Milwaukee Mobilizes Around Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action

This week, MTEA is mobilizing for racial justice in public schools by actively participating in the Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action. MPS public education workers are proudly standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement by supporting the Week of Action national demands:

  • End Zero Tolerance
  • Mandate Black History & Ethnic Studies
  • Hire More Black Teachers
  • Fund Counselors Not Cops

Kick-Off at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary (2/4/19)

The Black Lives Matter at School movement calls on educators to organize for racial justice in education and address the continuing inequities that give way to institutionally racist policies and practices in schools. Staff and students kicked off the 2019 Week of Action at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary Monday. Staff and students gathered in the school auditorium to recite chants, sing songs, and discuss and celebrate Black Culture. (A video from the morning is embedded at the bottom of this blog).

Kick-Off at King Elementary (Photo: Joe Brusky).

“Raise your hand if you think Black is beautiful. Raise your hand if you think you are beautiful. Raise your hand if you think you matter. If you think you matter raise your hand.
– Recited during the King Elementary Kick-Off Monday (Photo: Joe Brusky)

Monday morning Kick-Off at King Elementary (Photo: Joe Brusky)

Black Lives Matter Relief Print Display at Madison H.S. (2/5/19)

The history of relief printing is deeply connected to working class social movements and movements for liberation. James Madison H.S. students and their Art Teacher John Fleissner explored different social justice issues that affect their community and drew posters to communicate their ideas visually. Students drew posters speaking out against police brutality and racism, stopping evictions, and celebrating great Black revolutionaries. Students chose one of their posters to transfer to a block of linoleum, carved their block, and printed it. The students know what in society they want to change, they see it all around them. They are learning a visual language to communicate their ideas, and the process of printmaking to make multiples to spread their ideas.

Madison student Calvin Brock puts his relief print into the school Black Lives Matter display (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Sincere Glosson holds a print made in Mr. Fleissner’s art classroom (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Khaon Fudge made this print (Photo: Joe Brusky).

John Fleissner and his student Calvin Brock (Photo: Joe Brusky).

North Division H.S. Youth Rally (2/6/19)

North Division High School students organized a youth rally and march Wednesday morning to bring awareness to police, racial and gun violence.

North Division H.S. students march around their school’s block with a banner they made for the day of action (Photo: Joe Brusky).

North Division students hold up solidarity fists (Photo: Joe Brusky).

After marching around North Division several students and community supporters spoke before holding a student Q&A of MPS School Board Spring candidates.

North Division students involved in the group Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT) interviewed candidates for school board (Photo: Joe Brusky).

MTEA, MTEA Black Caucus, and MPS Collaborate on Week of Action

The MTEA Black Caucus, MTEA, and MPS sponsored a series of events celebrating the Black Lives Matter Week of Action.
  • Monday: Panel Discussion Examining the Black Lives Matter at School National Demands
  • Tuesday: Movie Screening and Talk-back on “Talking Black in America”
  • Wednesday: Black Lives Matter Poetry Open Mic Night
  • Thursday: MTEA Black Caucus Awards Night and Soup Dinner
  • Friday: MTEA Black Caucus Black Lives Matter Social

The Poetry Slam at Rufus King Elementary (Photo: Joe Brusky).

MPS students and staff shared spoken word, songs, and essays at the Poetry Slam (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Hi-Mount Door Display

We received word Hi-Mount Teacher Kimberlyn Foster was working on a special door display for the Week of Action so we stopped by to take a look. She says the hair will eventually cover the entire wall around the door. She even included a photo of her father who was in the band The Esquires.

Hi-Mount Teacher Kimberlyn Foster poses with her door display for the week of action.

Kimberlyn included a photo in her collage of her father who was in the band The Esquires (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Black Lives Matter at School Kick-Off at King Elementary from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

MTEA Black Lives Matter Curriculum Support Plan

 

King Elementary students take part in a Black Lives Matter event during last year’s National Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Are you planning lessons for the Black Lives Matter Week of Action? Here are some resources to help you as you plan.

 

  1. Start with the James Baldwin, “A Talk to Teachers,” essay

https://zinnedproject.org/materials/a-talk-to-teachers/

 

This essay written in October of 1963 speaks to the need for teachers to be aware of who their students are. It’s a great starting point for all of us to think about how we view the children we teach and why Black Lives Matter.

 

 

  1. The 13 guiding principles https://blacklivesmatter.com/about/what-we-believe/

This is the link, but we like the PDF version better. It’s easier to digest, and has the principles grouped in a user friendly way.

 

The Black Lives Matter 13 Guiding Principles are a great place to start when developing curriculum or lessons to help students to learn that Black Lives Matter is a world view that can be embraced by all.

  1. Black Lives Matter in #PHLed Lesson Resources Overview https://www.facebook.com/The-National-Black-Lives-Matter-Week-of-Action-in-Our-Schools-192373061312325/?hc_ref=ARQnem-mMD4HWKoghmYl7mZbzmNI7

This is the Black Lives Matter at School official Facebook page

 

  1. African American Read In Tool Kit, NCTE, http://www.ncte.org/aari/toolkit?roi=echo4-37015111013-92042092-a9ff4900f60e566e71978cedbb25a475&utm_source=2016-08-09+Members&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Inbox

Posted last year, a guide developed by the National Council of Teachers of English to design and implement a read in focusing on issues that speak to Black Lives Matter.

10 diverse Books by YA authors of color to read in 2017 https://www.teenvogue.com/gallery/10-diverse-books-by-ya-authors-of-color-to-read-in-2017

This link to Teen Vogue features 10 high quality young adult novels that will pique students’ interest in reading.

 

  1. Teaching #Black Lives Matter Teaching for Change

http://www.teachingforchange.org/teaching-blacklivesmatter

A guide to themes and big ideas that can be addressed within a Black Lives matter curriculum.

 

*Black LivesMatter at School Teaching Materials
*NEA Black Lives Matterat School Teaching Resources

 

Let us know how your planning and lessons are going.


 

MTEA is selling Black Lives Matter t-shirts designed specifically for this year’s week if action. Place your order here and pick up your completed order once we email you that it’s ready.

 

Free Screenings and Glasses to Help MPS Students Succeed!

A Zablocki Elementary student tries on a new pair of glasses (photo Joe Brusky).

MTEA, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Vision teamed up again this year to provide vision screenings and free eyeglasses to students at Zablocki Community School and Clarke Street school for the Clear Days Ahead program. Every child in both schools was given a vision screening. Students that failed the screening saw a doctor and finally picked out and tried on their new pair of glasses, all from the comfort of their own public school.

Students at Clarke Street Elementary take a vision screening (photo: Joe Brusky).

A Zablocki Elementary student sees a Wisconsin Vision doctor (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Over one third of students at both schools did not pass the initial screenings. Eighty-four Zablocki students needed glasses and ninety-four Clarke Street students were provided glasses. Six students were also found to have amblyopia which can cause severe visual disabilities if left untreated.

A Clarke Street student picks out a pair of frames (Photo: Joe Brusky).

A Zablocki student gets his first glance at his new glasses (photo: Joe Brusky).glance

A Zablocki Elementary student views her new pair of glasses (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Another happy Zablocki student (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Since 2010, MTEA and Wisconsin Vision have helped bring over 1,000 pairs of eyeglasses (value at $270 per pair) to MPS students, courtesy of Wisconsin Vision.

Vote YES to Recertify the MTEA Noon, Oct. 31 – Noon, Nov. 20, 2018

2018-Recert-Web-Banner


Voting Starts Noon, Oct. 31!

ALL Teacher unit educators (Teachers, Social Workers, Speech Pathologists, Guidance Counselors, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists), Educational Assistants (Paraprofessionals, Safety Assistants, Interpreters, General Assistants), and Accountant/Bookkeepers should vote in this election.

Click here to download the flyer

Click here to download “I am Voting YES To Recertify MTEA” Poster

Click here to download “I Voted Yes to Recertify MTEA”

 

If you don’t vote, it counts as a NO! You don’t have to be an MTEA member to vote!

VOTE YES to show our union power and RECERTIFY the MILWAUKEE TEACHERS’ EDUCATION ASSOCIATION! 

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.

Vote online or by phone:

Starting October 31 at noon, go to www.aaaelections.org/WERC and click on the voting link, or call 1-866-458-9862 to cast your vote. Voting ends November 20 at noon!

Be prepared to provide:
* Last 4 numbers of your Social Security number
* First 4 letters of last name
* Confirm vote for Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA)
* Do not hang up until you have voted and then hear “Thank you for calling the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission automated election voting line.”



CLICK HERE TO VOTE!

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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.

Thousands Protest to Demand a Student Centered Budget

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

In an incredible show of solidarity and strength, well over 3,000 MPS education workers, parents, students, and community members picketed up and down Vliet Street outside of MPS Central Office. Quickly, the crowd grew so large that Vliet St. was closed as the picketers spilled into the street and took over 5 city blocks.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Neeskara and Sherman Elementary school nurse Maggie Mitchell’s sign points out the inequities Milwaukee Public School students face. MPS students are worth thousands of dollars less per pupil in the eyes of the state’s funding formula when compared to their surrounding suburban counterparts. This means nurses have to purchase their own band aids and other materials students need (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

Workers from all over the city joined the picket. Unions representing transit workers, healthcare workers, electrical workers, communication workers, postal workers, auto workers, delivery drivers, and museum workers all came out to support MPS students and educators in our fight for a fair budget. Many groups representing making up the pro-public education Schools and Communities United coalition were also present.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Educators from Madison, Racine, Kenosha, and the greater Milwaukee area also came out in support.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Massive 24-foot parachute banners were unfurled and carried by the crowd.

Parachute banners painted with messages were walked on the picket. Parachute on left: “Community Schools Build Democracy (with “I Matter” photo. Parachute on the right: “Public Education the Heart of the Community (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Students and adults alike run underneath the parachutes as they are lifted up into the air (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The picket was so large, MTEA President Kim Schroeder and Vice President Amy Mizialko climbed up on the roof of the union office to address the crowd.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Their message was simple: These cuts are an attack on every MPS student and education worker in this district and we will reject any budget that does further harm to our schools. It doesn’t have to be this way. MPS has a billion dollar budget, and cuts can and must be made farther from the classroom.

“Specials” refers to art, music, and physical education classes in MPS (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

A Neeskara School parent with her children highlighting the much-reduced schedule of art, music, and physical education classes in MPS (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Click here for more photos from the picket.

To cap off the evening, our entire line headed towards the front door of central office. The doors were locked despite the public school board meeting that was to be held inside. Picketers began knocking on the locked front doors and chanted, “This is a public meeting, let us in!” When the doors were finally opened a loud line of educators, parents, and students streamed through the hallways, chanting to remind the MPS Administration and School Board of our demands.

“This is a public meeting! Let us in!” chant outside MPS Central Office (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Youth Empowered in the Struggle students lead chants inside Central Office and outside the school board meeting (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Chanting through the halls of Central Office (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Even the Rufus King drumline joined in.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Our action yesterday showed our strength and demonstrated our commitment to our students. We will continue to fight against cuts that hurt students and education workers.

Where do we go from here?

Here are key dates and events for you to remember as we fight back cuts to students and educators.
Superintendent Driver’s Preliminary Budget Released

– Friday, April 27

 

Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association (MTEA) Facebook Livestream Reaction to Budget

– Sunday, April 29 at 5pm
MTEA Executive Board Meets to Determine Next Steps

– Wednesday, May 2

 

Facebook Livestream to MTEA Members

– Wednesday, May 2 at 7:30pm or immediately following the MTEA Executive Board Meeting

First MPS Budget Hearing

– Thursday, May 3 at MPS Central Office (Time to be determined)

 

Further actions to come to WIN for our students!

Educators Must Fight for Our Students and Lead the Way Forward!

Photo of textbooks in an MPS classroom (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Milwaukee Public School students and classrooms have been systematically defunded. Tattered textbooks, crowded classrooms, and shrinking art, music, and physical education classes are just a few of the consequences our students and educators face thanks to Scott Walker’s unprecedented public education cuts. In addition to Walker’s cuts, MPS students also face a structural disparity in per pupil funding when compared to their suburban counterparts.

MPS administration has for too long accepted and passed these cuts on to our students and classrooms. Top this with the fact administration continues to entertain toxic proposals from privatizers that will hand over our schools to private operators. Enough! When will administration put their foot down and demand better for our students?

Riverside High School students and educators rallied and walked in together on Tuesday morning to call attention to the cuts (Photo: Joe Brusky).

Now MPS is proposing an additional 5% across the board cut to students and schools and massive healthcare and benefits cuts to the same education workers already burdened by years of cuts. MPS educators have stepped in to fill the void left by state budgets by purchasing snacks, clothing, and basic classroom supplies for their students, but our students deserve fully funded classrooms, not charity.

We’re tired of our Governor, other politicians who refuse to act, and an MPS administration who continues to pass cuts on to students and classrooms. We’ve had enough and we’re fighting back!

Over 1,500 educators, parents, and community supporters packed MPS Central Office on Tuesday to demand a better budget.

Last Tuesday, the MPS Central Office auditorium, three overflow rooms, and hallways were filled to capacity with educators, parents, and students to demand a better budget. Many MTEA and community members as well as students spoke out against the proposed cuts. Join us for these coming events as we continue to fight to demand our students & educators have the resources they deserve:

• Keep budget cuts away from schools!
• Time for teachers and educational assistants to meet the needs of their students.
• Quality affordable healthcare for ALL full-time education workers – including subs!
• Raises to attract and retain the education workers our students deserve.

Upcoming Events

4/18 Community Planning Meeting

MTEA is calling for an all MPS parent, student, and community member meeting to discuss cuts to our schools and next steps. Please invite parents and neighbors to attend this important meeting

RSVP to attend

Facebook Event Page

4/24 Picket to Defend Our Schools

Last Tuesday, the MPS Central Office auditorium, three overflow rooms, and hallways were filled to capacity with educators, parents, and students to demand a better budget. Many MTEA and community members as well as students spoke out against the proposed cuts.

RSVP to attend

Facebook Event page

To download the April 24 sign up sheet, click here. 

Riverside Rallies & Walks In to Say NO to Massive Budget Cuts to Students & Schools from MTEA Union on Vimeo.

Art Build in Support of the Milwaukee “March for Our Lives

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“We are demanding action. It is our time as youth in the community to make a difference. It is our time to stand up and speak out to our state and local politicians.”

– Marvell Reed, Barack Obama School of Career and Technical Education sophomore

 

On February 28, we attended a press conference organized by a group of students from around Southeastern Wisconsin, including Marvell announcing a March 24th march entitled the “March for Our Lives – Milwaukee.” The students announced they would be joining the nationwide day of action in support of legislative action on school gun violence and in response to the horrific events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland, Florida. The resurgence of student activism in Parkland, around the nation, and here in Wisconsin is inspiring. Milwaukee educators wanted to support the students’ efforts and organized an art build to prepare posters and banners for the march.

Milwaukee artists Paul Kjelland and Nicolas Lampert screen print posters at the art build (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

Just Seeds artists Nicolas Lampert and Paul Kjelland, and University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee professor Kim Cosier collaborated with MTEA social media organizer Joe Brusky to plan and organize the art build. A date was set one week in advance of the March 24 marches. Organizers made a call on social media for public school students and local artists to submit images to be used in the march using the slogan “PROTECT STUDENTS NOT GUNS.”

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

 

Students and local artists submitted several stunning images. Nearly every image was used for the final poster and banner designs, with several of the artists also volunteering their Saturday to trace and paint banners, and run and screen print posters.

Nearly one hundred people, many students, came through the art build during the nine-hour Saturday time window, including the core group of students organizing the march. Dozens of MTEA members, local artists, and community supporters also joined the collective effort.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

 

1,000 of these “Enough” images were printed. Bay View High School students and their art teacher Bryce Coppersmith submitted this powerful design.

Bay View art teacher Bryce Coppersmith poses with the design he and his students collectively created (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

Bryce also spent the day painting posters and banners in support of his students. The poster will be given out on a first come first serve basis before the 3/24 march.

Allen Field art teacher Kristin Cheever makes some finishing touches on a poster (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

The prints were lined up along the floor of the Kenilworth Building to dry after being screen printed (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

King Elementary educator Angela Harris and her two daughters Trinity and Zaire (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

Artist Pete Railand submitted this stunning “Protect Students not Guns” image of two students walking to school holding hands casting a shadow encasing the message “Protect Students not Guns.” 1,000 of these posters were also screen printed and will too be given out before the march.

This “Protect Students Not Guns” image was created by artist Pete Railand (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Obama sophomore and March for Our Lives – Milwaukee organizer Marvell Reed holds a completed poster (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Daisy was one of the youngest helpers at the art build (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

This powerful “Text Message” image was submitted by Milwaukee School of the Arts student Ana Branderhorst.

Homestead student and March for Our Lives – Milwaukee organizer Sophia Zhang trace banner before it is painted (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

Milwaukee student Trenice Ferguson submitted this moving image of a peaceful school community nestled on the inside of a hand gun.

Milwaukee School of Languages student Joya Headley and Homestead student Sophie Zhange (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Elisha Branch and her daughter Daisy (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

MTEA retired member Susan Simensky-Bietila and her son painted this image, submitted by Susan’s 7-year old granddaughter, on a banner.

Retired member Susan Simensky Bietila and her son paint her granddaughter’s image on a banner (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

 

UWM art education teacher Kim Cosier submitted this banner design, which was painted on two banners.

UWM professor Kim Cosier (Photo credit: Joe Brusky)

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

 

Several students from Shorewood High School also joined the art build to trace and paint three banners for their sure to be historic 50-mile march from Madison to Rep. Paul Ryan in Janesville, Wisconsin. The students chose Janesville to call attention to politicians like Ryan, who take large sums of money from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and do nothing to address the growing siege of school gun violence.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

 

Leaders Igniting Transformation students not only volunteered at the art build, but they also used the opportunity to circulate their petition to bring an end to the MPS School-To-Prison pipeline.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

 

It was powerful to watch students, educators, artists, and community supporters working together, forging new networks, relationships, and ideas that can propel and sustain us all for this sure to be long fight.

Student organizers for the March for Our Lives Milwaukee (Photo credit: Joe Brusky).

 

The 2,000 posters created will be handed out before the march at the meet-up for the MTEA educator contingent (10th St. side of the Milwaukee County Courthouse) on Saturday on a first-come-first serve basis (One poster per person). It will be powerful to see these images, posters, and banners backing up the great organizing students are doing locally as well as nationally. Together we will win common-sense reforms for our students. We hope you will join us.

Photo credit: Joe Brusky

More photo from the art build here.