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Bill to expand statewide district for 'failing' schools gets House OK

The former Carstens Elementary School building, on Detroit's east side, is one of many, many schools that have been shuttered in Detroit.
Sarah Hulett
Michigan Radio

The state House has approved by a one-vote majority Governor Rick Snyder’s plan to expand the agency that’s supposed to turn around some of Michigan’s most-troubled schools. The Education Achievement Authority is currently running 15 schools in Detroit.

“The bill allows for more tools to be used to turn around failing schools,” said State Rep. Lisa Lyons, who chairs the state House Education Committee. “Those options range from local opportunities like intermediate school districts or local school districts or innovative opportunities like charter schools or the Educational Achievement Authority.”

But critics say student test results don’t support putting more schools into the authority.

“The EAA has proved to be a failed experiment. It is not the solution that some people thought it would be. So why are we advancing a system of schools that has been proven not to work,” said David Hecker of the Michigan Federation of Teachers, which opposes the expansion.

The final version of the bill could be voted on by the state Senate next week and sent to the governor’s desk.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.