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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014

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Readers Blog

MPS Mayoral Takeover: The Public Hearing

I'm a glutton for punishment.  I actually attended the MPS School Board's pep rally last evening.  I assumed that it would be more entertainment than enlightenment, but I came away embarrassed and saddened. 

The concept of the Board hosting a meeting with the sole intent of bringing in backers, broadcasting it on 88.9, and trying to get print and television news coverage is a little like Obama hosting a health care town hall and inviting only sick, uninsured people to talk about a public option.  That said, I guess that I still expected more out of the community.

Three of the roughly five dozen people who spoke against the concept made some coherent, thoughful points.  The remainder just leaned on the tired old lines regarding racism, poverty, unemployment, etc.  Several of the speakers, including MATC instructor Charlie Dee, used very poor grammar and gave little credence to their cause.

One brave former teacher did speak in favor of the takeover, and the treatment he received for it was not exactly civil.  

I'm not an education expert, but it certainly seems like MPS needs wholesale change.  The mayoral takeover might help, or it might fail, but considering that MPS has been an utter failure for decades, why not give something new at least a test run for a few years?  How much WORSE could Barrett & Co. do?

Sadly, the larger problem is a deeply rooted ghetto that no amount of tinkering with MPS can fix.  That's no excuse, however, for the kind of apathy that seems rampant within the district and city as a whole.  Instead of complaining about organizational format, it would be nice to see people get so involved, so excited, and so emotional about rescuing kids from a crime-laden, poverty-stricken, listless life and genuinely helping them change the vicious cycle by making them contributing members of society.

 

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