Free Daily Update For Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Rep. Ellen Cogen Lipton
Lipton, Covington Disagree On EAA Teacher Dismissals  

Rep. Ellen Cogen LIPTON (D-Huntington Woods) says she's heard from 28 different teachers about the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) allegedly unfairly evaluating and dismissing employees. 

But John COVINGTON, the EAA's chancellor, says the allegations are simply not true. 

The dispute is the latest chapter in a book of disagreements between Democratic lawmakers and officials representing the state's new system for turning around struggling schools. 

Lipton, the minority vice chair of the House Education Committee, issued a press release this week, accusing the state-created EAA, which runs 15 schools in Detroit, of "arbitrarily dismissing teachers." 

The EAA, Lipton alleged, dismissed teachers without giving them the same due process other schools have. 

"It's shocking to see that the EAA can dismiss teachers without following any clear protocol of observations, evaluations and the development of a professional growth plan," Lipton said in the press release. 

In an interview today, Lipton specified that her press release resulted from hearing from 28 teachers. Some of the educators told Lipton that they had never been properly evaluated or had never received mid-term evaluations. 

Other teachers, Lipton said, reported that school officials had never sat-in with their classes for observation or that staff who evaluated them were new to the schools. 

None of the teachers in question, however, want to come out publicly, Lipton said, because they're concerned about their careers and they don't want jeopardize the possibility for re-instatement. 

But today, Covington publicly assured the State Board of Education that when it comes to allegations of teachers being let go without proper observations and evaluation, "that's not true." 

In fact, some principals of EAA schools had teachers on their lists of folks to let go when the principals hadn't properly observed or evaluated those people. Covington said the EAA told principals "we're not non-renewing them, we're going to send them back to your school." 

He said this has sent a message to principals that they must properly complete observations and mid-year evaluations to document any teacher contract non-renewal.  

The turnover rate for classroom teachers at the EAA is about 20 percent.  

"To be honest, we don't really apologize for that," said EAA Chief Officer of Accountability, Equity and Innovation Mary ESSELMAN.  

She said that they want the best teachers in front of kids.  

Covington said teachers left for all sorts of reasons, and not all were dismissed. Some left to take care of ailing family members out of state or due to difficult pregnancies, he said. Some never passed certification, and couldn't remain in the school.  

Asked about the differing stories on EAA teacher dismissals today, Lipton said when such a difference occurs, someone is likely not telling the truth. 

People have a choice, Lipton added, to either throw up their hands and say "oh well" or to look into the disagreement more closely. 

"I think the appropriate thing to do would be to require documentation, to open an investigation," Lipton said.

bills_coins.jpg State Won't Bargain With Coalition Of State Employees   


The State Employer will pursue negotiations with individual unions instead of the several units together as it did in 2011, a move some union leaders saw as a divide-and-conquer strategy in the run up to state employees being allowed to leave their bargaining units through Right to Work. 

Current contracts expire at the end of the year. However, when the State Employer negotiated with the Coalition of State Employee unions as a bunch in 2011, the agreed-upon contract was only for two years as opposed to the typical three and came only after the two parties went through an impasse panel. 

Unions today put out a press release denouncing the move.  


Every Lawmaker, Every Bill, Every Story

Want to know the latest news and bills from your representative or state senator?  


How about researching all the bills introduced by the members of the Senate Finance Committee?  Or the House Commerce Committee?  


MIRS' subscribers have access to detailed bio pages on lawmakers including all the bills they've offered, all the stories they've been mentioned in and who their current lead staff members are.  

Complete your public policy toolkit, click here to sign up for a FREE three week trial account to!  

Like the Minute but not getting it via e-mail? Sign up by 

To Learn More About Subscribing To MIRS -- Call John Reurink at

Our work and our people are regularly covered in publications around the world.


 Follow us on Twitter