It has been a busy week, so this is a late and short update on the Madison Metropolitan School District Employee Handbook process. The news is good.
One of the things keeping me busy has been joining others in support of the fundamental rights to free speech and assembly against the unprecedented attacks directed by new Capitol Police Chief Davidl Erwin. You can read all about that via the excellent coverage by the Wisconsin Citizen’s Media Cooperative; ; you can show your support by joining the Solidarity Sing Along, every day at Noon at the Capitol. Please do.
Last I wrote about the Handbook process, the MMSD default position was that the drafting would be done by a work group composed exclusively of administrators, with input from other staff being limited. At a special Wednesday meeting, Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore provided more information on this vision of the process, and Board Member Arlene Silveira offered a much more inclusive alternative, with seats at the adult table for diverse staff (click the links to see the documents, I do not believe these have been posted on the MMSD web site). Silveira’s proposal clearly had the support of a majority of the Board (you can watch here). There are details to be worked out and in their only formal action that evening the Board directed Silveira and Board Member Ed Hughes to meet with Belmore to work out those details and bring them back to the Board. This could happen as soon as Monday, 9/17. Good news. As Board Member Maya Cole pointed out, this is a definitional moment, what we do makes a statement about who we are in the context of Act 10 and other threats to public education and democracy by the Fitzwalker gang. So far, I’m proud of who we are being.
Two related events this weekend (this is all related, including the things going on at the Capitol). Today (Friday 9/14/2012) there will be a “Solidarity Rally for the Chicago Teachers Union Strike” at the Capitol at 5:00 PM. Fighting Bob Fest is in town and on Saturday at 11:30 I’m moderating a discussion/networking session called “Shape the Future of Education in Wisconsin.” As the name indicates, this is about exchanging ideas and organizing. Lots of great people have confirmed as participants. I hope you can join us.
Thomas J. Mertz