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.

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Project Milwaukee
5:31 pm
Wed June 2, 2010

Changing Troublemakers' Behavior

This week on WUWM we're reporting on barriers to achievement in the Milwaukee Public Schools system. Thousands of students have been performing poorly on tests, and hundreds of teens drop out every year. As we’ve been highlighting in our series, children can have trouble learning for a number of reasons. One is that they may be surrounded by disruptive students. Troublemakers can cause distractions, at best. But in this installment of Project Milwaukee, Ann-Elise Henzl reports on one program helping restore order in classrooms.

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Project Milwaukee
5:28 pm
Wed June 2, 2010

English as a Barrier

We’ve presented several stories this morning as part of our Project Milwaukee series, about students in the Milwaukee Public Schools system who have difficulties in class. They can range from physical disabilities to behavioral problems. We were able to meet for a few minutes this week with the busy principal of South Division High School, to talk about students who are not proficient in English, at least not right away. Maurice Turner says as many as 45 percent of the students in his school are not primarily English speakers.

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Project Milwaukee
5:26 pm
Tue June 1, 2010

Teachers for a New Era

As we examine how teachers are taught, a program at UWM seeks to make becoming a teacher like becoming a doctor. Marleen Pugach is a Professor and Linda Post is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at UW-Milwaukee, and both are co-principal investigators for the Teachers for a New Era program, a grant funded by the Carnegie Corporation to improve the quality of teacher education. They spoke with Mitch Teich as part of our "Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS" series.

Project Milwaukee
5:23 pm
Tue June 1, 2010

What Traditional Education Schools Can Learn from Alternative Certification

Bill Henk

The Dean of Marquette University's College of Education, Bill Henk, believes the traditional schools have something to learn from the alternative certification model. Henk is also a professor of literacy there. He spoke with Mitch Teich as part of our "Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS" series.

Project Milwaukee
5:20 pm
Tue June 1, 2010

Is Teach For America Good for Urban Schools?

Milwaukee writer Barbara Miner questions whether Teach For America does more harm than good in urban schools. Miner is a freelance writer in Milwaukee. Her article, “Looking Past the Spin” on Teach for America, appears in the spring issue of the education journal Rethinking Schools. She spoke with Mitch Teich as part of our "Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS" series.

Project Milwaukee
5:17 pm
Tue June 1, 2010

Founder Wendy Kopp Defends Teach For America

Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp argues the program takes bright college grads and puts them in classrooms where teachers are needed the most. Kopp is the CEO of Teach For America, which she first proposed as part of her undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton University in 1989. She is also the chief executive of Teach For All, which develops programs similar to TFA in other countries. She is the author of One Day, All Children: The Unlikely Triumph of Teach For America and What I Learned Along the Way. She spoke with Stephanie Lecci as part of our "Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS" series.

Project Milwaukee
5:14 pm
Tue June 1, 2010

How Parents Figure into the MPS Equation

Ta-tanisha Powells & her daughter Nevaeh

WUWM now continues its Project Milwaukee series, exploring the barriers that hold back some Milwaukee Public School students from achieving at a higher level.

Today we look at the role parents play in their children’s success.

WUWM’s Susan Bence met people who care passionately and have strong opinions about the importance of family in a child’s life.

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Project Milwaukee
5:10 pm
Tue June 1, 2010

Poverty and Violence Impact MPS Students

Kids play outside of Running Rebels community center.

There’s been no shortage of stories about dismal test scores in the Milwaukee Public Schools system. We’ve heard less about how it performs in helping students and families address personal and social problems. No other district in the state uses as many resources as MPS to address the non-academic needs of its students. Those needs are the subject of today’s installment of our series, Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS.

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Project Milwaukee
5:06 pm
Mon May 31, 2010

Ravitch Changes Her Mind on School Choice

Educational historian Diane Ravitch does a 180 on her attitude towards the promise of school choice and vouchers. Ravitch is a professor of education at New York University – her new book is called The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education. She spoke with WUWM’s Marge Pitrof as part of our "Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS" series.

Project Milwaukee
5:03 pm
Mon May 31, 2010

Monitoring Milwaukee's Parental Choice Program

John Witte

Researcher John Witte says the evidence of success or failure is more nuanced that Ravitch would lead you to believe. Witte is a professor of public affairs and political science at the La Follette School of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

He currently is studying the long-term effects of the Milwaukee school voucher program with the School Choice Demonstration Project, housed at the University of Arkansas' Department of Education Reform. He is the author of several books, including his most recent, The Market Approach to Education on educational vouchers. He also led the US Department of Education-funded Wisconsin Charter Schools Study. He spoke with Stephanie Lecci for our "Project Milwaukee: Barriers to Achievement in MPS" series.

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