District News Roundup

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

Many of the Milwaukee school system's alternative and partnership schools are a waste of the district's resources, according to a study prepared for the school board.

The report presented to the board last month evaluated 27 of the schools, rating seven as "below average'' and eight as "poor.''

The study cites such problems as dreary atmospheres, low expectations for students, and a lack of challenging curricula.

The "ineffective'' schools, which consume $3 million in district resources each year, do not provide true educational alternatives but rather serve as dumping grounds for the district's worst students, the report says.

"The vast majority of students who attend ineffective alternative and partnership schools are being set up for future failure in education, employment, and life,'' said the author, Tony Baez, a faculty associate at the Center for Urban Community Development at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

"To allow this to continue is an educational travesty'' that discriminates against poor and minority children, Mr. Baez said.

The report cites the eight programs rated as "good'' or "excellent'' as proof that such schools are viable.

It recommends that the district develop an educationally sound philosophy for the schools and shut down or cease funding schools that do not work.

The district currently operates more than 30 programs for 3,500 students who have violated disciplinary policies or been deemed at risk of dropping out.

A group of low-income families in Milwaukee last week filed a federal lawsuit challenging the exclusion of private religious schools from the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.

Under the state-funded experiment, several hundred children are provided with vouchers to attend nonsectarian private schools.

The Landmark Legal Foundation, a Kansas City, Mo.-based public-interest law group that helped defend the initial legal challenge to the pilot voucher program, filed the suit on Sept. 30 on behalf of four families.

The suit, filed against State Superintendent of Public Instruction John T. Benson, alleges that the choice program violates the families' constitutional rights to free exercise of religion and equal protection of the laws by "prohibiting their access to and choice of sectarian private schools.''

The suit seeks to have the choice program's bar on private religious schools removed and to have state officials solicit the participation of such schools.

The Chicago school district has warehoused supplies for school-meal programs years past their recommended shelf life, possibly endangering students, federal officials have charged.

A U.S. Agriculture Department official last month informed city and state health officials that nearly $1 million in food supplied under the federal school-lunch program had passed its expiration date. The items included pork, ground turkey, beans, cheese, and peanuts. In one case, canned beans with a one-year shelf life had been stored for 12 years.

School officials acknowledged that the food had remained on the shelves too long, but said it remained safe. No cases of food-related illnesses stemming from the warehousing of food have been reported, they said.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago should examine and "refocus'' its traditional methods for transmitting faith through schools and religious education, a panel appointed by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin has proposed.

A new strategy is needed, the team of experts said last month, in light of a hemorrhaging budget, shrinking Catholic school population, and need for evangelization and aid to the poor.

The panel recommended that every parish develop over the next 18 months a plan for comprehensive religious education. Under the proposed strategy, religious education would be a priority in the educational program of all Catholic schools, and some parishes would share the funding of an "anchor school'' with neighboring parishes instead of having their own schools.

The position paper notes that not every parish can afford to maintain its own school, "while the archdiocese can no longer support a deficit school program.''

Parishes, including both churches and schools, are expected to run a deficit of nearly $15 million in 1993.

The position paper also recommends that some parish schools that serve the poor and meet other criteria be eligible for archdiocesan financial support.

This month, the archdiocese is to begin consultation meetings on the position paper with representatives of its 382 parishes in Cook and Lake counties.

Early next year, Cardinal Bernardin is expected to announce his final decisions on issues raised during the planning process.

Vol. 13, Issue 05

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories





Sponsor Insights

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

To Address Chronic Absenteeism, Dig into the Data

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Keep Your Schools Safe and Responsive to Real Challenges

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

3 Unique Learner Profiles for Emerging Bilinguals

Effective Questioning Practices to Spur Thinking

Empower Reading Teachers with Proven Literacy PD

Dyslexia: How to Identify Warning Signs at Every Grade

Increased Social Connectedness Through Digital Peer Learning

Student Engagement Lessons from 3 Successful Districts

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >