MPS Art Teachers Team Up with Local Artists in Support of Public Education


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All blog photo taken by Joe Brusky.

Last weekend, over 150 people, screen printed and painted over 600 banners, signs, and posters; all in the name of public education. The Milwaukee Art Build for Public Education took place above Company Brewing in the Riverwest neighborhood over a three-day span beginning February 3.

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A dedicated group of Milwaukee Public School art teachers convened several meetings with local artists to brainstorm and create images and slogans to be used in support of:

  • Closing the MPS Funding Gap that currently puts MPS students thousands of dollars behind their suburban counterparts in per pupil funding.

“Close the MPS Funding Gap” image created by Milwaukee artist Nicolas Lampert created using a photograph taken by Joe Brusky.

“Organize” image created by MPS art teacher John Fleissner.

  • A robust expansion of the public Community Schools model that has already brought seven schools to Milwaukee.

“Schools for Community, Not Profit” image by Milwaukee artist Pete Railand.

"Whose Schools? Our Schools!" banner image by Milwaukee artist Susan Simensky-Bietela.

“Whose Schools? Our Schools!” banner image by Milwaukee artist Susan Simensky-Bietila.

“Public Schools – Heart of the Community” image by John Fleissner.

  • Racial and educational justice for our students and our communities.

“Black Lives Matter” banner designed by Nicolas Lampert using photo taken by Joe Brusky.

  • Democratically controlled and accountable school boards elected by the people of Milwaukee.
Image designed by John Fleissner.

Image designed by John Fleissner.

“Community Schools Build Democracy” image created by Nicolas Lampert.

“Community Schools Build Democracy” banner designed by Nicolas Lampert using photo taken by Joe Brusky.

Check out these photos of the Art Build in action and watch for the pieces created to start showing up in front of a school or in a street near you, especially as debate around the new 2-year Wisconsin state budget heats up.

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A children’s corner was set up during the Art Build.

Thank you to all those who volunteered their time to make this happen. A very special thanks to the following local artists for creating the stunning images used in the Art Build:

Susan Simensky-Bietila

Nicolas Lampert

John Fleissner

Pete Railand

Raoul Deal

Jazzica Jazzner

Thank you to the MPS art teachers on the Art Build Organizing Committee:

Allyson Craft – Clarke Street

Sue Pezanoski-Brown – Fratney Elementary

John Fleissner – Hamilton High School

Liz Kremer – Brown Street

Gina Jorgensen – North Division High School


Check out this time lapse video below of one of the 24-foot parachute banners being painted over a span of 8 hours.

Milwaukee Art Build for Public Education Parachute Timelapse from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

National Act 10 will devastate students, educators, and public schools across the nation


WalkerTrumpBWFeb. 2, 2017 – Today the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) President Kim Schroeder and Vice President Amy Mizilako released the following statement on Scott Walker’s recent visit to the White House to discuss a national Act 10 law.

Act 10 was and is part of a coordinated national campaign to destroy the public sector, and let unaccountable, corporate interests rule with even more privatization. The students in our state have suffered because of it.

From day one, Scott Walker’s Act 10 sought to undermine educators’ rights in the workplace and created instability for nearly one million public school students across the state.

In Wisconsin, Act 10 was immediately followed by the largest cuts to public education since the Great Depression. A national Act 10 law will devastate students, educators, and public schools across the nation.

Public education and workers’ rights are pillars of our democracy. Post Act 10, Wisconsin continues to experience an alarming crisis of teacher vacancies. Enrollments in Wisconsin’s teacher preparation programs continue to drop.

A national Act 10 law is meant to break the backs of public school students, educators, and our community.

Despite Scott Walker’s Act 10, unions will never stop standing up for the best interests of our students, parents, communities, and educators. The members of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association are highly motivated and organized. We will continue to fight every single day for the quality public schools every child deserves.


Take Action Before Jan. 17 DeVos Nomination Hearing!

Can you call committee members today? 

DeVos-Red-Duotone-Trump-Congress-Education-NomineeOn January 17 at 10:00 am the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will begin a hearing on the nomination of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education. The DeVos agenda would dismantle public education and turn our schools over to private operators. 

For more background on Devos, click here to read President Kim Schroeder’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Op Ed.
It is critical that we join with the Network for Public Education (NPE) and other pro-public education organizations to express our strong concerns regarding her nomination.

Please take the time to call every member prior to the January 17 hearing. Below are committee members, along with their Washington phone number, fax numbers and local phone numbers.

A suggested phone script from the NPE is available below.


Sample Script: 

My name is xxxx and I am calling to let the Senator know that I would like him/her to oppose the appointment of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
DeVos and her family heavily lobbied the Michigan legislature to shield the charter industry from greater oversight. She pushes for-profit charter schools and online schools, which consistently fail the students that they are supposed to serve.
I want my tax dollars to stay in my community to support my public schools. Betsy DeVos is bad for American education. She is unqualified to serve as Secretary of Education.

28 Milwaukee Public Schools Participate in United Way’s “Season of Caring” Program


Over 3,200 Milwaukee Public School elementary school students at 28 different schools, including Lisa Schmidman’s classroom at Browning Community School, participated in the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County‘s volunteer project, “Season of Caring.”

The volunteer project consisted of a one-hour classroom activity. The goal for this event is to educate children about the importance of caring for and sharing with others, both inside and outside the classroom through a literacy lesson and hands-on-activity. The program also engages students in an age appropriate reading and story comprehension activity to help inspire interactive conversation about the related topics; and to offer students an easy but meaningful volunteer activity that they can complete inside the classroom.

United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County is supplying a book for the children that highlights the importance of caring and sharing. The book will be read aloud by the teachers with a corresponding activity that highlights the key messages of caring and sharing. Students will then complete a volunteer activity – making and coloring birthday cards, get-well cards, and meal program placements, which will be distributed to United Way’s local agency partners.


Schroeder: Betsy DeVos’ dark money connections and the dismantling of democracy

President-elect Donald J. Trump greets Betsy DeVos, his choice for education secretary, during his “USA Thank You Tour” at the DeltaPlex in Walker, Mich., on Dec. 9. (Photo: Associated Press)

President-elect Donald J. Trump greets Betsy DeVos, his choice for education secretary, during his “USA Thank You Tour” at the DeltaPlex in Walker, Mich., on Dec. 9.
(Photo: Associated Press)

By MTEA President, Kim Schroeder
December 15, 2016 | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Mark Twain said, “We believe that out of the public school grows the greatness of a nation.”

Public schools are a fundamental piece of American democracy, with 91% of all American students attending public schools. They remain the only educational institutions with the capacity, commitment and legal obligation to educate all students. Defunding our public schools would be a threat to the quality of life and well-being of children in every Zip code.

But now, this most cherished of American democratic institutions is facing its greatest threat with the appointment by president-elect Donald Trump of billionaire Betsy DeVos as education secretary. DeVos, a longstanding member of the GOP corporate elite, is known for some of the most aggressive failed free-market experiments seen in America’s public schools.

DeVos’ track record speaks clearly. If she is confirmed by the Senate, students who attend public elementary and secondary schools will see billions of dollars siphoned from their public schools into unaccountable private vouchers and charters.

Some Trump backers claim that they wanted to shake up the establishment, but DeVos comes from a family of well-financed billionaires tightly woven into the Republican, corporate-dominated political machine. They have helped fund every Republic presidential candidate for the last 50 years and are deeply embedded in the world of dark money groups such as Americans for Prosperity, ALEC, and Blackwater.

Betsy DeVos was one of the key players who pushed for Michigan’s charter school law, which passed in 1993. The disaster of Detroit’s private charter system is her legacy.

Nearly $1 billion of public dollars are siphoned away from Michigan public schools every year. According to the New York Times, “over the past five years, divisive politics and educational ideology and a scramble for money have combined to produce a public education fiasco that is perhaps unparalleled in the United States.” For-profit companies operate over 80% of Detroit’s charters, more than in any other state.

Critics may say that not all charter schools are bad, which may be true. But only a small percentage of private charters outperform traditional public schools. And private schools serve fewer English-language learners and children with special needs; expel a disproportionate number of minority students; and, even though they are funded with public dollars, are not held to the same legal standards as public schools. We should not consider funding these schools with public dollars unless they are held to the same standards as public schools.

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association represents the educators who work with the children and families of Milwaukee Public Schools. We cannot stand by as the private school profiteers cheer, waiting for DeVos to funnel every last dollar from our public schools into their bank accounts — without any strings attached. This single cabinet appointment could undo decades of advances in public education set up to protect the educational rights of every child in this nation.

To view the original article, click here. 

Professional Development Opportunities for MTEA members

Three Credit Book StudyMKE center logo
Earn 3 graduate credits with your colleagues through this popular book study course. Credits are offered through Augustana College and are accepted by DPI for license renewal. Suggest
book titles by Jan. 17. Mandatory course orientation, Tues., Jan. 24 from 4:30-5:30pm. After the orientation, book study groups select their own four dates to meet. Cost for three credits is $355.
Click here to register

Restorative Practices
Learn how Restorative Practices can positively influence your classroom practice. Mon., Jan. 23 and Wed., Jan 25 from 4:30-6:30pm. Both sessions are required. Limit 18 members.
Click here to register

*NEW* Three Credit Online Courses
Earn 3 graduate credits by choosing from the three online courses listed below. The mandatory
orientation on Mon., Jan. 30 from 4:30-5:30pm will give course overviews, provide help navigating the online classroom and facilitate registration. Cost is $355-385 per course.
Refocus & Recharge: Strategies for Finding Balance in Teaching
Explore strategies to attain professional and personal balance, avoid teacher burnout and recharge.

Co-Teaching: Partners in Practice
Reflect on what you can bring to a co-teaching framework and aspects of co-teaching that are essential for success.

Achieving Success with English Language Learners
Gain strategies to better teach English language learners.

Click here to register


National Board Support Sessions
MTEA members seeking National Board Certification are invited to support sessions. Must be enrolled as a National Board candidate or renewal candidate. Mon., Jan. 23; Tues., Feb 28; Wed., March 29 and Wed., April 26 from 4:30-6pm.

Click here to register

*NEW* Strategies for Struggling Readers in the Elementary Grades

This interactive workshop offers strategies and suggestions for teaching foundational reading skills to struggling elementary students in small groups. Sat., Jan. 28 from 9:30-11:30am.

Click here to register

Degrees Not Debt!

Learn ways to save money on your student loans and options for loan forgiveness. Mon., Feb 6 or Wed., May 17 from 4:30-5:30pm.

Click here to register


This course will prepare teachers to pass the Praxis assessment. Mon., Feb. 13 from 4:30-6pm. Members free; $75 fee for non-members.

Click here to register

*NEW* Constructing Relationships for Schools
Participate in activities and discussions centered around race, systemic inequity, oppression. Together we will work towards solutions that build community and relationships in and outside the classroom. Tues., Feb. 14 from 4:30-6pm.

Click here to register


Teaching American Labor and Working Class History

 A 3-Credit Online Graduate Level Course in Education, Accredited by Viterbo University; Sponsored by: the Wisconsin Education Association Academy; and the School for Workers, University of Wisconsin-Extension  

  Children protesters supporting GM Sit-down Strikers in Flint, Michigan, 1937

Children protesters supporting GM Sit-down Strikers
in Flint, Michigan, 1937


Course Faculty:

Armando Ibarra, PhD, Political Science, Associate Professor, School for Workers,

David Nack, PhD, American History, Professor, School for Workers,

Course Description:

This online course covers a broad view of the history and development of the American working class and labor movement from the Colonial Period to the present. It serves as an introduction to the field of Labor History, and as a primary source for learning material for teachers and students. As course participants become familiar with the field, they will construct two lesson plans.


Course Eligibility: K-12 Educators and other interested individuals {a major course requirement is to write 2 lesson plans, or plans for 2 labor history presentations}

Required Text: Dray, Philip (2010). There Is Power in a Union, The Epic Story of Labor in America, New York: Doubleday. Course participants must procure this text on their own; required material for all other reading assignments will be provided online.

Next Class Begins: January 30, 2017; Special introductory rate between 11/15 and 12/31, 2016—our lowest cost—only $159 to audit or $489 for 3 graduate Education credits!

To Register please go to:; for more information please contact: Jeff Baas at 608-298-2409 ex 279.



Vote YES to Recertify the MTEA Oct. 27 – Nov. 16, 2016

ALL teacher unit educators (teachers, social workers, speech pathologists, guidance counselors, nurses, etc.), educational assistants (paras, safeties, interpreters, general assistants), and bookkeepers should vote in this election. You don’t have to be an MTEA member to vote!

VOTE YES to support your colleagues and RECERTIFY the MILWAUKEE TEACHERS’ EDUCATION ASSOCIATION! we_can_do_it-2

A YES vote means the MTEA will continue to represent you in collective bargaining with MPS.

To win this election, 51% of ALL employees in each unit represented by the MTEA must vote YES. If you don’t vote, it counts as a NO.

Vote online or by phone:

Starting October 27 at noon, go to and click on the voting link, or call 1-866-458-9862 to cast your vote. Voting ends Wed., November 16 at noon!

Click here to download the flyer




Increased Test Scores Release MPS From Takeover Legislation

kim-banner-copyStatement from MTEA President Kim Schroeder:

Today we welcome an important announcement on the status of the MPS Takeover plan. The Department of Public Instruction and MPS have shared that as a result of improved DPI scores, MPS is no longer at risk of takeover under the current legislation.

The MPS Takeover legislation was one of the greatest threats to public education Milwaukee has ever seen. I applaud every member who worked tirelessly to fight this unjust law through grassroots organizing and direct action. It is because of the dedication and commitment of MTEA members, parents, and community members, that our students are performing against all odds to overcome the effects of failed educational policies.

We know what works in Milwaukee because we are seeing the results of positive, educator-driven initiatives like the Community School model. We see what happens in public schools when parents, communities, students, and educators are empowered to take ownership of their schools to ensure the success of every child. The takeover legislation, which threatened to take away local control, is another example of a failed policy created without the expertise of educators who work in our schools.

Every child in Wisconsin has the right to a publicly funded, equitable, and democratically controlled public school and the MTEA is deeply committed to ensuring every child, regardless of their zip code, has access to the schools they deserve. MTEA members will continue to fight any attempts to threaten the public schools that have the commitment, capacity, and legal responsibility to educate all children.

In solidarity,


Kim Schroeder
MTEA President



Wisconsin Education Association Council President, Ron “Duff” Martin sent a formal letter congratulating MTEA on the news from the Department of Public Instruction.


MTEA President Kim Schroeder’s Statement on Sherman Park Events

Black Lives Matter MTEA Photo

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) joins with our students, parents and members of the community to take stock of this past weekend’s events in Sherman Park. MTEA members know that Governor Walker’s calling out of the National Guard is not a solution. We need community led solutions that empower neighborhoods.

The Sherman Park neighborhood, like much of our city, has gone through decades of declining opportunity: the loss of living wage union factory jobs, redlining, hyper segregation, foreclosures, mass incarcerations, and the growth of low wage jobs lacking health care coverage or security. As educators we know that Milwaukee has been ground zero for over 25 years of the failed school privatization schemes that have targeted low-income black and brown communities, leaving our public schools starving for resources and our children in the crosshairs.

We also know as educators that we play a critical role in the lives of our students and their families. In the coming days our students will come to us with questions. Listed below are some resources recommended by educators that can assist you in your classrooms and with your work with family and community members. Many of these titles can be found in the Martin Haberman Library for Social Justice Teaching in the MTEA’s office.

MTEA members are dedicated to fighting for the schools and communities our children deserve.

In Solidarity,

Kim Schroeder
MTEA President


For White Teachers in the Time of #BlackLivesMatter
Teaching for Joy and Justice by Linda Christensen
Rethinking Globalization by Bigelow/Peterson
Failing our Kids by Swope and Miner
Reading, writing, and rising up by Christensen
Rhythm and Resistance by Christensen and Watson
Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching social justice by the numbers By Gutsetin and Peterson
The Line Between Us by Bill Bigelow
Planning to Change the World: A plan book for social justice teachers