The Takeover of MPS: Will it Solve Anything?

6384685_GBy Shannon Bentley – Last week when I was at Hamilton High School, a substitute teacher told me about the new MPS takeover proposal put forth by senators Alberta Darling and Dale Kooyenga.

At first I thought that the substitute teacher over exaggerated, telling me random, extremist ideals that nobody would ever allow to be placed on the table. However, when I went on the Milwaukee Public School homepage, lo and behold, there was an article about the proposal. I read the proposal and grew afraid. There weren’t too many details about what the takeover would mean for students and teachers in the Milwaukee Public School District, so I did more research.

The proposal had a few items on the list that concerned me:

  • Allows for the takeover of struggling public schools in Milwaukee under the control of an appointed commissioner to convert them to voucher or charter schools while paving the way for similar takeovers in other school districts.
  • Provides for licensure of individuals with minimal qualifications, some with little more than a high school diploma, to teach in our public schools.
  • Eliminates the Common Core State Standards.

The list is very scary to me for three different reasons:

  1. Teachers who serve in the underperforming schools will be fired, and they will have to reapply for their jobs. If the requirements to be a teacher will have lower qualifications, then a teacher who has worked through a certification program and earned their bachelor’s degree will be competing for a job with someone who just only graduated high school.
  1. It is unfortunate that the senators suggest we should take our underperforming schools and turn them into voucher schools. The elected commissioners or board that the senators suggest should run these schools will not consist of people who have prior education experience or been a representative of MPS schools in the past.
  1. The students will have low standards for themselves because eliminating the Common Core State Standards will both lower the expectations for students and will take away the means for teachers to set goals and measure their students’ level of success.

I am a graduate of Milwaukee Public Schools, and I remember the consistent budget cuts that butchered the school district. Millions of dollars have been taken away from MPS and those millions took with them home economics, shop class, driver’s education, and extra-curricular activities (music and art programs were non-existent for a while). A lack of necessary funds and a constant lowering of standards – no wonder why some MPS schools are failing. The proposal is too drastic to place on a school that needs more support financially from its own state. Minority students will be affected most by this proposal if it is taken into effect.

However, the real question is: Would this proposal be applied in a failing suburban school district?

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