Last month I shared Prof. Stephen Wellinski’s letter encouraging public school advocates to contact the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents to demand that they end EMU’s partnership with Michigan’s failed experiment on Detroit children known as the Education Achievement Authority (EAA).
You can sign Prof. Wellinski’s petition HERE.
The Board of Regents meets this Friday, December 5th to consider/reconsider their involvement and activists from across the state are expected to attend to have their voices heard on the issue. Here are details about the event. Click the image for a larger version:
Students at EMU are joining this cause and have issued the following resolution:
EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY STUDENT BODY
THE ONE HUNDRED AND FIRST STUDENT SENATE
FALL TERM TWO THOUSAND FOURTEEN
RESOLUTION NO. S. Res-101-004
AUTHORED BY President Miller
SUPPORTED BY Speaker Fegan
A RESOLUTION TO: URGE OUR BOARD OF REGENTS TO TERMINATE EMU’S CONTRACT WITH THE EDUCATION ACHIEVEMENT AUTHORITY (EAA)
THE STUDENT BODY OF EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY ENACTS:
WHEREAS, many Michigan k-12 schools have denied EMU student teachers the opportunity to get hands on experience at their school,
WHEREAS, data released shows that students in EAA schools are doing worse academically since the EAA’s implementation,
WHEREAS, EMU faculty, specifically those from the College of Education, were not consulted prior to EMU entering into a contractual relationship with the EAA,
WHEREAS, since EMU’s involvement with the EAA, the College of Education’s enrollment number has decreased,
WHEREAS, recent alumni of the College of Education have a hard time finding employment due to EMU’s relationship with the EM,
WHEREAS, Student Leader Group voted unanimously in support of this resolution at their November 6th, 2014 meeting,
BE IT RESOLVED, the Student Senate, in conjunction with EMU faculty, strongly urges our Board of Regents to listen to the VOice of its students and faculty, and terminate Eastern Michigan University’S contract with the Education Achievement Authority at their December 5, 2014 meeting.
In addition to this, EMU College of Education alumnus Jonathan Marceau who graduated in 2004 and was awarded Student Teacher of the Year awards at the state and national level issued this public letter to the EMU Board of Regents:
To the Members of the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents, President Martin, and Provost Schatzel,
I am writing to you as a Michigan public school teacher and as a graduate of Eastern Michigan University through the post-graduate teacher certification program, following completion of an undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan. After completing my student teaching, I was the recipient of Student Teacher of the Year awards at the state and national level, the latter being touted still to this day on the “Institutional Profile” section of EMU’s website. I am calling for an immediate end to Eastern Michigan University’s association with the Education Achievement Authority.
Eastern Michigan University has had a longstanding reputation for excellence in connection with its College of Education and teacher preparation programs while preparing students for careers in public education. Being as you are representatives of and spokespeople for Eastern Michigan, a public university, the initial partnership with the EAA struck me as odd and inappropriate. Over time, more and more details about the operations within the EAA have come to light through various sources, and it has left me disgusted.
There are many accounts of inadequate resources, squandering of taxpayer funds, discipline issues, high teacher turnover, declines in student enrollment, and other missteps. However, from the standpoint of a graduate of the teacher education program at EMU, I take particular exception with two practices in particular. One is the use of Teach for America recruits, individuals who receive a crash course in instruction, in staffing EAA classrooms. This is a direct slap in the face to the current and former students of the university’s College of Education who complete a comprehensive and diverse sequence of courses and training in order to be fully prepared for the varying challenges of classroom teaching. The second, and more egregious, has been the use of students and teachers as guinea pigs to test and improve the software product of a private company using taxpayer funds while offering little more than wasted screen-time to some of the most destitute students in our community. The idea that the university would be affiliated with using the region’s most at-risk students to try out an untested educational approach while using technology resources that have been indefensibly publicized to be of high merit goes against any rational thought.
These actions have gone against every aspect of Eastern Michigan University’s mission statement, institutional guiding principals, and institutional values and are the antithesis of any teachings I received while completing the College of Education’s teacher preparation program. The fact that Eastern Michigan University was ever connected to such an atrocious example of education is disgraceful. I could not in good faith encourage someone to attend Eastern Michigan University, let alone enroll in its College of Education given the hypocrisy demonstrated by the agreement with the Education Achievement Authority. This failed experiment with the most needy children of Detroit has gone on too long with far too many serious and unaddressed issues. The relationship between Eastern Michigan University and the Education Achievement Authority must end now. I implore you to take immediate action and sever ties with the EAA in order to begin the process of rebuilding EMU’s reputation as a leader in education.
EMU Class of 2004
The tide of public opinion has turned against the EAA and against the EMU College of Education’s inter-local agreement with the EAA. It’s time the Board of Regents got the message in as loud a way as possible. If you are able to attend the meeting on Friday at 1:30 p.m. in Welch Hall, I encourage you to do so.