Guest View: An Open Letter to EMU on the EAA

Guest View: An Open Letter to EMU on the EAAJim Shaffer KELLER ad black

(Guest View by Karen Twomey, Dec. 2, 2014)

On Friday the Board of Regents of Eastern Michigan University will meet at 1:30 in Welch Hall to discuss the Educational Achievement Authority and whether or not to continue in an inter-local agreement as the authorizing body. I encourage everyone to attend or write letters insisting on the termination of this agreement. Below is my letter to that Board asking them to reconsider their role in public education.

EMU Board of Regents
207 Welch Hall
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Phone: 734.487.2410

Dear President Parker and Regents,

I write to you both as an alumnus of EMU and accomplished educator in hopes that you will end the intergovernmental agreement with the Education Achievement Authority. Like so many other educators my modern natural baby inprogressservice to children prevents me from being able to deliver my comments in person at your meeting on Friday at 1:30 in Welch Hall, so please accept this letter instead.

Currently I serve as the Secretary of the Ferndale Board of Education and can relate to the responsibilities you have in ensuring the integrity and respect of an organization, as well as the daily welfare of children. In my decisions I always start with the mission statement. The first portion that drew my attention in EMU’s mission was, “we maximize educational opportunities and personal and professional growth for students from diverse backgrounds.” When I was hired into Bloomfield Hills, the top ranking district in 1999, my EMU degree was a clear asset and earned me instant respect amongst my peers. Unfortunately, due to this agreement the reports are clear and widespread that a degree from EMU in education no longer opens, but rather closes 10818548_10205078546058833_1227902261_nopportunities. Where EMU used to receive national accolades, now we are tied to an embarrassing and nationally known failure. I regret what this agreement has done to the image of my alma mater and fear the effects it will have on the sustainability of the enrollment and finances.


Further in the mission it states, “We extend our commitment beyond the campus boundaries to the wider community through service initiatives, and public and private partnerships of mutual interest addressing local, regional, national and international opportunities and challenges.” Contrary to the expressed purpose of the EAA, the implementation has furthered the dismantling of our state’s largest educational system (see attached graphic), and the disenfranchisement of the black urban community it serves. I fear this puts our university on the wrong side of history.

When sitting at a board table, we like a judge must put to the side our personal preferences and vote according 934_8600_Gen-Online_Banners2to the constitution and our organization’s guiding documents. EMU has deliberately chosen the Guiding Principles of:

Accessibility – EAA has already breached contract and is out of compliance with issues of accessibility for special education students.

Quality- The buildings are unsafe and have large class sizes, lack of instructional materials, and failed hack software.

Relevancy – The key here is to be relevant in a positive way and provide researched practices.

Collaboration – There has been a clear lack of collaboration with EMU’s education experts.

Responsiveness to Change – This is where you have a chance to succeed by terminating the agreementsidebar01sponsor

Accountability – The EAA has not produced the results it promised EMU, yet continues to demand more schools

Flexibility – You have a chance to revalorize your prized teacher education faculty by shifting away from the EAA strategy in Detroit and toward one which puts your faculty at the center of Detroit’s educational revitalization

Affordability – Low-income students who were attracted to EMU are seeing the value of their degree decline in the eyes of the regional community


In closing, as an alumna who has always been proud to trace her roots as an educational leader back to EMU, I ask you to consider how your immediate termination of the Interlocal agreement would help you reclaim the foundation of EMU’s national identity, built “on a proud tradition of national leadership in the perpetration of gallowaycollens1teachers.”

EMU’s teacher educators are respected nationally for their ability to lead the educational reinvention of our cities. We are EMU. And we should “extend our commitment beyond the campus boundaries to the wider community “ not through partnerships that negate our strengths in teacher education, but rather through truly mutual partnerships that proceed from EMU’s strength and leadership as embodied in its faculty and alumni.


Karen Twomey, M.Ed

Eastern Michigan University Class of ‘99chazzano game ad


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