repair.

I've already pointed out that MDOT has done a criminal job of overseeing the road work that it is responsible for.

I've already pointed out that there are road construction techniques that will give us roads which will last for decades.

I've already pointed out that too much road funding is diverted away from actual construction and into pet projects of politicians.

I've even pointed out that a significant percentage of Whitmer's gas tax DOESN'T EVEN GO TOWARDS ROADS.

I DO pay enough already for roads in gas taxes, licenses and fees before the republicans jammed through their little perpetual tax hike and other increases.

In that area, the republicans have clearly demonstrated that they are philosophically no different from democrats. Don't make any hard budgetary decisions like Michigan Taxpayers have had to do with their own household budgets. It's far easier for politicians to simply hand the producing class the bill for your benevolence and consider your job complete.

To not expect to show Michigan Motorists any ROI, yet to blindly expect us to hand over even more money, there really SHOULDN'T be any surprise why Gov. Whitmer's gas tax doesn't have any support.

Jerry
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 1:43pm

No ROI at Detroit Schools

Financial Woes Plague Detroit School District
DETROIT – Detroit Public Schools recently borrowed $91.5 million from the state’s loan fund to pay for a previous debt obligation, according to Crain’s Detroit Business.

The district, which now exists only to pay off debt it accumulated before a state bailout plan, finds itself without enough tax revenue to service $1.4 billion in capital bonds. Money woes also plague the new Detroit Public School Community District, as it struggles to find ways to pay $500 million to upgrade aging buildings.

Terms of the 2016 bailout bar DPSCD from issuing bonds for capital construction until the DPS outstanding bond debt is paid off. Superintendent Nikolai Vitti is looking for help from Detroit’s business community to help solve its capital funding problem.

SOURCE: Crain’s Detroit Business, “Detroit schools borrow more and more to pay back bonds,” May 26, 2019.

middle of the mit
Fri, 05/31/2019 - 11:24pm

"You have obviously mistaken me for a democrat.

I don't want free stuff paid for by someone else.

I DO want to see a value of what my money is going for. "

Oh I promise you, I never mistook you for a democrat!

Haven't you noticed over the last 20 to 30 years that it is Republicans that don't to pay for anything? Businesses shouldn't have to pay for any infrastructure or the running of the community that they are operating in. They PRODUCE the monetary basis of the community. Therefore they should be treated as gods.

You say I am being facetious? Do we not as a state and country allow these corporate conglomerates to pollute our air and water with no abandon? Your party literally has that as it's prime stance! Ask who is responsible for superfund sites. If it isn't the corporation that owned the site..............you lose. Guess what?

"I've already pointed out recently completed roads that are now under repair.

I've already pointed out that MDOT has done a criminal job of overseeing the road work that it is responsible for."

Who is criminally responsible for the work that private contractors did? And why aren't they being held responsible?

"I've already pointed out that there are road construction techniques that will give us roads which will last for decades."

Then why aren't road builders who are more educated than you in road building, using those techniques?

"I've already pointed out that too much road funding is diverted away from actual construction and into pet projects of politicians."

NO! What you pointed out was the same thing every con has tried the darndest to conflate. You are telling everyone that because the SALES TAX on a gallon of gas DOESN'T go to the roads, that means that your gas tax doesn't go to roads. That is a LIE!

Sales tax goes to the general fund. The tax on gas goes to roads. If you want truth, you have to tell it, not twist it.

https://www.micountyroads.org/PDF/CrummyRoads.pdf

"I DO pay enough already for roads in gas taxes, licenses and fees before the republicans jammed through their little perpetual tax hike and other increases."

Well then, you must think that everything that you are paying for, considering that most of it is privatized that you are getting your monies worth. Why would you ever go against what private industry charges the State for anything?

In that area, the republicans have clearly demonstrated that they are philosophically no different from democrats. Don't make any hard budgetary decisions like Michigan Taxpayers have had to do with their own household budgets. It's far easier for politicians to simply hand the producing class the bill for your benevolence and consider your job complete."

The producing class?

How much could you produce if no one picked your garbage? Or cleaned your toilets?

"To not expect to show Michigan Motorists any ROI, yet to blindly expect us to hand over even more money, there really SHOULDN'T be any surprise why Gov. Whitmer's gas tax doesn't have any support."

You didn't have any problem with Snyder raising fees. Are fees different than taxes?

You are the same as Duane. You want better quality and yet you aren't willing to pay for it. For 35 years I have watched as American products went from lasting decades to lasting less than a few years. It is called a consumer economy. The more they make you buy the more mammon they make. And now a fridge that used to last 30 years lasts less than ten. Is that progress?

According to cons, it is.

duane
Mon, 06/03/2019 - 6:00pm

Middle,
Thank you for the high compliment of including me as a point of reference. Better quality doesn't necessarily mean higher cost, best example is the Japanese cars starting back in the 1970s, when they started following Demining's methods of statistical controls, quality went up while prices stayed the same or declined slightly. Similarly, today even the American made cars are lasting longer. Consider how long a car runs, going back 10 years or longer for a car to last 100,000 miles or more was the exception now it is common to hear from a friend of their car or truck having 250,000 miles and still running strong with no overhauls of engine or transmission. Consider the companies such as Zeibart or Midas Muffler that have had to change their businesses to survive because the car bodies, undercarriages, mufflers are all lasting so much longer that people don't spend money on those items. When was the last time you had to take your car in for a major repair or even replacement of tires?
Quality is driven by what is accepted, and human nature feeds that. What is expected, what is reinforced, what is supported, what is accepted determines what is delivered of the long-term. Road builders are no different, what MDOT accepts is what MDOT gets. What politicians accept is what the agencies deliver. What voters [majority] accept [see Detroit, Flint, etc.] is what they get. What Party membership[majority, well that depends on who is controlling the primaries/conventions] accepts [partisanship or results] is what they get.
I don't know if you ever thought of me as Democrat, but I was raised as a 'yellow dog' Democrat [that was when I learned about partisanship]and was one until I became responsible for my life. I am afraid I will have to dash your hopes, nor am I a Republican, I actually try to weigh what I know about the individual.

Jerry
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 9:27am

99% of politicians give the rest a bad name.

The Public Education Industry will never let anything improve without getting paid.

Check out what Florida did to get out from the bottom of the education heap.

Kathi Geukes
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 9:58am

Maybe Dana needs to replace Whitmer...never thought I would say this because in the beginning, I wasn't a big fan of hers....but sitting back and watching how she's taking on the tough stuff....and winning the fights...makes me believe that she should run in 2022!!! Get yourself right Gretchen...or we WILL replace you!!!!!

Bones
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 10:05am

As usual, the reactionary stooges are here to argue that the government should do absolutely nothing for its citizens. Don't you guys ever get tired of upholding the new aristocracy?

Matt
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 2:58pm

Bones, didn't you say were an electrical engineer? Given this line of reasoning, doesn't everyone have a right to be an electrical engineer? That will work out well!

duane
Sat, 06/01/2019 - 12:56am

There you go again, failing at another attempt of sarcasm. You should be asking the 'stooges' what role should government be fulfilling, what is the best function of government rules/regulations, how can government accountability be put are par with private companies/individuals. By asking those questions you will learn that government has a role/responsibilities just each citizen has a role/responsibilities, and how they can facilitate society's successes.

Arjay
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 11:35am

The ability to read is similar to the three legged retirement plan that is often talked about - Social Security, pensions, and personal savings. Reading also requires a 3 legged plan, a good school system, parental push to read to younger children and make sure older children are doing their homework, and the students desire to better themselves and not take away in the classroom others desire to achieve their own betterment. All too often we have seen that the answer to the problem is simply throwing more money at the schools without considering parental involvement or personal desire and responsibility to learn.

I recently (2018) traveled to Zimbabwe where we visited a local school. The class size was 50. The number of desks in the room was 25. Parents were deeply involved with education as they realized how necessary it was. Students really wanted to learn. While 1/2 of the class was sitting at desks, the other half was outside doing personal learning exercises. They all switched places many times a day. The literacy rate was 94%. Zimbabwe doesn't even have their own currency. The banks are all closed. The inflation rate is astronomical. But everyone recognizes that the educational stool has 3 legs.

Matt
Thu, 05/30/2019 - 3:09pm

Yah but do they have a "right" to read? Actually they have to pay out of pocket for their schooling. But they have a different take on the opportunity they have. Here, its free sooo who cares?