Losing Faith in Managerial Government in Michigan


In a post to this blog in December, I reported on the decision by the Board of Trustees of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) to continue the university’s involvement in the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) that Governor Snyder’s administration created ostensibly to “save” Detroit’s “failing” public school system. That decision was made in the face of escalating protests by the faculty and students at EMU, as well as by many other educational and community groups. As I wrote in that post, the EAA has promoted charter schools at the expense of the already under-funded public schools, while producing no improvement in the educations being provided to Detroit’s children and while creating all sorts of opportunities for corruption, graft, and corporate profiteering.

Now the EMU Board of Trustees has reversed itself on the EAA. In an article written by David Jesse for the Detroit Free Press, Eastern Michigan Regent Jim Stapleton succinctly summed up the reasons for the loss of faith in the EAA:

“’As I have maintained from the beginning of this process, I applauded then, and applaud to this day, Gov. Snyder’s attempt to at least try to address the performance of our state’s lowest-performing schools. . . . Having said that, in my judgment, this experiment isn’t working and, has not for some time.

“’In retrospect and, as one of the people involved with this district from its inception, I wish we would have worked to give John Covington a better team on the operations side of the district because I do believe he was a quality educator.

“’Today, the district is not even being run by someone with an educational background. When coupled with the damage this arrangement has done to the reputation of our university and, particularly the retaliation that has taken place against our students just trying to start their careers for a decision our board made and, tripled with the fact not a single promise that was made to us was kept, this has been personally problematic for me for a while and, I have expressed that publicly and privately. It takes five votes for our governing body to act. Today, we had five votes and more, and for that I am happy.’”

EAA spokesman Robert Guttersohn was, however, quick to point out that EMU cannot simply walk away from the EAA: “T’here is no impact within the next year and a half. The interlocal agreement has a clause stating a withdrawal cannot be made within six months of June 30. We are within that time frame. Therefore the withdrawal cannot go into effect until June 30, 2017.’”


David Jesse’s complete article is available at: http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2016/02/05/eastern-michigan-pulls-plug-eaa/79880962/.

My earlier post on this issue is available at: https://academeblog.org/2015/12/12/follow-up-on-eaa-protests-at-eastern-michigan-university/.




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