Milwaukee Public Schools Abdicates Responsibility for Education

It is well documented that MPS’ “effort” at distance learning was a catastrophic failure. MPS is not willing or capable of doing it effectively. So what they are really saying here is that they want to enjoy a very long summer until they feel like going back to work. Why are all of us paying for this district if they aren’t going to provide an adequate education? I expect choice schools will see a boom in enrollment, and rightfully so.

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Public Schools leaders on Monday, July 13 released the district’s reopening plan and a phased-in reopening recommendation for the start of the 2020-21 school year that will be presented to the Milwaukee Board of School Directors — with a special board meeting set for Thursday, July 16 at 5:30 p.m. to further discuss the plan and vote on it. The plan, which applies to both early start and traditional students, calls for a virtual start to the school year — with no students in school buildings. Movement between phases would be based on COVID-19 spread.

[…]

The three-phase recommendation will be voted on during Thursday’s special board meeting:

– Phase 1: Full Remote Learning
– Phase 2: Hybrid Learning
– Phase 3: Face-to-Face Learning

The movement from one phase to the next will be dependent on monitoring the spread of COVID-19 as well as health and safety guidance.

33 Responses to Milwaukee Public Schools Abdicates Responsibility for Education

  1. Kevin Scheunemann says:

    Awful. Just awful.

    This is why schools are too important to be trusted to government to run.

     

  2. Mark Hoefert says:

    This past spring the online schooling was a “kludge fix”.  Curriculum designed to be taught in a classroom setting does not adapt well to online learning. But there are online virtual schools that have proven experience in delivering education using curriculum designed to be taught online.  This past school year in Wisconsin there were almost 50 virtual charter school programs.  Students can attend via Open Enrollment out of their school district. Some districts that offer virtual schooling don’t have their own platforms – they contract with outside providers.

    Since there is so much parental and staff anxiety about the unanswerable “what ifs” & “what about thats”, I would suggest the following:

    A) No in class instruction for at least the Fall semester.  All districts engage services of one of these providers that have the platforms and staff experienced in delivering online instruction. The providers may need additional staff to scale up to increased demand – there would be a pool of qualified educators that would be available on lay off due to no in class instruction.

    B) For some families, it may not be feasible to supervise their students during the day or may not have the technology.  For those students, provide the online learning within the school facilities, under the assistance of qualified teachers or teacher assistants.  For instance, large rooms like cafeterias & gymnasiums & libraries could be configured with individual student work stations (distanced and with plexiglass surrounds).  No physical education, no congregate hot lunches (bag lunches brought to their work station), etc.

    C) For online learning in school, would need healthy staff willing to do this. May require a high level of continuous COVID testing, sanitation, symptom and temperature monitoring. Perhaps masks would need to be mandatory – parents/students who have issue with that will have the in home option.

    DPI does have an “Online and Blending Learning” format:  “Blended learning is…

    a formal education program in which a student learns at least in part through online delivery of content and instruction with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace

    AND

    at least in part at a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home.”

    By this definition, a student that takes some courses online and some face-to-face at school is participating in “blended learning.”

    https://dpi.wi.gov/online-blended-learning/blended-learning

     

  3. jonnyv says:

    MPS took into account a survey they sent out weeks ago. I am part of my kids school Facebook group. Most parents have expressed concern sending kids back to school without some sort of plan or precaution.

    My guess is that my kids school isn’t unique in this view.

    MPS is listening to the parents in the district, at least the vocal ones. If there are parents who disagree, I haven’t seen their opinion voiced in the school groups I am part of.

  4. jonnyv says:

    Mark, I like the idea. But just imagine the screams from the idiots in the burbs when they are told that we are paying to build Plexiglas structures and for COVID testing. Half of them don’t even believe in wearing masks.

  5. Merlin says:

    -So what they are really saying here is that they want to enjoy a very long summer until they feel like going back to work.

    That’s a generous interpretation. Another interpretation might be that the MPS bureaucracy is not up to the challenges of educating children at all in the current WuFlu environment. Rather than effectively adapting the bureaucracy to the environment they’d rather just wait until the environment again suits the bureaucracy. As much as that sounds antithetical to every other school district in the state who feels duty bound to honor their mission of educating children, MPS waiting for environmental change just might be their best course of action. MPS is a different animal.

  6. Mar says:

    Sorry guys, but that is crap ideas.
    I have talked to many teachers who did the online/packet learning. To the person, they all said they lost between 1/3 to 1/2 of their students. It might be lack of parental support, lack of parent talent to teach, parents have to work and there is the cheating. The students did not learn.
    We also know that IEPs for special education students have not been followed.
    Yes, there are ways to open the schools and on time. There is no excuse for schools for not being prepared, after all, they will have had about 6 months to figure it out.

  7. jonnyv says:

    Mar, what is your idea on HOW to open them up safely?

    What would you have done in the 6 months? Because they truly only had about 2 months. Most people thought the curve would be where the rest of the world is… but the US screwed that up royally.

    Yes, MPS did a horrendous job of virtual learning before. And I am expecting a better version of this. In spring, my kids had about 2 hours a WEEK of in person virtual learning with their teacher. I will  be expecting at least 2 to 3 per DAY.

    And I know ALL about the IEP options, as my daughter has a team of about 6 people that spend time with her each week for different reasons. These are the kids that are really being failed in this scenario, including mine.

  8. Mar says:

    Jonnyv, start with the understanding that germs have been around in schools forever and there is not much you can do about it.
    So, with being, you can start sanitizing better.
    You also have to understand that more were killed by gunfire in Milwaukee than the Chinese virus. The Chinese virus does not affect kids like it does adults.
    As far as teachers who are afraid of catching the virus, my guess they are not afraid of going to Walmart or Trader Joe’s. And if they are, time to find a new line of work. But good luck to the English teacher as there is not much of a job market for used English teachers.
    I know when I was teaching, I was exposed to so many germs that I would sick in September and was fine the rest of the year.

  9. Mark Hoefert says:

    @ Mar, I have talked to many teachers who did the online/packet learning. To the person, they all said they lost between 1/3 to 1/2 of their students. 

    That was the “kludge fix”.   Adapting current in school methods to an online format.

    That is why I suggest the virtual platform that has been used for many years, not the system your teachers worked under this past spring.  Again, it is a curriculum designed to be taught remotely, online. I had a neighbor girl who did that starting last fall – she was constantly monitored – had to be visible in front of the computer, responsive to the teacher monitoring the class.  If she left the computer, teacher would have known. Her parents were at work the entire time – they also had cameras that showed if she left the house as an extra measure of accountability. She got a regular lunch break and some other breaks to take the dogs outside, and she had to have her butt in front of the computer at a specific time.

    And again, the blended approach would work for those who need to be in a supervised “brick-and-mortar” setting.  Motivated kids/families with the correct technology would have their “work station” at home, others would have their “work station” at a school or other provider.  If they aren’t in front of the screen when the class is in session, they would be considered absent or tardy.  And since all the students are on the same virtual platform at the same time, they are all receiving the same instruction and the same personal interaction with teachers.

  10. Mar says:

    Mark, that may work for several kids but not all.
    First, there are families who don’t have lap tops or internet connections.
    Then there are many kids in MPS that lack the family structure to help the kids succeed. Many of parents either cannot or refuse to help the kids with their studies.
    Finally, many kids lack the self discipline to sit on front of a computer to learn.

  11. Mark Hoefert says:

    Mark, that may work for several kids but not all.First, there are families who don’t have lap tops or internet connections.Then there are many kids in MPS that lack the family structure to help the kids succeed. Many of parents either cannot or refuse to help the kids with their studies.Finally, many kids lack the self discipline to sit on front of a computer to learn.

    See above:

    B) For some families, it may not be feasible to supervise their students during the day or may not have the technology.  For those students, provide the online learning within the school facilities, under the assistance of qualified teachers or teacher assistants.

    See, some students would be in their own home, using their own laptops (or school provided laptops) and internet connection and either self-supervised or supervised by someone else, engaged in the online class that is going on from a remote location. Other students would be online in the same class at the same time,  but a different location. A location like a school where there are laptops, internet connections, and qualified staff to keep the students on task.

    Last year the virtual charter schools in WI educated about 10,000 students.

    So often, it seems that the mindset is “if it does not work the same for everyone, it can’t be done”.  I would rather have an imperfect system for one year versus a system where kids lose a year of education and have to graduate a year later than they should.

     

  12. jonnyv says:

    So Mar’s idea is… if you don’t like being put in danger as a teacher you should find a new job. Just throw away 4, 6, or 8 years of college because you don’t want to put your life at risk when it isn’t necessary?

    And as we KEEP saying Mar, the flu is a known commodity. It rarely causes long term symptoms (although clearly can). We are seeing some crazy things from COVID. People talking about months later still experiencing shortness of breath. Possible long term lung issues, etc.

    And even if you KEEP SAYING that it doesn’t affect children the same…
    1. It CAN affect them (way lower chance)
    2. They CAN and DO spread it to others.

  13. Mar says:

    Jonnyv, my point is that teachers are exposed every year to all sorts of germs, viruses, bugs etc. If they cannot handle it they are in the wrong business.
    And yes, it is harsh, but who cares?
    Are the schools for the teachers or the students?

  14. Mar says:

    Mark, so, open the schools who cannot learn at home?
    Then if we can open the schools for them, then we can open for everyone.
    And I you do not want to send your child to school and you want to home school, that’s great as well.

  15. dad29 says:

    Another interpretation might be that the MPS bureaucracy is not up to the challenges of educating children at all

    You could have stopped right there, Merlin.

  16. dad29 says:

    We are seeing some crazy things from COVID. People talking about months later still experiencing shortness of breath. Possible long term lung issues, etc.

    Still looking for documentation and verification from actual MD’s here, Johnny.  It’s possible that there will be a nuclear holocaust next week, too.

  17. jjf says:

    Dad29, not sure which news bubble you live in, but it’s not hard to find what he described.

  18. Mark Hoefert says:

    Then if we can open the schools for them, then we can open for everyone.

    There you go with that singular line of reasoning – ““if it does not work the same for everyone, it can’t be done”.

    One of the tasks is to reduce density.  An option is breaking the classes down into rotating days of the week – an A/B schedule. Two days at school, 2 days at home learning. Or doubling the number of teachers & leasing more space so that density can be reduced.  May not be enough teachers to do that & space may not be available anyway.

     

  19. Mark Hoefert says:

    And I you do not want to send your child to school and you want to home school,

    I am talking about virtual schooling, which is different from home schooling.

    Attendance at a virtual charter school is not homeschooling, even though the pupil may primarily attend school from home. A virtual charter school is a public school authorized by a locally-elected school board, with a public school curriculum and certified teachers.  Homeschooling is a home-based private education program created by the parent. Whether homeschooling or enrollment in a public virtual charter school is the better option, depends on what the parent wants.

    https://dpi.wi.gov/sms/charter-schools/virtual-charter-schools

  20. jonnyv says:

    Dad…
    https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/07/12/what-we-know-about-long/

    That was literally the first result when I googled. Stop trying to deny this exists.

  21. Mar says:

    Mark, the kids are being schooled at home, thus they are being home schooled.
    And basically, you are advocating a block schedule.
    Trust me, having dealt with a block schedule as a teacher, it sucks. Plus it still puts a huge burden on parents who work. Not everyone can just quit their job and stay home with their kids. Or work from home.
    Doubling teachers? Seriously? In Milwaukee? Where are you going to get them?
    Other countries have reopened their schools. Most schools will reopen.
    But not MPS and that is a shame.

  22. Mar says:

    Jonny, more kids have been murdered than killed by the Chinese virus. Maybe we should permanently keep kids in house? More kids have drowned in backyard pools. Should we outlaw backyard pools?
    And your article deals with adults, not so.much kids.

  23. jonnyv says:

    Mar. I know what the article detailed. It was directed at Dad who keeps denying the possible long term problems people face.

  24. Le Roi du Nord says:

    Being the curious sort, I looked up CDC data on coronavirus mortality by age:

    For age 5-17  mortality is .03%  (flu is .01%)

    Mortality, all ages  5.2%  (flu is .1%)

    So if you are a school age child in the US and come down with coronavirus, you are 3 times more likely to die from coronavirus than the flu.

    Be smart out there, folks.

  25. Mar says:

    That’s one way to look it Le Roi, but it also says the chances of you dying from disease is extremely, extremely low in that age group.

  26. dad29 says:

    who keeps denying the possible long term problems people face.

    No.  I merely asked for something more than rumor and speculation and you provided it.  Thx.

    Now, then.  Are you concerned with your children becoming symptomatic?  If so, that concern is very minor indeed, as mar or any easy look-up will tell you.  Yes, there is risk.  But you put your kids on a bus, right?  Do they cross a street?

    As to CFR of Covid 19, the CDC’s May ’20 numbers are rather puny compared to the ex-LEO LeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeRoy’s:

    The range of estimates put the fatality rate for those showing symptoms between 0.2%-1%, with a “best estimate” of 0.4%.

    In the same article, others place the number at 0.5% or 0.85% (both ‘mid-range’ estimates.)  On Johns Hopkins, the CFR mort rate all ages as of 7/8 was 4.2%.  But as we all know, CFR is a lousy measure as https://ourworldindata.org/mortality-risk-covid?country=~USA  admits.  IFR is the gold standard, and the US does not have a good IFR number at this time.

    Of course, these numbers are for the USA–which I assume is LeeeeeeeeeeeeeRoy’s concern.  Only Oxford U has the 5.58% CFR number and as you can see from the above, that’s an outlier.

    Perhaps LeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeRoy is reading too much DNC talking-points.

  27. jjf says:

    Run with it, Dad29.  Tell me the fatality rate for crossing the street and riding a school bus.  Compare.  And also consider that the kids will bring it home, and they’ll bring it to school from home.  If you like, do the math…  estimate how many kids will die in the next year.

  28. dad29 says:

    Think that pediatricians know what’s good for their own kids?

    Then go here:https://www.redstate.com/nick-arama/2020/07/14/msnbc-hosts-face-is-priceless-when-multiple-pediatricians-weigh-in-on-kids-going-back-to-school/

    VERY short clip.

    Heh.

  29. Mark Hoefert says:

    Mark, the kids are being schooled at home, thus they are being home schooled.

    Geez, I accused JJF of parsing words.  I guess in your universe of which your are king, things have to be reduced to very simple minded concepts.  I assume (or pray) that you do not teach reading comprehension. This part: Attendance at a virtual charter school is not homeschooling, even though the pupil may primarily attend school from home.

    AZ must be turning into a hell-hole of COVID 19.  #4 in cases @ 17,559 cases/M. Closing in on New York (22,067); New Jersey (20,465), and Louisiana (17,650). WI is currently 6,510/M. At the current 7-day moving average of 700 new cases per day in AZ, they could catch up to New York’s 22,067/M within 3 weeks, and be the number one hotspot in the country. Just got a report from my sister – her daughter-in-law in Scottsdale is a CPA at a large accounting firm – currently working from home because she is getting over lung surgery that she had after Christmas due to Valley Fever (supposedly being from Chicago suburb/midwest) put her at risk. In her mid- 30’s.  Two of her coworkers in their 40’s have been hospitalized for 4 weeks, and another co-worker lost a family member that was in their 30’s, due to COVID 19.

     

     

     

     

  30. Mark Hoefert says:

    WI has had almost 4,500 kids in the 0-19 age test positive. 0 deaths to date.

  31. Mar says:

    Well Mark, schooling at home is for the very few and is not appropriate for most kids. That’s not even debatable.
    And Arizona is just fine, thank you, especially in my neck of the woods.
    And numbers are deceiving because we get a lot of California and especially Nevada into our hospitals.
    For instance, Bullhead City is right across the Colorado River from Laughlin, NV. Laughlin does not have a hospital, so most who need a hospital go to Bullhead, instead of traveling to Las Vegas, almost 100 miles away.
    But Bullhead gets credit for for most of the Laughlin cases. Same with Lake Havasu.
    So, numbers are not always what they seem.

  32. jjf says:

    Dad29, that’s just Redstate click-bait.  And you say you doesn’t want anecdotes…

  33. Mar says:

    I guess jjf is denying science now.
    I guess when you have been wrong so many times, you might as well try something else.

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