October 30, 2009


Taylor, Fields: Test Data Doesn’t Lie – MPS fails in education outcomes

Of Current MPS High School Juniors, 60% not proficient in Math, over 40% in reading

(MADISON) Milwaukee Public Schools is the only school district in Wisconsin to be classified at level 4 DIFI district (District Identified For Improvement) under federal education law. The district and 51 of its schools, which are identified as Schools Identified For Improvement (SIFI), failed to meet education outcomes for 5 consecutive academic years. The startling numbers are found in the Department of Public Instruction’s Annual Review of District Performance: 2008-09 for MPS. The report further shows that MPS students, especially African-Americans cannot reach a “proficient” level in reading or mathematics.

“MPS is the only district in the state to reach a level 4 DIFI status. Our children have been going to a school that has not been able to turn around educational outcomes for at least 5 consecutive years!” Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milwaukee) remarked. “The majority of our high school aged children are not proficient in math. Education is the key to getting a job and building a career. With these results, how can we not say there is a change needed in the education ecosystem in Milwaukee?”

The data from the DPI, which is the results of the federally mandated testing done of students in the system, shows that MPS has missed the proficiency level for reading and mathematics for elementary, middle, and high school students. Particularly notably is the low-performance of African-American students in reading and mathematics proficiency, especially high school aged African-Americans.

“The African-American community depends on a strong education system to be the springboard for great careers and lives for our children. The lack of educational instructions only furthers staggering poverty and hinders success.” Rep. Jason Fields (D-Milwaukee) stated. “When I look at these numbers, I see a system that has to change. 50 percent of African-Americans high school juniors are not proficient in reading. The future we provide for these children scares me.”

Taylor and Fields have joined to author legislation moving accountability for the educational outcomes of MPS to the Mayor and an appointed Superintendent. The legislation, in drafting, retains the elected MPS Board of Education with modified powers.

“These numbers are the reason we have to make this change. Obviously the current system is not working or we would see improvement reflected in the DIFI status of our schools,” commented Taylor. “We cannot afford ‘more of the same’ in MPS. It is time to make a change that will alter the course in our schools,” followed Fields.

For information, district data, and background, visit the MPS Educational Outcomes page.

In coming days, Taylor and Fields will comment on the education studies that show mayoral accountability of a school system can lead to transformational change in MPS and improve the education outcomes of the city’s low-performing schools. That news and links to the studies will be made available at www.senatortaylor.com.


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