It seems fitting to know now that the first meeting to discuss the governor's concept for the EAA was at a restaurant called “The Chop House.” The EAA most certainly lived up to being a horrific chop house of children and their education.

This recording was made on September 22, 2014. Eastern Michigan University Regent Jim Stapleton revealed to faculty and students the facts about a meeting that took place with the governor and several other members of his inner circle in April of 2011 to discuss a new school district called the Education Achievement Authority. Stapleton admits that what was pitched to him and Roy Wilbanks on that day and what actually happened are two completely different realities. You can listen to Jim Stapleton tell a group of EMU faculty what happened:

In this eight minute clip, Stapleton starts out describing how the first meeting to discuss forming the EAA went down. Stapleton and Wilbanks sat down with Rick Snyder, Richard Baird, a representative of the Eli Broad Foundation, Chief of Staff Dennis Muchmore, and attorney and charter school/school voucher snake oil salesman Richard McClellan. Richard Baird pitched the idea of a new state-wide school district to the two EMU administrators, then talked about how this was a political decision, and that of all the public institutions in the state, the governor believed EMU was the right fit for this project.

Stapleton also describes the decision to not share this with anyone else in the University administration, and when he went to Roy Roberts, the emergency manager for Detroit Public Schools, to talk to him two days after that meeting with the governor, Roberts had never heard anything about it.

There is much regret in Stapleton's account and how it has impacted the College of Education at EMU. He tries to lay blame on everyone, until a faculty member at the meeting tells him there is no way he can blame them.

What it came down to was money. Wilbanks and Stapleton thought the state would funnel money into EMU, and the university would have another school district to place student teachers. None of those things happened. The EAA never became a state-wide district, it's remained in Detroit and the children who are placed there are not getting the education they were promised.

But, Rick Snyder wanted this to move quickly. By July of 2011 there was a press conference announcing the EAA. And we all know what happened after that.

From the very beginning the EAA was a failed experiment pushed by people with no background in education and have no business establishing school districts anywhere in Michigan. Non-education people making education decisions always means disaster and the ones who suffer of course are always the children. It's time for Detroit Public Schools to abolish the EAA for good. On November 4 we can remove Rick Snyder so he can't harm our school children with his steak house rush job any more.  

First published on Up North Progressive.

  • November 3, 2014