Thursday, May 26, 2011

In the midst of it all, the kids do amazing things

You will hear a lot in the next few days about legislative action regarding state funding for education and the expansion of voucher schools in Milwaukee and across the state.  I am headed for Madison this morning with Board President Michael Bonds in the hope of contributing to the discussion.

An expansion of the voucher option would have an impact on so many Wisconsin public school districts, such as the district in Green Bay.  Here is a look at how that district is telling its parents about the voucher issue.  Click here for an email sent out on the Green Bay Public Schools' listserv yesterday.  As you will notice, Milwaukee is referenced.

There is a new report out that shows school districts in Wisconsin facing a budget gap greater that $300 million next school year under the state budget proposed by the governor, even after districts impose some of the proposed labor concessions.  As you may recall, potential givebacks do not apply to MPS and we continue to struggle with what we anticipate will be $81 million less in state funding for next year. 

I met recently with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  In the face of our funding challenges, he was positive about the academic progress we have made and was supportive of our reform efforts.

You could show your support for public education by attending a march and rally on June 4.  It is sponsored by various organizations including the Parent Teacher Association.  It starts at 11:00 a.m.  Here is the flyer, which will provide you with more information.

In the midst of all this debate on budgets and vouchers, our kids continue to do amazing things.  I went to the Festival Hispanico late last week. That is a dance presentation held by Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School.  Principal Yvette Martel and her staff got into the action, too.  They did their own dance!  I was so deeply proud of the students. Children as young as four delighted us with their moves.  I used to be able to move like that!

Graduation ceremonies are scheduled throughout the district.  Have you made your plans yet to take in the festivities?  Here is a list of dates, times and locations.  We will soon publish all the names of the valedictorians and salutatorians as well.

Our students are performing well on stage and in their classrooms.  With all that is going on in Madison and elsewhere, let's take time to appreciate that fact.