MTEA Files City Code of Ethics Complaint Against Howard Fuller and the Institute for the Transformation of Learning

MTEA President Amy Mizialko and MEAA President Crystal Ealy deliver the official complaint to the City Ethics Committee (Photo: Joe Brusky).


The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) President, Amy Mizialko, filed a formal complaint with the City of Milwaukee’s Ethics Board on Thursday alleging a conflict of interest that violates
the City’s code of ethics regarding a $630,000 contract awarded to Howard Fuller and the Institute for the Transformation of Learning (ITL) at Marquette University to direct the operations of the City Charter School Review Committee (CSRC).  

Three More Years

The complaint was submitted prior to Thursday’s 5:30pm CSRC meeting. At this meeting the CSRC is expected to take up an agenda item to possibly renew a 3 year contract with Fuller and the Institute for the Transformation of Learning. The contract renewal would engage Fuller and ITL to provide services administering the operation of the CSRC – the same government body responsible for authorizing and evaluating Fuller’s own private charter school, Milwaukee Collegiate Academy.


The City of Milwaukee Code of Ethics prohibits any official or city employee to take any action in which the official “has substantial financial interest” or to “use his or her office in a way that produces or assists in the production of a substantial benefit, direct or indirect, for the official…or an organization with which the official or employee is associated.” MCO Sec. 303-7(1)(a-b).  


Managing the City Charter Renewal/Revocation Process

The specific work Fuller and ITL would be contracted for in 2019-21 is outlined in a Sept 21, 2018 memo to the CSRC. According to this memo, ITL would administer the operations of the city CSRC including contract management, budget development, managing the charter school application process, managing the application process and charter renewal/revocation process, responding to public requests, and preparing reports for the CSRC and Common Council.

MTEA’s ethics complaint alleges that Fuller and his charter school, Milwaukee Collegiate Academy, may receive a “substantial benefit” based on how Fuller and ITL use their service as the administrator for the CSRC.

Fuller’s City Charter School – Milwaukee Collegiate Academy

Fuller’s private City charter school, Milwaukee Collegiate Academy has had questionable academic performance over the years. In 2013-14 MCA expelled 16% of its students–10 times more than Milwaukee Public high schools.

mke-collegiate-academy
In 2016-17 MCA served out of school suspensions to one out of every three students.

Next Steps

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and Schools and Communities United are calling on the CSRC to postpone their decision on a contract renewal with Fuller and ITL until the Ethics Board can review the allegations and conduct a complete investigation.

Back to School Supply Drive for North Division High School

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association has teamed up with WEA Member Benefits for our “Back to School” supply drive for Milwaukee Public Schools students.

As MPS students head back to school, many are in need of basic school supplies. High schools often get overlooked for supply drives, which is why we are going to make sure every North Division High School student can start off on the right foot with the school supplies they need.

Please help us make sure every North Division student starts the year off with backpack full of fresh school supplies.

School supplies can be dropped off at the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association office on 51st and Vliet Street Monday-Thursday from 8am-5:30pm or Friday from 8am-5pm.
Supplies most needed include:

  • College-Ruled Notebooks
  • Two-pocket folders
  • College-Ruled Lined paper
  • #2 pencils
  • Red, black, and blue ink pens
  • Backpacks

Financial contributions can also be dropped off at the MTEA office. For questions, please call MTEA at 414-259-1990.

Thank you to our friends at WEA Member Benefits for your generous contributions to North Division students!

Mark your calendars:

The North Division High School Drumline, Majorettes and Major are tentatively scheduled to make a special appearance at the 2018 Labor Day Parade September 3.

The parade begins at 11am from Zeidler Union Square to the Summerfest Grounds for Laborfest 2018.

Labor Notes Conference April 6-8, 2018 Chicago, Illinois

Labor-Notes-"Calling ALL MTEA Troublemakers"

We’re looking for MTEA member troublemakers to attend the biggest gathering of grassroots union activists in the nation!  Join the Labor Notes Conference for a powerful weekend and choose from over 100 workshops on organizing tactics, beating apathy, and winning campaigns.

Workshops and meetings begin Friday, April 6, and end at 3pm Sunday, April 8. Hear speakers from the frontline of recent struggles, including:

• Puerto Rican teachers fighting to keep their schools open in the wake of Hurricane Maria
• Massachusetts Teachers Association President Barbara Madeloni on how her union is preparing for Janus

Click here to learn more about other highlights. 

A limited number of discounted MTEA registration scholarships are available for MTEA members to help offset the conference costs.

Discounted Rate for MTEA Members Receiving Scholarships: 

MTEA Teacher Unit Members – $50
MTEA Educational Assistants, Substitute, or Accountant/Bookkeeper Unit Members – $20

MTEA Member Scholarship Rates Include:
• Discounted Friday-Sunday Labor Notes Conference registration fee
• A shared hotel room (private rooms are available for members who would like to pay for the other half of the cost at $158.50)
• Conference light breakfasts and a Saturday night banquet

Transportation costs and food outside of the conference are not included in the MTEA scholarship rates. We ask that members selected who can pay more, consider making a larger contribution to help us send as many members as possible.

Apply today for an MTEA Labor Notes Conference Scholarship!

Application deadline is Thurs., Feb. 22.

Applications will be presented to the MTEA Labor Notes Scholarship Committee. The scholarships will be awarded based on your responses and date of your response. All scholarship recipients will be notified of the Committee’s decision by Mon., Feb. 26, 2018.

Black Lives Matter At School Week

Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Our Schools
Feb. 5 – Feb. 11, 2018

MTEA is proud to support the national Black Lives Matter at School Week from February 5th to February 11th, 2018 and encourages all members to wear Black Lives Matter shirts during the week and teach lessons that address the School-to-Prison pipeline, Black women empowerment, Black LGBTQ community and Black history.

We invite your school to participate in the MTEA Black Lives Matter Week of Action in MPS schools from Feb. 5-9, 2018 to bring social justice issues into our classrooms.

Black-lives-matter-MTEA

MTEA BLM T-shirt Design

An order of union-made, union-printed Black Lives Matter T-shirts will arrive to the MTEA office by Wed., Jan. 31.

Click here to pre-order Black Lives Matter T-shirts. 

 

Black Lives Matter Resources:


Sign up here and participate

7 Reasons Non-instrumentality MPS Charter Schools Should Pay their Fair Share

Banner painted last February during the Milwaukee Art Build for Public Education. The image was designed by local artist and MPS teacher John Fleissner (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Over the past 25 years, Milwaukee Public School (MPS) students have paid the price for school privatization experiments in the City of Milwaukee. MPS classrooms are bursting at the seams while programs essential to a well-rounded curriculum such as art, gym, and music have been drastically reduced or eliminated.  

Now the school privatizers have come knocking on MPS’s backdoor negotiating lucrative leases for MPS buildings. Charter school operators love this backdoor loophole because it allows them to remain independent from MPS school board oversight and the stringent legal requirements that public schools fall under.

Below are seven reasons it’s time from MPS to revisit the lease rates for these privately operated schools:

1. Privately operated schools don’t serve all students

MPS funds should go to schools that serve all students. Non-instrumentality charters serve far fewer students with special needs or English language learners. They also have a practice of cherry picking high-performing students and pushing harder to teach students back to public schools.

MPS ALWAYS takes in new students–regardless of special needs, how much space is available, or the time of year. Simply put, public schools are the only schools with the commitment, capacity, and legal obligation to serve all students.


2. MPS privately operated charter schools were once expected to pay more

In 2006 the MPS School District had a board approved rate of $12/sq foot. The current lease for Carmen Northwest is less than half of the 2006 board recommendation coming in at a mere $5 per square foot–some come in at even less. The 2011-16 lease rate for Milwaukee College Prep was only $1 per year.

3. Non-instrumentality charter schools intend to break Milwaukee Public Schools

When we take a close look at the CEO’s and Board of Directors at these privately operated charter schools, there is a disturbing pattern of corporate elites with close ties to the Milwaukee Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce–the organization leading the lobbying efforts to expand privately operated charter and voucher schools in Milwaukee.


4. Non-Instrumentality charter schools create a parallel school system that duplicates services and costs

The initial argument for non-instrumentality charters was that they would provide programs that our public schools aren’t offering. However, MPS continues to approve contracts for schools that duplicate services MPS already offers. College preparatory programs are not unique to privately operated schools.

5. Private charter schools pose a large financial risk to MPS and the city of Milwaukee

 TMJ 4 covers private charter school Universal Academy abruptly ending contract with MPS (Photo/TMJ 4, 4/20/17)

Independent charter schools are publicly funded but independently operated. Parents and the school board have very little say in how these schools operate. When privately operated schools chartered by MPS, like Universal Academy schools, closed their doors and turned in their keys, MPS had to swoop in unexpectedly and convert these schools and students back to MPS costing MPS over $1 million. Teachers were pulled with little notice from other schools to fill in the gaps. Hundreds of economically disadvantaged students have been displaced by these abrupt charter closings.  

6. Non-instrumentality charter schools break the rules and poach MPS students resulting in cuts to MPS programming


When traditional MPS public schools lose students to privately operated charters, they have to cut programming and services to students. Privately operated charters compete with MPS student recruitment. There have been instances where non-instrumentality charter schools will recruit alongside public MPS schools at recruitment fairs or even sneak open house advertisements into public schools despite MPS Administrative Procedure 5.01(3) requiring a lessee to be noncompetitive with Milwaukee Public Schools enrollment policies.  


7. MPS would have additional money for academic and social supports for students that need it the most
Above all, if MPS increases the lease rates on charter schools to a fair market value, the district could invest that money back into our schools to invest in class sizes small enough for one-on-one attention, robust career and tech ed. programs, fine arts, music, school counselors, and more.

It’s time to #RaiseTheRent!

Attend the Tuesday, January 9 School Board AFP Committee meeting to show your opposition to these sweetheart charter lease extensions.

MTEA Slams Backdoor Raises to MPS Administrators

Press Release by Milwaukee School Board Member Terry Falk

Press Release by Milwaukee School Board Member Terry Falk

MILWAUKEE – The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) President Kim Schroeder issued the following statement today in response to School Board Director Terry Falk’s report of over $100,000 in pay raises to MPS administrators not reported to the school board:

Milwaukee educators are outraged to hear the news of excessive pay raises to some of the highest paid MPS administrators while our students suffer. It is unconscionable that the same individuals who crafted a budget increasing class sizes and reducing the number of school counselors, social workers, and librarians handed out hefty backdoor raises to the most highly paid administrators in the District. 

The largest pay raise reported was $17,600. There are educators in this district that won’t even make that in one year.

While the MPS Administration showers money on MPS administrators, classroom educators, saddled with increasing demands, are asked to take a step back in pay this year. Educators won’t even receive pay increases to keep up with the cost of inflation.

It is disturbing that these pay raises were given without board knowledge or approval. MPS educators demand transparency and accountability in all fiscal matters. MPS must do better for our schools and our students.

###

For over 50 years, the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association has been a champion for public education in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association represents over 4,600 educators and support personnel who make Milwaukee’s public education system possible. MTEA, an affiliate of the National Education Association and is the largest educator local in Wisconsin.

Learn more at mtea.weac.org.

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Honor Contest Winners January 14

Educators, students, and families are invited to attend the free public Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration on Sun., Jan 14 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts. The writing contest winners will be honored at the celebration along with winners of the speech and art contests.

The 2017-2-18 writing contest is proudly co-sponsored by Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. This year, over 2,700 students entered the contest under the theme, “Take a Stand for Truth and Justice.”

The winning contest entries will also be published in a special section of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in January. All teachers and students who participated will receive buttons and certificates.

2017-18 WRITING CONTEST WINNERS

Group Project:  Grades K-1

Winner:         Burbank, Grade 1, Room 165

Teacher:        Christine Sylvester

Students:      Nevaeh Ashford, Noah Brito, Aviana Brown, Raeyah Byas, Davis Chanthavona,

Briana Davis, Eli Haase, Ashadeeyah Khidhr, Sariah Perkins, Jason Renfro,

Zuri Renova, Cooper Stricklen, Blake Vang, Jayden Xiong

Grades 2-3

1st                   Micah Webb, Grade 3, Golda Meir

Teacher:  Ms. Galloway

2nd                 Nikyonna McDaniels, Grade 3, Emerson

Teachers:  Tyra Merriweather, Raven Davis, Chequetta Ferguson

3rd                 Sophia Wood, Grade 3, Trowbridge

Teacher: Desire Tyler

Grades 4-5

1st                   Nicolas Holtzman, Grade 4, Milwaukee German Immersion

Teacher:  Doris Mattke

2nd                  Nancy Thao, Grade 4, Bruce

Teacher:  Cecelia Williams

3rd                  Lelaya Clay, Grade 5, Elm Creative Arts

Teacher:  Glenda Stacker

 

Grade 6

1st                   Tatiyana Dockery, Grade 6, Keefe Avenue

Teacher:  Aruna Halala

2nd                 Golden Brown, Grade 6, Golda Meir

Teacher:  Hannelore Kinney

3rd                 Nakiyah Gooden-Alexander, Grade 6, Keefe Avenue

Teacher:  Aruna Halala

 

Grades 7-8

1st                   Faith Abdirahman, Grade 7, Salam

Teacher:  Ms. Schauer

2nd                 Daisy Kiekhofer, Grade 8, Golda Meir

Teacher:  Ms. Navarro

3rd                 Vaughn Smith, Grade 8, Golda Meir

Teacher: Ms. Navarro

Grades 9-10

1st                   Christian Delfosse, Grade 9, Rufus King

Teacher:  Kelly O’Keefe-Boettcher

2nd                 Christian Kind, Grade 10, Milwaukee High School of the Arts

Teacher:  Mrs. Claypool

3rd                  Eleajah Thompson, Grade10, Milwaukee High School of the Arts

Teacher:  Mrs. Claypool

Grades 11 and 12

1st                   Amani Omari, Grade 12, Salam

Teacher:  Jason Then

2nd                  Lauren O’Hear, Grade 11, Ronald Reagan College Preparatory

Teacher:  Margaret Holtgrieve

3rd                  Tien Vo, Grade 12, Ronald Reagan College Preparatory

Teacher:  Margaret Holtgrieve

Thank you to everyone who participated! 

Classroom projects can be picked up at the MTEA during regular office hours. For questions, contact Melissa Zombor at zomborm@mtea.weac.org or 414-256-6752.

Corporate welfare TRUMPS students in Wisconsin

The Overpass Light Brigade held this message in Milwaukee last Saturday night (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Welcome to Wisconsin, where a multinational corporation can walk away with billions of public dollars while our school children go without books and necessary supplies. What a stark contrast this month, as kids across Wisconsin head back to school and teachers are scrambling to get donations for their students and classrooms.

Why is it that when our public schools are starving there is no money to be found, but when a corporation like Foxconn wants to set up shop, Scott Walker and GOP legislators can find $3 billion almost overnight? If Republicans would spend half that amount of energy advocating for our public schools, every child would have class sizes small enough for one-on-one attention, comfortable classrooms with air conditioning, after school programs, modern technology, science labs, art classrooms, and libraries.

In 2012 alone, our public schools faced the largest cuts since the great depression and they have not recovered. Educators foot the bill for science project supplies, classroom furniture, glue, and paper. School budgets are so tight that districts are making difficult decisions about what programs to cut, maintenance projects to defer, and which front-line educator positions must go unfilled.

Walker and the GOP are throwing $3 billion at a shady corporation with a history of broken promises and workers’ rights violations. Foxconn owners compare their workers to animals and the very presence of their factories is synonymous with riots, workers suicides, and violence. Three billion dollars – and the return for our communities (if it happens) won’t even begin until 2045. Just imagine that kind of investment in education. We could invest in our public schools, reverse the teacher shortage, and give opportunities to every child.

The MTEA is for job creation. We are for family sustaining, safe, unionized Wisconsin jobs–none of which are guaranteed with the current Foxconn deal. The only thing that we know for sure is that it will take nearly an entire generation for Wisconsin taxpayers get back the money spent on this deal.

Instead of funding the Foxconn deal, let’s fund our public schools and educators that inspire creative writers, avid mathematicians, influential scientists, and the leaders of our next generation.

We need fully funded public schools, not corporate welfare.

Kim Schroeder
MTEA President

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MTEA President: Educators Denounce Racist Attack in Charlottesville

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association denounces the racist terror attack in Charlottesville, VA. We stand with the resistance to the neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups that have swarmed the streets of this normally quiet college town. Make no mistake, these groups have existed in one form or another for generations in the US, but the racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic language and actions of the Trump administration have emboldened white supremacists. It is a short walk from a Trump rally to the proto fascist violence in Charlottesville.

The MTEA recognizes that the very same administration planning draconian cuts to public urban school districts, like Milwaukee, that serve primarily black and brown children would be paving the way for the kinds of right wing violence we are seeing in Virginia. Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of the racist terror attack. We stand in solidarity with all those who oppose racism and neo-Nazism.

Kim Schroeder
MTEA President

 

MPS Administration and School Board’s Budget Shows How Little They Value Educators

MTEA members Gwendolyn Anderson, Crystal Ealy, and Michael Glabere attended a recent school board public hearing on the MPS budget (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

By Kim Schroeder

On May 23, 2017 progressive MPS School Board Directors proposed a modest budget amendment proposal that would have raised MPS’s lowest wage workers to $15/hour by 2022 and included raises for all MPS employees making less than $80,000 a year. The proposal recognized the hard work educators do every day, directly affecting our students. The original budget put forward by MPS administration included no raise or step increases (not even the cost of living), instead saying there needed to be a “pause” on any salary increases.

We thank Larry Miller for introducing the proposal and Tony Baez, Terry Falk, and Annie Woodward for their unwavering support for our districts lowest paid workers and front line educators. All four fought hard in the attempt to pass this modest budget amendment.

Budgets are about choices. Our school board directors had the opportunity to choose our classrooms and our students. We know that the MPS budget is stretched thin, but we also know that investing in the frontline of care for our students strengthens our schools.

On May 23, school board directors Michael Bonds, Wendell Harris, Paula Phillips, Mark Sain, and Carol Voss voted not to support the amendment and instead revisit the budget during a work session in October. October is too late. . Educators across MPS are now faced with deciding whether they can afford to stay in the district.

Milwaukee Public Schools is the largest employer in the city of Milwaukee. School Board Directors who campaigned as progressives in support of a $15 minimum wage need to stay true to their promise to educators. The Milwaukee County Board had the courage to pass a living wage ordinance for all county employees to be paid a minimum of $15 per hour by 2021. But, thousands of Milwaukee Public School educators are left behind, unable to meet their basic needs.
School Board Director Wendell Harris has continued to let us down.  Although he said he supported raises for MPS employees, he flip-flopped on his position, stabbing MPS educators and students in the back. He ran for office as a champion of public schools and our students. His actions show he is anything but.

Investing in the frontline of our classrooms should be a priority. Together MTEA’s members will join with our colleagues across MPS to continue push for steps and raises.

Please reach out the school board directors who voted against the amendment. (Bonds, Harris, Phillips, Sain, and Voss). Let them know that you are outraged at, their unwillingness to prioritize attracting and retaining great educators. They need to put forward a bold budget initiative that invests in the districts most valuable resource–educators. And they need to do it now.

We need a budget that funds the frontline of our classrooms – not one that puts our educators as an afterthought.

Mark Sain
Board President
District #1
414-614-1774

Wendell J. Harris, Sr
District #2
414-587-1329

Michael Bonds
District #3
414-520-3890

Paula Phillips
District #7
414-475-8284

Carol Voss
District #8
414-852-5817

 

MPS Educator Provides Moving Testimony in Support of Budget th… from MTEA Union on Vimeo.