Saturday, January 19, 2008

MPS school board screws it up again

It amazing to me how badly the MPS school board continues to operate.

The federal government and the state's DPI are standing there, ready, willing and able to throw millions upon millions of dollars into the schools in Milwaukee and still the MPS school board allows chaos to rule the day.

MPS stands to lose $30 million in federal funds because they refuse to cooperate and meet the minimum requirements set out in federal law to improve their school district.


Joan Aguado Ware, a contract specialist for MPS, told the board, "I don't think I'm exaggerating to say $30 million is immediately at stake."

A few short months ago, MPS had agreed to follow the guidelines set up by the Department of Public Instruction, now they are refusing-

Reacting to the board's actions, Elizabeth Burmaster, state superintendent of public instruction, said Friday, "If they're not going to use the funds for what we directed them to do, which their board approved earlier, I guess we'd be looking at not giving them that money."
Who gets hurt in the end? The kids who are not receiving the help they need.

The MPS board had agreed to the required changes and the federal government was ready to throw millions of dollars at them to get it done.

Now the MPS board is refusing to comply with the plan that they had a hand in creating.

Of course this means that they are no longer in compliance and they will lose the money the government is trying to give them so they can better educate the kids.

What seems to be the problem now?

Hiring the first three assistants to Catherine Thome, the new director of the compliance program. Morales said it wasn't enough to hear that federal aid would pay for the positions - she wanted the U.S. Department of Education to write a check to MPS specifically for the full cost of the jobs. The board's finance committee voted 4-1 to hold up approval of the hiring, which, in effect, puts the jobs in the refrigerator and MPS out of compliance with the plan.


Spending $1.6 million to purchase materials and software to start a program called Read 180 with about 2,050 students in 16 schools. The program, which has been popular around the country and is used in other MPS schools, targets middle and high school students with reading problems.

So basically, MPS wants to get paid before they actually do the work.

Out here in the real world, life does not work like that.

Worse yet, there is a reading program that has proven to work in other parts of the country, but MPS is so disorganized that the reading program will fail because the MPS Board has not done their job.

The reading program is scheduled to start in a little over a week and MPS has not even hired the teachers they need to implement the program, much less get them trained in how the program should work.

MPS officials said they had hired 14 of 37 teachers needed for the reading expansion, but that they were working hard to get the hiring, training and technology installation done within the next few days.

The next few days?????? MPS has known about this new since September!

Now the MPS Board are behaving like a bunch of defiant two year olds-

"I dare them to take money out of kids' classrooms," board member Jennifer Morales said. She has led the charge to oppose two steps required under a plan the board agreed to in September for dealing with MPS' label of District Identified for Improvement under the federal law.

She dares them to take the money out of the classrooms????

For heaven's sake, Ms. Morales! You won't even let them put the money into the classrooms!!! How in heaven's name do you think they are taking it away?

I swear their are a bunch of defiant two year olds running the Milwaukee Public Schools!

By the way folks, these are federal tax dollars that will be used. Every single Wisconsinite has a stake in what is taking place in Milwaukee.


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