The REAL story behind the Madison Prep Academy Proposal? Helping “At Risk” Kids is a Cover for Union-Busting

Madison’s proposed Preparatory Academy is making some new changes to their plans for the all-girls and all-boys charter schools

Now it comes out that the prep school backers want to use non-union teachers & staff. In journalism school, this is called “burying the lede.” The real story here is union busting as an excuse for helping “at risk” kids.

The same thing happened in Milwaukee. About 10-15 years ago, the so-called “school choice” voucher proponents teamed up with Dr. Howard Fuller to do the same thing to Milwaukee Public Schools.

Voucher Schools were sold as superior to regular schools. After all of these years with the most extensive “choice” program in the country, independent studies have shown that the performance of voucher schools is about the same as Milwaukee’s “regular” public schools. Even Fuller himself admits that.

There are some good aspects to the prep school proposal, but they can be accomplished within the framework of negotiating with Madison Teachers.

It’s an old story–use a group of underserved minorities with genuine needs as class war pawns with the ultimate result leading to no real improvement and continued erosion of the middle class.

And no. I’m not a teachers’ union member. I’m one of the 99% who is tired of being manipulated by the agenda of the 1%.

Battleground Milwaukee. Walker’s War Against Public Education from blue cheddar blog

Madison School Board’s Ed Huges can’t wait for teachers’ contracts to expire at SLY’s blog

Chalkboard: Will Madison School Board go for non-union Madison Prep? from CapTimes

2 thoughts on “The REAL story behind the Madison Prep Academy Proposal? Helping “At Risk” Kids is a Cover for Union-Busting

  1. Quigley, journalism is a profession for which I hold the highest regard, especially when it is practiced the way it ought to be, which it too often isn’t. 

    Having said that, as a blogger on Blue Cheddar I make no claim to being a journalist in this context, that is, adhering to the standards of reporting that worthwhile journalists strive for. 

    By the very nature of Blue Cheddar and other blogs, my writings here are my opinions, which you or anyone else are free to agree or disagree with, or, for that matter, ignore. 

    In my opinion, the fact that news of the non-union nature of the Prep School broke on a weekend was curious to me. Urban League officials and others promoting this project may profess pro-union sentiment, but their actions and advocacy in this case reveal otherwise. 

    My reference to Dr. Fuller’s advocacy of non-union “choice” schools in Milwaukee was there because of similarities I’ve seen between the Milwaukee situation and what is being advocated for Madison. In Milwaukee’s case, the “choice” program was also advocated by organizations who were known to be anti-union, e.g., the Greater Milwaukee Committee and Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.  One of its earliest proponents was conservative University of Chicago economist Milton Friedman. 

    Studies of non-union “choice” schools have shown quite a few negatives, including more faculty turnover than conventional public schools, as well as test scores that demonstrate little difference in student performancd as measured by standardized tests. Since improved student performance is the primary reason for school choice, one must question the true motives of its proponents when that large-scale improvement simply isn’t there. 

    Two interesting columns on this subject appeared this past weekend. The links are below. One is from Journal-Sentinel contributor Alan Bursak, who has been critical of urban public schools and teachers’ unions over thd years, yet he also has become disillusioned with the outcomes of “choice” schools.

    The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman had a provocative column entitled  “How About Better Parents?”

    BTW, I do not necessarily believe that parents are entirely at fault for less-than-ideal child rearing conditions on the home front. The loss of wage income, along with high unemployment, has contributed to stresses on parents, forcing them to take two, even three part time jobs to support their families–something that can prevent any parent from spending “quality time” with their kids. 

  2. I don’t have a stake in either side of this debate, but I think it’s a bit disingenuous to peg the Urban League as anti-union. They’re not actively trying to destroy the union, they just don’t want to hire union teachers. From the meetings and hearings I’ve attended, I’ve never gotten the sense they’re using the racial achievement gap as a proxy to undermine the teacher’s union. From their perspective, for what they aim to do, union teachers come with a huge price tag. That’s not an opinion, but a truth. We saw this with the district’s recent analysis. Secondly, charter schools and voucher school to two entirely different things. Third, if you’re going to masquerade as a journalist – or even a source of credible information – you might want to do some research, which might include picking up a telephone and speaking with the people central to what it is you’re writing about. Then maybe you’ll have something worthwhile to say.

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