Source: Sherman Publications

Letter to Editor: Reader questions Jacobsen about proposed expansion of EAA

April 03, 2013

I read State Rep. Brad Jacobsenís column in last weekís Oxford Leader about the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) and his desire to expand the program from Detroit Public Schools to statewide.

I have some questions about the program, its proven track record, the cost and who is paying for it, reasons for it and what will it really accomplish.

First, my understanding is that this program is only about one year old. What is the data that encourages you that we are not dumping good money after bad by expanding it? Is there testing? How do you compare that data to conventional schools when the program has no grade levels identified?

Who is paying for it? Is the school solely financed by the State allowed per-student funding like public schools or are their additional funds provided?

The Detroit Public Schools are now run by a state-appointed manager and have been for years. Is the need for these schools just an admission that State was wrong and couldnít do any better than the School Board in managing the schools and the big salaries paid to these managers was a waste?

Who pays the manager?

The approach of changing the way the school operates assumes that all the students in that school were failing. We know that this is most likely not true.

How does this program help students who were already thriving in the traditional program? What about the students that are burdened with a poor and non-supportive home life? Does this program do anything to help the studentís home life to make it a more supportive environment for education?

What do you see as the final outcome? What if a school thrives and completes the requirements to graduate from the program and goes back to the district it came from. What safety nets does the program have to keep it from failing again?

Will the individual students that donít advance as rapidly as other students their own age be carried for as long as it takes to achieve each level or is there some point that determines this program has also failed them? Why would the state limit the program to 50 schools?

If this is a good program than what is the reason for the limit, unless the program is financed at a higher rate than traditional public schools? Is it? If it is than wouldnít that mean that you are underfunding all schools and some of the services school districts have had to shed because of budget concerns might be the reason we are seeing the need for programs like this in the first place?

I know in the past I havenít been your biggest supporter but these are the questions you need to answer to let us know if what you said in your column is a reflection of your true beliefs or just some political dogma.

I am sending this letter to the Oxford Leader for publication. I would look forward to your response but I think other constituents also need to know what you have to say.

Gerald E. Podzikowski