During Rick Xiong’s first two years at Milwaukee’s Madison High School, his habit was to “go to school and get back home as fast as possible.”
Sometimes Xiong, now a 19-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, would hear about after-school activities advertised during the morning announcements. But they never enticed him to stay.
As another school year approaches, many of the extracurricular activities that have long interested Milwaukee students are relics of the past. Although there are notable exceptions, gone are the days when city high schools had an array of sports, a drama club, a school musical, a band, an orchestra, a choir, an active yearbook and an assortment of other organizations.
The gap in test scores and graduation rates between the city and suburban high schools has attracted the most attention from policy-makers and the media in recent years. But others worry that there’s another gap that’s just as meaningful: the difference in the richness and breadth of the high school experience available to children in cities and suburbs as urban districts slice after-school activities and clubs.