The tipping point of education in Milwaukee
Jarett Fields ER Room
By Jarett Fields
The right person, with the right message, at the right time, can turn something small into something big. That moment is called the tipping point.
Just think of all the folks Jarett Fields responsible for small ideas that eventually tipped, Bob Johnson and BET, Michael Jordan and Jumpman, Bill Gates and Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, and the list goes on.
So what about a tipping point in education? Over the past thirty years, there have been a few.
So what type of tipping point does Milwaukee’s educational landscape need?
We have great schools and not so great schools in the city. Many high school students are graduating on time but too many are dropping out.
There are awesome teachers (most recently three teachers at ALBA received Teacher of the Year awards), and teachers who need lots of development.
On a different level, we are fighting our neighbors and fellow community members and forgetting that we are all on the same ship, suburban districts versus the Milwaukee school district, public schools versus private schools, St. Marcus versus MPS, one portion of the community versus the other.
In case anyone’s keeping score, no one’s winning. So maybe the tipping point we need has more to do with finding common ground, even in the midst of partisan budgets and politics, than finding a way to attack the other side.
So who is the right person, with the right message, for right now?
Who’s the teacher that will start a pipeline for conversations on best practices that includes teachers at private, charter, district, and suburban schools?
Who’s the elected official that will build a bridge across the aisle for bipartisanship as a practice, not a one-time thing?
Who’s the parent that will scream out “enough is enough” and host a parent group designed to increase parent involvement at all schools?
Who’s the student that will gather a body of other students from district, charter, and private schools and demand to be a part of improving their education at all levels?
The truth is we need multiple tipping points, and any one of us can be involved in that process. So, what about the message? I believe the right message should be inclusive. We have to put efforts into improving all of our schools. Our interest as a community is to see all children succeed, not one group of students succeed at the cost of another.
But is this the right time for an inclusive message? Of course it is. In fact, there is no better time for an inclusive message.
Right now, we are witnesses to one of the most polarizing, divisive, and nasty battles over education funding, access, space, curriculum, teachers, and much more.
Things don’t have to be this way.
The right people, with the right messages, for right now are among us.
And I believe our tipping point for education in Milwaukee can happen soon.
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