Rising tide of concerns at Milwaukee Public Schools are greater than the debate about one charter school

Alan Borsuk:

There were at least 99 reasons not to close Kathryn T. Daniels University Preparatory Academy, Michael Bonds said over and over on Thursday night.

What did the Milwaukee School Board member mean? This: On the school report cards issued by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction several months ago, 99 schools in the Milwaukee Public Schools system scored worse than the Daniels school. And MPS wasn’t threatening to close any of them, or, for that matter, to do much different at any of them.

“If we’re going to close Daniels, we should close the other 99,” Bonds said.

Oh, my. Is this what passes for persuasive argument on the Milwaukee school scene? That we have so many crummy schools that crumminess is acceptable?

How poor are the Daniels results? A small slice of the answer: In last spring’s state tests, 3% of the third through eighth-grade students were rated as proficient and 74% were at the “below basic” level. In math, 7% were proficient and 77% below basic. Overall, many of the goals set by MPS for the Daniels schools were not being met, an administrative team found. There were some signs of improvement over last year, and some indicators going the other way.