Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Does anyone truly believe that outgoing MPS superintendent William Andrekopoulos is leaving the school district in better shape than he took over 8 years ago?
I talk with a great number of MPS teachers, active and retired, and officials and the conventional wisdom is that Andrekopoulos was the stereotypical urban superintendence , a caretaker at best, keeping the seat warm until his replacement. Generally, Andrekopoulos was thought to be in way over his head, ill-equipped to go from middle school principal to running the entire school system.
To read Andrekopoulos’ self-critique in Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one assumes he sees the overall picture as rosy, the glass more than half full. Wonder what his measure of a failing school system would be?
Andrekopoulos mentions, in his view, beliefs that have driven the MPS mission. One of them is that “children come first.” Really? Ever read a list of the priorities of the teacher’s union? Children coming first isn’t high on that list, if at all.
Another Andrekopoulos core belief: “the classroom is the most important place in the district.”
Again, really? Tell that to the more than 400 teachers getting layoff notices while the district remains top-heavy, bloated with bureaucracy.
Accountability, Andrekopoulos writes, is a key to success. That is indeed, true. Since there is little to no accountability at MPS, the district has failed.
Andrekopoulos also says, “Families are valuable partners.” Can’t argue with that, except that at MPS, parents are absentee landlords. Ask teachers how many bother to show up at parent-teacher nights.
Thank goodness MJS allowed education reporter Alan Borsuk to wade through all of Andrekopoulos’ whipped cream, sprinkles, and cherries.
Borsuk gave Andrekopoulos some credit, mostly for trying. But Borsuk was brutally honest, giving Andrekopoulos mostly poor grades where it counts. Borsuk backed up his bad report card:
“These are not happy times in MPS. The recently released reading and math scores for 18 urban districts put MPS near the bottom of the nation. The financial picture is gloomy. The teachers are restless; morale among principals appears to be poor. Enrollment continues to decline as charter and private school enrollment in the city grows, as does enrollment of
We could have a very long conversation about why things aren't better in MPS, why so many statistics on student achievement are so upsetting. It sure isn't all the fault of Bill Andrekopoulos. But it's been eight years, and the needle hasn't moved very much.”
I thank Andrekopoulos for his many years of service to education. However, in his biggest role, he flunked, big time. MPS needs far better, because Andrekopoulos’ idea of success is a mindset that is crippling
Read his MJS piece here, followed by the more realistic Alan Borsuk piece here.