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.

_

Ways to Connect

vincent desjardins, flickr

Parents consider a number of factors when they choose a high school for their kids. Safety is often one of those considerations.

But right now, parents can’t access data about crime that happens in Wisconsin’s schools.

Sergeant Marla Martin is a parent. She's also a West Allis police officer who sees most everything that goes on at Nathan Hale High School -- good and bad. 

RIBI Image Library, flickr

In 2015, more than 190 world leaders signed onto the United Nations' list of Sustainable Development Goals. They address global inequality and promote more sustainable societies over the next fifteen years. The goals are universal – they’re designed to apply not just to the developing world, but to communities like ours, as well.

UW-Milwaukee is using these goals as a jumping-off point for its latest live lecture series.

Rachel Morello

Think about the term “home economics.”

You might picture a class of high school girls back in the day, learning to make meatloaf so they could one day serve it to their families.

Home ec has always taught students practical skills. But today it’s taken on a different flavor, even different names.

For instance, just this month, MPS announced it would launch a new culinary program, this fall.

Like other modern-day courses, the focus today is on helping students land jobs. Classes toss other skills into the mix.

Mitzi Keel, Schools That Can Milwaukee

School choice is an extremely divisive issue in Milwaukee, and across the state.

Public and private education advocates are passionate about their respective sectors – and their students, yet not always about each other.

But with Valentine’s Day on the horizon, educators from public, charter and voucher schools decided to embrace the spirit of the holiday this week.

They tucked politics away for one night to show each other some "cross-sector love." 

photos.com

This is not a budget year for the state legislature, but lawmakers are still making changes to the way schools are funded. The Assembly Education Committee passed an amendment Wednesday that would limit school districts’ taxing authority.

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?

JeffChristianse, flickr

On Friday, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents agreed to move ahead with a controversial new tenure policy. It would replace the tenure protections that Republican leaders struck from state law during the last budget cycle. 

Rachel Morello

Back in the day, schools taught classes that focused on skills.

Students took cooking class so they could learn nutrition and prepare proper meals. Shop class, sewing and “home economics” were commonplace on high school course lists.

That was half a century ago, when the end goal of school was to teach young men and women how to manage a home, care for a family and live independently.

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.

BART EVERSON, FLICKR

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.

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.

Pages