Erika Christakis' new book, The Importance of Being Little, is an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards, ditch the tired craft projects (yes, you, Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey) and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word:


Troye Fox

UW-Milwaukee is celebrating.

It’s now considered an “R1” university. The rating means UWM is classified at the highest level of research activity.

It joins the ranks of about 100 other powerhouse colleges and universities, including Duke and Yale. For a long time, the only Wisconsin school designated as a top research university has been UW-Madison.

"It's a big deal," says Tom Luljak, UWM's Vice Chancellor for University Relations and Communications.

What does the new designation mean for the university?

Bradley Tech BUILD Program

There is a mystique to the motorcycle. This is captured in Hollywood movies like Easy Rider to Milwaukee's Harley Fest. Americans are intrigued by motorcycles. For Bradley Tech High School students in its BUILD program, the motorcycle is a unique way to learn job skills for the modern economy.

Bradley Tech has a history of teaching the trades. Five years ago, the school implemented the BUILD program. The program teaches students skills to put together a fully functioning motorcycle.

Rachel Morello

Milwaukee residents had their first chance Thursday night to speak up about the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program, an initiative lawmakers put in place to turn around the lowest-performing Milwaukee Public Schools. 

In November, County Executive Chris Abele appointed Dr. Demond Means, superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville district, to head the project. Means is tasked with devising a plan to boost student achievement, and says he wants public input on what that plan should look like.  

Sean Hackbarth, flickr

Milwaukee boasts the largest school voucher program in the country. More than 25,000 students here are participating. Wisconsin also runs its own statewide program, along with another in Racine.

Choice programs give interested families public education dollars, or vouchers, to send their kids to private schools.

Educators across the country are celebrating school choice week.


This week, educators across the country will celebrate school choice week. Milwaukee is home to the oldest and largest school choice, or voucher program, in the nation. This year, 27,000 Milwaukee students are using state-funded vouchers to attend private schools; most are religious and many, Catholic.

The school landscape has changed dramatically in Milwaukee, starting after religious schools were folded into the choice program in 1998.

xymm, flickr

Wisconsinites owe a bundle of money in student loan debt.

Around 70 percent of Wisconsin’s current college students will owe money on loans when they graduate, according to the Institute of College Access and Success.

Each side of the political aisle thinks it has the best solution.

Photo by Adam Ryan Morris / Milwaukee Magazine

Among the many charter and specialty schools in Milwaukee is one that focuses on educating one particular immigrant ethnic group.  The Hmong American Peace Academy is remarkable for that reason.

However, the K-12 charter school is also remarkable because of its leader and founder Chris Her-Xiong, herself an immigrant from Laos. She was featured in an article in this month’s Milwaukee Magazine.

Rachel Morello

Wisconsin released its latest batch of standardized test scores on Wednesday, and challenges persist, including in Milwaukee.

Last year marked the first time the state administered the Badger exam, which was designed to test Wisconsin’s new academic standards.

When it came to students in grades three through eight, 51 percent tested proficient or better in English.

In math, 44 percent were proficient or better.

The results in Milwaukee Public Schools were at least 20 points lower, yet key players see potential in those numbers.

Any classroom can get out of control from time to time. But one unique teaching method empowers teachers to stop behavior problems before they begin.

You can see No-Nonsense Nurturing, as it's called, firsthand at Druid Hills Academy in Charlotte, N.C.

"Your pencil is in your hand. Your voice is on zero. If you got the problem correct, you're following along and checking off the answer. If you got the problem incorrect, you are erasing it and correcting it on your paper."

We often hear about school districts that struggle with high poverty, low test scores and budget problems. But one district has faced all of these and achieved remarkable results.

In just over three years, Superintendent Tiffany Anderson, who oversees the Jennings School District in Jennings, a small city just outside St. Louis, has led a dramatic turnaround in one of the worst-performing systems in Missouri.

Jabril Faraj / Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service

The so-called recovery school district within Milwaukee Public Schools - the entity made up of a handful of struggling schools which the state put under the control of Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele - has gotten much of the attention and headlines in recent months. Abele recently appointed Mequon-Thiensville superintendent Demond Means as the part-time commissioner of the district.

But a less-heralded retreat on charter schools held by the MPS board could also usher in significant changes in the school climate here. 

Recently a neighborhood in Brooklyn made national headlines for a fight over public schools. Lots of affluent, mainly white families have been moving into new condos in the waterfront area called DUMBO, and the local elementary school is getting overcrowded.

The city wants to redraw the zones in a way that would send kids from this predominantly white school to a nearby school where enrollment is over 90 percent black and Hispanic and which draws many of its students from a public housing project. Some parents on both sides of the line balked.

Alberto G. / Flickr

Fall is the time of year when thousands of Wisconsin high schools will virtually lock themselves in a classroom on a Saturday morning and take one of two tests that have customarily helped or hindered the effort to get into college.

The ACT and the SAT have undergone some significant changes in recent years in an effort to be a more useful predictor of college success, but an increasing number of colleges and universities are becoming “test-optional” schools. These schools no longer require students to include test scores as part of their application process.

Morgan / Flickr

The White House issued its first-ever college scorecard this week.  It’s a website designed to help people compare costs and offerings across all the public and private colleges and universities in the country.  It’s a tool that its designers hope will be useful in connecting schools with their future students.