Sunday, May 10, 2015

Today's required reading- taking the "public" out of MPS

Andy at the Wisconsin Soapbox has an in-depth explanation and expose on the latest plan for "school reform" in Wisconsin. This is an outstanding summary of how suburban GOP legislators, led by Dale (Koo-Koo) Kooyenga and Alberta (Dingbat) Darling are trying to portray Milwaukee Public Schools as failing. By doing so, it will be the excuse to privatize schools piece-by-piece, and remove elected officials from having oversight of the schools, giving control to an "Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program" that is allowed to run these schools without regular school regulations (and teacher contracts).
"The consequences of these failing schools are a significant factor in Milwaukee's declining economic and social health"?!?!?! What economic health in Milwaukee is declining? Again, pushing the narrative to the rest of Wisconsin that Milwaukee is "scary" and "bad". (You know... Blacks and Hispanics live there...)

I also love how using the DPI report cards are the measure of success for MPS and MPS schools. It's not like data can be manipulated at will with respect to these rankings. Oh, and what about the fact there was a hearing this past week about not even letting the Report Cards continue beyond this year? Remember THAT?! AB 78????

Yes, there is an issue in our city with violence right now, but has anyone actually looked at the map of where this violence is occurring within our city? Gee, it's not like the whole city is in flames! But there we go again, because MPS and schools are the threat that holds communities together, they are obviously the problem. They haven't solved all of the social ills yet, so it's their fault.
And God forbid that GOP suburb types actually try to deal with the real source of this problem- highly concentrated poverty and some of the worst segregation of any metro area in America. That would actually require something beyond whining on AM radio and demanding that a 262 type actually be something above mediocre, and in GOP Bubble-world, that's too much of a risk to take on. You want to tell me you're willing to do what it takes to help solve Milwaukee's problems? Let's see if the GOPs on the Joint Finance Committee vote to add $9.5 million to the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare to fully fund its programs. This is the amount that the Walker Administration shorted these programs in its budget submission, and let's see if the LFB WisGOPs admit the mistake, and add the proper funding, or if they take those $9.5 million and use it to fill in some other budget hole or keep them from having to pause on a corporate tax cut.

Andy's finishing statement are also excellent. After pointing out the absurdity of the Koo-Koo and Dingbat proposal to waive most rules on credentialing of teachers in these "Opportunity Schools", and devalue the teaching profession further, he reminds you that with this crew, they won't stop these plans with MPS.
Think this is a Milwaukee problem? Think again folks!

We got vouchers for the first time in 1990, and it only took a little more than 20 years for the rest of the state to see them. Now, the floodgates are opening too with independent charter school proposals as well. You really think 10 years from now the Madison Metropolitan Schools are immune? Green Bay? Beloit? Kenosha? Racine? Don't kid yourself in the least!!! They are coming to destroy MPS because we're an easy scape-goat.

I'm a white guy from the Fox Valley who decided to accept the challenge of teaching high school in MPS. I fail at it many, many days. But you know what, I've also learned that so much of what people think about MPS is just flat out wrong. They think the principles of what applies to their school district of 7,000 or even 1,000 students somehow applies to a district with a student population just shy of the total population of Appleton. Throw in economic disparity, the long history of racial segregation and almost 40 years of experiments with bussing, vouchers, magnet schools, the legacies they hold, and lack of justice oriented equitable funding, and you have what exists today.
Again, read the whole thing, and pass along to your teacher friends. These public school "reformers" that get their real paychecks from ALEC demand eternal vigilance, because they might well try to sneak this garbage through in this last month of budget deliberations.


  1. An additional aspect of this deeply-planned, amazingly crafted scam is the part that defines "failure." There was very little public attention paid when Wisconsin changed the definition of "failure" via cut scores on the WKCE starting in the 2012/13 schools year, such that a student had to earn a higher score to be labeled "proficient." Well, guess what bar is being used now to define those 55 schools as "failing"? Similar scam used in New Orleans, where they actually changed the cut-score definition of "failure" in the same legislation that they used to charterize the entire city. NOLA took it one step further though... after the public schools were charterized, they actually revised the cut scores BACK DOWN so the charters that replaced the public schools wouldn't look so awful! I am not making this up:

    1. Good info. There is no question the endgame is to show MPS as "failing" by any means, and use that as the excuse to cherry-pick the good schools, and funnel those students to the privateers. Which is the ultimate goal of most of these ALEC schemes, when you think about it