Commonly Asked Questions about the Means/Abele MPS Takeover Plan

Takeover Czar Demond Means introduces his plan for taking over MPS buildings to MPS administration and the school board (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Takeover Czar Demond Means introduces his plan for taking over MPS buildings to MPS administration and the school board (photo credit: Joe Brusky).

What schools are on the list as potential Takeover schools?

The following MPS schools have been identified for potential takeover:

Alliance Hamilton HSMorse-Marshall
Audubon MSHawthorneNorth Division HS
Auer AveHi-MountObama/SCTE
Bay View MS/HSKagelPulaski HS
Barton KeefeRiverside HS
BEAMKilbournRoosevelt MS
BethuneKing Jr. ElemSherman
Bradley Tech HSLaFolletteSouth Division HS
Brown StLancasterStory
BruceLincoln Center of the ArtsThoreau
ClarkeMacDowellThurston Woods
Carson Madison HSTownsend
Carver MetcalfeVincent HS
ClemensMHSAWashington HS
Community HSMKE Acad. of Chinese LanguageWCLL
Daniel U. PrepMKE Community Cyber HSWestside
EngleburgMKE Sign Language

Takeover Czar Demond Means’ Takeover timeline includes a so called qualitative analysis of these 53 MPS schools which will be used to narrow down the list to 8 schools. Those 8 schools will be more closely surveyed, sites visits will be conducted, and a final list of 3 will be identified for takeover.

What is Means’ timeline for identifying Takeover schools?

●      April 22 Phase I Qualitative analysis of initial 53 schools begins.

●      May 6 – Analysis of initial 53 schools completed.

●      May 10  Phase II survey of 8 identified schools with site visits.

●      May 23 – Analysis of 8 schools completed.

●      May 25 – Schools selected for takeover will be announced.

●      June 29 – School management operator to be announced (Commissioner selects without any oversight)

What will Abele/Means’ Takeover plan do to MPS financially?

The Takeover plan could devastate MPS financially. As students are moved from MPS to the new Takeover district, MPS will lose state aid. In the first year, MPS could lose more than $2 million and by the sixth year, that amount would likely exceed $22 million. That loss in aid would be a catastrophe. MPS is already stretched to the breaking point. A loss of $22 million could mean cuts to the number of front-line educators who work one-on-one with students.

When will the Takeover begin?

The initial launch date for the final selected schools is the 2017-2018 school year.

Will employees at Takeover schools remain MPS employees?

The Takeover law says the Commissioner will terminate all employees of the MPS school and require any individuals to reapply for employment at that school. The new operator of the Takeover school would select the staff. There is no guarantee that the new staff would be MPS employees. Means’ current plan says they would be MPS employees. But, that does not comply with the state law.

Will employees at takeover schools remain Union Members?

If a school remains in MPS and you are an MPS employee, then you can be a union member. If another entity manages the school, you will not work for MPS, will not have your MPS benefits, and will not be a member of the MTEA.

How are Takeover schools different than MPS schools?

MPS Public Schools:

●      Directly accountable to our democratically elected school board.

●      Have public employees / Union members.

●      Have curriculum/instructional materials approved by an elected school board.

●      Are legally required to have teachers licensed in the subjects and levels they teach.

●      Implement the authentic Community Schools model with full fidelity.

●      Are required to provide bilingual education, English as a second language and full services for all of our children.

Takeover Schools:

●      Are not directly accountable to our democratically elected school board.

●      Do not have public employees

●      Do not have curriculum and instructional materials approved by an elected school board.

●      It is unknown if takeover schools are required to have teachers licensed in the subjects and levels they teach.

●      Do not implement the authentic Community Schools model with full fidelity

●      It is unknown if takeovers schools are required to provide bilingual education, English as a second language, and other services.

Will Takeover schools be instrumentality charter schools?

Means’ plan says the Takeover schools will “mirror” instrumentality charter schools. It’s important to note that traditional instrumentality charter schools fall under school board governance. The OSPP gives this authority to Means rather than the democratically elected MPS school board. The Takeover school is in a category of its own and cannot be an instrumentality charter school.

Are Takeover schools Community Schools?

The authentic Community Schools model improves student outcomes by focusing on the whole child through six specific approaches: 1.) culturally relevant and challenging curricula;  2.) high-quality teaching vs. high-stakes testing; 3.) social and emotional services that support academics; 4.) positive discipline practices; 5.) authentic parent and community engagement; and 6.) inclusive school leadership. Means defines community schools as glorified wraparound services.

What is the Academy of Urban School Leadership (AUSL) of Chicago mentioned in Means’ plan?

The AUSL is a school management nonprofit currently running 32 Takeover schools in Chicago Public Schools. They run an urban education residency program where they seek non-licensed educators with “no formal training in education.”  AUSL Chicago schools have a “zero tolerance” discipline policy. If AUSL implements a similar policy in Milwaukee, we expect AUSL to push students back into MPS.

AUSL school management practices are the polar opposite of authentic Community Schools and have failed thousands of Chicago students. In 2012 all Chicago AUSL schools were on academic probation and performing worse than Chicago Public Schools on average.

It’s unlikely that the AUSL Board of Directors, largely representing conservative powerhouses such as Goldman, Sachs & Co., the Boeing Company, BMO Financial Corp, and Robert W. Baird, have the best interests of our students in mind.

Could the Takeover plan be a good thing?

School privatization and Takeover districts are not a new concept. For over 25 years, Milwaukee has been ground zero for the school privatization experiments that have failed our children and siphoned over a billion taxpayer dollars into unaccountable operators. The plan Darling, Kooyenga, Abele, and Means are trying to force on Milwaukee has been implemented in other urban areas with disastrous results. In Detroit, a Takeover plan has already cost the state over $70 million.

In just a few years, the Takeover could siphon thousands of MPS students into the Takeover district. As more schools compete for limited educational resources, the new system can divide communities against themselves and collapse the MPS System.

Will there be enough openings in MPS?

AUSL has a proven practice of not hiring qualified veteran teachers and may recruit non-licensed staff that have little to no education background. MPS educators that work in areas that are not in high demand may have a harder time finding an opening. Takeover districts, including Chicago, have seen employment changes and job loss that disproportionately impacted women teachers and teachers of colors.