Education leaders from inside and outside Wisconsin march through Milwaukee

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by Matt Doyle

Milwaukee -- Saturday's march focused on the challenges public schools face. More specifically, the challenges Milwaukee Public schools face.

"Our children are it," MPS Superintendent Greg Thornton said.   "It's the future. Everyone talks about the future of this community, well this community is based on its children."

Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Greg Thornton thinks there a lot of factors affecting public education today.

"Funding to support, to programmatic design and our children are hurting. As a result of that we wanted the community to know that we need to refocus our energy, we need to invest in our children."

Hundreds marched through Milwaukee's streets to support public education.

 It was organized by many labor and special interest groups to push for more school funding.

"We've seen a decline in funding in my short period here, three years," Thornton said.   "As a result of that it actually jeopardizes the standard of care for young people, the opportunity we want young people to have so they can be competitive as they move all over the world."

"I think we've been defunding public education for a very long time," MPS parent Angela McManaman said.  "I'd say at least 12 years we began to see a steady erosion of public funds for public schools."

McManaman has three kids in MPS schools.  She thinks better education leads to safer neighborhoods, better jobs, and a stronger community.

"I don't think it's a secret that education is the foundation for building a strong community."

Mayor Tom Barrett says public education is a civil right.

"It's to reaffirm our support that every child in this community has a right to a good public education," Barrett said.

Organizers hope an event like this will shed light on the many challenges facing public schools not only in Wisconsin, but the nation.

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