A permanent statewide authority (the Education Achievement Authority) will run a school district intended to improve Michigan schools by removing the bottom 5% of schools from districts and placing them into the system. The plan was announced by Rick Snyder, Roy Roberts, and Arne Duncan on 20 June 2011. Only Detroit Public Schools will be included in the initial phase of the system. Charter schools can also be included.
Roy Roberts will continue to be emergency financial manager of DPS and also head the new system. The system will be building capacity in 2011-12 and begin taking over schools in 2012-13. The system could expand statewide in 2013. Schools added to the district will remain for five years. If the school improves, the district will give the school the option to return to its home district.
In the district, control of the schools would be given to individual principals and teachers, not central administration. The district will provide a curriculum that schools can choose to use. Buildings would continue to be maintained and allocated by their home district. Schools will probably operate for eight hours a day, 210 days a year.
Per-pupil spending will remain the same, but the percentage spent on administration is expected to fall from 45% to 5%.
Through the plan, EAS students would be guaranteed tuition to a two-year college or technical school. The district hopes to raise funds to cover four years. The scholarships are managed independently of the district.
The district will have a board with the following composition:
- 7 gubernatorial appointees
- Two DPS appointees
- Two Eastern Michigan University appointees
A 5-member executive committee appointed by the governor will have at least one appointee from both DPS and EMU.
- June 20th: Project announced
- 22nd: Eastern Michigan University faculty announce they will not perform work that supports breaking unions.
See also: the Education Achievement Authority Board
98 low-performing schools may end up in the district based on reading and math scores. Of those, 66 are in Macomb, Oakland or Wayne County. 38 are from Detroit.
Covington outlines his thoughts for planning the EAS, including community meetings. He says he doesn't have a plan but has starting points, including principal autonomy, merit pay, and longer school days and years.
In October 2011, Covington said that the EAS may expand to schools outside of Detroit in its first year: "It is critically important and the right thing to do," Roberts said. "If we are going to spend a year planning and studying, and just roll it out in Detroit, that's a little narrow. But in the same period, planning to go across the state seems like the appropriate thing to do. And it's good for Detroit. Detroit will not believe that it's just about Detroit." Snyder's office said the original plan, to start only with DPS schools, was still in place. No schools had yet been selected to become part of the district. Covington also announced early hires, including members of his Kansas staff.
The Detroit News reports that Maria Goodloe-Johnson, who was hired at a salary of $200,000 as the instructional and academic accountability operations, was let go by the Seattle school board after three years. A district report showed that she knew about and did not stop corruption in the district's small business program. The program spent $1.8M on projects that had little public benefit.
Eligible Schools as of June 2011
- Beckham, William Academy
- Bethune Fitzgerald Academy
- Bunche Elementary School
- Burns Elementary School
- Central High School
- Cody College Preparatory
- Crockett Finney High School
- Denby High School
- Earhart Middle School
- Farwell Middle School
- Ford High School
- A.L. Holmes Elementary School
- Hutchinson Elementary School
- Jemison School of Choice
- Kettering High School
- King High School
- Law Elementary School
- Dixon Elementary-Middle School
- Mumford High School
- Murphy Elementary-Middle School
- Nolan Elementary School
- Northwestern High School
- Osborn Upper School of Global Comm
- Parker Elementary School
- Pershing High School
- Phoenix Elementary
- Schulze Elementary School
- Scott, Brenda Middle School
- Southeastern High School
- Southwestern High School
- Stewart Elementary School
- Trix Elementary School
- Western International High School
- White Elementary School
Schools selected in March 2012:
Central Collegiate Academy and Denby, Ford, Mumford, Pershing and Southeastern high schools. Law Academy and Brenda Scott, Burns, Bethune, Murphy, Nolan, Phoenix, Stewart and Trix elementary-middle schools.
Detroit Public Schools Attempt to Leave the EAS:
The Detroit Board of Education voted on November 13, 2012, to sever its contract with Eastern Michigan and withdraw its schools from the EAS. The EAS denies the district has this ability. The issue will probably be decided in court. Judge John Murphy has been ruling on related issues.
- List: 34 low-performing Detroit schools that would join EAS. Free Press. 20 June 2011.
- How new Michigan school district for low-performing schools would work. Free Press. 20 June 2011.
- Sweeping reform plan empowers principals, teachers in low-performing Michigan schools. Free Press. 20 June 2011.
- Frequently Asked Questions About the Education Achievement System
- District for failing schools should go statewide next year, chancellor says. Detroit News. 11 November 2011.
- Top EAS staffer faces scrutiny over ouster. Detroit News. 8 December 2011.