Detroit, Education, Teachers — June 30, 2015 at 8:30 am

CONFIRMED: Education Achievement Authority cheating teachers out of incentive pay


Earlier this month, in an exclusive report here at Eclectablog, I reported that teachers in the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) were not receiving Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) payments as promised. The “District for Wayward Schools” had received millions of dollars in TIF grants from the federal government – $11.5 million over three years – to give teachers financial incentives for being good teachers. However, as I reported on June 9th, those funds were not being dispersed. In a email response to a teacher asking about it, EAA Associate Chancellor David Donaldson had this to say:

That is correct. 13-14 and 14-15 are totally unrelated.

However, there will be no disbursement by June 11th. Please see the message below that I sent out to the TIF council recently:

TIF Council,

Good morning.

For those of you I haven’t had the opportunity to meet, my name is David Donaldson. I serve in a capacity supporting the Chancellor on her strategic priorities. As of last week, I was placed in charge of TIF.

It has been brought to my attention that there was a timeline distributed stating award notifications would be going out this week, and thus an appeals window would begin as well.

It is my understanding that the timeline was projected, and unfortunately we have some additional steps to take before we are able to release award notifications. At this time, I am unable to update the timeline, but will provide information for distribution once it is available.

I apologize for any frustration or confusion you may be experiencing. I look forward to ensuring our teachers feel appreciated and are rewarded for their hard work via TIF.

Please reach out to me with any comments or questions.

Thank you.

It’s three years since they first received the funding and yet there are STILL “some additional steps” that they feel they have to take before the teachers will be compensated.

This morning, the Detroit Free Press reporting that the EAA has been simply sitting on those funds:

Michigan’s reform school district is in hot water because of how it used — or didn’t use — a federal grant meant to provide extra pay for high-performing teachers.

An Education Achievement Authority spokesman said the district simply hasn’t spent the money it received through the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) program — a figure federal officials say tops $11.5 million over three years.

It’s unclear why the money wasn’t spent.

The U.S. Department of Education designated the EAA as “high-risk” and imposed conditions the district must follow if it wants to receive the balance of the $32.7-million, 5-year grant.

The EAA was awarded the grant in September 2012. It has received payments for the first three years totaling more than $11.5 million, according to Dorie Nolt, press secretary for the U.S. Department of Education.

Just to recap, the EAA was a school district artificially created by the Snyder administration to rapidly bring the lowest-performing schools in the Detroit Public Schools up to speed. Instead of bringing in the best resources available to rectify a terrible situation, about half of the teachers they hired were first-year teachers, and about half of those were Teach for America teachers who received less than two months of training in how to actually be a teacher. And now we find out that, in addition to their terrible working conditions in what is easily one of the most difficult teaching environments in the United States of America, teachers are being short-changing teachers because the EAA administration has been withholding funds that were earmarked to incentive them and reward them for their sacrifice.

This one more piece of evidence that Gov. Snyder’s failed experiment on Detroit school children is inept and designed to fail. After several years of state takeover of the Detroit Public Schools, these kids are no farther ahead than they were when the EAA was created. Several people and corporations have enriched themselves in the process, of course, including Agilix that got free beta testing of their “teach by computer” BUZZ software.

One group NOT enriched, however, are the educators tasked with turning around the academic performance of the kids in the EAA.