View: Education Achievement Authority Expansion…

Guest View: Education Achievement Authority Expansion Moving Forward
(Steve Norton, Michigan Parents for Schools, March 13, 2014)I’m reaching out to you with an urgent request. We need you to call your State Representative today. The Education Achievement Authority, the bad idea that won’t go away, is on the verge of being expanded across the state. As you surely know, all the evidence points to the conclusion that it ought to be shut down instead. This is hugely important, because it will determine how we deal with struggling schools for the next decade or more, including ones that may be near you. EAA backers are close to securing the votes to pass the bill, and we need to take strong action this morning.


Please call your State Representative right away!

For a recent summary of revelations about the EAA, please see this op-ed article by Reps. Ellen Cogen Lipton and Brandon Dillon, which lays out the devastating MEAP data that was finally made public.

Now, everyone understands that compromise and a little back-scratching are normal in politics. But the offers, and threats, being made to get votes for the EAA are just astounding.Here is the deal they’re trying to sell:

  • Cap of 50 schools to go into the state reform district (currently run by the EAA) – but WHICH fifty?
  • Schools have the option to beg for a “turnaround” contract with their ISD instead of being thrown into the EAA (an absurd effort to pretend to include the Parent Proposal)
  • Schools can also drop to their knees to beg for their local ISD to take them over rather than the EAA (seeing a pattern here?)
  • With good behavior, schools will be released from the EAA and put on parole after 4 years.

Here’s the carrot: If you go along, we’ll put off tossing any schools into the EAA until after the elections. We might even protect your schools from that awful fate. Plus, we might smile upon your request to increase per pupil funding.

Here’s the stick: If you don’t go along, we’ll start tossing schools into the EAA right away, without any of the “protections” the deal would have given you.

Wow! Where to begin?

  • Notice how the EAA has changed from being an innovative miracle factory to something you use as a threat, kind of like prison?
  • Note also that the cowardice here is stunning: no schools grabbed until after elections. Since we don’t know which schools will be grabbed, voters can’t hold their representatives accountable
  • The Governor and legislative leaders are acting as if they decide when schools get taken over, when in fact it’s up to the state superintendent, who works for the elected State Board of Education and not the Governor or legislature. But, let’s not pick nits.

The bottom line is that the EAA has been a disaster, both academically and in terms of properly caring for its students. Rather than admitting this fact, and turning to a better way to help struggling schools, our Governor and top lawmakers are using entry into the EAA as a club to threaten communities into accepting a flawed and half-baked state takeover system. The same kind of thing, in fact, that helped create the EAA disaster.

Your representative needs to hear your voice NOW, because they are having their arms twisted as I write. Please call today! Tell them we don’t want a massive Lansing-run district taking over schools all over our State.


Steve Norton

Executive Director

Michigan Parents for Schools


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