How a bizarrely complex structure blocks change for Milwaukee students

Alan Borsuk:

What if we’ve created an education landscape in Milwaukee where it is impossible to bring serious improvement?

There are many powerful and painful reasons why so many kids in the city aren’t doing well in school and aren’t on track for good futures. Start with the daily circumstances of their lives.

But with another school year underway with no big sign of improvement, and with a fresh round of test results from last spring that show the needle has (once again!) not really moved, I find myself looking at the bizarrely complex structure of Milwaukee schooling and wondering what it would take to change things.

I have company. Michael R. Ford, an assistant professor of public administration at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, worked previously for organizations that support the Milwaukee private school voucher program, School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (which changed its name recently to the Badger Institute). Ford got a Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee along the way.

He’s not an ideologue and he’s interested in the realities of how students, in all streams of schools in Milwaukee, are doing.