DETROIT (WWJ) – Tackling failing schools in Detroit, the Education Achievement Authority met for the first time, Thursday.

The 11-member group was created by Governor Rick Snyder to focus on identifying the five lowest-performing schools in Detroit and across the state and then improving them.

Critics say it’s like a state takeover, but Detroit Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Roy Roberts, who is chair of the Authority, says that’s not the case.

“With a modicum of intellect, you’re not taking anything away and you’re not pushing different ethnic groups in different programs,” he said.

“Here you are, for once, this school system has been so bad and failing so long you say that I’m going to do something really special behind it, and you’ve got that one little group of eight people who show up every time and yell and scream. And you’ve got to ask the other question — what have they done to help the process?”

“The Authority can get focused on what they have to do for those under-performing schools. They can raise money, put money behind it. Schools can be run differently,” Roberts said.

Roberts said the Authority will be fully operational by the 2012-2013 school year… and is being supported by outside donors. Most members of the group were appointed by the governor, and the rest by Detroit Public Schools and Eastern Michigan.

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