Proof that Eastern Michigan University’s EAA affiliation is hurting College of Education student teachers

The faculty and students of Eastern Michigan University’s College of Education have been actively seeking to end the institution’s affiliation with the Education Achievement Authority, Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit students. Among the many horror stories coming out of the EAA, we learned this past week that they are literally experimenting with 100-student kindergarten classes.

I’m not kidding.

There has been a protest rally, a petition, and open letters which I have posted HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Each time, the students and faculty have been rebuffed by their Board of Regents.

Things have gotten so bad that nearly a dozen school districts refuse to accept EMU College of Education students as student teachers.

Now the chickens are coming home to roost. Aimee Hayden is a student in the EMU College of Education and she has been unable to land a student teaching position, an unfortunate situation that is direct result of the university’s EAA partnership. What follows is a letter Aimee sent to a colleague and fellow member of the Kappa Delta Pi sorority Carol Janowski, seeking help in securing a position. What you’ll learn from her letter is that EMU’s connections to the EAA are harming their students’ teaching careers in a very real, very tangible, and very negative way.

It’s shameful.

My thanks to Aimee for sharing her story and, more importantly, her letter with me.

Hi Carol

My name is Aimee Hayden and I am having trouble with getting a placement for my CI [ed. note: CI = "cognitively impaired"] student teaching. I was told that, with you being president of Kappa Delta Pi, you may know who I can contact. I have already sent and email to [EMU President] Dr. Martin and never got a response. I know the eight regents will not care since, the way I understand it, they are the ones that took on the EAA.

I am very disappointed with Eastern right now. I decided to go to Eastern because my mother graduated in 1970 with her degree in POHI. My mother said since I wanted to go into special ed that Eastern is the school to go to. I have had so much trouble with EMU since I’ve been in the College of Education. I have wasted so much money and time because my adviser had me following the wrong program and now I can’t find a student teaching placement. I had my placement all set for the fall then the distirict found out that Eastern is involved with the EAA and I lost my placement.

My adviser [name redacted] has been working on a placement but is having trouble because of Eastern’s involvement with the EAA. She even said that, if I know anyone, ask if they can help me. Now I have been told that if I don’t graduate in December that I have to take more classes because I have been in school for so long. I am sorry but I am not taking any more classes. I am a mother of two children and a wife and there is no way I am taking more classes. It’s bad enough because of the advice I got that I am going to be 45 years old and still not graduated from school. I should have graduated two years ago. Plus I had a placement all setup before the district found out about Eastern’s involvement with EAA.

I had my placement all setup with [name redacted] at Monroe Elementary in Wyandotte. I did my gen ed student teaching at Monroe and [name redacted] and I had it all figured out that I would do my student teaching with her this fall. She heard what a great job I had done and she loves how EMU students are such great student teachers. This was a great fit for me because it was in a resource room and the experience would of been great. Then the letter went out all throughout Wyandotte school district stating that they do not want Eastern student teachers in the district because Eastern University has taken on the EAA academies in Detroit. The letter also said that, as long as Eastern is supporting EAA, they do not want Eastern student teachers and they will not hire Eastern graduates.

Since that letter, the district has said it is the teachers choice but the union does not want EMU students. [Name redacted] told me that she has to support her union and that she is really sorry that she can’t have me as a student teacher. I have talked to other teachers and they have told me the same thing. As much as I want to be mad at these teachers I can understand because they are right, the EAA is going to ruin our profession.

Other school districts either will not answer [name redacted] or they have told her no, including Southgate and Taylor, because of Eastern’s involvement with the EAA. I am really worried about getting a placement. I have made professional contacts in Wyandotte that people have told me to let them know when I graduate and they will help me get a job in the Wyandotte school district. But now I have lost any chance even though I have been subbing in the district for four years to be hired. So it turns out instead of having an advantage by having my degree from Eastern, now I am at a disadvantage.

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  • Ted O’Neil

    Aimee,
    It is unfortunate that the teachers union in Wyandotte is harming you in this fashion. Several locals in Washtenaw and Wayne counties have apparently taken this extremist approach that will delay or destroy the dreams and aspirations of many EMU education majors. There certainly needs to be an open and thorough discussion about the EAA, but not a single one of you should be collateral damage in this political fight.
    There’s a reason why several thousand MEA members have ceased paying their dues. Be sure to visit http://www.augustoptout.org to learn about your options.
    Ted O’Neil
    Media Relations Manager
    Mackinac Center for Public Policy

    • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

      This statement brought to you by the anti-union corporatist front group The Mackinac Center.

      Fortunately, as Aimee says in her letter, she knows who the real culprits are here and it is decidedly NOT the unions.

      Nice try, though, Ted. Good to know you’re following our stuff!

      • Ted O’Neil

        Corporatist front group? That’s rich. When’s the last time you opposed any type of corporate welfare? Auto bailout, windmills, solar panels, electric car batteries, movies, TARP? We’re on record against any and all forms of corporate welfare.

        • Thomas C. Pedroni

          Ted, then you should also oppose the EAA, which if left to the market would surely disappear. What business could survive a 25 percent annual decline in its customer base? The state legislature is attempting to prop up a market failure– something which you should oppose. Honestly, I’m not being facetious or poking fun at you here– you should be opposed to government propping up a market failure.

        • Thomas C. Pedroni

          Isn’t your opposition to corporate welfare premised on the belief that government should not determine market winners and losers? It is doing so in the case of the EAA– the EAA would disappear if left to the market.

        • Pinkamena Diane Pie

          Including massive tax cuts?

    • Thomas C. Pedroni

      Ted, I believe the harm is caused by EMU’s relationship with the EAA, not by the Washtenaw County Education Association. In fact, the WCEA says they will resume their spectacular service to EMU as soon as EMU terminates the interlocal agreement. To me, it’s perfectly reasonable that teachers in Washtenaw County would want to boycott EMU. After all, the EAA, were it to subsume schools in Washtenaw County, would fire each one of them, as you well know. As an advocate for children, you should be opposed to the EAA as well, given the harm it has been clearly documented to inflict on children. If you have not yet personally seen the evidence for that claim, I am happy to share it with you. As an advocate for free markets, you should also oppose the EAA. Parents, who you think of as educational consumers, have clearly rejected the EAA product, as indicated in unprecedented levels of attrition. It seems– honestly, Ted, that Mackinac should be denouncing the Michigan legislature for attempting to prop up a proven market failure. Isn’t that one of the greatest contradictions of free market principles, particularly when the government creates and expands a new state bureaucracy in doing so?

      • Ted O’Neil

        Not sure you can equate the current status of government-run education to the free market. Should attrition be used as a factor in closing down non-EAA schools/districts? It would be nice to see accountability applied evenly across the board to all government schools, but some seem to just want to pick and choose where and how to apply it.
        EMU’s relationship with the EAA in and of itself is not what is harming EMU ed majors’ ability to find student teaching jobs necessary to complete their degrees and pursue their dreams. So it appears the harm is directly caused by the WCEA’s action. As you say, the WCEA has concerns about the EAA, but their beef is with the EMU administration. EMU students should not be held hostage in the political battle. It’s a good example of why thousands of MEA members have chosen to stop paying dues – they’re tired of the politics.

        • Thomas C. Pedroni

          Ted, I’m not a free market fundamentalist. Therefore, I would not close down the EAA or any other district simply because of loss of customer base. I would close down the EAA for a variety of other reasons, including shameful results, lack of transparency, nonresponse to allegations of physical and other forms of abuse, lack of accountability, etc. I would take mass attrition as a signal that the rosey picture that the EAA public relations team paints is misleading at best, and fraudulent at worst. My argument is that MACKINAC is free market fundamentalist in its orientation. Therefore its silence on government shoring up of this market failure is puzzling (but not really).
          On EMU student teacher placements, you seem to be arguing that teachers in Washtenaw County districts should be compelled to accept student teacher placements. Again, that is quite an odd stance for a free market fundamentalist organization to be taking. Why would you force teachers into an economic relationship that up until now has been voluntary? In the end, while it’s inconsistent, it’s not really surprising.

          • Ted O’Neil

            Sorry, but again, you cannot claim there is a free market in the current status of government-run education.
            As for EMU student teachers, what I’m saying is that the unions should not be playing politics with the futures of the school’s education majors simply because they have an ideological disagreement with the school’s administration. Wouldn’t be surprised that when those students overcome this needless obstacle and finally become teachers, many will realize the locals were not on their side and choose not to join.

          • Thomas C. Pedroni

            Ahh… so Mackinac only advocates for market principles when perfect market conditions already exist. Great. Now that I better understand your position that makes me a lot less worried about Mackinac’s potential impact. And by extension, since there is not a pure free market in education currently, you are also okay with compelling teachers to take student teacher placements against their will. I’m sorry for alleging inconsistency– this is actually quite consistent.

          • Ted O’Neil

            Consistency would be if the WCEA objected to all student teacher placements in their districts from any and all colleges. But it’s only EMU they’re targeting. Again, the EMU students are just collateral damage to union politics. No wonder thousands of teachers are no longer paying their MEA dues.

          • http://eclectablog.com Eclectablog

            These unions aren’t “playing politics” with regard to the EAA. They are trying to protect students from an experiment that has already been proven to be a failure and they are trying to protect their profession of educators from being handed over to non-professionals like TFA teachers.

            The fact that half the teachers in the EAA are 1st-year teachers and half if those are TFA with no background whatsoever in education tells you pretty much all you need to know about this situation. Experienced teachers are too knowledgeable to accept a teach-by-laptop approach to education in our states most challenging teaching environments.

          • Ted O’Neil

            In that case you’d think the WCEA teachers would embrace EMU ed majors even more and want them to student teach in their classrooms in order to show them why what they do is better than what the EAA does. But nope. It’s union politics as usual and that always trumps education and accountability.

  • Steve Wellinski

    Very telling about your integrity, Ted . . . bashing unions and promoting the failed experiment known as the EAA through a manipulation of a hardworking student’s story — a story of frustration in trying to become a teacher (you know, the profession that causes your cult an allergic breakout) . . . shame on you!!!

    Honesty dictates that we put this young lady’s unnecessary roadblock on the desk of EMU president Susan Martin and the Board of Rejects — they created the circumstances AND thus they own it (It is very telling, to date, they have not even reply to her letter . . . hmmmm). Very simply, Ted, this is not a political fight about the EAA. This is an example of failed leadership on a state university. . . and, this courageous pre-service teacher share the impact of it.

    That said, Ted, I would welcome a thorough and open discussion about the EAA — I will bring facts and legitimate research. . . could you please bring some chips with your propaganda?!!?

    • Ted O’Neil

      Steve,

      Interesting, since I didn’t say anything about “promoting” the EAA. In fact, we’ve actually questioned whether or not the EAA could actually take over successful schools because of the state’s flawed Top to Bottom rankings: http://www.mackinac.org/18527
      Also, all EAA schools received a grade of “F” on our elementary and middle school Context and Performance Report Card. Kind of helps to know what we’ve said about it before making odd claims about “integrity” and “propaganda,” he?
      As for the EMU situation, If this “unnecessary roadblock” belongs to the EMU administration, then that’s where it should stay. Instead the unions are taking it out on the students.

      http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2013/10/washtenaw_county_teachers_unio.html

      That’s kind of like sending a kid to juvenile detention because one of their parents gets arrested.

  • Education Reform Movement

    Hi!

    Could you sign this petition: change.org/petitions/board-of-education-and-all-educational-facilities-and-municipalities-reform-education-so-that-it-s-fair-for-all-and-not-for-the-elite-few-or-the-dull-many-no-child-left-behind

  • Rebecca Martusewicz

    The unions who decided to protest EMU’s participation in the EAA by boycotting EMU’s student teachers are doing so because they see what happens to strong, experienced teachers when the EAA comes to a district: massive layoffs and replacements by inexperienced, poorly trained TFA teachers who will not receive benefits, will be paid a lot less, and will ultimately leave after getting none of the support they were promised when hired. It’s exploitation pure and simple, and that is why unions are needed. Unions are not the problem. The problem is with EMU’s Board of Regents and administration’s decision to enter into this scheme with absolutely no input from those of us with years of research and knowledge about best practices and what serves students and communities well. And we are witnessing the results.

    What’s in it for EMU? That is a question the faculty and students at EMU would like answered too, because this shady arrangement is surely not what’s best for EMU students or faculty, our legacy as a premier Teacher Education institution, or the school districts that we’ve served.

    And just to be clear, there are other teachers in SE Michigan who are choosing to boycott without the sanction of their unions because they too see this as a harmful move on the part of EMU’s administration and Regents.

  • Barbara Orr

    As a retiree from a southeastern Michigan public school, graduate in education from Eastern Michigan University and President of a Florida Michigan Association of Retired School Personnel Chapter in Florida, I have special interest in this situation. The EAA is robbing and forcing teachers to teach in these EAA schools and then the state does not allow them to pay into the state’s pension for retired school personnel. Just another approach to cause the pension fund to lose support/money for present and older pensioners. We will be in the same situation as Detroit pensioners. The EAA schools has problems for their students, the teaching staff and administrators but I put the negative issues on the back of Michigan legislatures and Eastern administration/ regents for supporting the EAA program. Unfortunately, your graduates might be great future teachers but the EAA is a failure and potentially harm for thousands of future and present MI school retirees result you have the protest of school personnel working in Michigan schools.

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