Bill Introduced to Expand Education Achievement Authority

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Lansing's Eastern High School is in its third year of being on the list of the five percent lowest achieving schools in the state. If the new bill is signed into law, the Education Achievement Authority can taken over the school if students' grades don't improve.

"We all have our fingers crossed, this week is MME testing and we're all very anxious for our kids to do well," said Lansing School District Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.

The EAA currently operates 15 schools in Detroit and the legislation calls for expanding it to 50 schools. EAA schools are non-union and students are grouped by ability for each subject and not traditional grades. They also have longer schools days and a longer school year.

"We're basically just getting down to a policy that puts students trapped in failing schools first," said sponsor of the bill Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto.

However, Lansing School District is still fighting to keep its schools out of it. The legislation to expand the state-run system was first introduced last year. Superintendent Caamal Canul says this new version is an improvement and gives Eastern High a better chance to stay with LSD.

"The state reform office could decide that the school is making significant enough progress so that they could stay within their home district."

"If they're starting to see results, the last thing we want is for the state to have to take that school into the EAA, we want our local schools to be able to turn around on their own, so that language is also in there [the bill]," said Rep. Lyons.

Some educators say while change is good, local school districts can do it on their own.

"We can figure out how to do this, or give the public schools the same authority that you're giving to EAA and I think we can be successful," said Ingham ISD Superintendent Stan Kogut.

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