Alberta Darling Proposes “Disaster Capitalism” for Milwaukee. In Naomi Kline’s book, Shock Doctrine, she explains that “free market” policies have come to dominate the world– through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people. There are disaster zones in Milwaukee, but without investment (real money spent) nothing will change. In the Darling proposal it says, “The initiatives…(proposed)…will not cost any taxpayer, at any level of government, a single cent.”
GOP lawmakers to craft bill converting failing MPS schools to charters
By Erin Richards of the Journal Sentinel 1/28/15
Some Milwaukee public schools with failing grades on state report cards could be turned into charter schools overseen by a new local board, according to a host of education-reform proposals announced by two suburban Republican lawmakers Wednesday.
Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) introduced education and economic proposals as part of their legislative agenda for fighting poverty in Milwaukee during an informal meeting with reporters Wednesday.
Some of the ideas will be introduced as individual bills, others may get negotiated into the state budget, Kooyenga said.
One proposal calls for turning select MPS schools with failing grades into independent charter schools that do not employ unionized teachers or answer to the Milwaukee School Board.
Instead, those schools would be overseen by a new local board, which would entertain proposals from charter-school operators and award five-year contracts to operators that present the most compelling plans, according to the proposal.
A spokesperson from Darling’s office said details such as who would head the board and who would appoint or elect the members would be finalized in a forthcoming bill.
Darling characterized the proposal Wednesday as a “partnership” with MPS, and said she hopes to get some school board members and potentially even MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver on the new board.
But Driver said Wednesday during an “On the Issues” interview at the Marquette University Law School that she was not a fan of so-called “recovery districts.”
“To think you can close a school as a traditional school and reopen it as a charter tomorrow and get these great results is really misguided,” Driver told Mike Gousha, distinguished fellow in law and public policy.
“I have 85% of my students living in poverty, we’re 86% students of color and 10% that are English language learners,” Driver added. “There are a number of other things we have to consider in terms of the programs, resources and the teachers that go into those schools besides just whether it’s a traditional school or a charter school.”
School Board Member Larry Miller said the proposals are an attempt to seize schools and flood the market with charters in Milwaukee. “This diversion is coming from the same people who blocked high speed rail (proposals) that would have created jobs and gotten people from the inner city to jobs (in the suburbs),” he said.
Miller added it was “incredibly arrogant” that the proposals to fight poverty in the city were coming from lawmakers representing two of Milwaukee’s wealthiest suburbs.
Bob Peterson, president of the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association, said in a statement that the lawmakers’ plan for fighting poverty opens the door for handing over public schools to private companies, without offering new resources.
“We will unite with others in massive resistance to this senseless attack,” the statement said.
The other education proposals from Darling and Kooyenga include:
■ Streamline the process for allowing high-performing charter schools to open additional schools.
■ Convert the approximately $40 million MPS receives each year for school integration efforts within the system to a block grant with no state mandates.
■ Redirect $12 million from Cooperative Education Service Agency 1 in Pewaukee to establish a computer-programming charter school for high school students.
■ Allow schools to apply for and receive waivers from certain state mandates from the Department of Public Instruction.
■ Designate an existing staff member at the Department of Workforce Development into a full-time coordinator for dual enrollment programs for high school students at the state’s technical colleges.