Three years ago, when I first heard about Governor Rick Snyder’s plans to create a special district for Detroit’s failing schools, I was enthusiastic.
I knew Detroit’s schools were a mess. I knew that the bureaucracy, the teacher’s union, and obstinate refusal to change were all part of the problem.
Something different was worth a try.
And so they invented and chartered the Education Achievement Authority, and gave it 15 of Detroit’s worst schools. The experiment began two years ago.
Nobody really expected miracles. At least nobody should have. These were schools with terrible records, and students with terribly disadvantaged backgrounds.
Since then, there have been possibly some small signs of improvement, at least as measured by test scores. Governor Snyder now wants to expand the EAA statewide. The state House of Representatives has passed legislation to do just that. The proposal is before the state Senate.
But it is clear that expanding the EAA now would be a colossal mistake.
The EAA is a total failure in terms of administration, honesty, transparency and staying within a budget.
Its chancellor, John Covington, probably needs to be fired immediately.
An investigation published in today’s Detroit News confirms rumors I’ve been hearing for a year.
Covington, who is driven around by a chauffeur in a special vehicle, charged nearly a quarter of a million dollars on district credit cards, largely so that he and his staff could jet around the country to a series of pricey conferences.