One City is succeeding despite progressives
Kaleem Caire is living the dream and more disadvantaged children, minority and low income, will get a chance at their share of the American dream, thanks to his refusal to allow woke Madison to choose teachers unions over kids.
Let us be clear about this. His One City Schools would not be in business today were it not for Scott Walker, Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald and other Republicans. After the Madison school district said no to Kaleem’s proposed charter high school, Republicans created a work-around: reformers like Mr. Caire could get their charter from an independent University of Wisconsin office — its head appointed by Republicans.
Ten years later, One City Schools — now serving 167 mostly children of color — is buying an office building in Monona, visible from the Beltline on the WPS insurance company campus, where it will become a 4K through high school public charter school — thanks to a grant from philanthropist Pleasant Rowland. Kaleem himself explains his plans here.
This outlined area will be the new One City campus. (In addition to a remaining smaller school elsewhere.) The main building covers 157,000 square feet on four levels, including one level that is partially underground. One City will also own the 714-stall parking deck and 13.5 acres of land. The outdoors provides enough space for a playground, while the woodlands and nearby marsh will support science exploration and related activities.
Despite the teachers union
Your correspondent was present at the school board meeting that voted down 5-2 Mr. Caire’s proposed Madison Prep high school in December 2011. We knew the fix was in when the teachers union boss, John Matthews, whispered in a few school board members’ ears, then departed. (Read & Weep.)
The WI State Journal picks up the account:
Caire didn’t give up. Instead of the middle and high school he had envisioned, Caire launched a preschool on Madison’s South Side, an area that badly needed more child care options, especially for young single mothers earning lower wages. One City Early Learning Center gradually expanded into a public elementary charter school called One City Schools. Republican state leaders allowed the University of Wisconsin System to authorize One City, independent of the local school district.
Caire plans to incorporate many of the ideas he had for Madison Prep. …
- Cater to teenagers of color,
- Offer a diverse teaching staff,
- High expectations,
- Longer school days,
- Year-round schedule,
- Same-sex classes,
- Uniforms and
- Required extracurricular activities.
“He even wanted to grade parents on their involvement at the school.”
Call the roll of shame
The five who voted teachers union over kids deserve everlasting opprobrium: Ed Hughes, Marj Passman, Beth Moss, Arelene Silviera, and Maya Cole — all good progressives. Most of them continue to stump for the status quo as members of GRUMPS. Grandparents United for Madison Public Schools remains anti-charter, anti-choice, labor union first.
The two good hearts who voted for Madison Prep were Lucy Mathiak and the only Black man on the board at the time, James Howard.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Kaleem Caire may be Madison’s most indispensable person.