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July 12, 2013

Work to improve ALL schools in Milwaukee

Abby Andrietsch and Kole Knueppel, via several kind reader emails:

Charter. Choice. Public.

In recent weeks, these words became more politically charged than ever before. They are emblematic of the divisive debate surrounding school funding and policy changes included in the new state budget.

Now, the time for discussion and deliberation is over. The budget is law. It is time for Milwaukee's education stakeholders to move forward and to do so together for the benefit of all our city's children -- no matter what type of school they attend. For the sake of our city's prosperity and quality of life today and in the future, we must turn our collective efforts toward improving the quality of all schools.

Despite decades of effort, too many Milwaukee children still lack access to an effective, high-quality education. In fact, we have the largest racial achievement gap in the country. Without the opportunity to attend an excellent school, students will continue to fall behind, their challenges compounding into insurmountable roadblocks to success in academics and life.

In Milwaukee, there are great Milwaukee Public Schools, choice schools and charter schools. Still, each of these categories contains some of the worst schools in our community. Instead of bickering over how schools are organized, we need more collaboration and sharing of best practices across all three sectors. We need to work together to ensure that every type of school is capable of equipping students for the future.

Since 2010, Schools That Can Milwaukee has partnered with and supported high-quality and high-potential schools across all three sectors to close the Milwaukee achievement gap and ensure all students have the opportunity to learn and succeed. By focusing on kids and quality instead of the differences between school types, STCM is leading an unprecedented cross-sector collaboration of talented leaders from MPS, charter and choice schools serving predominantly low-income students.

Over the past three years, schools supported by STCM have outperformed their Milwaukee peers on the annual standardized Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam, and many also have beaten state test score averages. During the 2013-'14 school year, STCM will work with 35 traditional MPS, charter and choice schools, supporting more than 150 school and teacher leaders reaching over 13,000 students. Not only are these leaders coming together with a vision of excellence for their own schools, but also a larger vision of quality for our community and our children.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at July 12, 2013 3:10 AM
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