Demond Means tried to ‘partner’ with the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) system and the Milwaukee Teachers Education Association (MTEA) in a collaborative effort under the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program (OSPP), and that blew up in his face. So, he has cut bait and resigned as the first Commissioner of that program. Now Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has to find another ‘savior’ for MPS and more importantly for the students.
This all flies in the face of the new state law intended to help the ailing MPS system and its under-performing schools. So, the process will be re-started unless there is further legislation or reaction from state officials. And, nothing will have changed in MPS and, apparently the MTEA officials find this as something deserving of applause; the teachers’ union officials see this as a victory. Never mind the students who get less than a decent education. Never mind the teachers who face verbal and physical abuse day in and day out in the MPS schools. Never mind the new state law that requires MPS to participate in the process it describes in an effort to save the system, apparently from itself, and deliver for the students.
MPS has ignored a state law. There will likely be some repercussions from the legislature and there may well be legal action resulting from one or another quarter. If Demond Means could not pull off a ‘partnership’, who will County Executive Abele find as his second choice that will have the magic wand that makes the MPS School Board and the MTEA officials take notice.
Even the NAACP played a role in decrying the new law. One would think that organization would be supportive of a law intended to benefit Milwaukee students, many of whom are black. The next person selected will probably not have such a cooperative ‘partnership’ approach in mind. After all, that was tried and rejected by the other parties.
Now, with the state law “bluff” being called by the entrenched system, where does this go besides back to the drawing board with a subsequent new appointment by Abele? The law requires that up to five under-performing schools per year be identified with control of those schools being ceded to the control of the ‘commissioner’ who would turn those schools over to outside operators. There appears to be little problem in defining what an under-performing school is; the problem seems to be recognizing what isn’t working and finding an approach that will work. That will, it seems obvious, continue to be a threat to parts of the ‘status quo’ system, but the ‘status quo’ system isn’t solving the problems that exist.
The ‘status quo’ system is threatened as was the intention of those passing the law. Nothing else seems to have gotten the attention of those in power over MPS since nothing changes other than possibly to devolve further with every passing year. Apparently, the ‘system’ needs another warning shot across the bow and a legislature that has seen its law ignored may be in the mood to fire that shot.