Suspensions across the Milwaukee Public Schools system are down sharply so far this school year, Superintendent William Andrekopoulos said Monday.
Andrekopoulos released figures that show suspensions in MPS, as of the end of November, down sharply from last year, showing declines of about 15% in the number of students who have been suspended and of more than 20% in the number of days students have spent on suspensions, compared with the same period a year ago.
The new figures come as MPS is under pressure to lower its high suspension rate – Andrekopoulos has called it “appalling” in the past – and improve the overall behavior climate in schools.
The Council of the Great City Schools, an organization of large urban districts, submitted a report to MPS officials last spring that called for an urgent districtwide mobilization over behavior issues, especially related to suspensions. The report says MPS schools used suspensions, often for minor matters, instead of lesser steps that could bring more constructive results. It suggests the MPS suspension rate was among the highest in the country.
Andrekopoulos said data through last week showed that 12.3% of students had been suspended at least once so far this year, compared with 14.4% in the same period last year, and that the number of “suspension days” had declined from 42,994 to 33,846.