I believe that no one individual or group has a monopoly on good ideas, and that we need to carefully consider suggestions from all corners. Our schools are failing a number of our students and their parents, making “reform” of some sort inevitable. However, we will only be successful by working together, not by blindly adhering to ideological stands or grasping on to each passing trend.
During my campaign, I had a chance to discuss ideas for MPS with constituents at their homes going door-to-door. Now, I hear from constituents through their concerns about their individual schools, but also in public hearings and community meetings. I give credit to the people of District 8 - they help to shape the work I do everyday by infusing my ideas with their experiences as teachers, tax payers, police officers, grandparents, and overall concerned Milwaukeeans.
Fresh ideas for doing more with less
MPS's financial situation isn't going to improve without our help, so we must find a way to provide, and hopefully enhance, services while staying within our revenue limit. We can:
These are simple ideas for saving money for the district. I don't suggest them to trivialize the tough work we have to do -- increasing test scores, improving outcomes, and maintaining school safety -- since those are the imperatives that the budget must support.
Where Meagan stands on...
Personally, I'm opposed to voucher programs. While the MPS Board can't change decisions made in Madison about expanding the Choice program, I believe in MPS and I want to both increase the profile of MPS schools so that families don't go looking for vouchers in the first place, and make the firm argument with leaders in Madison that a strong school district in Milwaukee is important for all of our futures. Living here, we know how much the success of this region will matter to Wisconsin’s future as a whole. Part of what makes Milwaukee great should be its schools, especially its public schools.
In District 8 alone, we have five charter schools educating more than 1,900 students. As long as charter schools are required to meet the same standards as MPS for student achievement and quality of educators, I believe they are worth exploring, especially if they do not exceed MPS per-student cost. Charter schools have their roots in the AFT and a tradition of development by UMW, MATC and the City. Anywhere educators are prepared to explore innovations, we should respect their leadership.
Mayoral Takeover of MPS
I respect Mayor Barrett’s interest in making MPS the best it can be, and I will always welcome the voice and ideas of the Mayor. However, mayoral takeovers are frequently unsuccessful, resulting in strained relations between teachers, administrators, community members and an overburdened city administration. Further, I believe it is important to ensure local voices are present in the leadership of MPS, which is what the elected Board allows.