School Takeovers Disenfranchise African American & Latino Communities, New Report Shows

Fred Royal of the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP speaks at a press conference introducing a new scathing report on school takeovers.

Fred Royal of the Milwaukee branch of the NAACP speaks at a press conference introducing a new scathing report on school takeovers.

 

Schools and Communities United held a press conference today to highlight a new report by the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools that shows how school takeovers have systematically disenfranchised African American and Latino communities.

The report, issued around the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, shows how local elected governance is dissolved as states take over local school districts, stripping power from elected school boards and denying voters the right to govern their local schools.

The report notes that “these state takeovers are happening almost exclusively in African American and Latino schools and districts – in many of the same communities that have experienced decades of underinvestment in their public schools and consistent attacks on their property, agency and self-determination.”

Data in the report show that in state-run school districts across the country in 2014-15, fully 97% of the students were African American and Latino.

Data in the report show that in state-run school districts across the country in 2014-15, fully 97% of the students were African American and Latino.

Our duly elected County Board of Supervisors’ authority has been arrogated and has left them incapable of performing the responsibilities that we elected them to do. The basic principles of checks and balances has been usurped by the state legislature and placed in the hands of the county executive’s office. The state legislature has given the county executive the ability to sell county assets and underutilized Milwaukee Public Schools without any scrutiny of the County Board of Supervisors. They have also allowed the county executive to appoint a commissioner to develop and manage a portfolio of schools that are said to be “nonperforming” or “failing” and turn them around either through direct or indirect management. The budget to operate the so-called nonperforming schools will be inserted into the total MPS budget. Our duly elected Board of School Directors will have no scrutiny of this process further usurping the checks and balances. In 1787, James Madison concluded, “The structural government must furnish the proper checks and balances between the different departments.” He was right then and is right today. We are here to say enough is enough!

– Fred Royal of the NAACP of Milwaukee

Schools and Communities United, along with the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and other SCU member organizations, are holding school walk-ins all over the city on Friday, September 18 to share information with school communities about impending school takeovers in Milwaukee. We will not allow African American and Latino students to be targeted in this way, and we will not allow our students’ voices and needs to go unheard and unmet. We will fight for the schools they need and deserve.

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