Milwaukee fights back against school takeovers with “walk-ins” at more than 100 public schools

walk in hartford

Thousands of parents, educators, students and community leaders held “walk-ins” at more than 100 public schools across the city of Milwaukee to celebrate public schools and to share information about how a proposed public school takeover will hurt students and the Milwaukee economy. All fourteen schools in LaCrosse also held walk-ins today in solidarity with Milwaukee.

Look for pictures of your school at the end of this post – schools are listed in alphabetical order, and more will be added in the next few days.

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and the Schools and Communities United coalition organized the walk-ins in response to a public school takeover plan that was passed in July as part of the Wisconsin state budget.

The school takeover plan charges Milwaukee county executive Chris Abele with choosing a takeover commissioner this fall. The commissioner would then choose 1-3 schools to convert into privately run charter or voucher schools for the 2016-17 school year. In each subsequent year, up to five schools could be handed over to private operators.

Parents and community members have raised several concerns about the takeover plan. Among them:

  • The takeover plan offers no new ideas or resources. Changing who runs a school will not provide the resources or support that students need to succeed.
  • Many students will be left without critical services. The takeover schools are not required to meet the needs of special education students or English language learners.
  • School takeovers eliminate good jobs in our city. Takeovers have hurt the local economy in New Orleans, Memphis and Detroit.
  • The takeover plan eliminates democratic local control and disenfranchises black and brown communities.
  • Takeovers will affect all public schools, not just a few individual schools. The very existence of our public school system is in jeopardy.

The walk-ins today were a step forward in building a network of school defense committees to protect and strengthen every public school in the city of Milwaukee. Parents, educators, community members and students will work together in the coming months to solidify their school defense committees and prepare for an all-city summit of school defense committees on December 5, 2015.