Education — December 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

Education Achievement Authority for helping troubled Michigan schools back in the news (in a BAD way)


Back August I wrote about how the Snyder Administration had hired John Covington to run a new group called the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). The EAA was set up to help out failing schools in Michigan.

This past week, John Covington was hired by the state of Michigan to oversee a collection of underperforming schools in the state. The new group, the Education Achievement Authority (EAA), will focus its efforts on improving failing schools around Michigan. In his new position, Covington may make as much as $1.5 million over 4 years if he meets goals set for him.

Here’s the official description of the EAA:

The Education Achievement System was unveiled in June 2011 as a way to redesign public education in Michigan’s lowest performing schools by driving more resources directly into their classrooms and offering greater autonomy to help ensure student achievement increases.

I also wrote how he came here under a cloud of controversy having been accused of manufacturing a fake conflict which allowed him to break his contract with his former employer, the Kansas City school system, where he was the superintendent.

The following month, Covington was back in the news because the school system he had just left had lost their accreditation.

At the time, I wrote this:

This is the guy who we trust to provide educational leadership and who we have working to help sort out the poorest-performing schools in Michigan. This is the man chosen by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder to fill that position. THIS is why Michigan Republicans can not be trusted to do right by our educational system and our educators.

Today we have further evidence that the group set up to help our most troubled schools is being managed very poorly. The woman hired run the new district’s instructional and academic accountability operations, Maria Goodloe-Johnson, apparently left her former employer under a cloud of controversy as well. Goodloe-Johnson was fired as superintendent of Seattle Public Schools due to a financial scandal.

Questions are being raised about a key staffer hired for the state’s new recovery school district who was fired as superintendent for Seattle Public Schools amid a financial scandal.

Maria Goodloe-Johnson was ousted by the Seattle school board in March after leading the 50,000-student district for more than three years.

Goodloe-Johnson was not charged or implicated in a Washington state auditor’s report that detailed corruption in the district’s small business program. But an outside attorney hired by the district to review her actions concluded she knew of the problems and should have acted, Seattle school officials said.

Goodloe-Johnson was hired last month by Education Achievement System Chancellor John Covington to run the new district’s instructional and academic accountability operations for $200,000 a year.

The money quote from the Detroit News article comes from Keith Johnson, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers:

“We know with John Covington there were some questions and concerns (over) the state in which he left Kansas City Schools. Now you compound that by bringing someone who was fired under suspicions that she was aware of improprieties and didn’t act upon them,” Johnson said. “It begs the question: Does Detroit settle for anything?”

Our state’s education system is precarious enough at the moment. The Sndyer adminstration sucked $1 billion from our schools to give tax breaks to businesses. Reduced property values are damaging their bottom lines even further. And now, it appears, the token effort to help the districts facing the most difficult challenges is being staffed with people with dubious histories.

If you need evidence that Michigan Republicans are on a heartfelt mission to destroy Michigan’s public school system, this, I would suggest, is it.