Chris Abele Continues to Change His Tune on MPS Takeover

Chris Abele now says, in a recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article, that he won’t take over any MPS schools as a part of the state directed public school Takeover. He only wants to provide support and wrap around services for MPS students and families. Last month, Abele’s appointed Takeover czar, Demond Means, told a crowded room at the Washington Park Senior Center that they planed to take over multiple buildings. A few months ago, Abele said he was going to take over only empty buildings.

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How many times does Abele get to rewrite the narrative on the MPS Takeover? How many times can he consult with his Republican friends who sponsored the Takeover and cut deals to give him cover during a hotly contested County Executive election? If Abele was to win the election, how many MPS schools would be threatened with takeover then?

 

The Takeover legislation specifically says at least one school falls victim this year. Abele says he talked to the legislators and they said he could ignore the Takeover program’s rules. He admits he will break the law and be supported by the same Republican legislators who created the law. Where does this chicanery end?

 

The Milwaukee community won’t be fooled by this trickery. These are our schools, our children, not some political football.

 

The Web We Weave When We Aim to Deceive from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

Please sign this petition demanding public community schools that have a proven record of success. We want community schools, not takeovers!

Six Reasons Community Schools Are Right for Milwaukee Students

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Image credit: Julianna Brion.

The Community School strategy is a proven strategy that transforms historically struggling schools into thriving schools. Community Schools should be a central strategy for achieving an equitable educational system in Milwaukee. Community Schools offer an integrated focus on academics, health and mental health services, youth development, expanded learning opportunities and family and community supports to ensure students are ready and able to learn. Specifically, all Milwaukee Community Schools should utilize a strategy that incorporates the following six approaches:

1. Curricula that are engaging, culturally relevant, and challenging. Schools offer a robust selection of classes and after-school programs in the arts, languages, and ethnic studies, as well as Advanced Placement (AP) and honors courses. Also offered are services for English Language Learner and special education students, GED preparation programs, and job training. Pedagogy is student- centered.

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2. An emphasis on high-quality teaching, not on high-stakes testing. Assessments are used to help teachers meet the needs of students. Educators have a real voice in professional development. Professional development is high-quality and ongoing, and includes strengthening understanding of, and professional alignment with, the Transformational Community School strategy.

3. Wrap-around supports and opportunities such as health care, eye care, and social and emotional services that support academics. These services are available before, during, and after school, and are provided year-round to the full community. Community partners are accountable and culturally competent. The supports are aligned to the classroom using thorough and continuous data collection, analysis, and reflection. Space for these services is allocated within the building or within walking distance.

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4. Positive discipline practices, such as restorative justice and social and emotional learning supports are stressed so that students can grow and contribute to the school community and beyond. School safety and positive school climate are achieved through these mechanisms. Suspensions and harsh punishments are eliminated or greatly reduced.

5. Authentic parent and community engagement is promoted so the full community actively participates in planning and decision-making. This process recognizes the link between the success of the school and the development of the community as a whole.

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6. Inclusive school leadership who are committed to making the Transformational Community School strategy integral to the school’s mandate and functioning. They ensure that the Community School Coordinator is a part of the leadership team and that a Community School Committee (Committee)—which includes parents, community partners, school staff, youth, and other stakeholders that are representatives of the school’s various constituencies—has a voice in the planning and implementation of the strategy.

 

Community Schools achieve success by implementing the above strategies through the following mechanisms:

  • An asset and needs assessment of and by both school and community;
  • A strategic plan that defines how educators and community partners will use all available assets to meet specific student needs and get better results;
  • The engagement of partners who bring assets and expertise to help implement the building blocks of Community Schools
  • A Community School Coordinator whose job is to facilitate the development and implementation of the strategic plan in collaboration with school and community members/partners, and to ensure alignment of solutions to needs.

Sign a petition demanding community schools for all Milwaukee students.