Eastern Michigan University Extends Contract With Education Achievement Authority
Despite objections from many in the Eastern Michigan University community, a partnership with the controversial statewide school district designed to turn-around the worst schools in Michigan will continue.
Chants and protesters lying down in front of the regents was the reaction to the board's six to two vote for a one year extension on the agreement with the Education Achievement Authority.
EMU President Susan Martin and Regents Chair Francine Parker had recommended terminating the agreement at the end of the school year. But Regent Mike Morris wants to give the EAA's new chancellor more time to make improvements. "One year extension of our activity, and if we don't see those changes, see the kids getting better, more transparency, then we'll withdraw," Morris says.
Specific improvements the regents are requesting include a stronger partnership with Eastern, progress in student achievement, fiscal accountability and complete transparency.
Critics of the EAA say it's a flawed model and these changes aren't enough. EMU Associate Professor Steve Wellinski doesn't understand why the university is continuing the partnership. "Where I grew up, someone fails to live up to an agreement, you make sure they're aware of what they messed up on, right? But he's gone back and renegotiated the deal it sounds like," Wellinski says.
The decision truly disapoints outgoing Regent Francine Parker. She's leaving the board this month with a charge for the remaining regents. "I think that it's incumbent for people that are remaining here to insist on it, and demand it, and don't stop asking," Parker says.
As they chanted throughout the end of the board meeting protesters made it clear they will continue demanding Eastern sever ties with the EAA.