Another Plan for a Plan

Mike Ford:

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently reported on a new civic effort to improve K-12 education in Milwaukee titled “Milwaukee Succeeds.” The effort is certainly ambitious. Erin Richards and Tom Tolan report that it is “focused on large, big-picture ideas that are easy for folks to stand behind, such as making sure all children are prepared to enter school, succeed academically and graduate, take advantage of postsecondary education or training, and contribute to the Milwaukee community.”

It is ironic that the Journal Sentinel also recently ran a profile of former Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) superintendent Lee McMurrin. It was McMurrin who in 1975 unveiled his own ambitious ten-point plan for fixing K-12 education in Milwaukee. His goals, according to an August 6, 1975 Milwaukee Journal story, included improving attendance, achievement, job placement for graduates, and the creation of a plan to engage staff in school improvement.

Ten years later McMurrin’s plan was replaced by a new plan from Milwaukee school board members Joyce Mallory, Mary Bills and David Cullen titled “A Plan for the Future and a Plan for Now.” Their plan, according to a November 17, 1985 Milwaukee Journal article, called for the creation of a 20-member committee of community leaders “to look at the work of futurists and strategic planners and come up with new ideas for running the schools here.” Their committee was to include “religious and business leaders, college educators, legal officials and public officials.”