Milwaukee Public Schools superintendent Darienne Driver said a proposal to pull the worst schools from the district and put them into a charter program would be devastating.
She told “UpFront with Mike Gousha” the district wouldn’t be able to survive the loss of revenue from schools, which would be given to a “turnaround” or “recovery” district.
The superintendent said current MPS initiatives have shown early signs of success, and if they are allowed to pan out, they will change the performance in the classrooms.
“We’re already seeing early signs of growth in reading and math,” Driver said on the show, which is produced in conjunction with WisPolitics.com.
Driver said that she has talked with both Sen. Alberta Darling, R-River Hills, and Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, the two lawmakers spearheading the plan, and they are open to feedback.
“Both of them are very concerned about the educational system in Milwaukee,” Driver said. “They are open to feedback, suggestions and any insights that we have around this plan, but they, like many other members of this community, want to see change.”
She said that the state needs to realize high rates in poverty and crime are large factors in poor academic performance. She said that both public and private schools are struggling, and this proposal won’t fix issues in the classroom.
“I think that having choice schools becoming the method of choice, when they’re performing lower than MPS is currently, is a mistake,” Driver said.
She also said that the plan, which would allow the county executive to appoint a public school commissioner, doesn’t address finances or infrastructure, but instead simply the governance of running the Milwaukee Public School system.
“The idea of one person, the county executive, appointing another person, the commissioner, without any other types of details around how it would be funded, is very flawed,” Driver said.
Also appearing on the show, new Chief Justice Pat Roggensack said the idea that the state Supreme Court is in turmoil “doesn’t represent the facts of what is going on.”
Roggensack said that looking back, the approach conservative justices took of voting for a new chief justice via email was their only option. She said it would not have been practical to have a meeting on the change with Shirley Abrahamson suing to prevent implementation of the amendment changing how the chief justice is picked until after her term expires in 2019.
“You really can’t have a meeting of seven people to decide how you’re going to implement a new chief justice when one of the seven is suing you all,” Roggensack said.
The new chief justice insisted that the moment the Government Accountability Board certified the referendum results, Abrahamson no longer had her seat constitutionally, and the court was obligated to follow what the constitution now says.
She said that once issues among the members of the Supreme Court are resolved, she plans to involve all members “in a way they’ve never had the opportunity to participate before.”
She said that she also wants to get out more information on the good work the court is doing, and that the recent “bumps in the road” have been overshadowing their successes.
“We do a lot of wonderful things, and so what I want to do is to get out so that the public knows what we’re doing,” she said.
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