Statement from State Representative Brian Banks (D-Grosse Pointe Woods) on Opposition to the EAA:

Thursday, March 7, 2013

“As a former elementary school teacher and adjunct professor, I am an advocate for education. I am committed to ensuring that all children have access to the quality education they need to reach their full potential and compete for good-paying jobs – no matter where they live. Sadly, as I sat in on my first State of the State Address by Governor Snyder, I was disappointed to hear the governor declare his support for the Education Achievement Authority (EAA). Governor Snyder wants to push through a massive state takeover of public education through the so-called EAA. This unproven plan continues to dismantle our local public schools, put more power with Lansing bureaucrats and force taxpayers to foot the bill for more corporate-run, for-profit charter and cyber schools.”

“One key to ensuring a bright future for our community is to ensure that our children receive the best education possible, and the EAA is not the way! I am in complete opposition of the EAA for the following reasons:

• The state-supported EAA stands in violation of Brown v. the Board of Education (1954). Although proposed as a statewide district to cover the lowest 5% of schools, the EAA model has exclusively been applied to Detroit Public Schools, a majority African American school district. The 15-member schools “district” is a separate and unequal district exacted upon the students and families of Detroit.

• The state-supported EAA stands in violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The citizens of Detroit have had their public assets, their schools, transferred into this separate and unequal district. Citizens do not have the right of participation in the governance of these schools. As the EAA board is wholly appointed, citizens cannot vote for board members in this separate and unequal district and have effectively lost the right to representation. This “state takeover” model that disenfranchises parents and reduces them to mere “shoppers” instead of “citizen advocates” follows the failing New Orleans Recovery District Model, where students are shuffled from one “F” school to the next “F” school.

• The state-supported EAA is using an instructional model that has failed elsewhere. It failed in Kansas City, MO and was jettisoned by the district. There exists no robust data to support further this experimentation on Detroit’s children.

• The state-supported EAA is not a sustainable model. It is a district that siphons resources away from already strained school districts in the state. It is a district that is operating in the red, requiring a $2 million advance to maintain operations after only a few months in existence.”

“I believe that a free and public education is the foundation for our democratic society. Public education historically has meant local control through elected representatives on the local school board and not control from out-of-state or private enterprises. The solutions to the problems facing public education must preserve and strengthen the priceless heritage of free and equitable public education opportunities for every student.”

“I will continue to fight for quality education for all students. I pledged to restore the state’s focus on our children’s future and fully fund Michigan schools. I urge you to help end this unconstitutional, instructionally deficient state-supported entity now. I urge you to stand up for educational equity, democracy, and justice. Contact your legislators and tell them NO to the EAA!”