Just because the Education Achievement Authority has taken one in the teeth this week when State School Superintendent Mike Flanagan broke the exclusivity contract with the failed state-led school district doesn’t mean sanity or a renewed respect for home rule has been restored to Michigan’s academically struggling schools. One needn’t read between the lines to see what’s afoot — because it’s already been printed in black and white. The Free Press reports:
Flanagan has long said he wants more options for placing chronically failing schools – and the termination of the exclusivity agreement with the authority would give him that. He could choose among a number of other options, including intermediate school districts, neighboring school districts, charter management companies or other educational entities.
That second sentence is the most salient — it’s all about options. The only means for the state to acquire said “options” is through GOP authored lawmaking — Trojan Horse legislation that will enable the state superintendent to order a la carte off the menu:
- Education Achievement Authority
- ISD control
- dissolution of larger school districts, not just the small ones
Let us be perfectly clear here. This is a political ploy, a shell game of sorts, that is intended to look like a victory for Democrats. It’s not.
Gov. Snyder, and all GOP legislators are up for re-election. Last month, Eastern Michigan University sounded an SOS when they laid-off nearly all of their full-time education department teachers due to declining enrollment. Last week, Gov. Snyder learned that his education policies have earned him a 62 percent negative rating on his handling of K-12 education. GOP lawmakers know they are being painted with the same brush.
This is electioneering of the most craven variety. Expect to see legislation, probably already being crafted, that will act as a substitute for the EAA bill. It will give sweeping authority to the state superintendent to play chess with local school districts that are in the bottom 5 percent. It may be held back until say, after the first Tuesday in November, but it will occur.
The governor’s office issued this statement:
“The superintendent 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.”
This is clearly an orchestrated political maneuver. Sober up.
Amy Kerr Hardin
Updated 2-20-14 to indicate the EMU teachers laid-off were full-time.