Over the past few months I’ve noticed the rhetoric in education circles become more heated. To be sure, there is a lot of passion with any topic that is as important to our City’s future as education. In fact, citizens should be fired up about doing what’s in the best interest of kids and families.
In one recent example: opponents of an MPS board decision protested outside the home of one of the board members who did not vote in their favor, as they expected him to. The purpose of the protest wasn’t to better inform the processes within the board, or to clarify their case to the public–it was pure intimidation. In a blog post from the organizers, under a picture of the group standing in front of the board member’s home, the caption stated, “Lots of [the board member’s] neighbors now know about his selling out to Milwaukee’s education privatizers.” Targeting his home…under the guise of informing his neighbors?”
“But what’s wrong with that?” you might say, “The MPS board is made of adults who are public figures.” Even if you agree with that, it’s sickening to think that people who ostensibly care, and are just as passionate about public schools as you and I, would not only target the home of someone they disagree with, but suggest targeting the schools that their opponents’ children attend. Yes, it’s true.
The sentence below reading “…find out which schools their kids go to” chilled me as a parent.
The following post appeared on a Facebook page opposing the MPS board’s decision about the charter school partnership:
I completely support everyone’s right to peacefully assemble and argue their case. I hope that our elected leaders are hearing and considering all sides, and making informed decisions that are going to positively impact our communities. I am also compelled to call out these examples of scare tactics no matter where they come from.
I realize that the above examples represent a very small fraction of those working in education, but I hope that whatever your politics, beliefs, or ideas are that we can all agree that these types of intimidating tactics are not acceptable, and in fact hurt the kids on whose behalf we all work.
(Note: I redacted the Facebook account name because my intent isn’t to call out or embarrass this specific individual but to address the behavior. The post, which was on an MPS employee’s group Facebook page, was still visible when this blog post was written.)