Eastern Michigan University Board To Consider Education Achievement Authority Agreement In December
Eastern Michigan faculty, students and alumni continue to call for the university to cut ties with the Education Achievement Authority. A 2011 inter-local agreement with EMU allowed the creation of the district designed to take over struggling schools. There are continuing concerns and some of those are now coming from members of the board of regents.
Critics of the EAA site declining enrollment, low student performance, and challenges in finding a new chancellor as the latest examples of the organization's failure. Concerns about the EAA aren't limited to outsiders.
President Susan Martin says university leadership, including the Board of Regents, listen to the open dialogue on campus about the EAA.
Trustee Floyd Clack says legislative changes are needed to give Eastern more control. "If we do continue I hope that we can have a bigger influence on their outcome. I think that the university could help them tremendously if some of the laws were changed so that they would have to work with Eastern. Right now we don't have a lot of authority to do a lot of things," Clack says.
For Regent James Webb the focus needs to be on children in Detroit. "Frankly I'm all in to work with the teachers here that are developing our educators, but something needs to be done, and we can't just continue doing what we've always done. Clearly that hasn't worked and I'm open to any suggestions that they have, and I don't care if it's the EAA or whatever. Something has to fix this system," Webb says.
EMU Associate Professor Steve Wellinski says individuals may be working for kids in underperforming schools, but the EAA has been flawed since its creation. "They were bartering with the governor on a pot of gold, or for a pot of gold that was never delivered. And the other part to this is there are people and groups on our campus that are already working with Detroit Public Schools and the community. Why did they ignore those people?" Wellinski says.
Chair of the Board of Regents Francine Parker promises the future of Eastern's connection with the EAA will be on their agenda in December.