Rep. Darany Stands with Dems Against Legislation that Endangers Education

Legislator votes no on the expansion of the Education Achievement Authority
Friday, March 22, 2013

LANSING - State Representative George T. Darany (D-Dearborn) joined his democratic colleagues in the Michigan House of Representatives in voting against the expansion of the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) because it is an untested reform model and provides few avenues for transparency. The bill also lacks measures that would hold the EAA accountable to students, parents and voters and offers no real solutions that would improve education in Michigan’s most troubled schools.

“True education reform must be based on strategies that work and are data-driven,” Darany said. “The EAA is an experimental model that has only been in existence since last fall, and there’s no proof that anything in this bill would actually improve education. This legislation lets unelected board members serve lengthy terms and creates sweeping, structural changes without holding the EAA accountable to parents and voters.”

The EAA has been operating in 15 schools in Detroit since the start of the school year and there have been reports of classrooms with 50 or more children and schools that lack enough textbooks to go around. Many of these schools have seen rapid teacher turnover, which interferes with the learning process for students. The EAA also doesn’t require monthly meetings to be held in EAA-operated schools, leaving parents with no avenue to air concerns or have their questions answered. House Democrats introduced a number of amendments that would make the EAA accountable to voters and parents and ensure that EAA schools are not converted into for-profit charter academies. This included putting the EAA under the authority of the elected state Board of Education, as well as proposals that would:

  • Subject EAA schools to the same testing and reporting standards of all other public schools
  • Require the State Reform Officer, with oversight from the State Board of Education, to determine which schools enter the EAA system
  • Subject the EAA to the Freedom of Information Act
  • Require the formation of parent groups in EAA schools
  • Require monthly meetings for EAA schools akin to the monthly board meetings held in every school district across the state
  • Limit the terms of EAA members to four years

“Unfortunately, the Republican-led legislature refused to adopt any of the measures introduced by House Democrats,” Darany said. “It is no secret how critical our children’s education is to their success, and a quality education for every child must be a top priority if we are going to move Michigan forward. However, we must focus on strategies that actually work and that hold our schools accountable to the parents, voters and students.”