Archives for category: Turnaround Schools

The National Education Policy Center reported on the success of a high school in Seattle that adopted the principles of “schools of opportunity.” Open the link for sources and other links. Valerie Strauss posted an article about the school here.


These Comeback Kids Don’t Bake Cookies: The Community-Based Transformation of an Urban School

You could call it the comeback kid.

In 2010, Seattle’s Rainier Beach High School was on the edge of closure. Just 320 students occupied a building constructed to serve nearly four times that number. Its on-time graduation rate of 48 percent was among the lowest in the state of Washington.

Fast forward to today and the picture has completely changed. Enrollment exceeds 700. The graduation rate is 89 percent. And, unlike many other school turnarounds that superficially look successful, the school has continued to serve the same families and community. At Rainier Beach, nearly three-quarters of the students hail from low-income families, and 40 percent come from immigrant or refugee backgrounds. The school’s diverse population is 49 percent Black, 26 percent Asian, 14 percent Hispanic, six percent multi-racial, three percent White, and two percent Pacific Islander/Native American/Alaskan.

In 2016, NEPC recognized Rainier Beach as a School of Opportunity, making particular note of the school’s rigorous but supported classes and its thoughtful and powerful community outreach.
Too often, transformations like Rainier Beach’s are attributed to external forces such as state accountability measures or the introduction of a new and charismatic leader.

But in a recent article in the peer-reviewed Journal of Educational Administration, Ann M. Ishimaru, an associate professor of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Policy at the University of Washington’s College of Education, uses interviews, document analyses, and observations to tell a very different tale about Rainier Beach.

Truth be told, some aspects of the Rainier Beach story are not out of the ordinary. It brought in new leadership. It struggled with and benefitted from the implications and resources associated with accountability-based reforms.

But another part of the school’s story is indeed unusual—and offers important lessons for other schools now struggling to improve. Professor Ishimaru traces the school’s transformation to a groundswell of activism led by local families, students, and community members. Working together with educators, these activists were able to benefit from structures of conventional schooling by transforming those structures to better suit their needs. As Ishimaru notes, these were practices and institutions often imposed on low-income, “majority-minority” communities—structures that often do little to engage those communities or respond to their voiced needs.

For example, activists leveraged the power of the PTA, using it to spark change. As one parent leader explained:

We don’t make cookies. We’re not here to fund raise for your school. We’re here to be transformative change agents for the school. We need you to deploy us to spaces that you can’t get to, like School Board meetings and the Superintendent […] No, we don’t make cookies. […] We infiltrate, that’s right.
Other community-based strategies Ishimaru identified included:

Participating in the accountability-based school turnaround/school improvement grant process;

Holding community “cafes” to build support for the school’s new International Baccalaureate program; and

Supporting academic and behavioral interventions (such as introducing Freedom Schools and hiring a restorative justice coordinator) that empower youth.

“This study is a testament to the changes that can unfold when parents and communities drive priorities and action in school change efforts,” Ishimaru concludes.

Still, she cautions that work remains to be done at Rainier Beach: Key community leaders have moved on. Parents worry that African American students are still under-represented in the school’s International Baccalaureate program. And there’s no guarantee that the program itself will continue to attract the resources it needs to operate.

 

An article in the Daily Beast asks the question that is the title of this post.

Another question: Where was President Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan when Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker stripped away collective bargaining, and union members encircled the State Capitol in protest? Answer: absent.

They did, however, find time in March 2011 to fly to Miami to join Jeb Bush in celebrating a “turnaround school” whose staff had been replaced. (A month later, the same high school was listed by the state as a “failing school” slated for closure, but the national media had moved on.)

Mike Klonsky writes about Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s efforts to close another school. Rahm has left his mark as the Great Destroyer of Public Schools in Chicago.

http://michaelklonsky.blogspot.com/2017/07/fighting-another-rahm-school-closure-at.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+mikeklonsky+(SmallTalk)&m=1

Mike and his brother Fred interviewed two members of the elected school council of an elementary school called National Teachers Academy, which they are fighting to save.

“It’s both an inspiring and heart-breaking tale of a school community that has managed to survive and thrive despite district misleadership and the rigors of 15 years of top-down, corporate-style reform, only to find itself on the chopping block. After finally achieving Level 1 status, NTA has been marked for closure. Its students could be moved into an expanded (1,800 students) South Loop Elementary — an elementary school that size is criminal — and NTA turned into a new high school for Chinatown…

“The school was launched in 2002 against the background of gentrification of the South Loop neighborhood, with a fancy misleading title (it was never a national teacher training academy) under the direction of a consortium of 15 school partners including universities who promised to deliver strong professional development for teachers at a neighborhood school.

“Instead, what the school got was a takeover by a private turnaround company, AUSL, leading to teacher firings and principal churn. Since 2006, the school has stabilized, developed a strong teacher residency program in partnership with UIC and has now been declared a Level 1 school, based on its rising test scores. Most of the credit for the gains goes to the school’s teachers and students as well as its two most recent principals, Amy Rome and Isaac Castelaz.

“Niketa and Elisabeth’s story recalled the legacy of then-CEO Arne Duncan’s so-called Renaissance 2010 reform initiative which was launched by Mayor Daley in 2004. It called for the closing of more than 80 schools to be replaced by 100 shiny new charters, contract schools, performance schools, turnaround schools, etc…by the year 2010.

“I still remember Duncan speaking to Dodge Elementary parents who were angry over his handing their school over to AUSL, without any input from the community, and promising them that they would be thrilled with his new Renaissance alternatives. But by 2013, CPS was already closing many of the schools Duncan had created.

“Ren 10 was a disaster on all levels. But it was the manufactured spin of this debacle as a “Chicago Miracle” which paved the way for Duncan’s appointment as head of the Department of Education.

“WBEZ’s Becky Vevea wrote at the time:

“In 2008, Dodge was where then president-elect Barack Obama announced Duncan as his pick for Secretary of Education.

“He’s shut down failing schools and replaced their entire staffs, even when it was unpopular,” Obama said at the time. “This school right here, Dodge Renaissance Academy, is a perfect example. Since this school was revamped and reopened in 2003, the number of students meeting state standards has more than tripled.”

“But fast forward another five years, Dodge and Williams are closing their doors.

“This story must have a familiar ring to the parents and students at NTA.

“But, as Elisabeth assured us yesterday, “We’re gonna win… We are an army of parents and allies from all over the city. This is not over.”

“I believe her.”

Michigan’s Education Achievement Authority is closing down, and the low-performing schools put into the state-controlled district will be returned to the Detroit public schools.

The EAA was a disaster from the beginning. Its leaders had total control, and they used it to run experiments on the children, using technology. They ran up the bills and produced no academic improvements. The first leader was Robert Bobb, with Barbara Byrd-Bennett as chief academic officer (BBB is now sentenced to jail time for taking bribes in her role as superintendent of the Chicago public schools). Then there was Broad-trained John Covington, who increased the deficit, then moved on. At all times, Eli Broad was deeply involved in creating and staffing the EAA. This Friday is the last day for the EAA.

The EAA’s 15 schools will stay open, but they’ll be absorbed back into the Detroit Public Schools Community District. Sonya Mays, treasurer for the DPSCD school board, says the district is working with the EAA to make it a smooth transition for students.

The two districts are coordinating on transferring school records, communicating with families, and hiring administrators and teachers, among other things.

“And so it’s our hope, and we’ve tried to be very intentional about this, that students themselves will see very little disruption,” Mays said.

The EAA was created in 2011 to turn around Detroit’s lowest performing schools. But, according to Michigan State University education professor David Arsen, it fell far short of that goal.

“The EAA could fairly be regarded as a train wreck of educational policy,” Arsen said.

Arsen says a rushed policy process, plus a lack of state investment, meant the EAA had little chance of turning around Detroit’s failing schools.

In the state’s latest rankings, two-thirds of the EAA’s schools were in the bottom five percent.

Do you think maybe there is a lesson here for the low-performing Achievement School District in Tennessee and the copycat districts created in Nevada and elsewhere?

Tom Ultican became a teacher of math and physics in San Diego after a career in Silicon Valley. He is retiring. He loves teaching.

He describes with precision the people who imposed bad ideas on the schools and messed them up. Maybe they meant well but their lack of knowledge or experience in the classroom led to naive and foolish and failed interventions, like Common Core and “turnaround,” with mad firings.

He writes:

“Standards based education is bad education theory. In the 1960’s Benjamin Bloom proposed mastery education in which instruction would be individualized and students would master certain skills before they moved ahead. By the 1970’s this idea had been married with B.F. Skinner’s behaviorist philosophy and teachers were given lists of discrete items for their students to master. The “reform” became derisively known as “seats and sheets.””

Tom says he is leaving the classroom. I hope there is a way to keep his kbowledge, experience, and wisdom engaged in educating the next generation.

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Public Schools (AROS) has gathered important information about state takeovers, which target disproportionate numbers of black and brown communities.

 

Be sure to check out this fact sheet.

 

When the fact sheet was published earlier this year, AROS identified 116 schools that were operating in state takeover districts in Louisiana, Michigan, and Tennessee. Of 44,000 students affected, 96% are African American or Latino.

 

The first consequence of the takeover is the abolition of elected school boards. Democracy ends, and the board is replaced by an appointed board, often made up of people who have no connection to the community.

 

The results have been disappointing. Nearly half the schools in the New Orleans Recovery School District are rated D or F by the state (other studies put the figure even higher). The charters in the Tennessee Achievement School District lag the performance of public schools. In Michigan’s Educational Achievement Authority, 79% of students either showed no improvement or lost ground on state tests.

 

 

EduShyster and her colleague Aaron French created a podcast about the crucial vote in Georgia on changing the State Constitution to allow the state to take over public schools with low test scores and turn them into charters or do whatever else the state wants to do.

Through the medium of audio, you are able to hear the advocates’ deceptive advertising, urging people to vote for the amendment because it will only affect “those children,” not yours.

Jennifer Berkshire interviews parent advocates, who understand that the campaign for Amendment 1 is deceptive. 140 struggling schools might be taken over, and most of them will be schools that enroll children of color.

Kent McGuire, head of the Southern Education Foundation, worries that the goal is to re-establish a dual school system. He commends the governor for taking an interest in improving education for the kids with the lowest scores, but he sees no vision of how to do that, just a managerial change.

Unless EduShyster found outliers in the discussion, the outlook for Amendment 1 is not good.

I wonder if voters know–or if Governor Nathan Deal knows–that the New Orleans takeover did not close achievement gaps, the Tennessee Achievement District failed, and the Educational Achievement Authority in Michigan failed. If they do, why are they creating yet another opportunity to privatize public schools and call it a solution to a problem they are not addressing?

In case you don’t have time to listen to the podcast, here is the transcript:

Georgia Has Something on It’s Mind: When voters in Georgia go to the polls, they face another decision besides Clinton versus Trump. They’ll also be weighing in on a single divisive sentence. Shall the constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the State to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance? In this episode of Have You Heard, we head to Atlanta to talk to voters, including parents, about why the proposal to amend the state constitution is so controversial.

Aaron French: Hey, everyone. Welcome to this addition of Have You Heard, I’m Aaron French.

Jennifer
Berkshire: I’m Jennifer Berkshire. Aaron, I can tell by your, somewhat far away sound, that you must be in the remote Have You Heard production studios.

French: I am indeed, in a very super secret location.

Berkshire: Do you know where I am?

French: There’s definitely something different about your voice. I can’t quite place it.

Berkshire: If you’re picking up on a slight southern accent, it’s not because I’m making fun of you. I’m in Georgia.

French: What are you doing down there?

Berkshire: I headed down to Georgia with my microphone because there’s a hotly contested question on the ballot that voters are going to be weighing in on. They’re voting on whether to amend the state constitution to give the Governor the power to take over struggling schools.

French: My understanding is what makes this really unique is that it’s the first time in history that any state has put this kind of question on a ballot for elections.

Berkshire: That’s correct, and what I discovered as I went around and talked to people who are directly affected by the question is that they have a lot to say.

French: Let’s hear from them then.

Berkshire: When voters in Georgia go to the polls, they face another decision besides Clinton versus Trump. They’ll also be weighing in on a single divisive sentence. Shall the constitution of Georgia be amended to allow the State to intervene in chronically failing public schools in order to improve student performance? Got that?

Kimberly Brookes: You’re changing the Georgia constitution, that is major.

Berkshire: By amending the state constitution voters will the State the authority to take over some 140 struggling Georgia schools. It’s called an Opportunity School District, modeled on what happened with the New Orleans public schools after Katrina. While these independent state-run districts are now popping up around the country, what makes Georgia different is that it’s the first time the question has been put before voters. You can put parent advocate and Atlanta native Kimberly Brooks down as a no.

Brookes: It’s just misleading. Pretty simple, should the Governor’s Office intervene for failing schools. There are psychological triggers. That’s my own view of that. When you think of failing, that’s horrible. You think of these little kids. You think of the teacher. “Oh, my god, yes” but “no” because what is not said is very broad. How are you defining failing?

Berkshire: If you want to see just how intense the debate over Amendment 1 has gotten, go no further that a discussion around the preamble. Those are the 14 words on the ballot that introduce the school takeover plan to voters. “Provides greater flexibility and state accountability to fix failing schools through increasing community involvement.”

Brookes: What does this mean? Will the parent be able to have a voice over a school in their area? If you’re a parent and you’re a tax payer and you contribute a lot to your taxes, do you want to not even have a say-so in your superintendent because they are going to be appointed? Do you not want to have any say-so in the operations and the spending of the school? Because you’ll lose those rights. Do you know that?

Berkshire: The answers to these questions are buried deep in the legislation that will go into effect if voters approve Amendment 1. With new powers the State can step in and close schools with persistently low test scores. It can turn them over to charter operators, it could run the schools directly or jointly with the local school board.

The decisions will largely be in the hands of a state-appointed superintendent. In other words, it’s complicated and, as Brooks sees it, political.

Brookes: Some of my, and I say my parents because they are mine, they’re hard working people, and they have a lot of other challenges. If the school system has the responsibility to do it. They should not be concerned about when their child goes to school any politics in one of the, supposed to be, most safest places and sacred structures, elementary school.

Berkshire: Brooks started advocating for parents back in 2012 when the Atlanta public schools closed a dozen schools. Community meetings were held for parent input. She says that even though parents spoke up, they weren’t heard. She’s worried that the Governor’s school take-over plan will eliminate the little voice that her parents do have.

Brookes: I decided to become an advocate because a lot the parents that I served as a PTA president, it was an eye opener for me. I didn’t realize the social problems that they had that influenced their ability to be involved in their children’s lives and to even understand what quality education looks like. I felt that it was my responsibility to start advocating for parents.

Berkshire: The question of whether of amend the Georgia constitution will be decided by voters across the state. The schools that dominate the take-over list are largely congregated in and around Atlanta. They have something else in common too. According to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, the schools on the list are attended by students who are overwhelmingly African American and low income.

Valerie Williams: Washington High was established in 1924. It was the first African American high school in the southeast. People came from far and near to matriculate here. We’ve had proud alumnus such as Martin Luther King, Jr. We have Lena Horne. We have Pearlie Dove, Nipsey Russell, Louis Sullivan.

Berkshire: That’s Valerie Williams. She’s a alumni of Booker T. Washington High School on Atlanta’s west side. It’s been on and off the list of schools that could, potentially, be taken over. It’s not the only historic African American school whose fate hangs in the balance.

Williams: What this would means for us is that, how can a state even allow a school that’s on the National Historic Registry be even in this place? That’s not only the Booker T. Washington, it’s the Frederick Douglass, it’s the Benjamin E. Mays. The schools of whom are named after great African Americans. How can you not be intentional about the success of these schools?

Berkshire: When Williams thinks about community involvement she has in mind the huge community of people who attended historic black schools like Booker T. Washington. While voters may be determining the future of these schools, Williams says their potential take-over is also a threat to the past.

Williams: What this would mean to us is our 90+ years of legacy and history would be gone. There is no other school, there is no other place in the world like our Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia.

Berkshire: If creating a state-run school district that scoops up struggling schools isn’t the answer, what is? Williams says that when she looks at successful schools in the Atlanta area, she sees a clear difference.

Williams: What I believe we need is the same equitable resources that schools that are being successful have. If we receive the equitable amount of resources in personnel that have made the north side successful, we would be successful.

Berkshire: Williams would also like to see the Governor whose the driving force behind the Opportunity School District, focus much more on the communities around the schools especially at a time when neighborhoods like hers in west Atlanta are gentrifying rapidly. It’s poorest residents risk being left behind or pushed out altogether.

Williams: If the Governor was very intentional about really pulling people up from the bootstrap, it’s not just education. You have to go into these communities. You have to show people a difference. You have to show people without displacing them.

Berkshire: By now you’re probably getting the sense that the debate over Amendment 1 in Georgia isn’t just about struggling schools or accountability. It’s about history and resources, who gets to make decisions and, above all, it’s about race. Take one of the ads that’s been airing in favor of the ballot question.

Audio of Yes on 1 Campaign ad:

I think it’s devastating that there’s 68,000 children that are in failing schools.

Our children cannot wait for a good education. They deserve a good education.

The Opportunity School District is not going to affect those that are already doing well.

This is an opportunity to help those students that have been failing for decades.

I just can’t imagine what those other parents have to go through. That’s why I’m voting yes for the Opportunity School District.

Vote “yes” on Question 1.

Kent McGuire: Even in the advertising that’s on television and, now, you have a person on camera, basically, saying to us, “Don’t worry, you can vote for this. This is about other people’s kids.”

Berkshire: Kent McGuire is the head of the Southern Education Foundation, a group that got it’s start 150 years ago as part of the effort to help Blacks in the South assimilate after the Civil War. He says that he can’t help but recall Georgia’s past when he considers the proposal to set up a separate school district for students who are overwhelmingly poor and African American.

McGuire: It makes you worry that this is about creating a dual system, not about creating one really high quality system for all kids. It does make you worry about that a lot.

Berkshire: The campaign to sell Amendment 1 to voters is heavy on feel-good buzz words, opportunity, achievement, accountability. McGuire says he’s noticed one notable omission. There’s no talk about what schools that are part of the Opportunity School District will actually do. Nothing about teaching or learning.

McGuire: There is no underlying vision for teaching and learning that has been expressed here or revealed, none. I don’t think people, the architects of this, believe we have a design problem in our education system. They just think we have a managerial one. That is the tip of the iceberg, is the point I would want to make.

Berkshire: Amendment 1 is running strong among backers of Georgia’s Republican Governor Nathan Deal. They’re not the only ones who support it. Priscilla Davenport says that while many of her DeKalb County neighbors are opposing the Opportunity School District, you can put her down as a “yes” vote.

Priscilla Davenport: For me, as a parent, I feel that I know what has not worked in more than 10 years. I’m willing to make a change, to try something new.

Berkshire: Davenport grew up in this metro-Atlanta county, and she says she can still recall a time when it’s schools were a draw.

Davenport: When I was younger and living in DeKalb County School District was the top school district. Everyone was moving to attend the schools in DeKalb County.

Berkshire: Today, though, Davenport’s daughter attends a high school that’s on the state take-over list. Davenport says she chose to send her daughter to the school instead of a charter or magnet because it had been slated to undergo a transformation. Four years in, she’s frustrated that not much seems transformed.

Davenport: The education level did not really increase even though the funding and the programs were put in place. A lot of those things, maybe they just didn’t work. I’m not sure but, for sure, the education level of the school did not increase. The enrollment dropped because a lot of people after seeing that, they decided to take their children to other schools.

Berkshire: Davenport says when she looks at the list of schools that could be taken over by the State, she notices something else they share besides the demographics of the students. Few of them have really active and engaged parents.

Davenport: If you check the research on parent involvement, most of the passing schools have high parental involvement and welcoming parents and gathering parents and doing things with parents and involving parents in the educational process of their children.

Berkshire: Listening to Davenport, I’m struck by just how much she sounds like parent advocate Kimberly Brooks who’s leading the charge against Amendment 1. If Brooks fears for what a state take over will mean for parental involvement in the future, Davenport says schools like her daughter’s make it way too hard for parents to make their voices heard now.

Davenport: I did realize that as parents are actively involved in the school, it’s always not a welcome door with the leadership. When you are going in school and you’re participating and you’re being very active in your child’s education life, that’s not always wanted on a higher level.

Berkshire: Davenport says she’s under no illusion that a state run take-over will be a cure-all to the problems confronting schools like those in DeKalb County. In fact, she’s aware that similar efforts in other states have been controversial and have produced, at best, mixed results.

Davenport: No one knows whether this will work or not but we are hoping that it will work if it pass because, at least, it opens a door for our community to address education.

Berkshire: Even staunch Amendment 1 opponent Kent McGuire says he has to give the Governor some credit for raising the issue of how best to educate students in Georgia who need the most help.

McGuire: We’re not saying schools that aren’t performing well don’t need help, we do. Let me commend the Governor for taking an interest in the lowest performing schools in Georgia. He was right to do so. The real question is, what’s the best way to do that.

Berkshire: Thanks for tuning into another installment of Have You Heard. If my math is correct, that brings us up to episode #8 which means that our 10-part series is almost over. If you really like what you’ve been hearing and maybe want to encourage us to do more, or have ideas about episodes we haven’t touched on, this would be a good time to drop us a line. You can find us on Twitter. I’m @EduShyster, and Aaron is @AaronMoFoFrench. Until next time, I’m Jennifer Berkshire, and that’s what we’ve heard.

Gary Rubinstein has followed the evolution of the Tennessee Achievement School District closely since it was launched in 2011.

In this post, he warns reformers and others to beware of copying the concept. It failed. Do not replicate failure might be the message. Although states like North Carolina, Georgia, and Nevada seem determined to replicate the ASD, regardless of its failure.

The ASD, you may recall, pledged to take the bottom-scoring 5% of schools in the state and vault them to the top 25% in five years. It hasn’t happened. As Gary shows, achievement gains have been negligible at best.

Despite the failure of the ASD to meet its goals, the new Every Student Succeeds Act endorses the idea that the state should take over the bottom 5% of schools and fix them. ASD have proved that this is no simple matter.

Gary writes:

Each time the idea of creating an ASD is introduced by a state legislator, testimony from people whose own professional futures depend on the perception of success in the Tennessee ASD are used to get the required votes. Various education reform lobbyist groups produce reports and blogs about how successful these ASDs have been.

I think that education is a true science and one that deserves to evolve according to the scientific method. In the case of these ASDs, the initial conjecture would be that tenured teachers cause low test scores. The experiment to verify this conjecture is to create an ASD somewhere like Tennessee, fire the tenured teachers, and let the charter schools take over and teach the students. Education reformers seem to have no problem with these first steps. But the power of the scientific method is completely nullified when the results of the experiment are ignored when they contradict the working conjecture. That is what has happened in this case and why ASDs are gaining momentum around the country.

Any state considering making an ASD would be wise to listen to the words of the pioneer of the Tennessee ASD, former superintendent, Chris Barbic. A few months ago on a panel discussion Barbic was asked if he thought it was good that various states were considering replicating his program. Even he had his doubts. He said that there is a very limited supply of charters capable of executing these difficult turnaround efforts. If twelve states, he said, are all trying to get the same four or five charter operators, “it’s gonna create an issue.” Considering his dream team of charter operators could not move the original ASD schools out of the bottom 5%, this is a sobering assessment of the viability of creating franchises of these turnaround districts around the country.

Education reform is full of false promises and magic beans. Whether it is charter schools, test-based teacher evaluations, school closures, merit pay, making a more difficult curriculum, common core standardized tests, computerized learning, these strategies should not proliferate based on skewed PR, but on actual merit. How can we expect kids to become critical thinkers when decisions about their future are made by people who refuse to be critical thinkers themselves?

The Harvard Business School reports a study from Britain that claims to explain how to turnaround a failing school.

https://hbr.org/2016/08/how-to-turn-around-a-failing-school

Americans, especially experienced educators, are likely to find their recommendations controversial.

The researchers say that reducing class size is not necessary. They say a class of 30 will do as well as a class of 15.

They say not to worry about teacher quality until you have the right leader and governance structure.

They say that the key to success is to exclude students with behavior problems. Pay another school to take them. Now there is a clever idea.

Their study was conducted using academies as their models. Academies are similar to our charter schools.

Imagine: as schools follow their advice, there will be a market for students who are behavior problems. Who will buy them?

Take it another step, and the school could sell students who don’t speak English and students with disabilities.

Now, that’s corporate reform using business thinking!

Tim Slekar, dean of Edgewood College in Wisconsin, is one of the bravest people in the resistance to corporate reform.

He was involved in the opt out movement long before others (like me) joined in.

He has used all kinds of media to refute the attacks on teachers and public schools.

Here he challenges the law that allowed the state of Wisconsin to take over some low-scoring public schools in Milwaukee.

Tim asks, now that the commissioner appointed to run the privatization district, Demond Means, has resigned, what will County Executive Chris Abele do?

Now what? What will County Executive Abele do now? Will he continue to “uphold the law?” Or will he muster the courage needed to express solidarity with the parents, teachers, and children and execute his duty as a citizen to peacefully disobey an unjust and unethical law? Will he denounce a law that is founded on discriminatory assumptions about communities of color and animated disdain for people in poverty?

Or will he simply reappoint a new commissioner and “uphold” a law born out of privileged and contempt for our brothers and sisters that remain strangled by systemic racism and crushing poverty?

Tim is there. He knows what is happening. I listen to him. So should you.

I am still waiting for someone to give me an example of a successful state takeover of a low-scoring school, one that did something other than change the students to high-scoring students.