Two weeks ago the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (MJS) exposed the Neighborhood Schools Initiative (NSI) as a massive failure and waste of taxpayer dollars. A few days alter the Milwaukee Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce (MMAC) and selected voucher advocates met behind closed doors to discuss how to reform the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and Mayor Barrett called for an audit of MPS's finances declaring every option should be explored.
But as Joel McNally and Barbara Miner point out it in two separate articles, the MMAC and MPS voucher advocates, including former Mayor John Norquist, designed and promoted, with the support of the MJS, the NSI, not the current MPS board's leadership.
The MPS Board members who supported the NSI were the very same folks, John Gardner, Bruce Thompson and Jeff Spence, who sold voucher schools as the market solution to the failures of Milwaukee's Public Schools in the early 1990's.
They have now admitted that voucher schools are not the panacea they originally claimed. The Journal ran a series on this a few years ago. But rather than dismantle this multi-million dollar, failed experiment and focus the state's scare educational resources on improving MPS, they now argue Milwaukee has a system of schools which face the common challenge of educating Milwaukee's largely poor and minority children.
In recent articles, the MJS has failed to acknowledge that current the current MPS Board leadership, including its President Peter Blewett, newly elected MPS Finance Chair Michael Bonds and Jennifer Morales were opponents of the NSI and vouchers.
A review of the record suggests that it is politically more palatable to Milwaukee's elites to beat up on this struggling urban school district, scapegoat teachers, their unions, and the elected MPS board of directors, and promote changes in governance than it is to provide MPS with the resources it needs to serve the children who depend on it.
Read Joel McNally and Barbara Miner's columns before you drink the MMAC's latest Kool Aid.