Failing Michigan Schools To Have Options Besides An Education Achievement Authority Takeover

Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Friday, July 26, 2013. Snyder said he hop
Rick Snyder, governor of Michigan, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Friday, July 26, 2013. Snyder said he hopes to 'get through' the Detroit bankruptcy filing by 'the fall of next year.' Photographer: Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Education Achievement Authority soon won't be the only body allowed to take over failing schools in Michigan.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Education informed the EAA -– the governing body that currently operates Detroit’s worst public schools -- that it would be terminating its exclusivity contract with the authority next year. This would allow other groups to step in and operate low-performing schools.

The EAA is an independent entity that Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder created in 2011 to take over and operate the lowest-performing Michigan schools. The EAA currently runs 15 schools that were referred by the Detroit Public School District.

Since its inception, the EAA has faced strong opposition from community members and education advocates who have questioned its effectiveness. Indeed, the EAA recently received criticism after it was revealed that 25 percent of students left after just one year in the system, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Still, the EAA is the only body allowed to takeover failing Michigan schools until its exclusivity contract with the DOE is terminated in 2015. While the EAA will continue to operate its 15 schools, the state DOE wants multiple options for low-performing institutions, according to MLive.

Snyder released a statement Wednesday saying he supported the decision to terminate the contract.

“[Michigan Schools Superintendent Michael Flanagan] should have some flexibility if he believes a particular school can be best helped by a different type of solution, and those solutions can come from an intermediate school district, a chartering group or some other entity,” a statement obtained by the Detroit Free Press said.

The contract termination comes on the heels of a bill that would allow the EAA to run up to 50 schools in the state, according to The Detroit News. On Tuesday, four of the eight members of the Michigan State Board of Education spoke out against the legislation, saying that adding schools to the EAA would be “counter-productive,” according to MLive.

"The basic premise of the EAA teaching model is flawed. Putting mostly new, inexperienced teachers in schools whose students have had difficulty learning is not working,” said the statement.

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