Auer Avenue Educator Calls Out Attacks on Milwaukee Public Schools

Auer Avenue educator Ingrid Henry-Walker speaks to over 400 parents, students, educators, and community members gathered to fight the takeover of MPS (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Auer Avenue educator Ingrid Henry-Walker speaks to over 400 parents, students, educators, and community members gathered to fight the takeover of MPS (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Auer Avenue Elementary educator Ingrid Henry, who is also an MPS graduate and parent, delivered a powerful testimony against the undemocratic takeover of the Milwaukee Public Schools during Wednesday’s “Auer Community is NOT Your Colony!” action. Sen. Alberta Darling and Rep. Dale Kooyenga want to take away the locally controlled and accountable school board from the people of Milwaukee, while lowering teacher licensure standards for the educators teaching those students, but the people of Milwaukee are fighting back.

“The state of Wisconsin has sent a clear message to the residents of the city of Milwaukee. It has become evident that there are many that do not care for the children and families of our city. Some misguided, unfounded fear of people taking from them has finally given those in power enough leverage to destroy our city.
What do I mean by destroy? I mean cutting food aid to the elderly and children. I mean denying the people a living wage. I mean going forward with laws that will strip many of us of our right to vote. I mean closing schools with qualified teachers and replacing them with a school system that when asked if they would do the same for their struggling schools, every single politician said no.
As a teacher, I know how hard it is for children and their families who live in this city. Education is not the only thing on their mind, survival is. If those people who live in the suburbs want to help Milwaukee; they can do this, provide jobs, a living wage, dental care, health care, glasses, medication, mental health support, new schools, and transportation. Until those with the solutions listen and do what is morally right, I can’t take them seriously.
So I say this to politicians in Milwaukee and all over the state. I’m not compromising. You will not put into place the same legislation that destroyed Detroit. You will not put into place the same bills that bankrupted the Detroit and the New Orleans public schools. You will not follow Chicago and fire veteran teachers and teachers of color, in order to cheapen the work force. You will not sell our buildings to those looking to profit off of our children. You will not sell our children without a fight.
So as a proud MPS graduate I say to the alumni, we need you here to fight for each school. As a proud MPS parent, I say to the parents, we need you here to fight for each school. As a proud MPS teacher, I say educators we need you here to fight for each school. And as a proud citizen of the city of Milwaukee, I say Milwaukee we need each and every one of you ready to fight for each school.”

– Auer Avenue Elementary educator Ingrid Henry

Auer Avenue Educator Calls Out Attack on Milwaukee Public Schools from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

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This Letter Reveals a Dirty Secret About Wisconsin Voucher Schools

Letter showing a student being "counseled out" of a voucher school.

Letter showing a student being “counseled out” of a voucher school.

Voucher schools have long been known to “counsel out” children with special educational needs and at-risk behaviors, even after accepting taxpayer money to educate those students. The public rarely sees this happen, or is faced with the hardship this creates for children and their families. However, the letter below provides a glimpse into how voucher schools attempt to inflate their reputations by ridding themselves of unwanted students. It is exactly this kind of public oversight and accountability that Milwaukee parents would lose if MPS schools are handed over to private third party operators in the current state budget bill passed last week by the Joint Finance Committee.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

In contrast to the schools that would be taken over, the remaining public schools would continue to educate ALL children, including those who are low test scorers, experiencing academic or behavior issues. Increasingly, they are also forced to pick up the students expelled by vouchers schools like Mount Olive, without any funding following the student to the next school.

This is unfair. It hurts the expelled students and their families, humiliating them and forcing them to change schools. It hurts public schools, both financially and by concentrating the share of at-risk children. Finally, it hurts the public, as taxpayer money is siphoned off for private gain.

A common argument of voucher school proponents is that these schools create competition for public schools, thereby increasing achievement across the board. However, when your “competitior” can skim the cream off the class crop, that’s far from a level playing field. It’s hard to imagine how this type of “competition” would be healthy for anyone.

The result for MPS is a climbing special needs population despite dwindling financial resources. Public school educators do their best to provide quality education for their students, but this becomes more challenging with every passing year. Though voucher school proponents love to talk about “choice” and “achievement,” the real story is that these schools do a serious disservice to students, families, educators, public school districts and state taxpayers and we don’t want anymore of them in Milwaukee!

Photo credit: Barbara Miner

Photo credit: Barbara Miner

Despite these glaring problems with the Wisconsin voucher program, legislators in the state capitol are poised to pass the MPS takeover. It’s time Milwaukee taxpayers stand up and tell them no! How many more students will we let schools like Mount Olive dump before we fix the problem?

 

Join us on Wednesday to say NO to the Takeover of MPS!

Senator Lena Taylor Exposes GOP Hypocrisy Over MPS Takeover

Sen Lena Taylor asks GOP legislators to accept the same legislation for their districts that they want for hers (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Sen Lena Taylor asks GOP legislators to accept the same legislation for their districts that they want for hers (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

If Joint Finance Committee GOP members are so high on their Takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools then surely they wouldn’t mind bringing this same innovative proposal to their own districts, right?

Watch to see how GOP members voted when Sen Lena Taylor offered a motion that would implement the same proposal in their districts that they were imposing upon hers in Miwaukee.

If It’s Good for the Goose, It’s Good for the Gander from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

We Elected You to Fight for Us, Not Rollover!

Milwaukee resident Ingrid Walker testifies against a takeover resolution brought forth by MPS School Board President Michael Bonds.

Milwaukee resident Ingrid Walker testifies against a takeover resolution brought forth by MPS School Board President Michael Bonds.

“I am asking you to do what we elected you to do. FIGHT FOR US!”

-Angela Walker

Last Thursday’s MPS School Board hearing provided some pretty dramatic testimony. The residents of Milwaukee have been expecting some form of a school takeover bill from the Republicans in Madison, but they never thought they’d see one from their own school board.

Board president Michael Bonds brought forth a resolution, Thursday night, that aimed at placating GOP politicians in Madison. The resolution performed some of the same functions as Sen. Alberta Darling & Rep. Dale Kooyenga’s Takeover bill, in that it handed a portion of the board’s authority over to an unelected authority, in this case MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver.

Unfortunately for President Bonds, the public came out to testify against it and the measure was tabled on a 7 – 1 vote, with only Bonds voting for it. One of the many voices for maintaining strong local control through an elected and accountable school board was Milwaukee resident Angela Walker. Watch her 2-minute testimony that summed up what many in Milwaukee are feeling right now about ANY attempt to take over control of their public schools.

We Elected You to Fight for Us, Not Rollover! from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

Join us Wednesday, May 27th at Auer Avenue Elementary where we continue the defense of our publicly controlled and accountable schools and tell those seeking to take over our schools “Auer Community is NOT Your Colony!”

Auer Community is NOT Your Colony

Auer Avenue Elementary is one of the public schools targeted by the Senator Alberta Darling (R – River Hills) and Representative Dale Kooyenga’s (R – Brookfield) Milwaukee Public Schools takeover plan and a symbol of all of our under-resourced schools. Join us as we surround Auer Ave. School and let state legislators and the county executive know that AUER Community is NOT your colony!

This school defense rally will be the first in a series of citywide actions to raise public awareness of what our schools and communities are facing, and how all of our communities can join in the fight to keep democratic control of our schools. OUR SCHOOLS, OUR SOLUTIONS! Join us!

When: Wednesday, May 27th

Where: Auer Avenue Elementary (2319 W. Auer, Milwaukee, WI 53206)

When: 4:45pm

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