Education

Courtesy of Tim Decker & Vince Prantil / Morgan & Claypool Publishers

Generations of college students have learned from textbooks that are often large, text-heavy, expensive paperweights that can make your eyes glaze over.

But cartoonist Tim Decker and MSOE mechanical engineering professor Vince Prantil have created a unique physics book that engages students through visual learning.

ThoseGuys119, flickr

On Tuesday, the legislature’s budget committee will vote on funding for K-12 schools. One item Gov. Walker has included is a phase-out of Chapter 220. He says participation is minimal.

Wisconsin created the program to integrate public schools in Milwaukee, after a federal judge declared them segregated in 1976.  The state hailed Chapter 220 as a voluntary way to desegregate Milwaukee’s public schools. It paid for black and white students to attend schools farther away from home, in order to make them more racially balanced.

Emory Maiden / Flickr

Two Republican lawmakers are working on a plan that would turn over control of several struggling Milwaukee Public Schools to an independent body.  Details of the plan by Representative Dale Kooyenga and Senator Alberta Darling emerged this week, though no bill has yet been introduced.

Republicans in Madison have dialed back one of Gov. Walker’s spending cuts for public radio and television. The Joint Finance Committee on Tuesday voted to reduce state aid to the Educational Communications Board by about $2.3 million. Walker had proposed a cut about twice that size.

The Educational Communications Board partners with UW Extension to operate Wisconsin Public Radio and Wisconsin Public Television. The board also manages emergency alert systems and develops Wisconsin-specific educational materials for K12 schools. WUWM in Milwaukee is not affiliated with the ECB.

FRANK JUAREZ / FLICKR

A couple of state lawmakers say they have a plan to turn around the most underperforming public schools in Milwaukee. The proposal by Sen. Alberta Darling of River Hills and Rep. Dale Kooyenga of Brookfield would give the Milwaukee County executive authority to appoint new leaders in MPS schools that are deemed as failing.

Neither legislator returned our calls seeking comment Monday.

Their proposal would allow County Executive Chris Abele to appoint a commissioner charged with turning around up to five underperforming MPS schools per year.

travelwisconsin.com

After eight years, the president of the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design is stepping down.

Neil Hoffman came to the school in 2007 with a mandate to expand the school’s footprint – both nationally and in its own backyard. As he enters retirement, Hoffman believes he’s done that. 

S Bence

Conservation education dates back to 1935 in Wisconsin. That’s when state law required that grade and high school students learn about natural resources.

Dennis Brekke / Flickr

With debate over the state budget continuing, Wisconsin legislators are hearing from public school administrators around the state who are concerned about significant proposed cuts to K-12 education spending.

But funding is not the only hot-button education issue on the legislature's agenda. There are also debates over standardized testing, Common Core standards, integration programs, and voucher and charter schools.

Brad Wilson / Flickr

Even before Hurricane Katrina changed just about everything in New Orleans, the state of Louisiana had started the process of reshaping the city’s public schools, creating an entity known as the New Orleans Recovery School District.  But the storm sped up the process and was used as the catalyst for nearly a wholesale state takeover of control of schools there.

Mike Wright, Flickr

In a mix of sports metaphors, Tuesday's Reading Blitz represents a full-court press for organizations trying to improve reading skills among Milwaukee kids.

The day's effort, sponsored by the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, is the culmination of a concerted effort to increase the number of volunteer reading tutors in the community.  Community engagement specialist Karissa Gretebeck says the effort is aimed particularly at the youngest readers.

Milwaukee Public Schools

It’s probably not stretching things to point to a parallel in the decline of the manufacturing sector in Milwaukee, and the academic decline in a high school that has traditionally placed graduates into manufacturing jobs.  

Bradley Tech High School, by most measures, is struggling – so much so that Milwaukee Public Schools named it as one of just over a dozen schools worthy of extra intervention.

Meet Jenni Hofschulte, the 35-year-old mom who's one of the parents leading the charge against testing in Milwaukee.

"I have two children in Milwaukee Public Schools," Hofschulte says over coffee at a cafe near her home. "The oldest one is in eighth grade." She's interrupted by her fidgety 4-year-old son, Lachlan.

Hofschulte quiets him down, furrows her brow and begins again.

Hofschulte says that when she found out her son would have to take a diagnostic test next year that's required of all Wisconsin kindergartners, all kinds of red flags went up.

While Wisconsin debates whether districts should administer the Smarter Balance Test, some voices insist schools are over-testing students.

Driftless Folk School / driftlessfolkschool.org

Many of us have an idea in the back of our heads that one of these days we will leave the rat race behind and learn to live off the land a bit more. Grow our own food, or perhaps live off the electric grid, maybe even make our own cloth. Kind of like how our great grandparents lived – but with better plumbing.

Edel Muñoz

Among the many cultural events that Milwaukee’s Latino Arts has put on over the years, the musical offerings are among the most distinctive.

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