Nov 19 2013

Click here to read several recent articles pertaining to the involvement of EMU with the Educational Achievment Authority (EAA).  

The following is a letter to the BOR sent by the COE Council:

Dear EMU Board of Regents, President Martin, and Provost Schatzel,

We, the faculty members of the College of Education Council, as representatives of the faculty of this college, respectfully request that the university’s participation in the inter-local agreement that created the Education Achievement Authority be severed immediately. We base our request on the following rationale:

We find the undermining of democratic processes represented in the creation of a district outside the purview of public decision-making and oversight to be in direct conflict with this university’s mission and our legacy as a champion of public education. This violation of our principles is now beginning to affect our historically strong relationship with local schools, as local districts have begun to respond. In a strong protest of EMU’s involvement in the EAA, the leadership of the Michigan Education Association in Washtenaw County is now moving to boycott placement of our student teachers in their schools. They have plans to work with unions in other nearby counties to do the same. Obviously this response will have detrimental impacts on enrollment and student credit hour production as the effects of this teacher-led action undermine our ability to attract students to our programs, and carry out necessary aspects of our national accreditation.

While we are concerned over declining enrollment and impacts on revenue to the university, we are also very aware of the impact on our professional reputations statewide as our colleagues, and the citizens of the state look on with the assumption that members of the education faculty at Eastern are actively engaged in the EAA. From the start, EMU faculty were not invited to give our input into such an arrangement or asked for our expertise as the EAA was established. Other than a handful of individuals’ involvement, we have been excluded from any direct participation in the creation or implementation of its policies, operating procedures, professional development, curricula or pedagogical practices, many of which we find questionable at best. The fact that Dean Joseph was given a non-voting seat on the EAA board has not remedied that situation. Thus, our expertise as researchers and professionals in the complex and varied aspects of education has been blatantly ignored, in spite of our clear indication in at least two meetings with Chancellor Covington and his staff that we would be willing to give such input. Instead, Teach for America teachers have been hired and other regional universities invited to offer professional development.

Thus, we find EMU’s participation in the EAA unacceptable. These negative impacts on our reputation, our local relationships, our students and programs, the clear effect on enrollments and thus revenue to the university are a repudiation of EMU’s legacy as a champion of public education and a leader in the preparation of educational professionals. We implore you to remedy this situation as quickly as possible by unanimously voting to withdraw from the contract creating the EAA.

We sign this letter in solidarity and the sincere wish to be heard.

Steven Camron, Chair

Rebecca Martusewicz, Executive Committee member

Joe Bishop, Teacher Education

Margo Dichtelmiller, Teacher Education

Linda Lewis-White, Teacher Education

Gil Stiefel Special Education

Lidia Lee, Special Education