Education — March 20, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Republicans pass bill to expand EAA with help of Detroit Democrat Harvey Santana


House Republicans along with Detroit Democrat Harvey Santana and Independent Detroit Rep. John Olumba passed legislation this afternoon that expands the EAA. The bill passed with a two vote margin.

I have rarely been prouder of the House Democrats (with the exception of Santana) who spoke eloquently, passionately, and with facts in hand about how terrible this bill is and how it represents a colossal failure of the Detroit children in the EAA and those who will be in the EAA in the future. Rep. Sam Singh asked if we would would go to a hospital where most of the people came out sicker, pledging never to return. Rep. Lipton, Rep. Oakes, and others were clear and concise in their magnificent speeches. Rep. David Nathan called for the resignation of EAA Chancellor John Covington.

Rep. Santana was insulting in his speech, belittling those who oppose expansion, erroneously claiming they used politics instead of facts to guide their position, all the while ignoring the plain facts that had been presented to him before and during the debate. He accused those of us who oppose it of not doing anything for the children in our communities while patting himself on the back and lauding his own community involvement. The activists in Detroit who have toiled for decades on behalf of Detroit’s children will be outraged and insulted when they see his speech. His suggestion that those of us who oppose the EAA don’t care about Detroit’s children and are protecting the status quo were as off-base as they could have been, sounding all the world like the talking points distributed in the Republican caucus room.

I’ll have more to say tomorrow. I have a Democratic Party meeting to get to tonight and need to let my passions ebb a bit after listening to a Detroit Democrat telling me that my position isn’t worthy and that people like me who want something so much better for the kids in our most hard-hit schools don’t have opinions of value. There ARE other ideas besides the EAA and the pre-EAA status quo, something the supporters of this horrendous legislation either don’t understand or choose not to understand.

I’ll leave you with the statement of Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer:

When it comes to educating our kids, Lansing Republicans have the wrong priorities. Schools across the state are struggling because this governor cut over $1 billion from education to pay for a $1.8 billion tax break for corporations, even if they outsource Michigan jobs.

The EAA is a failed experiment that has done nothing to narrow the achievement gap, or improve education for children in struggling schools. We simply cannot afford to gamble with our kids’ future by expanding this flawed program.

It’s clear Governor Snyder’s one-size-fits-all approach to helping struggling schools is not working, and we need new leadership in Lansing. We need real solutions to help struggling schools, and that includes investing additional resources in Michigan classrooms to help our kids compete for high-wage, high-skill jobs.

Expanding the EAA is a serious mistake, and as governor, I would veto this flawed legislation.