EAA schools miss out on Race to the Top award

Dec 12, 2012

Michigan's new statewide district for low-performing schools was not a winner in a national competition to share a $400 million prize. 

The  Education Achievement Authority was launched just this year in an effort to turn around 15 of the state's lowest-performing schools -- all of them in Detroit.  

So it came as a surprise to Sandra York when the EAA was named a finalist in the federal government's  Race to the Top competition.

York is executive director of the Michigan PTA.

She's critical of lawmakers' plans to expand the EAA statewide during the lame-duck session because she believes there hasn't been enough time to evaluate the program's effectiveness.

York also says parents and educators are not being given an opportunity to participate in the process because lawmakers announce meetings at the last minute.

"Surprise! Here's a bill. Let's just vote on it. I mean, who cares if anybody talks about it? Who cares what the people think," York says.  "And I don't see a broad plan for education reform that has been well-discussed and well-planned about how we're going to move into the future."

After a volatile week at the state Capitol, plans to expand the EAA  haven't moved ahead. But in this  lame-duck session, that could change quickly.