By Jay Bullock Special to Published Aug 04, 2015 at 3:06 PM Photography: Bobby Tanzilo

Dear County Executive Abele,

I am writing today to add my name to the list of candidates interested in the position of Commissioner of Milwaukee's Opportunity Schools Partnership program. You've been vested with the authority to choose that commissioner, and I say it should be me.

To refresh your memory, Mr. Abele, the Opportunity Schools are a direct result of many wise and generous suburban legislators sacrificing their time and energy in a tireless devotion to uplift our blighted and decrepit city. The legislation, inserted into the state budget without any public hearings because we Milwaukeeans can barely form a complete sentence to object anyway, allows up to five schools per year to be rescued from the toxic cesspool that is the Milwaukee Public Schools.

The buildings, students, equipment and property of these low-achieving schools will be liberated and offered to private, outside school operators who are not bound by stupid public school rules or bullied by the teachers union and their puppets on the Milwaukee school board.

The teachers from these schools, who, as we know, are so obviously the primary reason for the students' failure, will all have to re-apply for their jobs. If they make the cut – and I doubt many will, since they're just terrible, terrible human beings according to the test scores – I am so glad the Opportunity Schools plan protects them from the predators of the teachers union, who would just fill their heads with nonsense about things like working conditions and salary. As a teacher myself, I can assure you that my colleagues and I don't need to be paid well; the smiling faces of the kids make it all worthwhile.

Yes, Mr. Abele, I am an MPS teacher at the moment. However, don't let that deter you from selecting me as commissioner! Indeed, my experience on the "inside" makes me an ideal candidate. I know some people probably think that the single best way to fix failing schools in Milwaukee is to put them into the hands of someone who didn't study education, has never worked in education before, was not hired by an elected school board and had never even thought about leading a school district until this idea was hatched this past spring. But putting someone like that in charge would be crazy!

Plus, I know how to make schools work on the cheap. See, the Opportunity Schools program is all about saving money, looking out for the taxpayers. Those $3 cuts to property taxes don't just happen, you know; you have to work for them! From my in-classroom vantage point, I have seen just how easy it has been for MPS to thrive on ever-shrinking budgets, as class sizes have gone up while various blah-blah artsy-whateversy programs and so-called "critical" support staff like "librarians" have been cut.

And MPS has survived! Like the Black Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," the public schools have had their funding slashed but done just fine. "It's just a flesh wound," the Black Knight explains of his injuries, doing just fine getting around on his one remaining leg and still full of spunk and fight. The public schools are the same way; sure, they may have lost a "limb" or two or three, but those are just flesh wounds and really everything is fine.

So the Opportunity Schools will be able, under my leadership, to run lean and mean and put green back into taxpayers' wallets, which is the most important thing a school district should be doing anyway.

But what I like most about the Opportunity Schools plan, Mr. Abele, and why I am excited to lead this new district, is the complete blank slate it allows the commissioner when it comes to saving our children. The forward-thinking men and women who threw Milwaukee this lifeline were smart enough to put basically nothing at all into the plan about how these new schools will be different from what was there before.

Now, some people might look at that lack of thought from the legislature and think, "Wow, I guess the lawmakers have no idea how to fix Milwaukee's problems after all! Either they didn't bother to research what makes successful schools successful, or they just stupidly assumed that merely changing the governance structure of the schools is all it takes to turn them around." But not me!

No sir, I see the complete absence of any direction from lawmakers as an opportunity – if you'll pardon the pun – to give the new operators of these schools the license and freedom to do whatever they want. We don't need "experience" (I mean, if we did we wouldn't be getting rid of classroom veterans by firing all the teachers) or "experts" (that sounds like it would be expensive). Instead, we just need to make sure to hire those with pure hearts and firm handshakes who say they will put the interests of the children first.

So there you have it, Mr. Abele. I hope you will consider this application with the diligence and deliberation such an important decision will require. Picking the wrong person for this job would be a disaster.

Jay Bullock Special to
Jay Bullock is a high school English teacher in Milwaukee, columnist for the Bay View Compass, singer-songwriter and occasional improv comedian.