School privatization fight heats up in Milwaukee

common council hearing

The Milwaukee Common Council’s Steering & Rules Committee received two reports on the city’s charter schools today. One was the official report from the city Charter School Review Committee (CSRC). The other was from a broad community coalition – Schools and Communities United. It made for one of the longest meetings on record and some heated exchanges.

The Milwaukee City government was the first city in the nation to authorize privately-run charter schools. They’ve been criticized for being a financial drain on the public schools and for not enrolling the equivalent percentage of students with special needs and those who are learning English as a second language.

The official report was an update on the ten charter schools the city oversees. Members from Schools and Communities United used the public testimony portion of the hearing to present what they called “new facts” on four of the city’s charter schools identified as struggling.

The coalition Schools and Communities United sent several rounds of speakers to the microphone to present new information on four schools being considered for renewal. They identified several concerns they had with Milwaukee Collegiate Academy, King’s Academy, Milwaukee Math and Science Academy, and Northpoint Lighthouse Academy and had some pretty direct examples highlighting those concerns. Below are the reports outlining their concerns.

The coalition presented all of their new information to the committee, leaving many members visibly surprised by these new facts. The hearing ended with no vote or sanctions being placed upon these four schools, but it seems clear that many Alderpersons have now seen that the city charter school review process is flawed and needs to be scrapped. Our children deserve better!

Watch video of the proceedings here.

Please call the alderpersons on the Steering & Rules Committee and demand they hold these charter schools accountable. Click here for their phone numbers.