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In a diary on Wednesday, Daily Kos members were asked to contact Michigan lawmakers to voice their opposition to several bills that targeted public education. The diary examined several bills including one that …

would expand a separate and statewide school district (the Educational Achievement Authoity) overseen by a governor-appointed chancellor and functioning outside the authority of the State Board of Education or state school superintendent. These schools are exempt from the same laws and quality measures of community-governed public schools. The EAA can seize unused school buildings (built and financed by local taxpayers) and force sale or lease to charter, non-public or EAA schools.
The EEA was originally set up under the Emergency Manager Act, which was overturned by the vote of the people of Michigan on November 6. Despite this, and despite the Detroit Board of Education voting to disband the EEA, the Republican controlled legislature is pushing not simply to move forward but to expand the EEA and its powers over the state as indicated above.

That the Republicans would be doubling down in their attacks on public education is no surprise. What is disappointing is that once again they appear to have collaborators in the administration of President Obama.  Michigan’s EEA was one of the sixty-one finalists in the latest round of Arne Duncan’s notorious Race to the Top program.

You may remember Duncan as the one who callously stated that Hurricane Katrina was "the best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans". That he could make such a statement after seeing the devastation of the hurricane says all anyone needs to know about the character of the man. Yet he remains the administration’s point man on education.

In selecting the EEA as an RttT finalist, the administration has once again demonstrated that it is totally oblivious to the issues related to public education. Their previous efforts have involved the failed schemes of charter schools, merit pay, more and more standardized tests, and valued added metrics.

Despite being endorsed by the National Education Association, the administration has been no friend of teachers or their unions. The President’s statements after the wholesale firing of teachers in Providence, Rhode Island were revealing. Equally revealing was former Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s treatment of the Chicago teachers that led to their strike. The administration has cozied up to Michelle Rhee, and the Democratic Convention screened the anti-union movie, Won’t Back Down.

A group of concerned Michigan citizens have written a letter to the President and Secretary Duncan opposing the selection of the EEA as a Race to the Top finalist and asking that it not be considered in the final selection. You can read the entire letter here.

I am asking that all DK members who wrote or emailed Michigan lawmakers protesting the proposed anti-public school legislation to please write, phone or email the White House and request that they rethink their position on the EEA selection. Attacks on public education are wrong whether they come from Republicans or from a Democratic administration.

It is unfortunate that the Republican backed EEA is endorsed by the administration at a time when Michigan educators are fighting the Republican assaults on public schools. It would be tragic if, after the people of Michigan rejected the Emergency Manager Law, the administration were to approve funding for the equally odious, undemocratic EEA program.

In the recent election, the National Education Association, the Michigan Education Association, and educators around the country had the President’s back, despite the fact that during his first term he obviously didn’t have ours. It’s time for the President to decide which side he is on. Will the President have our backs in his second term?

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Comment Preferences

  •  While you're writing (21+ / 0-)

    ask him to pick a new secretary of Education.

    I believe if you evaluate him by student test scores, that he has shown little if any value-add over the last 4 years. ;-)

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 04:32:22 PM PST

  •  Good idea. Obama's education policies (13+ / 0-)

    and appointments are dreadful. I certainly hope that progressive educators can get more credence this time around, but I admit I am not optimistic. Still, one must try.

    I'm seeking to organize DKos members in SE Michigan--roughly, from the Ohio line at Lake Erie NE to Port Huron, W to Flint and back S from there. If you'd like to join our new group, Motor City Kossacks (working title), please Kosmail me.

    by peregrine kate on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 04:40:27 PM PST

  •  Good points. (6+ / 0-)

    The NEA, like the rest of the Labor Movement, is going to eventually preside over its own demise -- not to mention the end of public education -- if we don't step back and rethink this strategy of unconditional support for a particular political party.  
    And I think members of this (Kos) community have a responsibility to be among the loudest voices speaking out against the Administration we helped elect when it supports or enacts harmful policies.  I hope people step up.

    Leave the gun...Take the cannoli.

    by Skitters on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 04:52:54 PM PST

  •  Is there a petition going? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The power of numbers can draw more attention to this travesty, such that the administration might back down.

    •  I haven't heard anything about a petition. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      i just found out about the RttT selection today. I was somewhat surprised but the more I thought about, the more it seemed rather typical for this administration.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Fri Nov 30, 2012 at 08:10:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Michigan legislators are trying to ram through (0+ / 0-)

    anti-teacher union legislation in this lame duck session. specifically HB 6004, HB 5923 and SB 1358. Interesting how the GOP says it wants smaller government, yet is micro-managing teachers and education in Michigan by making more and more laws.

    These bills further erode public education by opening up public funds to all kinds of schools, including cyber schools and charter schools, yet keeping the local school districts responsible for tracking students. At one point, these bills even went so far as to state that unused/closed school buildings must be kept "ready" in a state as if they were open, presumably in case a charter school or other would want the building.

    Fortunately, this part of the bill was cut out and the legislature isn't ready to rush this legislation through. Apparently someone is having second thoughts about this untested type of legislation.  

    Liberal (from Webster's Dictionary): tolerant of views differing from one's own; broad-minded

    by 50sbaby on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 06:26:02 AM PST

    •  Sadly, as efforts are being directed (0+ / 0-)

      toward pressuring the legislators to rethink their positions, the Obama Admmnistration gives the Republicans a gift by announcing the that the very program that is being fought here in Michigan has been chosen as a finalist for the RttT grants.

      With friends like these ...

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 08:55:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Gate$-Ill-Vain-IA assault is The Pattern of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slatsg, dfarrah

    DLC Third Way New Dem lying sell outs.

    I'm 52 - I voted FOR these 'moderates' for decades cuz I didn't see the lefties I knew of in Boston or Seattle as real clued into reality -

    as someone who has spent most of his life in the bottom 25 and 50%, the programs suck! yeah, we need more and we need better programs - and having hug fests and incessant meetings and interminable meetings makes WHAT work better?  So, enough of my trashing the DFH trustafarians, and, back to the DLC liars -

    Arne is just the edu-branch to compliment the wall street ass kisser branch and the pharma/ahip ass kisser branch.

    While they're gay friendly, non racist, non sexist non science droolers, they consistently sell us out and call it compromise and keep their nice houses in their nice hoods.

    I did NOT bother with this site for the last 4 or 6 months - I made up MY mind on LOTE, and, I wrote in "mywife" instead of checking off o-liar.

    Arne and Rahm and his Gate$ ass kissers are NOT people to debate, they're people to beat,

    AND they're people we gotta STOP helping with votes, time and money.

    they ain't on the side of us 80% bottom feeders, despite their non Tea Party social beliefs.


    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 06:42:09 AM PST

    •  You recall the Anatole France quote: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

      It will be revised by the DLCers:

      "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich and the poor (gays, minorities, whites, and women) alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."

      It seems that as long as the 1% contains a few women, African-Americans, Latinos and gays, the DLCers have no problem with the exploitation of the rest of the people, as long as the poverty is equitably distributed.

      The poor will at least have the satisfaction of knowing that the oppressors are not bigots.

      Onward and upward.

      A proud member of the Professional Left since 1967.

      by slatsg on Sat Dec 01, 2012 at 09:15:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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