Court: State Doesn't Have to Educate Your Children Well


In a blow to schoolchildren statewide, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Friday that the State of Michigan has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to students in the struggling Highland Park School District.

In a 2-1 decision that reverses an earlier circuit court ruling that there is a "broad compelling state interest in the provision of an education to all children," the appellate court said that the state has no constitutional requirement to ensure that schoolchildren actually learn fundamental skills such as reading – but rather is obligated only to establish and finance a public education system, regardless of quality. Waving off decades of historic judicial impact on educational reform, the majority opinion also contends that "judges are not equipped to decide educational policy."


NEXT: Canada Enacts Bill C-36, Making Prostitution Legal As Long As Nobody's Buying

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Hm…does this mean parents won’t be compelled by forced to send their children, then? Oh, right. Of course not. There is no constitutional requirement that the state provide education, either. Frankly, like so much done by the government, it is blatantly unconstitutional…

    1. I think they were referring to the State Constitution, in this case.

      “The legislature shall maintain and support a system of free public elementary and secondary schools as defined by law. Every school district shall provide for the education of its pupils without discrimination as to religion, creed, race, color or national origin.

      No public monies or property shall be appropriated or paid or any public credit utilized, by the legislature or any other political subdivision or agency of the state directly or indirectly to aid or maintain any private, denominational or other nonpublic, pre-elementary, elementary, or secondary school. No payment, credit, tax benefit, exemption or deductions, tuition voucher, subsidy, grant or loan of public monies or property shall be provided, directly or indirectly, to support the attendance of any student or the employment of any person at any such nonpublic school or at any location or institution where instruction is offered in whole or in part to such nonpublic school students. The legislature may provide for the transportation of students to and from any school.”

      In short, the State is required to hire Public School Educrats, prohibited from lying for any competition to same, and not held to any minimum standard for the education provided.


      1. “prohibited from lying”

        Prohibited from PAYING”

        Although one can see why the Educational Establishment might like the other one too.

      2. I’m sure there’s a teachers’ union in Michigan to thank for this.

      3. So, you can’t win. (Find a better school.)

        You can’t break even. (No guarantee of a good education.)

        And you can’t get out of the game.

  2. If the First Lady is supplying the lunches the students won’t have enough calories to learn anything anyway.

  3. File this one away with “police have no legal obligation to prevent crime” under Most Obvious Rulings ever. What court could possibly hold that parents can hold states legally responsible for their childrens’ terrible educations? It would bring a massive portion of the state crashing down, and that’s a no-no.

    Besides, the purpose of public schools has always been to produce good citizens who are fully integrated into American culture (which is to say that the progressives of the early 20th century used public schools as a means of indoctrinating Catholics, imbibers of alcohol, and other misfit minorities in the sacred ways of the American progressive). Academic education is purely secondary to schools’ social education and warehousing functions.

  4. “… is obligated only to establish and finance a public education system, regardless of quality.”

    …at which they are performing admirably.

    1. Cue NPR/NYT commentariat to say how Public Schools are better than private schools.

  5. But they can still force parents to send kids to a school of some kind?

  6. Finally a court recognizes that courts aren’t qualified to determine
    what constitutes a “quality education.” One needs to start with quality students, for one.

  7. Why would the state be involved, as the school system is a local thingie?

  8. I know I’m just fantasizing, but the following is a much needed Constitutional Amendment: “The Congress and the States shall make no law establishing, nor levy any tax supporting, any public school, Pre-School, Kindergarten, University, College, trade school or other learning academy.”

    1. Boy-howdy YES!

      I’m sick of it. 40% of my property taxes go toward education in this state, not counting what they get from sources like the lottery, sin taxes, etc. For that kind of money, we have a dropout rate of about a third, we have a bunch of feel-good programs and “task forces” that have nothing to do with education but a lot to do with proggie victim-culture brainwashing, and most kids can’t even write a coherent sentence, make proper change, or identify major countries on a map.

      Public education is a massive, bumbling, schizoid surrogate parent–thanks to decades of lazy parent overentitlement and self-satisfied bureaucratic meddling–and all it’s doing is preparing kids to be perpetually butthurt “victims” and effete, entitlement-minded whiners.

      Did you choose to have a child? Then you should be 100% responsible for its education, or you can rely on charity schools. If you want a special-snowflake-bubblewrap education, where your child’s delicate ears and self-esteem are protected from ever hearing the words “no” or “wrong,” then pay for it. If your kid is some autistic/ADD/ODD tard who can’t cope or function in normal society, you pay for it; your fellow taxpayers should never have been forced to invest in some kid who is never going to contribute to the economy in any meaningful way.

  9. Had the court found the alternative, what remedy would they have provided? Increased funding? By how much? All across the state or just in certain schools? What kind of incentives would this create?

    This result is the only conclusion that would prevent the state from falling into the mire of the so-called Abbot districts in NJ, where such a finding was made in 1985. After 30 years of targeted funding, there has been no effect on highschool students’ aptitude in these districts.

    Hardly a blow to the schoolchildren.

    1. I think i rememeber reading in the news about a number of teachers that have blown their schoolchildren in states across the country, so at least some kids are getting that too.

  10. my best friend’s half-sister makes $81 hourly on the internet . She has been out of work for nine months but last month her paycheck was $19645 just working on the internet for a few hours. this link…..


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.