CVS Superintendent: Don’t rush EAA law

By: Robert Guttersohn | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published December 12, 2012

CLINTON TOWNSHIP— For the second straight Chippewa Valley Schools Board of Education meeting, the board and the administration warned that a pending state law creating a centralized district of under-performing schools is an overreach.

Additionally, Superintendent Ronald Roberts denounced at the Dec. 3 board meeting the speed at which Lansing was trying to pass the law.

“They seem to hurriedly trying to get stuff through,” Roberts said of the state Legislature. “And really something as dramatic as this, why would you not talk it out fully, rather than rushing it now in five or six weeks?”

Roberts has been involved in talks with several state representatives, urging them to not rush into passing the bill.

“I think they see it as a complete overreach of government,” Roberts said of the state politicians with whom he has spoken.

The EAA would be based on the Education Achievement System currently overseeing 15 of the lowest-performing schools in Detroit. The bill would expand to incorporate all low-performing schools across the state and would be overseen by an appointed seven-member board. Roberts suggested the state test the results of the Detroit school district before expanding it.

“I would just suggest that you prove it before we create a parallel school system in the state of Michigan,” Roberts said.

The EAA board, Roberts said, would be separate from the state superintendent and the state Board of Education.

“At some point, it seemed the state Board of Education was doing some stuff we really didn’t like here at Chippewa Valley Schools, and now the governor has taken it further and taken the power from them, also,” said board member Frank Bednard.

Roberts said the law would allow the EAA to take all schools in the bottom 5 percent, regardless of their performance at that time in relation to improvement.

“So you may be making improvement, but the EAA can take you,” Roberts said.

The teachers and the buildings then belong to the achievement authority. “There is no provision for those schools to re-enter their home district,” Roberts said. “It flies in the face of making decisions closest to the source, of local control, which really is what our country is supposed to be built on.”