house concurrent resolution no. 8

Reps. Tate, Camilleri, Brenda Carter, Stone, Pagan, Clemente, Wittenberg, Manoogian, Sowerby, Kennedy, Koleszar, Brixie, Hope, Gay-Dagnogo, Hoadley and Sabo offered the following concurrent resolution:

A concurrent resolution to adopt a Literacy Bill of Rights.

Whereas, Literacy is essential to ensuring children can achieve a successful future. Poor literacy skills leave young people unprepared for college or career training, for the workforce, and to be self-sufficient, productive citizens. It is estimated that illiteracy costs U.S. businesses and taxpayers about $300 billion per year; and

Whereas, Michigan students lag behind their counterparts across the nation in reading. In 2017, Michigan ranked 35th in fourth-grade reading scores, with nearly one-third of fourth graders not able to read at a basic level. In 2018, around 30 percent of Michigan third to eighth grade students were not proficient in English Language Arts; and

Whereas, Michigan has substantial literacy gaps among its student populations. Black children, children attending urban schools, and children from low-income families all score significantly lower than their fellow Michigan students on national reading assessments; and

Whereas, Michigan's literacy gaps and poor literacy rates statewide will not be resolved until we acknowledge the fundamental importance of ensuring every child in Michigan has access to the resources necessary to become a literate adult and has the same opportunities regardless of their circumstances; now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That we believe all students in the state of Michigan are entitled to the following rights:

1.      The right to a meaningful opportunity to learn to read and write. This opportunity includes access to basic resources, such as books and technology, as well as access to education professionals trained in literacy instruction methods and principles that help nurture and develop literacy and writing skills.

2.      The right to access texts that further their literacy development provided to them by their school, including, but not limited to, a school library with a variety of informative and diverse texts.

3.      The right to accessible, meaningful, and culturally and linguistically appropriate texts at all times.

4.      The right to a facility that is capable of serving students, including, but not limited to, one that is equipped with textbooks, basic working facilities, and access to basic technology that aids in reading and writing efforts.

5.      The right to interact with others while reading, writing, or listening to a text. Interaction involves questions, comments, discussions, and other communications about or related to the text.

6.      The right to life choices made available through reading and writing competencies. Life choices include, but are not limited to, employment and filling out job applications, community participation, and self-advocacy.

7.      The right to lifelong educational opportunities incorporating literacy instruction and use. Literacy educational opportunities, regardless of when they are provided, have potential to provide power that cannot be taken away.

8.      The right to live and learn in environments that provide varied models and demonstrations of print use.

9.      The right to live and learn in environments that maintain the expectations and attitudes that all individuals have the right to learn to read and write and that all individuals are literacy learners.

10.    The right to have access to environments that are safe, secure, and conducive to learning.