Senator Alberta Darling and Representative Dale Kooyenga are trying to take over Milwaukee Public Schools. Their proposal to take away "failing" schools from MPS and create a "recovery school district" is a blatant effort by out-of-town representatives to take local control away from the people. Let's not allow the state's poorest and most deprived schools to be handed over to private interests.
The Joint Finance Committee will meet today, Tuesday, May 19 to vote on education items.
Please call your senator and representative right now and ask them to do the following:
- Do not include the Darling/Kooyenga plan for taking away local control from the Milwaukee School Board
- Remove the charter school legislation from the budget
- Drop the expansion of the statewide voucher program-Wisconsin does not want and can't afford voucher expansion.
The assumption that privatizing schools will improve educational achievement in Milwaukee ignores the fact that after a quarter of a century of massive school "choice" in Milwaukee, there is little evidence showing improved educational achievement.
Labeling schools as "failing" simply due to low test scores misses the point. There are a multiplicity of factors – such as low attendance, concentrated poverty, and students with special needs or English language learners – that may contribute to low scores. This does not mean the school is failing. In fact, it is a signal that other institutions in our society are failing.
Under the proposal, parents, students, and community members are stripped of their democratic rights to have a say in the future of their schools because power will be transferred from the democratically elected school board to an appointed commissioner. The commissioner will have unilateral authority to choose schools that will be taken from the public school system and privatized.
Call your legislators today – and keep the power to make education-related decisions in the hands of parents and local community members.