In 2012 the state of Michigan formed the Education Assistance Authority to take over the operation of schools that were in the lowest 5 percentile regarding student achievement. They are presently operating 15 schools in Detroit and potentially will be operating another 40-50 schools in Michigan over the next few years. Below are some observations.
- It is too early to expand the EAA beyond the existing 15 schools. A track record needs to be established before doing so. For the sake of the children, time is of the essence and hopefully an informed decision can be made over the next 12 to 24 months.
- Some individuals are calling the EAA a failed experiment. It is an experiment in progress and the old way was not working. The status quo always resist change. It makes sense to seek a better alternative.
- The concept of John Covington, Chancellor of the EAA is "to implement the education platform where we use time as the variable, learning is the constant...." is a good one. At the end of the day, it is what you learned, not how long it took to learn, that is important.
- That same concept should be applied to improving our school system to meet the needs of our young citizens. We should not rush to judgement.
- Disclosure is important so citizens become comfortable with what is being done. State Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton request for information is not unreasonable. Here is her website with the documents she received from the EAA so far.
- Group decision making and critical thinking skills are difficult to teach with a computer program. The EAA needs to further develop and implement a plan to instill these skills in the children.