State Senator Alberta Darling and State Representative Dale Kooyenga have come out with a proposal they quaintly and misleadingly call "Opportunity Schools Partnership Program." Despite its cheery little name, it is nothing more than a proposal to hasten the privatization of the Milwaukee Public School System.
The gist of the plan is that they declare a number of Milwaukee Public Schools as "failing" and target them for take over by a private school.
But there is a particularly nasty twist to their plan.
These privatized schools would be run by Milwaukee County
Solution: The Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (OSPP) will create a new governance>structure in MPS to free students from nonperforming schools.
- OSPP shall be run by a Commissioner for an at will term appointed by the Milwaukee County Executive
- The Commissioner shall operate independently from the MPS Board
- The Commissioner shall receive parallel authority to the Board, but shall be free of all state and local regulations except for safety, health, special education, and non-discrimination laws
Well, Abele believes in plantation economics, just like his Republican friends. Abele is also good friends with - and heavily influenced by - Michael Grebe, the head of the Bradley Foundation, which has been pushing for privatization of public schools for years and years. Oh, and Abele has donated money to Kooyenga.
This Jim Crow education plan is flawed on many levels, which have been outlined by the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association.
Abele and friends also ignore the vast evidence that privatized schools are no better - and often much worse - performers than public schools.
But hey, who needs facts when there is profits to be had?
Another problem with their scheme is this line:
All employees at a school incorporated may apply for a position in the new school. However, such an application waives current and future privileges to be represented by any union as all employment within OSPP is at will.
That is in violation of federal labor laws regarding the private sector.
Then again, Abele and his Republicans also have never shown any respect for the law, nor do they have any love lost for the unions.
For a front line view of this battle for Milwaukee's future, I strongly urge the gentle reader to go to Wisconsin Soapbox, who has more on this wrong-minded debacle.
Then, if you're as righteously outraged as I am, please go here and sign up (at the bottom of the page) to show your support for our public schools, for our teachers and for our children.