Auer Avenue Elementary educator Ingrid Henry, who is also an MPS graduate and parent, delivered a powerful testimony against the undemocratic takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools during Wednesday’s “Auer Community is NOT Your Colony!” action. Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Dale Kooyenga want to take away the locally controlled and accountable school board from the people of Milwaukee, while lowering teacher licensure standards for the educators teaching those students, but the people of Milwaukee are fighting back.
“The state of Wisconsin has sent a clear message to the residents of the city of Milwaukee. It has become evident that there are many that do not care for the children and families of our city. Some misguided, unfounded fear of people taking from them has finally given those in power enough leverage to destroy our city.
What do I mean by destroy? I mean cutting food aid to the elderly and children. I mean denying the people a living wage. I mean going forward with laws that will strip many of us of our right to vote. I mean closing schools with qualified teachers and replacing them with a school system that when asked if they would do the same for their struggling schools, every single politician said no.
As a teacher, I know how hard it is for children and their families who live in this city. Education is not the only thing on their mind, survival is. If those people who live in the suburbs want to help Milwaukee; they can do this, provide jobs, a living wage, dental care, health care, glasses, medication, mental health support, new schools, and transportation. Until those with the solutions listen and do what is morally right, I can’t take them seriously.
So I say this to politicians in Milwaukee and all over the state. I’m not compromising. You will not put into place the same legislation that destroyed Detroit. You will not put into place the same bills that bankrupted the Detroit and the New Orleans public schools. You will not follow Chicago and fire veteran teachers and teachers of color, in order to cheapen the work force. You will not sell our buildings to those looking to profit off of our children. You will not sell our children without a fight.
So as a proud MPS graduate I say to the alumni, we need you here to fight for each school. As a proud MPS parent, I say to the parents, we need you here to fight for each school. As a proud MPS teacher, I say educators we need you here to fight for each school. And as a proud citizen of the city of Milwaukee, I say Milwaukee we need each and every one of you ready to fight for each school.”
– Auer Avenue Elementary educator Ingrid Henry