Tag Archives: MPS

Voucher School Takes Money, Dumps Student

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Voucher schools have long been known to “dump” 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 inflate their reputations by ridding themselves of unwanted students.

In contrast, public schools must educate ALL children, including those experiencing academic, behavior, or parental issues. Increasingly, they are also forced to pick up the students expelled by outfits like Mount Olive, without any compensation from the state because the school already cashed the voucher.

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.

With their unfair advantages, you’d think that voucher schools would at least appear to be doing better at educating students than public schools. However, often that’s not even the case. The same MPS school that enrolled the student identified in this letter received another student from a different voucher school that same week, which had been closed down because its operators left for Florida to start another voucher school. The closure forced MPS to absorb its 66 students, only one of whom tested “proficient” on the most recent Wisconsin State Concepts and Knowledge Exam (WKCE).

The result for MPS is an overall special needs population of well over 30% and decreasing 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.

Despite these glaring problems with the Wisconsin voucher program, legislators in the state capitol continue to look for ways to expand it. It’s time Wisconsin taxpayers stand up and tell them no! How many more students will we let schools like Mount Olive dump before we fix the problem?

Milwaukee Public School Educators Defeat Privatization Attempt

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Milwaukee, WI - Hundreds of Milwaukee Public School (MPS) educators crammed a School Board meeting and an additional overfill room on Thursday night to send a message. A message that was clearly delivered, as the School Board voted (just minutes ago) against considering private charters when addressing school improvement.

Dozens of MPS district schools have been targeted due to “low performing” status. A familiar foe of public education, The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association (MMAC) had proposed turning these schools over to privately run corporations. MPS Administration will now not be able to consider options that privatize the schools. Educators, parents, community members, and supporters testified late into the night on why they opposed the district selecting paths that allow for further privatization of the district and were rewarded for their tireless effort.

More photos from the action can be found here.

A New Year, A New Voucher School Fiasco

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Trivia question: What do December 2013 and January 2014 have in common?

Answer: Answer: They both cost the Milwaukee Public School district, and thus Wisconsin taxpayers, about $200,000.

How many more voucher schools will rip off Wisconsin taxpayers before we stop using public dollars to fund them? The latest failure is LifeSkills Academy, which recently closed its doors after taxpayers forked over $202,278. It follows Washington Dubois Christian Leadership Academy, which closed in mid-December, costing taxpayers another estimated $200,000. And it’s not even just about the money – these schools closed their doors in the middle of the school year, disrupting students’ learning and creating hardship for their families. Not to mention the public schools that absorb the displaced school’s population without receiving funding in return. That’s just plain irresponsible.

These two school closings are just the latest in a long string of failures. Before them came Mandella School of Science and Math, L.E.A.D.E.R. School, Harambee Community School, and the New Hope Institute of Science and Technology charter school, to name just a few.

Not only do these schools tend to close suddenly, but they don’t even perform that well when they’re open. At LifeSkills, for example, only 1 of the 66 students apparently tested “proficient” on a recent state test. How is that a good use of taxpayer funds? It’s time to stop pouring public money into private misadventures. Quality public education should be our priority.

Photo credit: Overpass Light Brigade

Photo credit: Overpass Light Brigade

 

Milwaukee Voucher School Shut Down As Republicans Introduce Bill to Expand Private Charter Schools

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Milwaukee, WI - Another Milwaukee private charter school is shutting business down. It was reported tonight that Washington Dubois Christian Leadership Academy has been busted by the Wisconsin Department of Instruction (DPI) for voucher fraud. It joins Milwaukee’s Mandella School of Science and Math, L.E.A.D.E.R. School, Harambee Community School, and the New Hope Institute of Science and Technology charter school, to name a few, to be shut down for voucher fraud. Milwaukee Public Schools, which is operating in competition with the charter school closed down, must now absorb the school’s entire population while receiving no compensation for doing so. This all comes as Wisconsin Assembly Republicans have authored and brought forth a bill allowing for the expansion of this type of schools, as well as forcing all current charter schools in the state to be operated outside the public domain while still receiving public tax dollars.

 

Milwaukee Educators Visit School Board Meeting with a Message

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Milwaukee, WI - It was hard to not have flashbacks back to 2011, the heart of the Wisconsin Uprising, when teachers came out in force to fight back against Scott Walker’s anti-union Act 10 legislation. Hundreds of educators and their supporters came out to send, and literally bring, a message to the School Board meeting, where the board was deciding whether or not to vote to negotiate a new contract. All MPS teachers have had their wages frozen this year and rather than cower it appears educators are fighting back.

Teachers began the evening by forming a picket line in front of Central Office, while the another group of teachers held an illuminated “STAND WITH US” message.

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After some energetic chanting and marching for 15 minutes the group made their way into School Board meeting, bringing the illuminated message with them.

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One teacher, Gail Milbrath was able to engage Superintendent Thornton as he walked through the assembled group of teachers. She was overheard asking him about working conditions.

Photo credit: Bonnie Brusky

Photo credit: Bonnie Brusky

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After about 10 minutes into the meeting the Board went into executive session and later came out several hours later and ended up voting to lift the wage freeze on teachers, but stipulated that their was no money in the district left to give teachers a wage increase. This statement falls on deaf ears of teachers however, as the Superintendent was recently granted a 3% bonus from the very same School Board now denying teachers full negotiations. We’ll see where this all heads, but teachers are certainly not going to be satisfied with this mild victory and if tonight’s teacher action is any indication, teachers in Milwaukee are organizing and they’re upset.