WI Senator Alberta Darling (R) penned a column printed in the Sunday, June 26th Milwaukee Journal Crossroads section concerning the state of Milwaukee’s pubic schools. The first three paragraphs sum up the issues quite succinctly:
In the last school year, roughly 28,000 students in Milwaukee Public Schools attended a school that fails to meet expectations. That’s about the population of Stevens Point.
Last year there were two MPS schools with zero students proficient in math. Zero.
More than 30 MPS schools have 90% or more of their students who are not proficient in math. Ten percent or less of students are proficient in English language arts in a dozen MPS schools.
This is the same school system that has refused to participate in a state-driven effort to help those students, apparently because the effort is state-driven and not MPS-driven. And yet, the schools that are controlled by MPS are not delivering the level of education to all the students needed to survive once they graduate…if they graduate.
This piece was printed about ten days after a local Milwaukee radio station, WISN 1130, provided additional insight into the MPS system as seen through the eyes of teachers in that system who were interviewed only after being promised that their names wouldn’t be used and that their voices would be disguised to protect their anonymity. This series documented the lack of concern on the part of the MPS administration as it relates to student discipline issues. Teachers told of being harassed with bodily threats by students and harassed verbally throughout the typical day of teaching because students knew they were never going to be punished as the result.
There is a state of anarchy that grows ever more pronounced since there is no punishment of students engaging in this physical and verbal abuse. This is aggravated by the fact that MPS refuses to accept offers of help and additional funding offered by the Wisconsin Legislature. Apparently, the MPS Superintendent and the School Board are unable to see any problems, or they are afraid to admit they see problems, and continue to tacitly, if not actively, promote the lack of discipline through this institutional ignorance of choice.
If we accept that this is not the way Milwaukee’s school system ought to be operating, we can more easily understand the failures cited in those three paragraphs by state Senator Alberta Darling. All this is in the public domain and yet nothing substantive is being done to correct these very serious problems. Teachers fear for their personal safety and are forced to withstand verbal assaults of a vile nature day in and day out. And they know the students in many cases will not be properly educated when they are turned loose from the educational system, yet the system will do nothing to correct these problems.
How long will it take for Milwaukee to become the next Detroit or the next Baltimore or next Chicago? Not long at all at this rate.