Parables teach lessons of Milwaukee Public Schools’ struggles

Alan Borsuk:

Three parables for Wisconsin’s educational times:
• No. 1. Once there was an enormous omelet, as big as a city, full of all sorts of stuff. Some of it was great. A lot of it was lousy. Almost nobody liked the omelet. “We can make it better by unscrambling it,” some people said. But you can’t unscramble an omelet. So everyone who tried to do that moved on to other things.
• No. 2. Once there were a bunch of big kids playing baseball. A little kid – well, he used to be a big kid, but things changed somehow – ran up and said he wanted to get in the game. He began throwing rocks at a tree to show how good he could pitch. The big kids said that was nice. Actually, they hoped the little kid would go away.
• No. 3. Once there were children who stood each day at the busiest corner in the city. Everyone could see they were hungry. Drivers who went by said the kids ought to be fed. Politicians said the kids ought to be fed. Everyone said the kids ought to be fed. The end.
OK, so they’re not very entertaining parables. Sorry. I’m not even sure how well they fit what’s going on. In fact, I really hope there’s a much better ending to the third one. The history of the last couple decades around here supports the pessimistic storyline that leads to nothing. But this is a new day. Maybe something good will occur.
Which brings me to the proposal to break up Milwaukee Public Schools into a set of smaller districts.