If you’re new here, I should tell you that I’m a fan of writing about Milwaukee Public Schools. Not a fan of MPS, but a fan of writing about it. There’s just so much material to work with!
We’ve got one of the worst school districts in the nation, hands down. The district spends over $14,000 per child per school year, but the children still can’t read, add, or subtract. (And no, the poor performance isn’t due to the fact that MPS is an “urban” district. Nor is it a result of “not having enough money.”)
The latest “news” out of MPS is that the children still can’t read. The headline of the story emphasizes that graduation rates are up. (18% higher than 10 years ago – woo hoo!) But the numbers are disputed. MPS says 70% of students are graduating. An outside, independent source says they’re calculating it wrong and the real number is 60%.
But this is priceless: 60% of 10th graders can’t read and 70% aren’t proficient in math and science. So whether 60% or 70% are graduating doesn’t matter, because a large number of those students can’t read!!! (Depending on how you look at the numbers, a minimum of 20% to 30% of graduates can’t read… probably more.) That’s right… MPS is awarding diplomas to students who can’t read. What an accomplishment.
And here’s another nice piece of trivia: 81% of MPS students who go on to enroll at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee need remedial classes. (And the district has a “goal” of reducing that number to 69% needing remedial classes. Talk about setting your sights high!)
So what’s the bottom line? MPS still sucks, but they’re spending a million dollars to have consultants tell them so.