WUWM: Education Reporting

There’s a lot to know about our schools — from the systems at large down to individual students. WUWM's 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 — we want your ideas to help shape the stories we cover.

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

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Emily Files

Wisconsin’s largest school district has a new permanent superintendent. Keith Posley has been interim superintendent of Milwaukee Public Schools since May. At a special meeting Tuesday, the school board unanimously voted to negotiate a permanent contract.

Emily Files

Wisconsin’s higher education system is going through a quiet but major change. Beginning this school year, the state’s 13 two-year colleges are now branch campuses of four-year universities. The restructuring is an effort to keep the colleges’ doors open despite declining enrollment and revenue.

Courtesy MPS

The city of Milwaukee and area schools are holding events to celebrate boys and men of color this week.

Emily Files

New Wisconsin standardized test results for the 2017-18 school year were released this week. Statewide, there aren’t any dramatic changes from the last two years: Students’ math scores are inching up and reading scores have fallen slightly.

But the results are a reminder that just one in five Milwaukee students is proficient in reading and writing. And even fewer meet standards in math.

Emily Files

Research show that students of color are more likely to succeed if they have at least one teacher who looks like them. But in many urban districts like Milwaukee, there is a mismatch between students and teachers. Teachers are mostly white, and students are mostly black and Hispanic.

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Emily Files

Is state special education funding in Wisconsin unfair? School districts from Eau Claire to Oak Creek say it is. They see inequity between public schools and a relatively new voucher program.

The Special Needs Scholarship Program is another chapter in Wisconsin’s storied school choice movement. It provides an approximate $12,000 scholarship — or voucher — for students with disabilities to attend private school. The state pays for the vouchers by decreasing aid to public school districts where the students live.

Emily Files

How important is it for a student to be taught by a teacher of the same race? That's something that's been on the mind of community member Ann Stanton, so she submitted a question to Beats Me — our series that allows you to ask questions about race, education, innovation and the environment.

“What is the ratio of black students to white teachers, and the black teacher makeup in MPS? What impact does that have on student achievement?”

Emily Files

A Milwaukee school named after a president who helped slavery spread is set for a name change. At a meeting Tuesday, a Milwaukee school board committee indicated support for Franklin Pierce Elementary School to become Riverwest Elementary School.

Franklin Pierce was president from 1853-1857 — immediately before James Buchanan, who was followed by Abraham Lincoln. He is usually ranked among the worst presidents in American history. Historians say his failures helped lead to the Civil War.  

Emily Files

State education chief and gubernatorial hopeful Tony Evers wants to put an additional $1.4 billion into public education over the next two years. The proposal is part of the Department of Public Instruction’s request for the 2019-2021 state budget.

Evers, a Democrat, heads the agency as state superintendent. The spending plan comes in the middle of a tight race between Evers and incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican.

Emily Files

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education Frank Brogan — who recently made the news with his comments on arming teachers — visited a Milwaukee public school Tuesday. The federal education official was touring the Midwest to highlight innovation in schools.

He recognized Ronald Reagan College Preparatory High School, an MPS magnet school on the south side, for its anti-bullying efforts. Its anti-bullying initiatives include a program that partners incoming freshmen with older students.

m01229/Flickr

The ACLU of Wisconsin is putting pressure on the Kenosha Unified School District to protect its students from what some are calling "discriminatory" dress code enforcement. Last year, Kenosha-area teens and parents spoke out against the district’s dress code policy, saying it was discriminatory toward female students.

Alexa Grosz was one of the students who testified at an October school board meeting. She said she was punished for wearing an off-the-shoulder sweater.

Theo Stroomer/Stringer/Getty Images

Wisconsin’s candidates for governor touted their education priorities at back-to-school events this week. They're also continuing to criticize each other.

Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign released its first attack ad against Democrat challenger Tony Evers. It claims that as state superintendent, Evers failed to protect children from a teacher who viewed pornography at work.

The story is one of the main lines of attack Republicans backing Walker are using against Evers.

Emily Files

There is a new leader making decisions that affect about 80,000 Milwaukee schoolchildren.

Keith Posley took over as Milwaukee Public Schools’ interim superintendent a few months ago. He wants to turn around low-achieving schools, slash chronic absenteeism and boost enrollment. And he’s not the only one with great expectations. Other Milwaukee education leaders have high hopes for Posley himself.

“This work is all about children for me,” he said in an interview with WUWM.

smolaw11/Sotolia

In the aftermath of mass shootings across the country, Wisconsin schools are getting $100 million in state grants to keep students safe. The funding comes from the State Department of Justice’s new Office of School Safety.

DOJ recently announced that about half of the funding will go toward mental health-related efforts.

Rachel Morello

Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) face fierce competition for students from private voucher schools, suburban schools and of course, charter schools. The question of whether MPS should expand its own portfolio of charter schools can be controversial. 

On the other side, charter schools that contract with MPS sometimes disagree with the way the district allocates money.  

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