DETROIT (WWJ) – The Michigan Education Achievement Authority has removed a controversial job posting seeking teachers to work “in a Christian setting” after a complaint was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Michael Steinberg, Legal Director for the ACLU of Michigan, says a fundamental component of public education is that schools be welcoming of all students and teachers regardless of religion or racial background.
In a letter to EAA Chancellor John Covington, the head of the EAA, Steinberg said when they heard about the posting they thought it was a prank call.
“Our Constitution wisely requires schools to remain neutral in matters of religion,” Steinberg wrote. “When a school favors one religion over another, or religion over non-religion, those students and teachers who do not subscribe to the favored religion are made to feel like they do not belong.” [View a copy of the letter].
In a letter back to Steinberg, Chancellor Covington called the posting an “egregious error,” adding that it was removed after the ACLU notified him about it.
Covington promised the posting — for preschool positions at Bethune School, Law Academy, and Brenda Scott Academy in Detroit — would be revised and reposted without a mention of any religion.
“Moreover, going forward a strong, concerted effort will be made to ensure that this type of error does not occur again,” Covington wrote. “The EAA does not take matters such as this lightly, and again, we are committed to doing everything possible to ensure full compliance with all laws and to provide a welcoming environment for every staff member and student.”
Covington stressed that the EAA is an equal opportunity employer which does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status. [View a copy of the letter].
The Education Achievement Authority is a new statewide school system that has assumed operation of the lowest 5 percent of performing schools in the state of Michigan that did not achieve satisfactory results on a redesign plan or that are under an Emergency Manager.