Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

October 28, 2013

Please Attend Common Council Committee Meeting Tomorrow Tuesday, October 29 at 9:00 a.m.

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 11:14 am

Urge Common Council Committee to Vote YES to Develop Malcolm X In a Way That Will Benefit All Taxpayers.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, October 29 at 9:00 a.m. the City of Milwaukee Zoning, Neighborhoods, and Development Committee will consider a resolution to authorize the sale of Malcolm X Academy to 2760 Holdings, LLC (the developers who are engaged in developing an MPS school, community and cultural center, and affordable housing at that site). This sale has been approved by the MPS School Board and now moves to the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee. If approved by the committee, it will move to the Common Council for approval.

Please plan to attend this important public hearing on Tuesday, October 29 at City Hall (Room 301-B, 3rd Fl.)and testify using any or all of the talking points below. It is important for Common Council members to see and hear from constituents who support public education and community spaces that benefit all taxpayers.

In addition, please take a moment between now and Tuesday to call or email the Milwaukee Alderpersons who are on this committee (see list and contact info below) and encourage them to vote YES on this resolution. The proposed development will benefit all children, all community residents and all taxpayers with:

·          A community and cultural center that could include after school activities and events, as well as health care and other support services for community residents

·          Affordable housing for neighborhood residents

·         A strong community school with multiple community partnerships

·         The expansion of International Baccalaureate (IB) opportunities for students

·         An improved tax base and opportunities to develop taxable real estate at the site

Please contact the members of the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee Today:

Ald. James Bohl, Chair, 5th District Alderman: Office Phone: (414) 286-3870 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150

Ald. Willie C. Wade, Vice Chair, 7th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 wvvade@milwaukee.gov

Ald. Michael Murphy, 10th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 mmurph@milwaukee.gov

Ald. Robert J. Bauman, 4th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-3532 Fax: (414) 286-3456 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 rjbauma@milwaukee.gov

Ald. Terry L. Witkowski 13th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-8537 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 Home/Cell Phone: (414) 731-0472 twitko@milwaukee.gov

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Video: Public Education is a Civil Right Rally at North Division High School

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 11:03 am

Community leaders held a news conference on October 18 to oppose State legislation which would take control of MPS buildings away from the MPS school board.

Public Education is a Civil Right, Community Leaders Speak Out, October 18, 2013. To view the video go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yRa3_Uc_1o&feature=youtu.be

October 26, 2013

Latest Update on Malcolm X Plan From MPS

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 10:55 am

From MPS Portal

MPS, Developers detail Phase One of Malcolm X redevelopment

Plan would include IB middle school and affordable housing

The Milwaukee Public Schools and 2760 Holdings, LLC will develop a robust public/private partnership that will bring new opportunities for educational excellence and residential housing options to the Harambee neighborhood of Milwaukee.

Under this partnership, the former Malcolm X building will be built out in two phases. The first phase will create affordable housing for area residents and a school. The school will be an International Baccalaureate middle school for 600 students, providing a high-quality middle school option for the area. IB, a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum, is offered at five MPS schools and is one of the most popular programs in MPS.

The site will also serve as a community asset with access to the gymnasium and auditorium for community members and groups. A collaborative community planning session conducted last summer by the UWM School of Architecture and Urban Planning and the Martin Luther King Drive Economic Development Corp., reaffirmed an earlier call by the MPS Board of School Directors for the site to have community usage.

With a purchase price and renovations totaling $4.2 million, 2760 Holdings, LLC plans to complete the educational component of Phase One by Fall 2014. MPS will lease the educational portion of the building from the developer for $4.2 million with the option to buy the educational portion of the building for $1. This allows MPS to have educational space that will be ready to be occupied by a high-quality educational program and the community will have access to recreational space and needed, affordable housing.

“This partnership gives the community a chance to reap the benefits of the experience of the major partners in 2760 Holdings, LLC, James Phelps of JCP Construction and Dennis Klein of KBS Construction,” said MPS Superintendent Gregory E. Thornton. “Together these two organizations have been major players in the construction of key Milwaukee projects including Kenilworth Square Apartments, Cambridge Commons and Riverview Terrace at UW Milwaukee, the Journey House addition to Longfellow Elementary, Marquette University’s Law School and School of Engineering and renovations of Mitchell Hall at UW Milwaukee, the MPS Juneau Complex and the Medical College.”

October 24, 2013

Urgent: Contact Milwaukee Common Council Members and Attend Committee Meeting on Tuesday, October 29 at 9:00 a.m.

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 5:00 pm

Urge Common Council Committee to Vote YES to Develop Malcolm X In a Way That Will Benefit All Taxpayers.

On Tuesday, October 29 at 9:00 a.m. the City of Milwaukee Zoning, Neighborhoods, and Development Committee will consider a resolution to authorize the sale of Malcolm X Academy to 2760 Holdings, LLC (the developers who are engaged in developing an MPS school, community and cultural center, and affordable housing at that site). This sale has been approved by the MPS School Board and now moves to the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee. If approved by the committee, it will move to the Common Council for approval.

Please plan to attend this important public hearing on Tuesday, October 29 at City Hall (Room 301-B, 3rd Fl.)and testify using any or all of the talking points below. It is important for Common Council members to see and hear from constituents who support public education and community spaces that benefit all taxpayers.

In addition, please take a moment between now and Tuesday to call or email the Milwaukee Alderpersons who are on this committee (see list and contact info below) and encourage them to vote YES on this resolution. The proposed development will benefit all children, all community residents and all taxpayers with:

  •               A community and cultural center that could include after school activities and events, as well as health care and other support services for community residents

  •  Affordable housing for neighborhood residents

  • A strong community school with multiple community partnerships

  • The expansion of International Baccalaureate (IB) opportunities for students

  • An improved tax base and opportunities to develop taxable real estate at the site

Please contact the members of the Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee:

Ald. James Bohl, Chair, 5th District Alderman: Office Phone: (414) 286-3870 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150

Ald. Willie C. Wade, Vice Chair, 7th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 wvvade@milwaukee.gov

Ald. Michael Murphy, 10th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 mmurph@milwaukee.gov

Ald. Robert J. Bauman, 4th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-3532 Fax: (414) 286-3456 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 rjbauma@milwaukee.gov

Ald. Terry L. Witkowski 13th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-8537 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 Home/Cell Phone: (414) 731-0472 twitko@milwaukee.gov

Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West

Filed under: Poverty — millerlf @ 4:51 pm

By Lyndsey Layton, October 16 Washington Post

A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.

The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nation’s oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year.

(more…)

October 21, 2013

Letter From Rocketship Teacher

Filed under: Rocketship — millerlf @ 3:37 pm

Following is a letter and essay by a Rocketship teacher sent to Diane Ravitch.

Rocketship charter schools have a goal of expanding to enroll one million children. Their model relies heavily on technology and inexpensive, inexperienced teachers who work long hours and have no union. Their schools are focused on test scores and leave out the arts and other “non-essentials.” The San Jose, California, board of education will decide tomorrow about whether to send more children and more public dollars to this poor substitute for a real school.

This letter came to me from a Rocketship teacher:

“Dear Diane,

I have been reading the coverage on your blog on the lawsuit against Rocketship in its quest to build Rocketship Tamien in San Jose. I appreciate your attention to this issue. I am a current Rocketship teacher who is also concerned about Rocketship’s expansion. With a vote by the San Jose City Council coming this Tuesday, I decided I could not longer remain silent. Below you will find an anonymous letter I sent to the San Jose City Council, as well as the parent group against Tamien you featured on your blog. I wanted to send this letter to you as well. I’m not sure if it is something you would be interested in posting on your blog, but even so I wanted you to know you helped encourage me to write it.

Thank you!
                             -A Rocketship Teacher

To all those concerned and involved with the Rocketship Tamien dispute,

I am a Rocketship Teacher who has become increasingly concerned and frustrated while silently watching the dispute over Rocketship Tamien. In this letter, I hope to bring a perspective of a current Rocketship teacher. I am just one perspective and do not claim to speak for other Rocketship teachers. However, I do think my point of view, without a union for protection, is silenced and hidden in this debate. By raising my voice, I am fearful my job could be in danger. Therefore, I have chosen to write this letter anonymously and leave out many details of my own personal experience.

I have structured the letter under a few key points of my feelings about Rocketship as an organization and the direction we are headed. I hope this perspective might raise new questions in the ongoing debate over opening Rocketship Tamien. I have tremendous respect for many of the teachers I work with at Rocketship and by no means wish to attack the incredible effort and energy they put into this difficult job.

Rapid Expansion Without a Clear Model:

Just a few months into the last school year, Rocketship announced to teachers the start of “redesign.” I say announced, because it was not offered as a conversation, but as a mandate. We would be changing many of our schools to an “open-space” model. This model’s vision would have placed 100 students in a room with two credentialed teachers and one learning specialist (including in Kindergarten and first grade). Without research or proof that this was a good idea for our students, redesign was launched at several Rocketship campuses. Teachers, without a union, had no choice but to follow blindly into the “redesign” path, many teachers staying nightly until 9pm trying to figure out what in the world they were going to do in a new space with that many students.

Unfortunately, the experiment Rocketship embarked on with their students and communities proved to be rash. This year, they have slowed down and redesign is happening, for most schools, only in 4th and 5th grade classrooms. I think my biggest concern when thinking about redesign, which left many teachers bitter and caused many to leave Rocketship, is that even though Rocketship is experimenting with its model and unsure of its future direction, it still seeks to rapidly expand across San Jose and across America. It is irresponsible and egotistical to believe that a model that you have not figured out is superior to established public schools in the neighborhoods you are interrupting. This is especially true in light of last year’s CST scores which showed a decline at every Rocketship campus.

No Teacher Sustainability, Little Experience at All Levels:

Working at Rocketship is not sustainable. I personally have never had a colleague tell me, “I could work as a Rocketship teacher for the next 10 years.” I haven’t even heard a colleague say they could work as a Rocketship teacher for 5 years. Rocketship relies heavily on Teach for America corps members. Many TFA teachers come into the classroom with no experience and no perspective on what a traditional school is like. Without experience of a traditional model, I think many TFA teachers come into Rocketship blindly and follow the unreasonable expectations blindly. They grind through their two year commitment of late hours, ridiculous test score pressure, and tumultuous school and organizational environment. At the end of those two years, or even before it, many will leave Rocketship. Some will go into traditional public schools; some will run away from teaching, or what they believe from Rocketship to be teaching, forever. This turnover and burnout robs the San Jose community of veteran teachers that have worked in and understand the community.

It is not just inexperience on the teacher end, it is also inexperience on the administrative end. If you teach for three years at Rocketship, you may have just as much or more teaching experience as some administrators at Rocketship. Rocketship claims to have a robust teacher training and development program, but unfortunately that training comes from inexperienced educators, which I think highly questions the value of such training. When I have heard this concern brought up, usually the value of veteran teachers and experience is scoffed at as unnecessary. This, I think, is part of a larger issue at Rocketship. In my opinion, Rocketship believes itself superior without the experience or results to support it.

Instability of Student’s Day:

Rocketship, to save money by hiring fewer teachers, has a rotational model. Students move throughout the day between different classrooms and spaces, largely three: 1) Literacy, 2) Math, 3) Learning Lab. Literacy teachers have two classes during the day, while math teachers have four, which I think greatly contributes to lack of teacher sustainability. Building relationships with 60 or 120 elementary students and their families, as well as maintaining classroom culture throughout the day, is difficult, emotionally draining, and exhausting.

I truly believe that this middle school model of rotation is not appropriate for elementary school students and creates a culture of instability that breeds behavioral issues. When students are rotating through multiple spaces throughout the day, they do not have consistent behavior expectations, consistent authority figures, or often enough eyes monitoring the transitions. I do not believe this model suits every child, particularly those with special needs. I believe many of our students crave a more stable environment, especially for our students who may experience instability at home.

Students also spend about one hour a day on computers which, as Rocketship has admitted in the PBS special, is not currently effective in pushing student learning. However, because we have a higher student to teacher ratio than traditional schools, students continue to be “held” in the learning lab until their math and literacy classes open up. I do believe that online learning has incredible potential, but Rocketship is using it for too long every day which breeds a lack of investment and boredom in our student’s experience in the learning lab.

Anti-Union Anti-Traditional Public School Rhetoric:

Rocketship claims unions will block their ability to expand and innovate. What that means practically for teachers in the case of the “redesign” experiment last year and day to day decisions of the organization, is that we effectively have no voice or tangible power in this organization.

The PBS special had two Rocketship teachers who claimed that they did not need a union, that they were valuable to Rocketship and safe. Both of those teachers were slated and have now become administrators at Rocketship. PBS didn’t dig, but if they had done some digging, they would have found plenty of disillusioned teachers for their interviews. Or perhaps, they wouldn’t have since we have no union protection. Rocketship also pushes its anti-union, anti-traditional public school rhetoric on our families. I have had many interactions with parents where claims are made about unions or public schools in the area, that have been garnered from Rocketship, that are wrong or over-generalized.

Rocketship, I believe, is not here to provide pressure and competition to traditional public schools. They, with their goals of expansion to reach 1 million students, are here to take over. It is essential to that goal then, to discredit traditional public schools and the teachers at those schools. Students, because of state funding per child, become dollars Rocketship takes from a traditional public school with every child it recruits. This in turn puts more pressure on established districts to lay off teachers and will, eventually, lead to school closures.

Test Scores as the Ultimate Goal:

Rocketship is obsessed with its tests scores. As a charter, they live or die by those test scores. We are now asking our students to learn how to bubble multiple choice questions as early as kindergarten. Teachers are constantly in cycles of testing (which again, is to 60 or 120 students which contributes to the unsustainability).

I believe that knowing where our students are and working to address knowledge gaps is important, but test scores have taken over the culture of Rocketship schools. The stress put on teachers I believe translates directly to the students who are constantly being assessed. Last year, my and other teachers’ salaries were based largely on one computer examination that is given to the students three times during the year. Science, social studies, art and general play time have all become victim to the testing grind. I do not believe Rocketship is cultivating creative, innovative, challenging, minds.

In closing, I do not believe that Rocketship is an organization to be given blind trust. The parents at Rocketship are just like the parents protesting against Rocketship Tamien. They want the best educational experience for their students. I send this letter in the hopes of raising more pause towards Rocketship, its lobbyists, and the tighter hold it is trying to establish over San Jose’s elementary schools.

October 20, 2013

Followup Calls and Emails Needed to Alderpersons

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 8:49 pm

Please support MPS by calling or emailing your Common Council representative Monday or Tuesday by asking them to–

“Please support the MPS School Board’s sale of Malcolm X to the 2760 Holding Company, L.L.C. because this is a chance to create a program at Malcolm X that will benefit the whole community and all taxpayers.”

Milwaukee Common Council

Common Council President Willie L. Hines, Jr. – 15th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 Home Phone: (414) 871-6807

City Hall, Room 205 200 E. Wells St. Milwaukee, WI 53202 (same address for entire council) whines@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Ashanti Hamilton — 1st District Alderman

Office Phone:(414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150

ahamil@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Joe Davis — 2nd District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 jldavis@milwaukee.gov  

Alderman Nik Kovac — 3rd District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 After Hours Phone: 414-286-2150 nkovac@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Robert J. Bauman — 4th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-3532 Fax: (414) 286-3456 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 rjbauma@milwaukee.gov

Alderman James A. Bohl, Jr. – 5th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-3870 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150

jbohl@milwaukee.gov

Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs — 6th District Alderwoman

Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 mcoggs@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Willie C. Wade – 7th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 wvvade@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Robert G. Donovan – 8th District Alderman Office Phone: (414) 286-3533 Fax: (414) 286-3456 rdonov@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Robert W. Puente – 9th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 rpuent@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Michael J. Murphy — 10th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 mmurph@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Joe Dudzik -11th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-3768 Fax: (414) 286-3456 Home Phone: (414) 541-2067 jdudziOmilwaukee.gov

Alderman Jose G. Perez – 12th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-2221 Fax: (414) 286-3456 jperez@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Terry L. Witkowski — 13th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-8537 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 After Hours Phone: (414) 286-2150 Home/Cell Phone: (414) 731-0472 twitko@milwaukee.gov

Alderman Tony Zielinski -14th District Alderman

Office Phone: (414) 286-3769 Fax: (414) 286-3456 TDD: (414) 286-2025 Home Phone: (414) 744-1802 tzieli@milwaukee.gov

October 17, 2013

St. Marcus Lutheran School: High Performing or PR Hustle?

Filed under: St. Marcus — millerlf @ 10:21 pm

Saint Marcus: Does 21% Reading Proficiency Constitute a High Performing School?

The leaders of Saint Marcus Lutheran School have done a great PR job convincing Republicans in Madison that they are a “high performing” school. At a recent State Assembly hearing, Superintendent Henry Tyson,  bragged about the school’s results using their WKCE scores as the example.

            Below are their reading scores from WKCE testing last Fall. Does 21% average reading proficiency for six grades constitute a “high performing” school?  Many MPS elementary schools outperform St. Marcus on the WKCE reading proficiency test.

Saint Marcus Lutheran School

WSAS: WKCE and WAA Combined Fall 2012

*Reading

 

 

#Enrolled

#Required to Test

% Minimal

%

Basic

% Proficient

% Advanced

Combined

Proficient and Advanced

   3

    81

80

  38%

  42%

  17%

  1%

  18%

   4

    57

57

  25%

  44%

  28%

  4%

  32%

   5

    31

31

  42%

  42%

  13%

  3%

  16%

   6

    56

56

  38%

  54%

   7%

  2%

    9%

   7

    52

52

  13%

  60%

  25%

  2%

  27%

   8

    31

31

  23%

  55%

  19%

  3%

  22%

Total

   308

307

  30%

 49%

  19%

  2%

  21%

High-performing teacher-led schools could be evicted under lawmakers’ proposals

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 9:07 pm
  Legislation under consideration in the Wisconsin legislature could force Milwaukee Public Schools and the City of Milwaukee to sell school buildings housing high-performing teacher-led school programs.Even after amendments, Senate Bill 318 and Assembly Bill 417 still contain a provision that forces the sale of a building not staffed on a full-time basis by a principal.

That could force the sale of buildings housing a number of teacher-led charter schools, including ALBA, rated “Exceeds Expectations” by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and recognized by DPI as a Wisconsin School of Recognition for two straight years. ALBA teachers were also recently named as among the best in America by People magazine. Another impacted school could be Whittier, a 2011 National Blue Ribbon School rated “Exceeds Expectations” or “Meets Expectations” in each of the two years the DPI report cards have been in place.

Milwaukee Public Schools is using buildings housing these programs and others to promote innovation and develop more high-achieving schools. The district has strategically used underutilized or vacant buildings to cut down on waiting lists and expand popular, successful programs including I.D.E.A.L. Charter School, Golda Meir School and Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School.

MPS has reused eight buildings to expand programming, eleven buildings have been leased to innovative charter schools and four buildings have been sold including two to Milwaukee College Prep. MPS’ most recent building sale – the former Malcolm X site to a development partnership including two established local developers – will benefit by taxpayers by creating a 21st-century community center and educational space in a break-even deal. MPS would be able to purchase the property after a roughly four-year lease for $1.

But SB 318 and AB 417 would strip locally-elected officials of decision-making power when it comes to strategically using facilities to grow successful programs. Prior versions of the bills would have evicted 3,500-plus students from schools that are growing or schools in which part of the building is used for district staff training.

MPS Portal

The facts: MPS, Malcolm X and 2760 Holdings LLC

Filed under: MPS Buildings — millerlf @ 4:33 pm

MPS Portal:

City residents and taxpayers deserve to know the facts about Milwaukee Public Schools, its Malcolm X Academy site and the Milwaukee Board of School Directors’ vote this week to authorize the sale of the site to 2760 Holdings, LLC pending approval from the Milwaukee Common Council. Here they are:

Under the sale, 2760 Holdings, LLC, will make significant improvements to the 50-plus-year-old building to prepare it to be reopened as a community center and school. MPS estimates the cost of those improvements to be, at minimum, $4.2 million, approximately matching the lease payments MPS would make over 50 months for the educational portion of the building. 2760 Holdings’ payment of the sale price of $2.1 million makes the deal a “break-even” one for the district because MPS ultimately reimburses the improvement for the educational portion while having the option to repurchase the facility for a dollar. In the end, taxpayers and the community benefit because the community receives an upgraded, 21st-century facility for a community center and school.

Contrary to statements made by lawmakers, 2760 Holdings, LLC is not a ‘fly-by-night’ organization. As is typical in commercial real estate developments, when partners from different organizations come together, they create a separate LLC to work on the project.

Principals of 2760 Holdings, LLC, include James Phelps, whose work has included renovations at the Medical College of Wisconsin, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the YWCA – and Dennis Klein, chairman of KBS, who has been involved in substantial construction and development projects including three mixed-use University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee properties, two new facilities for Marquette University, major new Milwaukee hotels Aloft and Marriott, and the redevelopment of Capitol Court into Midtown Center.

Milwaukee Public Schools has offered three other facilities to St. Marcus Lutheran School – all of which are in the neighborhoods where many St. Marcus students live and two of which are in close proximity to St. Marcus’ existing site – but St. Marcus leaders rejected those sites. MPS remains open to discussing the sites with St. Marcus.

In August 2012, the Board of School Directors began discussion of turning unused former school buildings into community resource centers. The process specific to converting Malcolm X began in May and included a number of public hearings. Legislation to strip MPS and the city of Milwaukee of their control over local school facilities was introduced in October 2013.

Milwaukee Public Schools is committed to continuing our work with parents, community partners and others to increase educational opportunities and improve outcomes for the more than 78,000 children served in MPS.

As MPS enrollment grows, legislative proposals restrict growth of successful MPS schools

The Wisconsin Assembly is now considering a proposal that, like an earlier proposal from the Wisconsin Senate, could evict more than 3,500 Milwaukee Public Schools students from their current schools, some of which are among the most successful schools in the city (read more).

A group of Senators voted Monday to remove the provision from the Senate plan that would evict students. But at a time when MPS is seeing enrollment growth for the first time in a decade, both the Senate and Assembly plans prevent the district from continuing to strategically use facilities to grow successful schools.

This school year, MPS’ strategic use of facilities allowed top-rated Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School to add 45 students and the successful I.D.E.A.L. Charter School to add 30 students. Golda Meir School, which is rated “Exceeds Expectations” by the state and added 28 students this year, is expected to grow further as it adds high school grades beginning in 2014-15.

Both Assembly Bill 417 and Senate Bill 318 would deny MPS and Milwaukee families the opportunity to continue to grow the successful schools those families are choosing. The bills force MPS and the city of Milwaukee to sell buildings, including ones that MPS has plans for, as the district continues to seek to grow successful programs.

MPS has shared with lawmakers that it does currently have facilities that could be sold and that voucher schools have rejected those buildings. In recent years, the district has sold four facilities, including two to Milwaukee College Prep. MPS also currently leases 11 sites to charter and partnership schools and has used facilities to grow eight successful and popular MPS schools.

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