LANSING – House Democratic Leader Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) denounced the expansion of the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) today, warning that it opens the door for corporations to take over our public schools. House Democrats announced real education reforms that will lead to improved student performance and prepare our children to enter the best colleges and compete for the best jobs of the future.

“Michigan is not the first state to grapple with underperforming schools. Other states have faced the same problem and found solutions that actually work,” Greimel said. “But instead of learning from successes in other states, Michigan House Republicans have tried to reinvent the wheel and done a poor job of it. Rather than pursuing reform ideas that have been shown to work, we’re going down the path toward school vouchers and the corporate take-over of our neighborhood schools.”

The EAA is a governor-appointed body that has the ability to take over struggling schools and appoint for-profit corporations to manage them. The EAA also destroys local control of schools, as the bill gives students, parents and voters no avenue to hold accountable the EAA or the companies appointed to run public schools.

“House Republicans are calling this school reform, but all they’ve done is taken authority over troubled schools away from parents and voters and given it to the governor’s appointees and corporations that want to make money off of our children,” Greimel said. “If this were a serious education reform plan, we’d be discussing things such as extending the length of school days or the school year, reducing class sizes and engaging parents in the education process. House Bill 4369 does none of that.”

House Democrats offered a number of amendments to the EAA expansion bill, including measures that would require EAA-run schools to conform to the same testing standards of all other public schools, place the EAA under the authority of the elected state Board of Education, ensure that EAA schools aren’t converted into charter academies and require monthly meetings akin to local school board meetings to be held at each EAA-operated school. House Republicans refused a vote on the Democratic amendments.