Update on MTEA Meet & Confer with District

President Amy Mizialko speaks with MTEA members following a meet and confer session with MPS Administration (Photo: Joe Brusky).

The MTEA Bargaining Team met with MPS Administration Tuesday for a Meet & Confer session. The session included positive testimony from MTEA members who are Speech and Language Pathologists, Sign Language Interpreters, and Registered Nurses.

Speech and Language Pathologists

Elizabeth Sedita and Kendra Robinson spoke on behalf of the speech pathologists (Photo: Joe Brusky).

We help organize a recruitment lunch for graduate students in their final year to come and work for MPS. Beside student teaching it’s one of our most popular ways of gaining additional speech language pathologists, but it’s something we have to pay for out of our own pocket. The H.R. process is such a long process we’ve lost people. They said we applied we haven’t heard anything so if they don’t contact an additional person it’s really hard for them to get through the process.

– Elizabeth Sedita and Kendra Robinson


MPS has a problem retaining qualified interpreters because we are not paid a competitive wage. As a result we have high turnover. Being an interpreter is a profession. Our career is expensive. On top of a degree, interpreters are required to obtain and maintain certifications and licensure that ensures we are qualified. A specialized license through DPI requires our license to be renewed every five years and we have to fulfill 75 hours of PD requirements to maintain our license. The district offers no relevant PD to us so that 75 hours to maintain our credentials to stay legally employed falls on us.
Maybe the district is satisfied with the idea of the revolving door of private contracted workers, but our students are suffering. Imagine if you had a different regular education classroom with a different substitute teacher every day. It’s a terrible idea. It’s a mess. Our students need stability. We need to hire interpreters and stop spending exorbitant amounts of money on contractors and invest in our own people. A higher salary for interpreters, paid time for prep, a career path with steps and lanes, compensation for our experience and our additional credentials and reimbursements along with our required license fees.

– Brittany Peters and Casey Thomm

Registered Nurses

School Nurse Sarah Gruettner speaks on behalf of the district’s union nurses (Photo: Joe Brusky).

We have registered nurses who are new hires and they are making more than seasoned nurses who’ve been in the district for 5+ years. We have a nurse who started in February 2019 who’s making more money than a nurse who’s been in the district since 2007.”
We have an unfair attendance policy for the department that works the closest with our sick kiddos. When we have sick kiddos with the flu and mom and dad can’t come and get them for five hours, they’re in our office and we care for them. When we get the flu we’re told to use FMLA for it. We’re told we can’t use our sick time without getting in trouble for it.

– Sarah Gruettner

Members spoke to the disastrous effects of MPS eliminating salary schedules which has caused staff turnover to spike and several hundred vacancies. This has cost MPS significant amounts of money and hurts our students. Without salary schedules that are competitive in EVERY job class, we can’t attract the best for our students. Subcontracting further hurts our students and costs the district millions every year.

The district has agreed to salary schedule work groups which will begin in April.

The bargaining team also spoke to our demand for equitable treatment for all MPS workers from our Meet & Confer Platform.

We demand district policies that provide equal treatment to all MPS workers. This includes attendance policies, discipline and due process, pay during school closures, etc.

Then, management said no.

  • No to Time.
  • No to a Bilingual Workgroup.
  • No to our Safety, Climate & Culture Proposal
  • No to more time for Special Education teachers to meet their individualized IEP demands

Our team responded that our students cannot wait.

We have many buildings where elementary principals have thrown up their hands and walked away from their duty to make sure that school buildings are safe, warm welcoming and orderly so educators can teach and children can learn. That is the truth. We don’t believe that you don’t know that. We believe that you do know that. What you do have in front of you are a group of committed, determined, persevering educators who have made this district their professional home and will continue to do so. We are unwilling to walk into another school year pretending that we don’t know what we know about safety, discipline, climate, and culture in our schools.

– Amy Mizialko

Without good faith discussions in these sessions, MTEA members must take the fight to MPS. In less than one week, we can elect a School Board that champions public schools and will create a budget that starts with our students and educators. Click here to RSVP to canvass for the school board our students deserve.

We’ll need to mobilize to School Board meetings, actions and take this budget fight to Madison! Public education workers and our students can’t wait any longer.

MTEA Public Education Workers: Unstoppable Together!

MTEA Bargaining Team (All Photos: Joe Brusky).

On Thursday, March 7th, our MTEA Bargaining Team met with MPS Administration to present many of our economic demands. Those demands include:

  •  Salary schedules for every job class with steps for experience and lanes for certifications, licensure, and training
  •  40 hours of work for those workers who want it
  •  No increases to health insurance costs meaning no increase in employee premium payments or co-pays and other out of pocket costs
  •  Health insurance for full-time substitute teachers
  •  A return to the prior retirement formula
  •  The restoration of prior retirement benefits

All of these proposals are part of the MTEA Meet and Confer Platform. Be sure to read the platform and share with other MTEA members in your school or department.

Our MTEA Bargaining Team and other member speakers spoke to the importance of each of these proposals, both for MTEA members and to the future of MPS and its students.

Salary Schedules for Every Job Class

Cory Bova, a teacher at Rufus King High School, spoke to the destructive effect that the elimination of the teacher salary schedule has had on real wages for educators and to the retention of educators in the district. Bova spoke about his own salary and how, going into his 8th year of teaching, he is less than $2000 above the starting teacher salary. That effect has forced many high quality educators to leave the district, going to suburban districts surrounding Milwaukee. Bova pressed Administration to fix the problem so that we are not the training ground for suburban districts but instead become the standard for the whole state.

One Job Should Be Enough

Crystal Ealy, the President of the ESP 150 unit, demanded that every MPS job class be given the respect of a salary schedule with credit for experience and education that benefits students. She drove home that One Job Should Be Enough, and that educational assistants are vital to our students and their education and should not have to work two, three and four jobs. Combined with 40 hours of work for those employees who want to work 40 hours, MPS must achieve real, family sustaining compensation for every worker in the district.

Anita Blue, the President of the ESP-150 unit, “Why do we keep coming back asking the same question: Can we have a decent living wage?”

Full Time Substitute Teachers Deserve Health Insurance

MTEA and the “Fighting Subs” continued the demand for health insurance for every full time worker in MPS. Despite a School Board motion supposedly giving many full time substitutes the opportunity for health insurance, real movement towards our ultimate goal has been obstructed. Alex Brower, the President of our Substitute Teacher unit, pushed MPS Administration to recognize the dignity of the work of our Substitute Teachers, and to immediately move to restore their health insurance benefits if they work more than 30 hours a week on average.

Restoring the past retirement formula and retirement benefits

Rogers Street Teacher Meg Skwierawski, MTEA Deputy Executive Director Ed Sadlowski, and Kilbourn Teacher Shari Redel speak to MPS Administration during Thursday’s Meet & Confer (Photo: Joe Brusky).

MTEA Bargaining Team members, Shari Redel, teacher at Kilbourn and Meg Skwierawski, teacher at Rogers Street, called on MPS Administration to restore the retirement formula and benefits that MPS Administration and MPS School Board took away in  summer of 2013:  55 years of age, 15 years of service and 812 banked sick hours.  They also spoke of how women, the majority of educators in MPS, face significant, unfair obstacles to accumulating sick hours if they choose to have children and/or are primary caregivers for aging parents. Every public education worker in the district, including those hired after summer 2013, deserve retirement benefits.  

For MPS to attract and retain the best educators for MPS students, Administration must move quickly to re-establish real salary schedules with steps and lanes for every job class in the district.  Over 2000 MPS workers earn poverty wages.  To attract and retain the best public education workers in MPS, 40 hours of work must be offered to all who desire 40 hours. For MPS to ensure continuity of quality teaching and learning when teachers are absent, substitute teachers working full time must be given back healthcare benefits stolen from them by previous MPS Administration and MPS school board.  To attract and retain a stable workforce, MPS must ensure that healthcare insurance costs must be held at current levels with no increases to premiums, co-pays or other out of pocket costs.  

MTEA School Board Candidate Endorsements

The following candidates have been endorsed by the members of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association

Bob Peterson for School Board Member At-Large

Marva Herndon for School Board District 1

Erika Siemsen for School Board District 2

Sequanna Taylor for School Board District 3

Megan O’Halloran for School Board District 8

Vote for our students, vote for our community, and vote for our profession!

For more information visit, the Milwaukee Election Commission.

To find out what’s on your ballot and where you vote, click here. 

This is an 11.0101(10)(b)(1) communication with MTEA members.

Wendell Harris Must Issue Apology for Fake Endorsement Letter

Monday night, MPS board member and private charter apologist Wendell Harris issued a video statement on his personal Facebook page announcing that Governor Tony Evers has decided “to stay neutral” in the MPS District 2 election. On April 2, Harris faces a strong challenge from retired Neeskara kindergarten teacher Erika Siemsen, a strong supporter of public schools.\

It is very unusual for a candidate to go out of their way to announce they have failed to earn the support of a prominent leader. So why would Wendell Harris do this?

Earlier this month, Wendell Harris got caught lying. In a letter soliciting campaign contributions, Harris claimed “Our new Governor and Lieutenant Governor are strong supporters of public education. They are also supporting my campaign for re-election. ”

Representatives for the governor and lieutenant governor confirmed that they had not, in fact, issued an endorsement. More than two weeks after he was caught in his lie, this bizarre video on his personal Facebook page was the best Harris could do to set the record straight. That’s not good enough.

Wendell Harris should issue a public apology and send a corrected letter, with an apology, to the same group of people he told this lie to, ensuring each of them has the same opportunity to learn the truth as he gave them to believe his lie.

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. More photos can be found here.

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”



    • 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).



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



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


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


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!


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.”



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.

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.