Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS

Across the U.S., school systems face many unique challenges. The Milwaukee Public Schools district is confronted with high drop-out rates, large achievement gaps between races and other serious issues. Of the 80,000 young people MPS educates each year, thousands of these students have learning or behavioral problems.

Many children lack a secure home environment and/or don't have role models who rank education as a priority. WUWM News examined reasons for poor performance within MPS and what is being done to improve students' chances for success. Lake Effect examined the crucial role teachers play in student performance and the unique challenges they face in MPS.

Teacher Round-table

Jun 4, 2010

Our MPS teacher round-table featured members of the Educators' Network for Social Justice, who talked about their experiences working in the district and the challenges they face.

Teacher Mentor

Jun 4, 2010

We learn about a program within MPS to mentor teachers during the earliest and often most challenging years of their career. Amy Mizialko is a district mentor with Milwaukee Public Schools. She’s also a former teacher – she’s been with MPS for 18 years. Mitch Teich spoke with her for our “Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS” series.

Special Ed Teacher

Jun 4, 2010

We hear the perspective of one woman who is fairly new to teaching, but not to the education world. Nancy Wisniewski is a special education resource teacher at Milwaukee German Immersion and Milwaukee French Immersion schools. She was interviewed in the basement of her house, by her daughter, our intern, Kirsten Wisniewski. Their conversation is part of our “Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS” series.


Jun 4, 2010

MPS teacher and blogger Jay Bullock believes it's important for teachers to speak up in the broader conversation about education reform. Bullock is an English teacher at Bay View High School. He has been blogging at "folkbum's rambles and rants" on politics, music and education for seven years. Bullock is also the education columnist for the Bay View Compass. He spoke with Stephanie Lecci as part of our “Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS” series.

Don't Forget the Subs

Jun 4, 2010

Carolyn Bucior says substitute teachers are often a forgotten part of the education equation. Bucior is a freelance writer in Milwaukee. She’s currently working on a memoir about substitute teaching. You also can read her essay on the subject that ran in the New York Times in January and listen to all of our Project Milwaukee interviews and WUWM feature stories from the past week.

School Funding

Jun 4, 2010

Over the past week, WUWM has been exploring barriers to achievement in the Milwaukee Public Schools system. Today, on the final day of our Project Milwaukee series, we ask the question: is more generous funding the key to producing better grades? As WUWM's Ann-Elise Henzl learned, it depends on whom you ask.

It’s often been said that it takes a village to raise a child. While the old African proverb may be a bit cliché, some Milwaukee area businesses have taken it to heart. In the final installment of our Project Milwaukee series about educating Milwaukee’s children, WUWM’s LaToya Dennis reports on how companies are teaming up with Milwaukee Public Schools to boost student success. It’s just after lunch at Hartford University School on the campus of UW-Milwaukee. The class I’m visiting is Project Lead the Way.

Dani Gellings & Cynthia Hoffman

We wrap up our live Project Milwaukee show with a reality check from Alan Borsuk. Borsuk is a senior fellow in law and public policy at Marquette University's Law School. Borsuk writes for the Law School faculty blog and magazine, as well as the Web site and other publications. He spent ten out of his 37 years at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel covering education and writes a Sunday column.

We now continue out Project Milwaukee series, exploring the barriers that confront thousands of Milwaukee Public School students. Today, WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson takes us to one of the lowest performing schools in the state: Bay View High School on the city’s south side. She spoke with teachers and other adult leaders there about educating a relatively large number of students who are struggling academically or personally.

MPS Superintendent Andrekopoulos

Jun 3, 2010
Dani Gellings & Cynthia Hoffman

In this Project Milwaukee segment, Bob Bach interviews outgoing MPS superintendent William Andrekopoulos. Their conversation was broadcast live, before a studio audience, as part of our special coverage.