Stop the Privatization of North Division!

Press conference outside North Division High School in response to the 2015 MPS Takeover legislation (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Howard Fuller, a supporter of Betsy DeVos, has a plan to co-locate and privatize North Division High School that will weaken our public schools and divide our community. Tell MPS School Board Directors to STOP Howard Fuller from taking over any space in North Division High School by calling 414-475-8284. Demand that they support plans to grow North Division to its full potential as a PUBLIC COMMUNITY SCHOOL .

1. Threatens local control. North Division parents and students were never included in the discussions to co-locate a privately owned and operated charter school inside of North Division.

2. Co-locations are failing MPS students. Co-locations have prevented public schools from growing enrollment and programming and have led to separate and unequal schools.

3. Reinforces inequality and the school-to-prison pipeline by creating discipline procedures not governed by the MPS School Board.

4. Starves Milwaukee Public School students of needed resources and educational space.

5. As more schools compete for limited educational resources, a takeover school at North Division will divide communities against themselves.

6. It’s an attack on the most under-resourced children and families of Milwaukee in 53206.


Attend the coming Tuesday, March 13 school board meeting at 6:00pm to stand in support of the school.

Sign to say:

Yes, I support keeping North Division in the hands of our democratically elected school board and oppose any co-location or privatization of North Division High School.

Sign the petition

Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Madison East Students Take Sen. Ron Johnson to School on Vouchers

Madison East Students Take Ron Johnson to School on Vouchers, Betsy DeVos from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson has been avoiding constituents since the election of Donald Trump, so he probably thought he could handle some Madison East High School students, but boy was he wrong!

In the nearly 45 –minute Thursday question and answer session, recorded on social media by a student in the audience, Johnson was grilled on his views on public education and an array of other issues. His answers and interactions show just how uninformed his views on public education are and just how brilliant and amazing Wisconsin students are.

The exchange began when Madison East student, Lydia Hester, walked up to the microphone and asked Johnson:

I’m a freshman here at East. I’d like to know how you feel about privatizing schools? How you are able to be here and say that you want to help students when you voted for Betsy DeVos, who has no experience with public schools? DeVos has been pushing for “school choice” for twenty years. This is creating charter schools that replace public schools. Public schools are losing their funding from voucher schools. Public schools are being forced to shut down in Milwaukee. How can you say this will help us?

Johnson responds by telling the students voucher schools offer students a “golden ticket” out of “failing schools,” telling students they needed to watch a one-sided movie that touts corporate education reform, which has exacerbated the condition of public schools. Perhaps Johnson’s campaign donations from school privatizers have clouded his views on this issue. Research (link) continues to show that students in voucher and private charter schools perform no better than students in public schools. As public funds are diverted to the private voucher schools Johnson praises, public school budgets shrink.

Just recently news broke in Milwaukee that a charter school, Universal Academy, abruptly closed its doors on a third school in the city in six months, leaving Milwaukee Public Schools and Wisconsin taxpayers with a nearly $1 million dollar tab. Now families, students, and educators are being forced to scramble and pick up the pieces in the middle of the school year.

Another student followed by comparing Johnson’s earlier remarks about stabilizing the situation in Syria to first stabilizing Wisconsin public schools before experimenting with other reforms:

Earlier in the talk you talked how the solution for refugees (Syria) was to stabilize the area that they’re coming from rather than bringing more here. We could kind of use that as a parallel to what you were just saying about school choice. To say that we can’t all mobilize and leave our places of origin, which is what the refugees want to do, we need to stabilize the situation here so I don’t understand how you can have the two reversed views.

Vouchers have been a destabilizing force for families and public schools in this city for decades. Fly-by-night private schools closing down have become commonplace in Milwaukee and other places that unaccountable vouchers have sunk their roots in. Over fifty voucher schools have closed their doors in Milwaukee, costing taxpayers over a hundred million dollars!


Graphic from a 2015 blog, when another failed voucher school, Daughters of the Father went under leaving families and MPS in a lurch. Other vouchers schools have failed since.

Finally a third student asked this brilliant question that Johnson handled about as well as Betsy DeVos did in her Senate confirmation hearing:

Do you think we should use standards of proficiency or standards of growth to measure student achievement, especially in relation to English classes which aren’t as straight-forwardly graded as math classes and why?

Johnson’s response:

You’re getting into some pretty esoteric educational pedagogy and I’m not an educator, I’m an accountant, I’m a plastics manufacturer.

Again, why are these politicians, who know nothing about educational policy, playing educator? Johnson forgets to mention that MPS schools were producing great results for students of color up until school vouchers and private charters started diverting money nearly 25 years ago in Milwaukee, the birthplace of a voucher district. Johnson didn’t want to admit that MPS students receive thousands of dollars less in per pupil funding than nearby suburban students, or that legislation to take over a democratically elected school board had been forced upon Milwaukee residents.

Johnson may have thought he could school a bunch of high school students, but these public school students could see right through his lies.

DSC02115 watermark copy

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Citywide Convening to Stop the Takeover of MPS

Stand up for the public schools our students deserve! Save the date!


Join us on Saturday, December 5th as students, parents, educators, and community allies collaborate to build a longterm strategy that both defeats the proposed Takeover of MPS, while also laying the groundwork for a new vision that embraces the successful public community schools model.

This meeting, which is being organized and planned by concerned MPS parents will both educate and activate those willing to take the necessary steps to reach these goals. Parents, educators, community members, students are all invited!

This event is being organized by Schools and Communities United. More details coming so check back on this page for updates.

Facebook event page is here.

“Walk In” to Celebrate and Protect Public Schools Friday 9/18 | RSVP TODAY

Students at U.S. Grant Elementary during last spring’s walk-in at the school (Photo credit Mike Erdmann).

On Friday, September 18, almost 60 public schools in Milwaukee will host “walk-ins” to celebrate and protect our public schools, and to share information with parents and community members about proposed public school takeovers.

The state legislature passed a plan to take over several public schools in Milwaukee. County executive Chris Abele is expected to appoint a commissioner this fall to oversee the takeover schools. The commissioner will then identify 1-3 schools this year to be taken over next year. Very few specifics are available. For example, we do not know how the commissioner’s salary will be funded, or how the schools will be chosen.

Community allies are organizing to fight the takeover and to stand up for public schools that welcome and serve all children.

Here are the schools that are currently hosting a walk-in (click on the school to RSVP).

***Check back, this list is growing by the hour.***

Allen Field
Alliance High School
Audubon Middle & HS
Barbee Montessori
Bay View High School
Bradley Tech High School
Brown Street
Clarke Street
Clara Barton
Craig Montessori
Eighty-First Street
Fifty-third Street
Forest Home
French Immersion
Greenfield Bilingual
Hamilton High School
Honey Creek
Howard Avenue Montessori
Humboldt Park
James Madison Academic Campus (JMAC)
Keefe Avenue
MLK Elementary
Maryland Montessori
Milwaukee High School of the Arts (MHSA)
Milwaukee School of Languages
Milwaukee Sign Language
Morse Marshall
New School
North Division
Project STAY
Reagan High School
River Trail 
Riverside University High School
Rogers Street Academy
Roosevelt MS of the Arts
Rufus King High School
Rufus King Middle School
South Division High School
Starms Early Childhod Center (ECC)
Washington High School
Westside I

Don’t see your school on the list? Enter the zip code of your school and click on the green button to host an event at your school.

What’s a Walk-In?

Last May, Riverside University High School held one of the first walk-ins.

Last May, Riverside University High School held one of the first walk-ins.

A walk-in is an early morning gathering of parents, students, educators and community supporters who come together to celebrate their school and to share information about how public school takeovers will hurt our students and deny critical services, such as bilingual education and special education. Watch video of a walk-in here.

Walk-In Flyer to distribute can be found here.

Spanish Walk-In Flyer to distribute can be found here..

Stop the Takeover of MPS – Attend the Schools and Communities United General Meeting

The students of Milwaukee Public Schools excel when given the support, time, & tools needed to learn. If we’re serious about making sure our students receive the opportunities they deserve then we need to do what works. That means smaller class sizes, more one-on-one attention, a wider array of community supports (nutrition, health, and after school programs for any student who needs it) and the best possible materials, resources and educators available. We need vibrant community schools, not private takeovers. We have to continue to fight for the schools we want for our students and the Schools and Communities United​ coalition is how we do that. Please join this general meeting open to the public.

Parents, students, educators and community members held hads around Auer Avenue School last May in defense of their students' public schools.

Parents, students, educators and community members held hands around Auer Avenue School last May in defense of their students’ public schools.

What: Schools and Communities United General Meeting (open to the public) When: Monday, August 3rd Where: Washington Park Public Library (2121 N. Sherman Blvd) The Facebook event page is located here.