Ann Arbor, Education — March 20, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Ann Arbor school board votes to publicly oppose EAA, calls on Eastern Michigan Univ. to sever ties


Educators are speaking. Are lawmakers listening?

Last night the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education unanimously voted to voice its opposition to HB 4369, the legislation that may likely be voted on in the state House today to expand the Education Achievement Authority.

“As an educational body, as a policy body, when we see the level of distress that programs are causing students…we have the moral obligation to step in and say something, particularly when it’s public education that’s we see under attack and is disturbing kids and students,” said Trustee Simone Lightfoot, author of the resolution. […]

“The reason I’ve been urging my colleagues to speak out against it … this experiment has not proven to do what it stated it was going to do, which is to help those students come up out of the morass of low achievement that they had been subjected to,” Lightfoot said.

The resolution passed by the school board also calls on Eastern Michigan University regents to sever their ties with the failed educational experiment.

This move adds to the growing list of educators, administrators, principals, and superintendents around the state voicing their opposition to this failed experiment, including the Ann Arbor Education Association, the union for Ann Arbor teachers who are boycotting student teachers from EMU until they end their relationship with the EAA.

Here is the full text of the resolution passed last night:

Whereas, the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education affirms and supports the right of every student in the state of Michigan and the nation to receive a free and quality education in a traditional K-12 public school system, regardless of their demographic or geographic location, and,

Whereas, this right can be, and has been, undermined by poor decision-making, fund allocation or education policy at all levels, and,

Whereas, we recognize that the desire to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all students, it is the stated goal of everyone in public education, and,

Whereas, we know that some proposed, piloted or implemented strategies and initiatives to improve these outcomes, by the nature of such efforts, may be found to be ineffective at best and harmful at worst, and,

Whereas, the Education Achievement Authority was established in 2011 for the stated purpose of taking over public districts and improving the educational outcomes for children at these schools, and,

Whereas, after three years of establishment the EAA has failed to document any consistent pattern of improvement in student outcomes where it has taken over for local school districts, and,

Whereas, a steadily growing body of evidence indicates that many students are actually doing worse under the EAA than they were doing under local schools districts, and,

Whereas, the EAA has undermined local communities by dismantling and usurping the authority of local elected school boards and effectively removing all local control of schools under its jurisdiction, and,

Whereas, the EAA has diluted the quality of education by hiring inexperienced, poorly trained and in some cases, uncertified teachers to replace highly experienced public school teachers as a money saving effort without regard to the impact on students, and,

Whereas, the EAA has had a significant destabilizing effect on communities adjacent to districts under its control, and has in fact destabilized public education across the state, and,

Whereas, Michigan school Superintendent Mike Flanagan has terminated the state’s exclusive contract with the EAA due to the EAA’s failure to address the educational needs of students, and,

Whereas, Eastern Michigan University has since 2011 been an active partner with the EAA, and,

Whereas, Eastern Michigan University is a highly regarded public university with an outstanding College of Education, which has for 100 years prepared thousands of students for careers as public school teachers in the state of Michigan, and,

Whereas, the well-documented failures of the EAA detract from the proud tradition of the well-deserved reputation of Eastern Michigan University, and will continue to undermine EMU’s role as a supporter of high-quality public education, and,

Whereas, Dr. Jann Joseph, Dean of EMU’s College of Education, has resigned from her position on the EAA’s board to protest the policies and practices of the EAA, and,

Whereas, numerous EMU professors and administrators have also expressed serious concerns regarding the educational efficacy of the EAA, and,

Whereas, the destructive effect the EAA has had and is continuing to have on public education is inconsistent with the basic mission of Eastern Michigan University and its College of Education,

Now does hereby resolve the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education urges:

  • The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents to:
    1. Discontinue its affiliation and partnership with the EAA.
    2. To work in concert with local public school districts in opposing efforts to destabilize, defund and deconstruct community-based and governed traditional public education.
    3. Go on record as opposing the state’s effort to rid communities of the opportunity to participate in and govern their local schools.
    4. Build, foster and expand opportunities to work more collaboratively in student-teacher placement, and similar efforts with traditional public school systems, including the Ann Arbor Public Schools
  • State lawmakers to oppose House Bill 4369, that would expand the destructive model of the EAA to a wider arena.