In a March 29 column Alan Borsuk addressed the Kooyenga/ Darling proposal for the takeover of MPS schools and the formation of an independent “recovery school district.”
Firing teachers and staff, taking public buildings, putting in place an independent/ appointed board, with its own superintendent, is their objective.
Even starting on a smaller scale, as Borsuk predicts, will be a major setback to public schooling, Milwaukee’s communities and the progress MPS is making with student performance.
Any scale-back is not a victory. Instead it is the authors’ attempt to gain support while hoping the growing opposition will lower its guard.
Kooyenga has made it clear their plan is to propose legislation by the Summer.
The New Orleans model
Kooyenga says the New Orleans recovery school district has seen “great success,” with rising achievement and graduation rates.
I spent 4 days last week with grassroots organizers from New Orleans. The New Orleans “recovery school district” is a failure and the disenfranchised Black communities of New Orleans are organizing against it.
The New Orleans numbers are cooked. Before Katrina, Louisiana schools needed a report card score of 60 out of 200 to show success. The majority of New Orleans public schools were at 60 or above. With Act 35 following Katrina, while most residents were still out of the city because of the flood, the State Legislature raised the report card score to the Louisiana state average of 87.4 for New Orleans schools to show success. This placed most New Orleans public schools as failing.
Once the public schools were taken over and chartered, the score was lowered back to 60 and now to 50. This is “sleight of hand” to declare charters as success stories.
Following Act 35 all of the teachers and staff of New Orleans public schools were fired. Most of the teachers and other employees were African American.
The Recovery School District did not help New Orleans’s African American communities. It has destroyed them.
“New Opportunities for Milwaukee” Plan
The wealthy representatives of two wealthy suburban districts have a plan that “won’t cost the taxpayers” one penny. The plan offers deregulation, right-to-work, and a totally tax-free zone for corporations, big and small.
What the Kooyenga/Darling plan in reality offers is corporate give-away, low-wage jobs, more resource drain, continued hyper-segregation and white-run corporate charters used for investment, not raising up whole communities.
When the European powers colonized the world, they told 3rd world people, “we are here to help you, to save you.”