Brooke Harris, a teacher at a Detroit High School, is facing termination for allegedly helping her students organize a walkout in protest of the school’s policies.
Harris is no stranger to controversy. Just last year she was fired from another Michigan high school for helping students with a fundraiser for the family of Trayvon Martin.
She says she had nothing to do with the walkout, and is being singled out for speaking out against the Education Achievement Authority, the organization that runs the school.
The EAA is a new, independent entity with the mandate of taking over, and turning around, some of the state’s lowest performing schools. With non-unionized teachers and powerful principals, the idea is that by having less bureaucracy, EAA schools will be able to funnel more resources directly into the classroom. Many in the education world are closely watching to see if the reform district will succeed.
Although it is too soon to tell if the EAA has definitively improved schools, Harris describes a system ridden with disorganization where the wants and needs of teachers and students are ignored. She and several others who spoke to HuffPost see her potential termination as symbolic of some of the new system’s problems.
“The culture in the EAA is terrible,” said Heather Mulawa, a former EAA teacher at Nolan Elementary-Middle School, who was recently terminated from her job — she feels unjustly — after her students participated in a dangerous, off-site science experiment.