Well folks, the Michigan House predictably passed the bill to expand the Education Achievement Authority by a narrow vote of 57 – 53 this week. The bill is now in the hands of the Senate, where it will most certainly be passed-along for the Governor’s eager signature.
This new 2013 version of the EAA law, HB 4369, is purported to be significantly different from the the 2012 measure, HB 6004. It seems that the major selling point of the “improved” bill is that they plan to scale-back the number of schools allowed for state take-over from 60 to 50 in the next few years. Now, perhaps I don’t fully “get” their wizened reasoning here, but if the EAA is such a friggin’ spectacular idea, why are they limiting its expansion?
Could it be that their corporate privatization scheme for Michigan public education, borne under the shadow of the Emergency Manager law, is not only unproven but a financial and educational boondoggle?
Yup, that’s a pretty good hunch.
The impetus behind the legislation is to codify into Michigan Compiled Law the EAA in the same way Emergency Managers are legally disposing of democratic rule on a long-term basis in Michigan cities, mostly in minoity regions — so that now schools in those communities will have an unelected state overlord as a permanent fixture too.
In addition to the state seizure of local control of these financially struggling schools, it suspends collective bargaining in the bottom 5 percent of schools — an ugly provision reminiscent of the failed federal law, No Child Left Behind, in which schools that did not meet AYP (adequate yearly progress) were summarily punished regardless of important contributing factors.
This law was crafted to continually punish the bottom 5 percent, no matter how much progress they make, and history shows that the lowest performing schools tend to be located in poor urban areas. This EAA law, like its Emergency Manager parent, facially-speaking, does not have a racial component, but in practice — well, that’s another matter.
Racism is racism.
Amy Kerr Hardin This article also appears in Voters legislation Transparency Project