About the EAA of Michigan
Michigan – and especially Detroit – was hit incredibly hard by the recent recession and for a time, its future looked incredibly bleak. With the rescue of the auto industry, things are beginning to turn around. Unfortunately, the state of public education continues to be an obstacle. For too long, Detroit’s public schools have not been working for our students, our economy, or for the state of Michigan. Currently only 12 percent of Detroit’s students go on to finish college. While Michigan ranks 21st in the country in spending per student, our elementary and middle school students rank much lower in reading and math. Without serious reforms, it is unlikely that lasting economic progress can occur.
In the context of widespread concerns about the state’s educational performance and, in particular, the persistently lowest achieving schools, the governor took advantage of legislation that was passed in 2009 in an effort to win a Race to the Top grant from the U.S. Department of Education. That legislation authorized the state to take over the failing schools and turn them around. The law was implemented in June 2011, when Governor Snyder unveiled the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) of Michigan. The EAA, in partnership with the Board of Regents of Eastern Michigan University and the Detroit Public School system, is intended to redesign public education in Michigan's lowest performing schools by driving more resources directly into their classrooms and offering greater autonomy to help ensure an increase in student achievement.
On September 4, 2012, the EAA will re-open 15 of Detroit’s most chronically underperforming schools to the 11,000 students who are currently enrolled in the buildings, as well as any other students looking for a unique educational experience. Starting with these 15 schools, and expanding to include more schools across the state of Michigan in the following years, the EAA will offer students a decidedly new learning environment – one that is technology-enabled, challenging, engaging and tailored to their academic interests, progress and needs. Great teachers and school leaders will be empowered to support the needs of their students. Parents will have a choice of high quality, safe schools for their children, with the opportunity to track their progress and be directly involved in their education.
The EAA’s student-centered system of learning allows students the time and resources needed to achieve learning targets and progress by mastering course content rather than clocking seat time. In student-centered classrooms, students assume responsibility for their learning and work with teachers in planning, setting goals and producing evidence of what they know and can do based on performance. A dynamic and highly innovative computer-based learning platform will empower teachers by giving them unprecedented access to best-in-class resources: curriculum tied to new, higher, multi-state education standards known nationally as the Common Core, a variety of content in different mediums, and targeted professional development. Additionally, this platform will give educators access to state of the art web-based systems to track their students’ progress and adjust their classes and teaching styles accordingly. The learning platform also allows for personalization of each student’s learning experience by creating options for students that accommodate different learning styles, while ensuring that all students complete course requirements according to their individualized learning plans.
The EAA will institute the transparency and accountability necessary to safeguard the progress of our students and our teachers, our schools overall, and the efficient use of public funding. However challenged these schools and communities may be they are full of potential. If provided a different educational culture, innovative and student-centered learning experiences, and support from dedicated adults, Detroit’s students can achieve at their fullest potential. In the process, we aspire to be a catalyst for change not just in Michigan, but to transform traditional public schooling and provide a prototype for 21st Century teaching and learning.