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MPS Does "The Dance Of The Lemons"

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MPS Does "The Dance Of The Lemons"

CREATED Jun 7, 2011

It's been called "The Dance of the Lemons" - and it's one of the reasons why the Milwaukee Public School System is such a failure!

Over the weekend, the local newspaper reported that the President of the Milwaukee School Board, MIchael Bonds, filed for bankruptcy for the second time in a little over 20 years.  Think about it, the guy who is responsible for overseeing the spending of millions of taxpayer dollars in the State's largest school district can't manage his own money.  I guess it's too bad for Mr. Bonds that, in real life, you can't just raise other people's taxes to generate money.

Anyway, Bonds says that one of the reasons for his financial problems is that his wife's salary decreased from $127,000 to $99,000. It seems that, as required by federal law,  she was replaced as the principal at Custer High School after Custer was "restarted" for being a low-performing high school. She was subsequently  reassigned as the principal of an MPS elementary school at a lower pay rate.

Welcome to "The Dance of the Lemons".

Apparently at MPS when schools fail and leadership needs to be changed, the principals typically  aren't fired.  Instead, they are simply shuffled to another school and/or made assistant principals!

I'm told the same thing happens with teachers as well.

I understand that there might be some situations where a principal or teacher who fails in one school can succeed in another.  As a general rule though, in the real world, people who fail in their jobs aren't transferred to similar jobs in the organization.

In my business, if a program director runs a radio station into the ground, it's much more likely that he/she will be shown the door as opposed to being transferred to another radio station within the company.

Mrs. Bonds might be an outstanding principal and the failure of Custer High School may well have been beyond her control.  Still, as a general rule, the practice of shifting failed employees from situation to situation instead of cutting ties with them seems to be a receipe for disaster - or at least continued failure.

As long as MPS keeps doing "The Dance of the Lemons" with administrators and teachers, don't be surprised if things don't improve for students. But then again, is the system really set up for "the students"?