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ERIC Number: ED558143
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 91
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 77
Michigan's Education Achievement Authority and the Future of Public Education in Detroit: The Challenge of Aligning Policy Design and Policy Goals. Working Paper #43
Mason, Mary L.; Arsen, David
Education Policy Center, Michigan State University
As the City of Detroit emerges from municipal bankruptcy, the imperative for school improvement takes on an urgency rarely witnessed in a U.S. city. If the city is to experience the redevelopment boom that many now anticipate, its public schools must improve. While a variety of different reform strategies are possible, the establishment of a portfolio district in Detroit currently appears to have the greatest political salience. This report is primarily devoted to a detailed analysis of Michigan's Education Achievement Authority (EAA) which was established in 2011 to turn around the state's lowest-performing schools, starting in Detroit. An understanding of the EAA is essential for informed discussion of a Detroit portfolio district for two key reasons. First, portions of Excellent Schools Detroit's plan for a portfolio district were included in the EAA's original design, but they were not effectively implemented. Second, like the EAA, a new administrative authority for a Detroit portfolio district would face basic administrative challenges related to its financial and human resources, oversight of teaching and learning, and public accountability for its operations. It would be unfortunate if policy makers and designers failed to take full measure of the lessons learned from the EAA's experience. The EAA failed to reach its objectives because the policy was hastily and poorly designed. In this report we seek to shift the debate about the EAA from the ideologically polarized question of whether the system is "good" or "bad" to the more fruitful question of how to align policy design with worthy policy goals. This report was written first and foremost for the citizens of Detroit to explain features of state policy so that they may participate effectively in efforts to shape their local public schools. It was also written, however, for citizens of good will throughout Michigan who understand that their own public schools are now powerfully shaped by policy decisions in Lansing, who regret the divisions that have isolated Detroiters for too long, and who will support policies for the children of Detroit that they themselves would want for their own children. This is not simply an ethical issue because, with well-designed policies, the children and grandchildren of residents across Michigan may someday have a choice to live in racially and socially diverse Detroit neighborhoods anchored by excellent public schools. The following are appended: (1) Purpose of the EAA; (2) Powers of the EAA; (3) Implementing the EAS in Detroit; (4) Planned Expansion of the EAA; and (5) Appointment of New EAA Chancellor.
Education Policy Center. Michigan State University, 201 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824-1034. Tel: 517-355-4494; Fax: 517-432-6202; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Michigan State University, Education Policy Center
Identifiers - Location: Michigan