The following open letter to Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was penned by Eastern Michigan University College of Education faculty member professor Stephen Wellinski. Professor Wellinski has been a leader in demanding that EMU end its partnership with Gov. Snyder’s failed education experiment on Detroit school kids known as the Education Achievement Authority.
Dear Governor Snyder
This Tuesday (December 8th) at 1:30 p.m., The Board of Regents of Eastern Michigan University will be holding their last meeting of the 2015 calendar year. One agenda item of interest is the inter-local agreement that establishes your Educational Achievement Authority. As a professional courtesy, I want to extend you an invitation to our gathering.
Your presence could be very valuable to the State of Michigan in three ways. First, it could serve as a source of legitimate information for you as related to your “experiment” (The EAA). From your appearance this morning on Detroit Wants to Know, it is clear that you have not read the EAA Report by the EMU faculty that was submitted to the Board of Regents. In the interview, you said that student achievement in the EAA “is improving.” Our analysis of the achievement data provided by Chancellor Conforme finds this claim unquestionably false. In fact, we have documented that the EAA has failed on all 4 criteria laid out by your appointees last December 5th – 1) A stronger partnership is forged between Eastern Michigan University and the EAA; 2) Demonstrated student achievement and progress in EAA schools; 3) Fiscal Accountability; and 4) Complete transparency of all activities, including prompt and appropriate responses to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act. Hopefully, one of your appointees will send you a copy of the report soon to save you further from making misstatements. If not, feel free to contact me and I will send you a copy.
Secondly, it could serve the state of Michigan by having its elected “leader” detail his plans for education in the state of Michigan and, in particular, the city of Detroit. For the CEO of this state to stand on the campus of the historic Michigan Normal College that has produced many of the amazing educators and answer questions about his educational plans would be very symbolic (photo op?).
Lastly, given your appointees will not act on the inter-local agreement without your permission, your appearance could serve to bring legitimate transparency and action to Tuesday’s meeting. By directing the Board to vote Tuesday on the EAA agreement, we could see the transparency you promote under your administration in action. The Boardroom of Welch Hall would parallel the Roman Coliseum where the gladiators fight with ideas. Then, after the debate a motion is made to vote on the continuation of the inter-local agreement — an agreement that has not only hurt Eastern Michigan University, but the children of Detroit. With the motion come eyes drawn to you, as your appointees look for a thumb up or down.
I apologize for the lateness of this invitation. But, I have been busy helping current and future teachers on legitimate ways to serve students… it is called pedagogy. Nevertheless, I am sure you will be comfortable and welcomed by the hosts of the meeting as most of the Regents are your appointees. And, just in case you need directions to our beautiful campus, I have linked a map… please notice it is just a short 7.5 miles down Washtenaw Avenue from the Chop House.
Stephen Wellinski, Ph.D
Associate Professor, Eastern Michigan University