Ann Arbor Decision

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The case of Martin Luther King Junior Elementary School Children et al. v. Ann Arbor School District, known as the Ann Arbor Decision, is considered to have established an important precedent in the education of poor African American students who are Black English speakers.

The case was decided on July 12, 1979 by Judge Charles W. Joiner on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The suit was brought on behalf of poor black students at the school. Gabe Kaimowitz, lead counsel for the Plaintiffs, alleged that the students were denied equal protection of the laws, because applicable Michigan regulations did not recognize social, economic and cultural factors differing those pupils from others. Black middle class students at the school were not represented among the plaintiffs. Judge Joiner in 1977 and 1978 rejected five of the six claims. The sixth claim asserted that the Ann Arbor School District violated federal statutory law because it failed to take into account the home language of the children in the provision of education instruction. The court agreed. The judge ordered the school district to find a way to identify Black English speakers in the schools and to "use that knowledge in teaching such students how to read standard English". [1]

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  1. ^ Flood, J., Jensen, J., Lapp, D., Squire, J. (1991). Handbook of research on teaching the English language arts. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.

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