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EMU board votes to sever ties with the EAA

Jake Neher

The Eastern Michigan University board of regents has voted sever ties to the Education Achievement Authority.

EMU, along with the Detroit Public Schools, was part of the inter-local agreement that made the EAA possible.

The EAA was Gov. Snyder’s key education reform initiative. Launched in 2012, it was supposed to serve as a statewide school reform district.

However, it never gained legislative approval. And it never expanded beyond 15 former Detroit Public Schools. And it’s been dogged by poor student performance, high teacher turnover, and allegations of corruption nearly from the start.

EMU board members have been under heavy pressure to withdraw from the agreement.

But they declined to do so as recently as December, despite pleas and criticism from its own students and faculty.

At the time, board chairman Mike Morris said, “what we didn’t want to do was put an end to something that is a very important part of the give-and-take in Lansing.”

It appears that time for "give-and-take" has come. Republican lawmakers have agreed to jettison the EAA in an effort to get Detroit lawmakers on board with efforts to bail out the Detroit Public Schools.

And now, even current EAA chancellor Veronica Conforme has publicly stated it’s time for the EAA to end.

The EMU board’s vote doesn’t mean an immediate end for the district, though. An EAA spokesman said the “withdrawal cannot go into effect until June 30, 2017.”

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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