Lansing Super: Slow Down on EAA Expansion

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The Education Achievement Authority is a new kind of school system, run by an 11-member board, with most members appointed by the governor. It currently controls 15 of Detroit's lowest performing schools, but the chair of the House Education Committee could be introducing a bill soon to expand it to the rest of the state. Lansing's education community has already taken a hardline stance to stop it from moving forward.

"I'm worried about the kids, they think they can just put them in this big super district and all of a sudden it's going to make a difference," said Jim Allen, teacher at Everett High School.

Allen and others recently received an email from the president of the Lansing Schools Education Association that said the EAA will have a negative impact on the district's schools. The president also called on members to fight it, while Lansing's superintendent says the threat of an EAA takeover is real.

"It's quite possible the state department of education and the SRO would decide to send one of our schools to the EAA," said Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.

The EAA is designed to operate the bottom 5% of schools based on performance. Eastern high falls within that bracket.

"In a district like Lansing, it would be a tremendous loss of history, of a community spirit," said Caamal Canul.

However, the sponsor of the upcoming legislation argues the new system is innovative and gives the essential boost to struggling students.

"If you oppose this legislation, that's telling me you support the status quo and you're ok leaving kids behind in failing schools," said Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto.

The idea of expanding the EAA already has the governor's support. During an earlier interview with News 10, Gov. Snyder said the goal of the EAA is to go beyond Detroit.

Supporters of this new system is determined to move the bill to the governor's desk, while teachers and administrators in Lansing are fighting to make it stop.

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