WUWM: Education Reporting

There’s a lot to know about our schools - from the systems at large down to individual students. As WUWM's education reporter, my job is to take you into classrooms, introduce you to the people involved and explain the complicated stuff.

No matter how education touches your life - whether you're a parent, student, teacher or just interested in better understanding how learning happens - I want your ideas to help shape the stories I cover.

What do YOU want to know about education in southeastern Wisconsin? Let's learn together.

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Ways to Connect

MPS

This week, schools in Milwaukee across the country are honoring their educators as part of Teacher Appreciation Week.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

Freshman Tya Miller was among the North Division students who gathered outside at the end of the school day Wednesday, holding signs and distributing bottled water.

“My concern is that we don’t have clean water at all. All of our water bubblers are full of lead and they expect us to drink it,” Miller says.

Miller says bottled water is being provided, “But we have pay a dollar for it and I feel like that isn’t fair,” she adds, “We’re students here and we deserve free water.”

Rachel Morello

Why are so many schools in Milwaukee named after streets? That’s our Bubbler Talk question for the week, submitted by Sarah Neilsen. Seems like a pretty straightforward topic – but as it turns out, there’s quite a complicated history behind the answer.

“Naming of schools has always been a challenge in Milwaukee, and at times a controversial one,” says Steve Baruch, a retired MPS administrator.

Mount Mary University

The topic of leadership comes up a lot when we talk about education.

What makes a good school leader? What qualities should he or she possess, in order to take charge of staff, students, alumni, and a greater school community?

This is something the folks at Milwaukee’s Mount Mary University have thought a lot about in the past year. That’s because the Catholic, all-women’s school has been deep in the search process for a new university president.

Rachel Morello

UPDATE: A Senate committee has approved the bill that would create a state-operated recovery high school in Wisconsin. The proposal calls for a pilot charter school program, that could open as early as the fall. 

The matter moves next to a full vote on the Senate floor. 

Original post: March 27, 2017

Think back to the challenges you faced as a teenager -- things like homework, hormones, peer pressure. These days, more teens than ever before have another concern tacked onto that list: addiction.

Rachel Morello

What does it take to get students college and career ready? Milwaukee Public Schools is finding that preparing kids for their next steps involves more than just classroom instruction – in some cases, students need hands-on experience in the work world.

That’s something MPS is working to provide for students as they grow an in-house Youth Apprentice program.

Bradley Tech High School senior Desmond Glenn is part of the program right now. He joined after transferring to Tech from another school, and finding his place in a new welding class.

Rachel Morello

Close your eyes and picture a preschool classroom. What do you see? Chances are what you envision is probably pretty close to what you’ll find in an Educare classroom.

Educare is an early childhood program that targets children aged 6 weeks to 5 years, who come from low-income families. It’s an offshoot of Head Start, one of the most prominent, publicly-funded early childhood programs in the country.

Rachel Morello

For the first time in quite a few years, Wisconsin classrooms stand to gain additional money from the state -- and public school advocates want to make sure it happens.

Hundreds of folks showed up to speak their minds at a public hearing Wednesday in Milwaukee, including a strong contingent of parents and teachers.

Rachel Morello

With just one week left until election day, the candidates for state superintendent presented their cases in Milwaukee on Tuesday. Incumbent Tony Evers and challenger Lowell Holtz spoke in front of a crowd at Marquette Law School.  

The two men talk differently about a variety of issues – including school choice. But they agree on this: the state must do more to boost Milwaukee’s public schools.

Bill McChesney/Flickr

Updated March 23, 2017:

The tug-of-war continues between public and private choice schools in Milwaukee over transportation costs.

Last fall, a pair of Milwaukee voucher schools approached MPS, asking the district to reimburse them for the cost of student bus service.

Now, one of those programs is suing MPS.

College Possible/Twitter

There’s a lot of talk coming out of Washington these days, about what will change under the new presidential administration -- immigration, health care and international trade, to name a few. 

But many smaller programs also face imminent change – including domestic projects that rely on federal funds.

Metro Milwaukee has a segregation problem. It's an issue prominently on display within area schools.

Some say, school segregation in Milwaukee as bad today as it was 60 years ago, at the height of the Civil Rights era.

How did we get here? Let’s take a look back...

Rachel Morello

Metro Milwaukee has a segregation problem -- not least, within area schools. Over time, racial lines have been created here, dividing the area into distinct black, white and Latino neighborhoods. 

Rachel Morello

Imagine someone hands you a bonus -- a few hundred extra dollars. How would you spend the money? That’s a question facing Wisconsin school districts.

smolaw11 / fotolia

All MPS students will soon have to wear uniforms. The Milwaukee School Board approved a new district-wide dress code at its monthly meeting Thursday night.

Until now, MPS has left it up to each individual school how to structure its dress code. About one-third of the district’s schools currently require uniforms. A lot of those uniforms look similar, even though there hasn’t been one standard across MPS.

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