King’s Academy charter school has been a city of Milwaukee 2R charter school for six years. Because of the work of a small group of committed Milwaukee residents to make the city’s Charter School Review Board more transparent and accountable, more attention has been placed on how the city scrutinizes contracts with charter schools like King’s Academy. Much of that attention has been placed on King’s Academy for a poor record of performance and red flags in several key areas highlighted in this 2014 report prepared by the Schools and Communities United coalition.
A report like that would seem to surely ensure the school’s removal from the city 2R charter program given such a long track record of poor performance, but who needs to be held accountable when all you have to do is go to another school system. That’s exactly what King’s Academy did at the August 13, 2015 CSRB meeting in announcing that they would no longer be seeking a contract with the city and instead would be heading back to the Wisconsin voucher program (so called Milwaukee Parental Choice Program):
This was the response from Schools and Communities United to Board President Michael Murphy on King’s Academy and their sudden transition back to the voucher program, effectively dodging any accountability or track record as a school.
King’s Academy and other sham school operators will continue this voucher shell game of legalized corruption that fails Milwaukee students. Voucher schools run from accountability and hide from transparency. Public tax dollars belong in public schools. It is far past time to declare a moratorium on the failed private voucher system in Milwaukee.
Milwaukee city leaders made it clear on Tuesday morning that they are unanimously opposed to a Takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools. They also took some positive steps towards greater transparency and accountability towards city charter schools with checkered track records that have recently come to light thanks to the efforts of Schools and Communities United.
Here are the motions the City Council passed unanimously (Coggs and Donovan absent):
1. Alderman Zielinski’s resolution opposing the Darling-Kooyenga plan
to take over MPS schools and conveying that opposition to Milwaukee’s delegation in the Legislature.
2. Alderman Kovac’s ordinance
requiring the Charter School Review Committee (CSRC) to include impacts upon MPS in their periodic assessments of each City charter school.
A substitute ordinance relating to the criteria for the chartering of schools.
This ordinance requires the charter school review committee to include with committee findings transmitted to the city clerk an assessment of how the operation of school once chartered will affect the resources available to students served by the Milwaukee public school system under the applicable state funding formula.
3. Ald. Kovac and Pres. Murphy’s ordinance
assigning the City Clerk’s staff to the CSRC – duties previously done by Howard Fuller’s Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette.
4. An amendment
to the City’s broadcast schedule, sponsored by Murphy, Kovac, and Ald. Bohl, placing the Charter School Review Committee on the list of groups whose meetings are to be videoed. This is significant because it provides a record of the debate and what decisions are made, increasing transparency.