At the direction of the Legislature, the UW System recently created the new Office of Educational Opportunity to oversee the creation of charter schools in Madison and Milwaukee without oversight from local school districts. How do you react to that?
I’m opposed to the concept. I find it objectionable that the state has allowed one person to essentially make decisions that our local community can make through school boards and allow that person to authorize who can operate a school that’s not accountable to the public but has a call on our resources. I find that offensive. It’s repugnant that they think it’s acceptable policy when I think most people in Madison would say it’s unacceptable policy.
The best defense is a good offense and having our public schools be the best public schools we can is certainly one of the strong directions that we need to emphasize. We’re fortunate to have really good schools in Madison but I think we need to do even more to bring in staff voices and parent voices into the schools to have the public own them even more. If we see proposals coming in for non-public charter entities, we can actively organize an opposition to those sorts of things if we’re concerned as a city that we don’t want to have our public dollars controlled by non-public entities without any oversight.
There have been mixed reactions to the district’s new Behavior Education Plan. What have union members said about the BEP?
Much more on Madison Teachers, Inc., here.