Education, Politics

Michigan Legislature’s Next Move: Expanding the Educational Achievement Authority

By “legislature” I mean the “educational reformers” of Michissippi. By “reformers” I mean the Mackinac Center, the Oxford Foundation (which has no connection to anything Oxford – university, dictionary, dress shirts, or otherwise), any pro-charter organization, or a Michigan republican. The EAA came into being in 2011, claiming to be a “reinvention of education” and taking over the worst performing schools in Michigan. In other words, Detroit.

Republican state legislators, including former State House Education Chair, Lisa Posthumus Lyons, claim the EAA works, but have no proof, yet want to expand the program to other “failing” districts around the state. Democratic state legislators, including State Senator Burt Johnson, believe the EAA has failed miserably in Detroit, and doesn’t want the expansion.

State Representative Peter Lund (R, Shelby) defended Lyons in the pages of MLive this week, offering platitudes and pathos, but no proof. To wit:

Opponents will continue with their false allegations and scare tactics, but no political gamesmanship has ever helped a child learn to read. I will continue to support this second chance for kids in failing schools, because I am committed to better, more effective schools in Michigan. I can only hope my colleagues will begin to put politics aside and do the right thing for our children.

Dude, it’s all political. You’re a state representative, for cryin’ out loud. Lund charges Johnson with “personal attacks” against Lyons, too:

Everyone who works with her on this issue knows that this is what drives her, even though some have been willing to lie about her motivations for political reasons.

What might those motivations be, you ask? Let Sen. Johnson explain how Lyons wishes to expand the EAA, just not in her constituents’ backyard:

(H)er bill – written by the lobbyist for the Grand Rapids Public Schools – includes a carve-out specifically designed to exclude GRPS, which neighbors her district.

I cannot imagine how voters in Rep. Lyons’ district feel to know their representative thinks their children should be subject to the EAA debacle, but kids a few miles away in Grand Rapids would not have to worry about it.

Johnson offers plenty of facts to show how the EAA isn’t living up to its promise. In addition, he points out something Grand Rapids residents know all too well: the EAA is run by a group of former Kansas City, MO school administrators who, like former GRPS and Kansas City superintendent Bernard Taylor, decimated the KC district, shuttering over half of its schools without demonstrating any increase in student performance.

The EAA isn’t working. We can’t allow it to become the norm throughout Michigan.


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