Statement from State Representative Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) on Legislation to Expand the Education Achievement Authority:

Friday, March 22, 2013

“Last evening, I voted against legislation that would expand the Education Achievement Authority to become a statewide system.

“I truly believe that there is no issue more pressing to Michigan’s children — to Michigan’s future — than education. Districts throughout our state are struggling, through no fault of the children who are suffering with them. This emergency should be at the forefront of discussion and dialogue by state leaders and experts.

“I am proud to say that I have invested a considerable amount of time on this very serious and impactful issue. It is through no small effort that I arrived at my final conclusions: speaking with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, attending hearings outside of my own committee, reaching out to local education leaders and talking with students during a tour of some of the schools already in the EAA in Detroit.

“What I have found is a lack of quantifiable improvement data existing with the current EAA, some significant long-term sustainable funding concerns posed with expanding the system - concerns that have not been refuted - and a current system that is clearly in its infancy and needs to have some existing problems ironed out. This being said, I have also found a current EAA that offers some potentially amazing educational opportunities: lower student-to-teacher ratios, innovative uses of technology in classrooms and a student-centered learning model allows for children to have flexibility in their curriculum throughout the same grade. These are things I would like to see in all Michigan schools.

“Every young Michigander deserves the best education that we can provide: an education that will poise them to compete globally. As adults, doing this should be the minimum of our commitment to them, and sadly, it’s something that we have not been honoring for a long time. The EAA offers potential for good improvement to our children’s education, so let’s fix the funding problems and let data prove that potential before expanding it. The last thing we want is to create an unsustainable model that leads to more schools that fail our youngest Michiganders.”