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.

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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

Milwaukee Teacher Removed From School Board Meeting for Testimony

Milwaukee public School teacher Ingrid Henry-Walker had her microphone cut and was escorted out by security for expressing her opinion at a board meeting Tuesday night (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Public school districts are strongest when they collaborate and work together with parents and community members. To facilitate a healthy and democratic school district, school board meetings need to be accessible to the public and allow for constructive criticism.

The uptick in reports of publicly elected school boards restricting citizen comments is disturbing. Taxpayers should be able to openly criticize school district decisions, whether it’s a policy around recess, raises, or rent. Public voice should be heard and valued.

This week a video of Louisiana teacher Dayshia Hargrave went viral. Hargrave was speaking at a local school board meeting when her testimony was abruptly cut off and a law enforcement officer aggressively handcuffed her. Her violation: questioning the superintendent’s raise while other district educators had their pay frozen.

Louisiana teacher Dayshia Hargrave was violently handcuffed and arrested for simply expressing her opinion at a school board meeting.

A similar scene played out in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. Ingrid Walker-Henry, a Milwaukee Public Schools educator and the co-chair of a local coalition advocating for public schools in Milwaukee, testified against a lease extension for a private MPS charter school. While the committee chair, Michael Bonds, allowed off-topic and unsubstantiated testimony from supporters of the private charter, he abruptly cut off Ingrid Walker-Henry’s mic for speaking too broadly about the need for fair market lease rates on private charters that use public buildings.

Once her microphone was cut, Walker-Henry turned to the crowd and used her teacher voice to finish her testimony before she was escorted out of the building by district security.

Here is Walker-Henry’s full public testimony that was not allowed by School Board Director, Michael Bonds:

“We are calling on MPS to be more responsible with taxpayer dollars. There needs to be a fair market value lease rate that is charged to privately owned and operated charter schools.

School Board Minutes from 2006 reflect that MPS once had a board approved charter rate of $12/square foot. The current lease for Carmen Northwest is less than half of the 2006 board recommendation and some of the other charters come in at even less.

This raises serious concerns about the way you negotiate leases with private operators.

Last year, Universal Academies taught the District a hard lesson about these leases:
• The original leases approved for Universal in 2013 were for 5 years. Green Bay paid roughly $400,000 per year, Webster $380,000 per year and the Lee campus was for just $101,000 a year.

• In April 2016, the board actually lowered the lease rates for two Universal locations for the 2016-2017 school year.

• And as we all know, Universal DID NOT operate its fifth year in 2017-2018. They turned in their keys and abandoned some of the most economically disadvantaged students in our city. As a result of Universal’s failure, the district only received approximately $1 million total from each school, about half as much as the lease was for.
• The closing of Webster cost the district an additional $1 million.

We need privately owned and operated schools to pay a fair market value. I hope the school board revisits the entire policy regarding non-instrumentality charter leases to make sure they are paying their fair share and are not doing harm to the 76,000 students and families you were elected to govern and are responsible for and not the bad partners like Carmen who is actively working to put a city charter in the same building as one of your public schools.”

Democratic school boards have a moral obligation to provide a forum where local citizens can give meaningful input, both positive and negative, about the actions of the district.

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.

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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.

MPS Hosts “Year of the Arts Kickoff” at Red Arrow Park

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“Art, I believe, can be a powerful force that can truly bring us together.”

– MPS Superintendent, Dr. Darienne Driver

Milwaukee Public Schools hosted its “Year of the Arts Kick-Off” at Red Arrow Park on Thursday afternoon. The district featured the artistic talents of students and guest celebrity artists visiting and instructing students in the district this year. The celebration of arts comes from a 2016 federal initiative to increase quality arts programming in U.S. schools. Four MPS schools were chosen – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Lancaster, William T. Sherman Creative Arts, and Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts. MPS invited the community, “Learn, listen, see and taste how we’re redefining the MPS Experience for students, staff and the Milwaukee community through Year of the Arts!”

This piece was called “Where We Come From.” Students from Lincoln Center of the Arts 8th grade bilingual program worked together to create Keith Haring inspired paintings celebrating their histories and showing how they come together at LCA. The class is led by LCA teacher and MTEA member Jennifer Engel (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The event featured student artwork performances by the Rufus King Drumline, the Milwaukee High School of the Arts Jazz and Choral Ensemble, student poetry, spoken word, dancing by the Hayes Bilingual group Ballet Folklórico, and appearances and performances from several of this year’s guest celebrity artists.

A student from Stillwaters Collective presented some powerful spoken word (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Poetry from an MPS student (Photo: Joe Brusky.

Students from the Hayes Bilingual Ballet Folklórico perform a beautiful dance routine (Photo: Joe Brusky).

A student from the Hayes Bilingual Ballet Folklórico performs (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Celebrity artists include:

  • Jacqueline Suskin, a poet and writer from Los Angeles (Martin Luther King Jr. School)

L.A. poet/writer Jacqueline Suskin not only attended the kick-off, but also attended and performed at the Sankofa-Sebai Mural Dedication at Dr. MLK, Jr.. Elementary in the evening on Thursday (Photo: Joe Brusky).

  • Johnny Nuñez, a celebrity photographer from New York (Roosevelt Middle School of the Arts)

Celebrity photographer Johnny Nunez recorded his introduction on livestream (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Johnny Nunez also took photos during the event (Photo: Joe Brusky).

  • Speech, a Milwaukee recording artist best known for belonging to the band Arrested Development (Lancaster School)

Todd Thomas, better known by the stage name Speech of Arrested Development is introduced by MPS Superintendent Driver (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Milwaukee recording artist Speech speaks to the gathered crowd (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Speech of the band Arrested Development performed a song (Photo: Joe Brusky).

 

The event commenced with MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver acknowledging the painful past of Red Arrow Park, and inviting Dontre Hamilton’s brothers Nate Hamilton and Dameion Perkins to stand and be recognized for their courageous activism in response to the 2014 police murder of their brother.

MPS Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver greets those in attendance (photo: Joe Brusky).

Dontre Hamilton’s brothers Nate and Dameion are recognized and honored for their activist work to bring their brother’s killer to justice and work for justice in the city of Milwaukee (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Dameion and Nate stand as Supt. Driver introduces them (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Milwaukee World Festival president and CEO Don Smiley was also on hand to, announce the group would host a citywide student art festival on the Summerfest grounds next May. Students and their families will also receive art “passports,” giving them entry to many art venues around the city. It’s exciting to see the cultivation of arts and artists in Milwaukee being given this exciting platform to showcase their work!

Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, announced it would host a citywide student art festival on the Summerfest grounds in May (credit: Joe Brusky).

Milwaukee Public School educators know their students are multi-talented and the Turnaround Arts Program continues to not only showcase our students’ ability, but also enriches and expands our students’ capacity to creatively express themselves in new and different ways. We look forward to seeing the results as the year progresses.

Supt. Driver snaps a selfie during the kick-off (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Students from Dr. MLK, Jr. Elementary enjoy the event (Photo: Joe Brusky).

More student work on display (Photo: Joe Brusky).

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Summer Organizers Recruit Nearly 500 New Union Members

The MTEA Summer Organizers hold a banner outside the MTEA office (photo: Joe Brusky).

The MTEA Summer Organizers hold a banner outside the MTEA office (photo: Joe Brusky).
It was another successful summer for the Wisconsin Summer Organizing program.
This year, the National Education Association hired summer organizers in nine Wisconsin union locals to recruit new union members and identify and develop member leaders.
Our twelve MTEA summer organizers had incredible success educating people about the value of our union. Thank you to everyone who welcomed them into your schools and worked together to grow membership.
Across the state nearly 500 union members were recruited, 190 of them into the MTEA. To honor their success we put their photo on the cover of our 2017-18 MTEA date book.
Thanks again to the 2017 Summer Organizers!

A group photo of Summer Organizers from around the state. This group signed up nearly 500 new members!

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Substitute Teachers ARE Teachers

Members of the Milwaukee Substitute Teachers’ Association (MSTA) hold signs outside of Milwaukee Public Schools (Photo: Joe Brusky).

By Alex Brower, Milwaukee Substitute Teachers’ Association President

 

Substitute teaching is not for everybody. I am in my sixth year as a substitute teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools. Every day I am reminded of the tremendous rewards working in public schools. It is wonderful to see a student’s face light up when they figure out a problem or can answer questions about what path they should take in the future. But substitute teaching is still a very challenging job. Taking over another educator’s lesson plans at a moments notice takes talent. It is a challenge, even for the most veteran teacher, to walk into a classroom of unfamiliar students and gain their trust. Classroom teachers spend weeks and months building trust with their students, learning how to connect with them and unlock their potential.

Substitute teachers in MPS have been under attack for years. The previous MPS Administration made sure to shred every last ounce of dignity away from professional substitutes–taking away our health care, sick days, and other benefits that full-time MPS employees receive. Without any type of security, who would want to make the leap into substitute teaching?

MSTA Secretary Terri Brookshire (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Without any incentives to attract and retain substitute teachers, MPS has been reduced to scavenging for substitute teachers through a temp agency, which is not a long-term solution to a teacher shortage. It is reprehensible and sends the wrong message to educators, families, and our children. Not to mention, the temp industry is unregulated and leaves workers with little protections.

MPS students deserve professional substitute teachers –teachers who enter the classroom ready to teach and inspire every single day at a moment’s notice; professionals with resources, mentoring, and support, who believe in our children and the MPS mission. The temp industry cannot provide this–only MPS can. Substitute teacher work needs to be done by educational professionals who are part of the MPS family.

MSTA President Alex Brower (Photo: Joe Brusky).

To attract the substitute teachers our children deserve, MPS needs to offer a quality health care plan to substitutes who make teaching their profession, and end the privatization of substitute teacher work. The temp agency contract with the district expires September 30, 2017 and the School Board has the opportunity to end the substitute hiring provision.

The substitute teacher members of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association are ready with solutions to end the substitute shortage. Will the MPS School Board and MPS Administration listen?

Take Action!

• Attend the September 12 school board meeting and consider submitting oral or written testimony in support of MPS subs.

• Contact your school board director and tell them you support subs:

Milwaukee Board of School Directors Contact Information:
Mark Sain, Board President, District #1 414-­‐614-­‐1774
Larry Miller, Vice President, District #5, 414 -­‐469-­‐9319
Wendell J. Harris, Sr, District #2, 414-­‐587-­‐1329
Michael Bonds, District #3, 414 -­‐ 520 -­‐ 3890
Annie Woodward, District #4, 414 -­‐ 510 -­‐ 9079
Tony Baez, District #6, 414 -­‐ 550 -­‐ 4283
Paula Phillips, District #7, 414 -­‐ 207 -­‐ 4817
Carol Voss, District #8, 414 -­‐ 852 -­‐ 5817
Terry Falk, Member At -­‐ Large, 414 -­‐ 510 -­‐ 9173
• Sign the petition embedded below:

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We Must Defend DACA!

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By MTEA President Kim Schroeder

As educators, we have a moral obligation to protect ALL students. We must support the movement to defend our immigrant students and all undocumented people from Donald Trump during this time of injustice.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program provides renewable permits for nearly 800,000 DREAMers who live, study, and work in the United States–a program that provides opportunities to many of our students. Instead of offering an immigration process that allows a path to citizenship for DREAMers, Trump continues his crusade against immigrant families. His decision to end DACA is especially threatening to our students who haven’t turned 16 yet and are waiting to apply. 

Trump’s decision to end DACA furthers his white nationalist agenda and threatens the opportunity many of our students have to an education.

Students and supporters rally to defend DACA in Racine on Tuesday evening (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

You can show you support with the following:


In the coming days students and their families may be looking to you for strength, courage, and answers. Please continue to be vocal in your support of justice for our students and all immigrants in this country.

Marching to save DACA in Racine, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

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Let’s Welcome Our Students Back in Style

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Our students experience a wide range of emotions on the first day of school, and let’s face it so do educators. What better way could we start the year off for all of our Milwaukee Public School students than lining the front school entrance along with educators, school support staff, and any other supportive community members that want to cheer our students on. Let’s get the year started off in a fun and celebratory way.

If you’re interested in having your school participate on the first day of school please contact:
Joe Brusky at bruskyjb@yahoo.com so we can add you to the event campaign map that will help publicize and build buzz for your school’s welcome back event. Or create your own event page below:

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