Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Report sparking MPS to act

Alan J. Borsuk reports in today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the continuing dismal condition of the Milwaukee Public Schools had lead to a call for another round of changes.
The report gives MPS, in effect, a D-minus for its efforts in recent years to move students forward and called for reversing a 15-year process of power flowing away from central administration.

My recollection is the MPS annual budget is now well over a billion dollars a year, which works out to over $1,000 per month per student. If "student" applies with a 40% drop-out rate,
...and, on any given day, more than 10,000 MPS students miss school time.

That's one out of nine.

While the report recommends structural changes, it points to a deeper problem.
But 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."

That complacency goes beyond these constituencies. It can be found in the Milwaukee citizenry, such as this post at From the Anchor Hold. On her real estate tax bill, she writes
...this entire community, gets very good value for the money Caesar collects in the taxes...

and gives as an example
Having the children educated, whether their parents can do it or not.

The most cursory look at the facts shows the citizens of Milwaukee do not get good value for what they pay in school taxes: the children are not educated despite enormous expenditures. When this is pointed out, the fallback position is to excuse it, as in Karen Marie does in her comment to this post.

Update: In what passes for good news in the City of Milwaukee, last year the murder rate fell back to normal, that is, an average of two a week.

Meanwhile Steven R. Pigeon has an op-ed lamenting
Milwaukee's negative perception of Milwaukee has been commonly accepted as significant obstacle to recruiting people and businesses to the Milwaukee region. The city's negative perception thrives in the city of Milwaukee and spreads like a virus to the surrounding areas.

Blaming perceptions is a symptom of the complacency.


Blogger Dad29 said...

It irritates me that I did not infer the "complacency" problem before it was spelled out in the article.

Of course, that presents an even more impolitic question: whether MPS staff and faculty actually KNOW what's "good" as opposed to "mediocre" as opposed to "lousy."

1:10 PM  

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