Group, Opposed to MPS Takeover, Delivers Letter to Mequon-Thiensville School Board

Parents, students, and community members read a letter written to Mequon's school board before Monday night's meeting.

Parents, students, and community members read a letter written to Mequon’s school board before Monday night’s meeting.

Milwaukee Public School parents, students, and community members made the trip from Milwaukee to attend Monday night’s Mequon-Thiensville School Board meeting to deliver a letter the board members.  The group wanted to register their outrage over a position the district’s superintendent, Demond Means, accepted as  an appointed commissioner to the lead the Takeover of MPS. The group stood behind MPS parent Ingrid Walker-Henry as she read the following statement before the board, while the rest of the group, that traveled from Milwaukee, stood behind her:

Dear Mequon-Thiensville School Board Members,

We come to you tonight as parents, students, educators, and community members who are concerned about your superintendent’s involvement in a plan that will harm the students in the Milwaukee Public School District.

Last November, County Executive, Chris Abele appointed Mequon-Thiensville Superintendent, Demond Means as the OSPP Takeover commissioner. As commissioner, Superintendent Means is leading the efforts to take away local control of our children’s schools.

As school board directors of Mequon-Thiensville, you are familiar with the issues concerning your students, and the community trusts you to make important decisions to ensure your students’ success.

What would you do if the superintendent of Mukwonago, Madison, or some other place came here and said they were taking over Homestead High School and turning it over to a private operator? What would you do if they told you, you would no longer have control over the curriculum and policies in that school, but you would still have to cover the administrative costs associated with running the school?

That is exactly what your Superintendent has been trying to do in Milwaukee.

As school board directors, you are fully aware that resourced public schools are desirable places to learn and are the best setting for every Wisconsin student to get off toward a great future. But, public schools need to have transparency and publicly elected leaders that can be held accountable by parents and educators.

Dr. Means is participating in a coordinated attack on public education in Wisconsin and undermining our communities’ democratic rights.

You know what’s best for Mequon-Thiensville kids and Milwaukee’s school board knows what’s best for Milwaukee’s kids.

We strongly urge you to use any influence you may have over your superintendent to keep Milwaukee Public Schools in the hands of our democratically elected school board.

Thank you.

A Special Delivery for the Mequon-Thiensville School Board from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

50+ Milwaukee Voucher Schools Forced to Close Doors Since 2004

Failed-Voucher-School
Daughter’s of the Father Christian Academy voucher school just abruptly closed its doors nine days into the school year making it 50+ Milwaukee voucher schools to be forced to close since 2004. Whether they have not met requirements related to finances, accreditation, student safety, or auditing every one of these schools didn’t serve the best interests of students and taxpayers. These failed voucher schools have hurt countless students and families as well as have cost Wisconsin taxpayers $139 million dollars in that time. Isn’t it time we pull the plug on this failed experiment called voucher schools?

Private schools that received state vouchers but were subsequently barred from participation in the program.

Year closed;School name;Estimated payments;years in program

2003-04;Alex’s Academics of Excellence;$3,505,595;5

2003-04;Mandella School of Science and Math;$2,231,340;2

2004-05;Academic Solutions Learning Center;$10,494,281;6

2004-05;Learning Enterprise;$7,517,572;13

2004-05;Louis Tucker Academy;$2,795,779;8

2005-06;Howard’s Learning Center;$175,539;3

2005-06;Ida B. Wells;$136,689;1

2005-06;LEADER Institute;$1,958,241;2

2005-06;Medgar Evers Christian Academy;$2,319,357;9

2005-06;Northside High School;$1,708,419;1

2005-06;Sa’Rai and Zigler Upper Excellerated Academy;$910,572;2

2005-06;Tahir Ahmadiyya Elementary School;$77,259;1

2005-06;Tucker’s Institute of Learning;$930,210;2

2006-07;Christ Kids Academy of Excellence;$476,874;2

2006-07;Faith Temple Pentecostal;$82,563;1

2006-07;Nubian Preparatory Learning Academy;$63,510;1

2006-07;DJ Perkins Academy of Excellence;$472,476;2

2006-07;STS Christian Academy;N/A

2006-07;Elijah’s Brook God’s Nation Children School;N/A

2007-08;Nzingha Institute;$559,437;2

2007-08;Veritas Academy;$327,682;4

2008-09;Jesus Academy of Learning;$253,539;1

2008-09;Grace Preparatory School of Excellence;$1,035,790;8

2008-09;Institute for Career Empowerment Inc.;$2,821,704;4

2008-09;Agape Center of Academic Excellence, Inc.;$7,188,581;12

2008-09;Blyden Delany;$4,443,631;10

2008-09;R & B Academy;N/A

2008-09;The Young Women’s Institute for Global Studies;$125,533;1

2008-09;Family Academy;$2,042,332;11

2008-09;Collins Christian Academy;$277,494;1

2009-10;Excel Learning Academy;$2,535,753;5

2009-10;Johnson Christian Academy;$2,124,379;3

2009-10;KidPreneur;$1,805,724;3

2009-10/2010-11;Resurrection Christian Academy;$2,433,867;5

2009-10;Victory Preparatory Academy;$2,660,428;10

2009-10;The Way and the Truth Christian Academy;$1,004,264;1

2009-10;Trinity Christian Academy;$2,284,431;3

2010-11;Harambee Community School;$31,104,399;20

2010-11;Garden Homes Community Montessori School, Inc.;$397,748;3

2010-11;Excel Academy;$8,596,409;6

2010-11;Tuskegee Aviation Academy;$711,253;2

2010-11;More Than Conquerors Preparatory School;$32,540;2

2010-11;Mustard Seed International School;$466,582;4

2010-11;Mills Christian Academy;$2,214,535;3

2011-12;Milwaukee Institute for Academic Achievement;$294,722;1

2012-13;The Margaret Howard Christian Leadership Institute;$1,997,178;4

2012-13;The Applecrest Preparatory Leadership Academy;$718,097;8

2012-13;Kindergarten Plus;$3,498,889;12

2012-13;St. John Fisher Academy;$109,514;1

2013-14;Dr. Brenda Noach Choice School;$7,299,749;12

2013-14;LifeSkills;$2,329,974;6

2013-14;Washington Du Bois;$8,804,415;8

2014-15;Learning Bridges Kingdom Academy;$1,260,852;4

Total estimated payments: $139,617,701

Source: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Alderman Tony Zielinski Brings City of Milwaukee Charter School Moratorium Forward

The unelected Charter School Review Board testifies before the Steering & Rules Committee.

The City Charter School Review Board testifies before the Milwaukee Common Council’s Steering & Rules Committee.

The Takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools didn’t just start with Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Dale Kooyenga’s MPS Takeover bill. It started decades ago and one of the ways it has pecked away at MPS is through the proliferation of 2R city charters. These third party operators are issued charters by the city of Milwaukee. They have a poor track record for performance and like all other schools that are not publicly run, they have no restrictions on who they educate, allowing them to push out students they deem undesirable. They are also not accountable to a public school board elected by the people of Milwaukee, but rather they are an appointed commission with a dubious record of oversight. It is important to note that these are not the same charter schools that are accountable to the Milwaukee School Board. These charter schools are not part of this effort.

Milwaukee Alderman Tony Zielinski has authored a resolution for a 5-year moratorium on any new City of Milwaukee charter schools. It’s a significant step in the right direction to start to turn back the Takeover of MPS. This resolution will be introduced at the Steering & Rules Committee hearing on Thursday, June 11th. We need to turn out a large crowd for this hearing, in order to begin the process of putting Milwaukee schools back in the hands of the people, and not unelected commissions!

Milwaukee Collegiate Academy is a 2R city of Milwaukee charter school. It operates outside the Milwaukee School Board and is instead accountable to a appointed board.

Milwaukee Collegiate Academy is a 2R city of Milwaukee charter school. It operates outside the Milwaukee School Board and is instead accountable to a appointed board.

Here is the contact information for members of the Steering & Rules Committee. Please contact them and tell them to support the Zielinski Moratorium Resolution.

Here is Zielinski’s Resolution:

A substitute ordinance relating to the chartering of schools by the city.

This ordinance establishes a 5-year moratorium during which the City of Milwaukee will grant no school charters to schools not currently chartered by the City.

Whereas, The granting of school charters, which are intended to provide innovative educational programs to help struggling students succeed, requires considerable expertise and an in-depth knowledge of the latest innovations in education; and

Whereas, While the City of Milwaukee relies upon the expertise of the Charter School Review Committee when granting school charters, the City itself has no direct expertise in education policy innovations and school operations; and

Whereas, Many of the schools chartered by the City are struggling and are either underperforming their public-school counterparts or are not performing significantly better than public schools; and

Whereas, The lagging performance of schools chartered by the City may suggest the City is not sufficiently knowledgeable about education policy and innovation to be the best judge of which school proposals are most likely to succeed and should be chartered by the City; now, therefore

The Mayor and Common Council of the City of Milwaukee do ordain as follows:

Part 1. Section 330-4 of the code is created to read:

330-4. Moratorium. 1. PURPOSE. The city recognizes that many of the schools chartered by the city are either under-performing the available public schools, or are not performing significantly better than public schools, and acknowledges this underperformance may indicate an inadequacy in the city’s school chartering process. The city further acknowledges, given the paramount role of education to the children of the community, that the most prudent action for the public good is to establish a moratorium on city-granted school charters to give the city time to evaluate its school chartering process before proceeding to grant any additional school charters.

2. Moratorium. A moratorium on the granting of school charters to schools not chartered by the city as of the effective date of this section [city clerk to insert date] is established commencing on the effective date of this section [city clerk to insert date] and terminating on the first business day following the fifth anniversary of the effective date [city clerk to insert date].

What: Steering & Rules Committee hearing on a 5-year moratorium on any new city of Milwaukee 2R charter schools.

When: Thursday, June 11th @ 1:30pm

Where: Milwaukee City Hall, Room 301-B

Facebook event page can be found here.