EAA Debate Continues in State House

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

Declining enrollment, mistreatment of students and mishandling of records.

All criticisms of the Education Achievement Authority. All reasons Representative Andy Schor is not voting to expand it.

"We need to make sure that our thought is for the kids in our district," said Schor, (D-Lansing).

But that's exactly what a bill moving through the legislature would do. Representative Lisa Posthumus Lyons, (R-Alto), introduced the bill several months ago, and says, based on performance of current schools in the EAA, it's the best option for students in struggling schools.

"Over 50 percent of students have shown one year's growth in less than a year and between 20 and 30 percent have shown two years," said Rep. Lyons.

But a 25 percent drop in enrollment and the fact that it takes away local control are red flags for Schor, considering schools in his district (Lansing Eastern High School) are prime candidates for the EAA.

"We've got a few schools that would be called priority schools and under this legislation, any of them can be taken," he said.

It's State Superintendent Mike Flanagan's job to decide which under-performing schools to put into the State Reform District. The problem is, once they're there, the EAA is the only entity that can operate them. That's why Flanagan wants to see more options to add local control.

"The bottom line is I think ISDs should also be able to operate those districts, not just the EAA," said Flanagan.

At the same time, Flanagan still has a job to do.

"If I won't send my preschool grandkids there, I have an obligation to move them out," he said.

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