Many of our local readers are probably aware of the history behind the state-mandated Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program – or OSPP. Essentially the state has required the county executive to take over 3 underperforming Milwaukee Public Schools per year and hand them over to private operators. The county executive also needs to provide a commissioner and board to oversee these schools and select the operators. And of course the state has provided no funding for these schools nor for the commissioner position. The money is to come from the normal state support for charter and voucher schools.

So last fall, County Executive Chris Abele enlisted Dr. Desmond Means as his commissioner. Dr. Means is currently the Superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District, one of the highest performing school districts in the state.

At the time Dr Means and Exec. Abele proposed a high performance kindergarten program and providing additional support and advice for underperforming MPS schools. This was wrapped around a promise to not actually take control of any schools. Such a takeover is opposed by the MPS Board and the MTEA of course.

But State Senator Alberta Darling, one of the key authors of the bill authorizing the takeover, predicted that Exec. Abele’s view on taking over schools would change after he was re-elected county executive.

Guess what?

Editor’s Note: the official term for Dr. Means position in the state law is commissioner. So I changed my usage of superintendent to commissioner.

2 Responses to Remember That Time Abele Said He Wasn’t Going To Take Over MPS Schools?

  1. folkbum says:

    Ed, it’s more complex than what MTEA is saying with their editing here. I have something in the queue at OnMilwaukee in more depth, but rest assured Means is not proposing a takeover of any school, but rather a change in the legal description of the school that would allow MPS to maintain control–MPS teachers, MPS administrators, MPS students, MPS keeping the funding–while also bringing to bear additional support systems the opportunity affords.

    Seriously. What Means wants is to keep schools in MPS, not remover them from the district. Anyone who tells you otherwise is uninformed or purposely lying.

    There’s post up on MTEA’s website right now, for example, that is full of falsehoods and mistruths. I’m hoping in the next day or two to post here why it’s wrong.

  2. folkbum says:

    And it’s out of the queue at OMC. Worth a read to see some reality vs. hyperbole from opponents.

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