Eastern Michigan refuses to stop supporting EAA

Eastern Michigan University refuses to drop its support of the Education Achievement Authority, despite pressure from several groups.

The EAA was designed to save some of the state's struggling schools - but many believe it's been a failure.

Eastern Michigan University first agreed to participate with the Educational Achievement Authority in June, 2011. 

And Eastern's Board of Regents voted last year at this time to continue participation, but to get out, if "substantial progress" had not been made in the EAA.

Tuesday's regents meeting was to decide whether to continue Eastern's involvement with the EAA was packed with those saying "go."

"The EAA is a failed experiment," said Rev. David Bullock, a community activist in Detroit. "It doesn't work."

The EAA was created to take the state's worst performing schools and fix them. EMU says progress is being made.

"Out of the 12 schools we run ourselves, three have been moved out of the lowest performing category into a higher (category)," said Mike Morris, chair of the EMU Board of Regents. "We are seeing some traction."

Some say not enough traction.  A federal investigation is being conducted over dealings in the EAA. Some colleges are not accepting student teachers from EMU, and some faculty at EMU say they don't have enough involvement in the running of those EAA schools.

"We're starting to see some of our own faculty say there maybe are things we could do," Morris said. "They are frustrated with the process to date but we are trying to bring folks together."

And there is Gov. Snyder who wants to reform Detroit public education which would include schools within the EAA.

EMU voted to postpone any vote to withdraw from the EAA until after the legislature reforms Detroit Public Schools and the EAA.

"Withdrawing may have been easy," Morris said. "But staying in the fight for the good of these kids is the right thing to do."

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