Education — March 27, 2014 at 10:00 am

Another OPEN LETTER to the Regents of Eastern Michigan Univ. from a College of Ed. faculty member


Earlier this week, I published an open letter to the Regents of Eastern Michigan University who made the decision to partner with the Education Achievement Authority, Governor Rick Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit’s children. In it, he admonished the Regents for betraying the history and legacy and mission of EMU by supporting an education model that relies on untrained, inexperienced teachers. EMU’s reputation and history as a “university for teachers” seemed to be thrown to the curb with this move and continues to be thrown to the curb by their continued support.

Today, we have another open letter, this one from EMU College of Education faculty member professor Stephen Wellinski. Professor Wellinski created a petition calling the Board of Regents to end their affiliation with the EAA which I wrote about HERE.

The comments on Professor Wellinski’s petition, many from educators and students at EMU, are worth reading. They have been collated HERE (pdf).

Like Professor Camron, Professor Wellinski attended the Board of Regents meeting this week. However, unlike Professor Camron, he was unable to speak (he was told his comments were “lost”.) Today, I am posting his comments so that they CAN be seen/heard.

One more thing: Republicans in the Senate failed to gather enough votes on the bill passed by the House of Representatives that will expand the EAA statewide. They are now Starting tomorrow they will be on a three-week break. This gives us additional time to be heard on this issue. Please reach out to your Senators and let them know that the EAA is not only not helping Detroit students, it is, in fact, hurting them. Click HERE to find contact information for your Senator.

Here is Professor Wellinski’s open letter:

Public Comment to the Board of Regents March 25, 2014
It has been 106 days since I brought the Preserve the Integrity of EMU petition before you to support the call for severing the EMU-EAA relationship. Since then, we have heard from many and varied voices giving us a clear understanding that the EAA is not the “creative effort to address under performing schools” as the President claimed. The almost 1500 signatories of this petition have studied the EAA discourse: listening to many voices and engaging with varied perspectives.

We have heard the thoughts of EMU students, faculty, and alumni and share their concerns; We have watched the resignation of the COE dean from the EAA Board and understand the significance of the act; We have noted local teachers and school boards move away from our historically renowned College of Education and identify with the public schools impacted by the breach of partnership; We have witnessed the victims of your choice — the students and teachers in the EAA schools and stand with them in demanding for justice; we have even seen one time candidate for that EMU presidential seat, Superintendent Flanagan distance the State Board of Education from the EAA. It seems like the Board of Regents made the right decision in hiring someone who blindly does their bidding. So, who have we NOT heard from? The Administration/Board of Regents of Eastern Michigan University!!!

I would like to take time to showcase the mosaic of voices that clearly positions your chosen path — a path that degrades our valued concept of Education First — as unwise and destructive. But, given the limited time, I will share one telling voice. Ironically, this man’s one particular vote was assumed to give YOU the political cover to finally do what is right: Representative Harvey Santana:

I cannot pick and choose the issues that come to Lansing. I must deal with the issues as they are presented to me. It would have been wrong of me to not insert myself into the EAA debate. The EAA has been established in my city for a year now through and inter-local agreement with Eastern Michigan University. Detroit had no choice in this. Detroit’s children had no choice in this.

Detroit had no choice? Detroit’s children had no choice? Well, who had a choice? Santana answers this question very clearly in this statement . . . Eastern Michigan University had a choice when they entered into the agreement to take over the education of Detroit’s children. Let us be very clear on this, Santana is wrong on one respect: EMU did NOT have a choice – The president and Board of Regents made the choice!!! WE — students, faculty, and alumni — ARE EMU!!! And we are NOT co-conspirators in the misguided deeds of a few.

But, it does speak volumes that this rascal (Santana) would sell out his own people and put the responsibility on YOU (the administration/Board of Regents) and YOUR CHOICES.

I leave with one question. A question that will guide our understanding for future trust and confidence: Why would EMU’s representative on the EAA board of directors (a nonvoting member) purposefully and clearly cast votes of approval for EAA initiatives at the same time reaching out to faculty claiming a desire for more information before any actions can be made? This seems like a disconnect between word and deed.