Advocating School District’s Review their Programs for Effectiveness

Alan Borsuk:

So what’s it going to take to move the needle around here?

The wealth of data that has come out in recent weeks on educational achievement hasn’t justified much celebration. For Wisconsin as a whole, the picture was not bad. The high school graduation rate has gone up a bit and is tied for second highest in the nation, but the percentages of kids rated as proficient in reading and math at all grades remain concerning.

As for Milwaukee, what can you say?

So much has been done and so little has changed. The percentage of kids graduating in the conventional time frame of four years actually went down. Other achievement measures have barely budged.

But we keep trying. In itself, that may be the best thing going for us. I’d like to think some of the things underway now are better thought out, more realistic, and ultimately more promising than things that haven’t borne fruit.

I’d like to use this space for the last few weeks of the school year to check in on what is happening with several improvement efforts underway here.

Are they accomplishing anything?

What has been learned about what it takes to have positive impact?

I’ll start with the GE Foundation grant of $20.4 million to Milwaukee Public Schools. It was announced with great hoopla on Jan. 19, 2011, at Morse-Marshall Junior and Senior High School. Superintendent Gregory Thornton called it an investment “that will make a huge difference in the academic lives of our children.”