A right to literacy will be an uphill battle in Lansing

Mar 3, 2017

Some Democrats in the state House want to make literacy a constitutional right. But not everyone is onboard.

Democrats say the state is not doing enough to defend the rights of children to read, so it should be in the state constitution.

Rep. Darrin Camilleri is a bill sponsor. He says literacy deserves to be a right for every child because, “Literacy is the fundamental component to accessing all of the other subjects that a student learns in school.”

But Republicans in favor of more local control said this bill won’t go very far. Republican Rep. Tim Kelly is the chair of the House Committee on Education Reform. He says the bill, “won’t see light of day. Don’t come whining to the state that somehow this ought to be enshrined in the state constitution,” states Kelly. “Yes it ought to be enshrined that we should educate all kids, but the delivery service is local, not state. So do your job locally.”

Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo said that the state needs to take responsibility for the literacy of its kids. “Children should not pay for what adults are not doing,” says Gay-Dagnogo. “All children have a right to read and we as statesmen, stateswomen have to fight and advocate that...and ensure that our children will be able to read.”