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January 2, 2007

Milwaukee Schools Criticized for Decentralized Approach

Alan Borsuk:

The picture that the team painted was not pretty. Clearly favoring a strong central administration, the team said decentralization in MPS had "gone too far."

"Decentralization has rendered the central office instructional unit (in MPS) irrelevant to the process of raising student achievement," the report says. The team said some schools were using a hodgepodge of materials to teach students, and no one was leading these schools to be more effective. From the School Board to the classroom, there was not a clear vision of what it takes to succeed.

ut the report particularly is critical of the attitude among the 70-plus people the team interviewed, from top MPS leaders to teachers and parents.

"MPS has seen only small, incremental gains in student achievement over the last several years," it says. "More problematic, however, is that many people in the district see these marginal improvements as acceptable. . . . A sense of urgency to raise student achievement is not apparent throughout the organization. The board, administration and staff appear fairly complacent."

The report adds, "Interviews with MPS staff indicated that most were proud of the gains that the district had made, even though scores reflected minimal progress."

Posted by Jim Zellmer at January 2, 2007 6:12 AM
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