At the Marquette Educator, Dean Bill Henk has an interesting new post on the proposed mayoral takeover of Milwaukee Public Schools. Bill chronicles Mayor Barrett’s hesitant, on-again-off-again embrace of the proposed takeover. Contrary to the conventional wisdom that politicians always want more power, Barrett is displaying a marked lack of enthusiasm for taking on responsibility for the schools. Does this have any implications for the wisdom of a takeover?
On the one hand, given both the importance and the difficulty of turning MPS around, it would be nice to see more passion, more vision, and more tenacity from the person who proposes to lead the effort. On the other hand — well, I am reminded of Woody Allen’s old quip that he would never want to belong to a club that would have him. We might rightly suspect that any politician who wants responsibility for MPS does not really understand the magnitude of system’s difficulties. Perhaps the Mayor’s reservations are evidence of the sort of good judgment that will be necessary for MPS’s next leader.