Reps. Abed, Cochran: Lack of Transparency in EAA Expansion Bill Led to 'No' Vote

House Republicans resist measures to hold EAA accountable to voters
Thursday, March 21, 2013

LANSING - State Representatives Theresa Abed (D-Grand Ledge) and Tom Cochran (D-Mason) voted against the expansion of the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) today because they said the bill lacks measures that would hold the EAA accountable to students, parents and voters and offers no real solutions that would improve education in Michigan’s most troubled schools.

“The EAA subjects our most troubled schools to an unelected board that has no transparency or accountability to the parents of the children in those schools,” said Rep. Abed. “The EAA is an unproven model that has only been in existence since last fall, operating in 15 schools in Detroit. We should not be experimenting on our students with a reform that lets unelected board members serve lengthy terms and allows our public schools to be converted into charter schools. The EAA is an attack on public schools under the guise of reform, and I cannot support it.”

House Democrats and Rep. Abed offered several amendments that would have brought the EAA under the oversight of the state’s elected Board of Education and ensured that the workings of the EAA remain transparent. All of the amendments were rejected by House Republicans. Rep. Abed’s amendments would have limited the terms of EAA members to four years, and ensured that EAA schools are not converted into for-profit charter academies. Amendments from other House Democrats also included proposals to:

  • Subject EAA schools to the same testing and reporting standards of all other public schools
  • Require the State Reform Officer, with oversight from the state Board of Education, to determine which schools enter the EAA system
  • Subject the EAA to the Freedom of Information Act
  • Require the formation of parent groups in EAA schools
  • Require monthly meetings for EAA schools akin to the monthly board meetings held in every school district across the state

“There is no doubt that some of our troubled schools need help, but we need a reform plan that is transparent, accountable and that actively involves the community and parents to make those schools and their students successful,” said Rep. Cochran. “The EAA does not do that, and that is why I voted no.”