The Educational Achievement Authority of Michigan, a special school district composed of low-performing schools, is projected to grow from 15 schools to up to 60 total across the state in the next 5 years, according to a federal grant application.
In late September, the U.S. Department of Education awarded a total of $35 million over the next 5 years to the new district as part of its Teacher Incentive Fund Grant program.
The grant application estimates the new district “will impact approximately 46,545 students and more than 2,219 teachers” in 10 districts.
The EAA, which launched this school year, was established to “radically transform teaching and learning” in the lowest performing five percent of schools in Michigan. It offers students a computer-focused learning environment with individualized lesson plans.
All 15 current EAA schools are now in Detroit and previously belonged to Detroit Public Schools. The grant lists school districts in Kalamazoo, Flint, Lansing, Saginaw, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Pontiac, Port Huron, and Southfield as potential locations of schools that could be taken over by the statewide school system.
Schools belonging to Michigan’s bottom-performing five percent are designated priority schools and have have three years to create and enact an improvement plan approved by the state. If they don’t, the state can decide to add them to the EAA during their fourth year on the list. There are currently 146 priority schools in 49 Michigan school districts.
An emergency manager can also transfer a district into the system, which is what happened in Detroit under Emergency Manager Roy Roberts.
Schools that transfer into the EAA take state school funding with them into the system. Teachers who join into the new state district enter as non-unionized employees.
Sara Wurfel, a spokeswoman with Gov. Snyder’s office, told the Detroit Free Press that the numbers in the grant application are simply projections, but added that it was “completely feasible” the district would grow given the number of schools on the state’s priority list.