By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 29, 2017 at 1:02 PM

Montessori education programs in the state will get a boost Thursday when Gov. Scott Walker is expected to sign into law a bill that, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau, "expands the teacher education programs that satisfy a requirement for obtaining an initial teaching license under the alternative teacher licensure path described below to include teacher education programs approved by the Association Montessori Internationale."

There is an AMI training center in Milwaukee and it helps feed teachers into the successful public Montessori programs in Milwaukee Public Schools, which boasts the largest collection of public Montessori schools in the country. Some of those schools are among the highest performing in the city.

MPS often struggles to find enough Montessori-trained teachers. The new law will help the district more readily train teachers to staff and expand existing programs, as well as create new ones, such as the bilingual Montessori program launched this school year at James Whitcomb Riley Elementary on the South Side.

Under the new law, successful completion of the AMI training course – which requires a bachelor’s degree for admission – and passing the exams required of anyone seeking a teaching license will be eligible to qualify for a state Montessori teaching license.

"What it does is to allow small Montessori training centers’ graduates in the U.S. to follow this licensing pathway," says Phil Dosmann, a former MPS Montessori teacher and principal, who is now executive director of the Wisconsin Montessori Association. "It also allows graduates of AMI international centers in Europe and throughout the world to be eligible.

"Sen. (Luther) Olsen, in his testimony in support, characterized AMI as the mother ship of Montessori since it was recognized and started by Maria Montessori and continued by her son Mario.

"The senators and representatives were also informed of the rigorous training process that is the standard at AMI training programs, and that all AMI trainers have to go through a process that involves up to three years of mentorship to become a trainer, not to mention having to be trained at both the primary and elementary level and I believe have at least five years of teaching experience before they can apply to be AMI teacher trainer."

"Standardized" screening

In related news, Milwaukee Montessori Advocates are partnering with Marquette University’s College of Education to present a partial screening of the documentary film, "STANDARDIZED Lies Money & Civil Rights: How Testing is Ruining Public Education, Thursday, Dec. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

STANDARDIZED Lies Money & Civil Rights How Testing Is Ruining Public Education-HD-1 from BRUCE PERLMAN on Vimeo.

A 25-minute excerpt of the film will screen in Room 227 on the main floor of the Alumni Memorial Union, 1442 W. Wisconsin Ave.

A discussion will follow, with a panel that will talk about how district and state testing impacts schools and the Montessori classroom work cycle. Among those taking part are:

  • Dr. Theresa Burant, director of teacher education, Marquette University
  • Melissa Bollow Tempel, teacher and author, Rethinking Schools Publications
  • Jessica Foster, Montessori teacher, Milwaukee Public Schools
  • Carol Hicks, Montessori trainer, Association Montessori Internationale
  • Veronica Mancheno, Montessori educational director, Highland Community School
  • Phil Dosmann, executive director, Wisconsin Montessori Association

You can RSVP for the free event here.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.