Milwaukee Public Schools needs to pick up the pace in reading

Alan Borsuk:

Maybe this is the biggest problem facing Milwaukee Public Schools: A panel of national experts ripped reading programs overall in the city, saying they were ineffective, out of date, uncoordinated, led by teachers who were inadequately prepared and who were really doing nothing much to help struggling readers.
Maybe this is the biggest problem facing MPS: That report came nine months ago and the in-the-classroom response so far has been to set four priorities for this school year of breathtaking modesty. Maybe a year from now, there will be big changes, officials say.
We’re talking about reading. Reading. The core skill for success in just about any part of education and in life beyond school. A sore point for MPS for at least a couple decades. Last year, 40% of MPS 10th-graders rated as proficient in reading in state tests, a number in line with a string of prior years.
“The status quo will need to be changed – sometimes dramatically,” said the report from a three-person review team brought in by the state Department of Public Instruction as part of its efforts under federal law to push change in MPS. The report was issued last December, calling for an overhaul of the way reading is taught in MPS – the curriculum used, the way teachers are trained, the way the whole subject is handled from top to bottom.
Since then, an MPS work group was named. The work group got an extension on the time it had to give a draft plan to the DPI. The draft plan was submitted. DPI officials gave some feedback. MPS officials revised their plan. DPI officials took awhile to respond with requests for more changes. It’s late September now. A plan has not been approved. There’s a meeting scheduled in early October.