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Michigan PTA writes Obama to reject new district as Race to the Top finalist

Michigan PTSA

For the first time, Michigan could get a piece of President Obama’s Race to the Top prize money for education.

But not everyone’s celebrating.

The Education Achievement Authority was the only Michigan district to qualify as a Race to the Top finalist.

The new authority runs 15 of Michigan’s lowest performing schools in Detroit, but legislation at the state Capitol would expand the district statewide and cement it into law.

More than 100 Parent Teacher Association administrators, teachers and parents signed a letter this week asking Mr. Obama to reconsider his choice.

Shaton Berry is President of the Michigan PTA. She says while education reform is necessary, not enough is known about the EAA.

“I don’t think it's appropriate for those monies to go into a school district that’s still in an experimental phase, and we have no data to support that it’s doing the job it says it does," she said.

Bob Berg is a spokesperson for the EAA. He says he's confident the district will win the money, despite the letter.

"It's an example of what happens when people try to create new innovations," he said, "and people who are invested in the old way of doing things don't like change."

The Race to the Top competition awards innovation in education. This round of winners will be announced next month.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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