The “War of Milwaukee Public Schools”

Bruce Murphy:

ast week all hell broke loose regarding the fate of Milwaukee Public Schools. Mayor Tom Barrett proposed an outside audit of the system. As a candidate for mayor, Barrett floated the idea of a mayoral takeover of the schools, so this looks like a first step toward establishing control – and a clear message the MPS ship is sinking.
Meanwhile, a new group called Milwaukee Quality Education was formed, led by Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce President Tim Sheehy and former MPS Superintendent Howard Fuller. Reforms tried in other cities were supposed to be discussed, with the obvious aim of dramatically changing MPS. “We have urgency coming out of our ears,” Sheehy declared.
Add to this the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s three-part series suggesting MPS wasted most of a $100 million effort to cut back busing, and the takeaway message is that a dysfunctional school system needs rescue.
Meanwhile, the Greater Milwaukee Committee has been engaged in an ongoing effort to improve MPS, creating a plan of “corrective action.” One insider tells me Sister Joel Read, former Alverno College president, was very influential in formulating the plan.