Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

January 28, 2014

Accountability Bill: Privatization Driven

Filed under: Charter Schools,Low Performing Schools — millerlf @ 10:01 am

Following is the Legislative Research Bureau analysis of the bill’s application to MPS:

Public schools

If DPI determines that a public school, other than a charter school, has received a grade of F for three consecutive school years, or has received a grade of F in three of five consecutive school years and a grade no higher than D in the other two school years, the school board must close the school or contract with a high−quality charter management organization (CMO) to operate the school as a charter school. (In the Milwaukee Public Schools [MPS], if the school board opts to contract with a CMO, the superintendent of schools, instead of the school board, enters into the contract on behalf of the school district.) A CMO is considered high-quality if, in each of the two preceding school years, the improvement in the average scores of pupils attending each charter school operated by the CMO on state assessments in reading and mathematics was greater than the improvement in the average scores of pupils attending public schools in the school district in which the charter school will be located.

A charter school established under these provisions may not be an instrumentality of the school district and the school board may not employ any personnel for the school. The school board must pay the charter school operator, for each full-time equivalent pupil attending the school, at least 90 percent of the average per pupil cost for the school district.

The requirement to close a public school or contract with a CMO to operate the school as a charter school does not apply if DPI determines, based on information provided by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Value-Added Research Center, that the school demonstrates high-value added growth.

Some noteworthy features of the SB286:

1) While public schools would be forced to close or turned into an independent charters, voucher schools would not be forced to close but would not be able to enroll any additional voucher students. 

2)  Public schools have to take the state test. Voucher schools get a choice, they take the state test, but they also have the opportunity to take a different test and submit that information if they choose.

3)  There is a stipulation that the lowest performing 5% of public schools must be placed in the lowest performing category. It suggest that even if you are not in the “F” or “Fails to meet expectations” category, you can be thrown into the group that could be slated for closure or conversion to charter. Labeling 5% as “lowest performing” — even when they aren’t — is a backdoor way to create perpetual charter school expansion.

4)  Low performing schools will be closed or turned over to independent charter management organizations (CMO).

5)  The MPS Superintendent will have the power to contract directly with CMOs, circumventing the elected School Board.

6)  90% of the funding goes to the CMO. (Presently approximately 80% goes to the CMO.)

7)  Failing schools in MPS are only given 1 year before sanctions begin, rather than 3, and this stipulation is retroactive.

To see the full bill go to:

Accountability Bill




  1. It’s even worse when you scroll further down the LRB text and read:
    “The substitute amendment requires DPI annually to issue a grade of F to at least 5 percent of schools.”


    Which means that, in three years’ time, up to ONE OUT OF TWENTY public schools in this state would be having its doors closed and the keys turned over to a charter from a for-profit chain. And if one school climbs its way out of “failing,” the next one will of necessity be downgraded to take its place.

    Comment by elvissightings — January 28, 2014 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

    • This is a frontal attack on public education and an attempt to destroy MPS.
      L Miller

      Comment by millerlf — January 28, 2014 @ 12:22 pm | Reply

    • If so, what sort of resistance is the MPS School Board willing to put up besides implementing austerity?

      Comment by Labitokov — January 28, 2014 @ 1:10 pm | Reply

      • I’m not sure. Are you willing to sit in and get arrested like I did 3 years ago at Joint Finance along with 20 others, mostly Voces members?

        Comment by millerlf — January 28, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

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