Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) has included nearly $500,000 for “Black Lives Matter” in its 2017 budget proposal.
MPS spokesman Tony Tagliavia says: “We’re doing this work because national and local studies tell us young men of color in Wisconsin and Milwaukee are more likely to be represented disproportionally in the justice system and less likely to be represented proportionally in colleges and universities.”
“Black Lives Matter” is listed under the portion of the District’s comprehensive budget that discusses “Strategic Business, Community, District and Family Partnerships.”
The goal, it says, is to “increase the number of males of color who are succeeding academically and socially.”
According to WISN, the money being earmarked for Black Lives Matter supports the “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.”
In 2014, the president signed the new initiative to ensure that all youth, “including boys and young men of color, have opportunities to improve their life outcomes and overcome barriers to success.”
The money, $471,073 to be exact, would go toward efforts to ensure that “culturally responsive teaching practices are in place at all schools.” Also, it would be spent on “enhancing the district vision for student participation in a wide range of after-school activities and supporting trauma-informed care.”
The specific expenditures are for three social studies teachers and staff development for other employees, Tagliavia stated.
So, the following questions were naturally raised: If the budget lists BLM as a partner organization, will the group have input in this “staff development?” Will it have a role in hiring or staffing the three new social studies teachers? Or will Black Lives Matter have a role in shaping the curriculum that these teachers use?
MPS responded by saying that it’s not partnering with any official BLM group — only a “group of people who espouse the values of the “Black Lives Matter” movement”. Tagliavia made it clear that “no funding is going to a Black Lives Matter Organization”.