Our children are not experiments and should not be treated as such. The House is considering an approach referred to as the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) that has no data to show it is a proven success. It absolutely disgusts me to think that members of the Michigan House would jeopardize the education of our children just to please special-interest groups who have pushed away from real education reforms just to fill their wallets with the dismantling of our public school system.
The current EAA schools are still in their infancy. Despite the complete lack of supporting evidence, and the gross exaggeration of what scarce data exists, the governor's office endorses rapidly expanding the program and its reach. The changes would give the EAA the power to terminate collective bargaining agreements, prevent staff from accruing seniority and other punitive measures against our cities' educators.
Furthermore, the EAA holds the power to establish nonprofit corporations outside of the government, circumventing the Open Meetings Act and allowing the fate of our children's' education to be determined behind closed doors, completely excluding the parental involvement that strengthens our community. Possibly the most frightening aspect of the current legislation is a lack of an exit mechanism. As written, the bill provides for no path out from under the stifling control of the EAA in the absence of real improvement.
I believe that the EAA is an experiment that should be stopped now. I don't believe it should be operating schools in Detroit, and it certainly should not be expanded statewide. We need a better and proven program for turning our struggling schools around so that we can offer the best education to our most vulnerable students. It is simply not fair to take away all local control and to push parents, teachers, and administrators to the back when it comes to decision-making about these schools. We can do better for our students and, until we do, I will continue to oppose this legislation.