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MILWAUKEE (April 10 , 2018) — There was no statistically significant change in the academic outcomes for Milwaukee Public Schools’ students from 2009 to 2017, according to data released today in the 2017 NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress)/TUDA (Trial Urban District Assessment) Report. The report provides a snapshot of achievement in all 50 states and selected urban school districts, including Milwaukee. The data was collected in the winter of 2017 and does not identify individual students or schools. The report examines reading and mathematics performance for 4th and 8th grade students in schools selected to be part of a statistically random sample.

The report finds that Milwaukee Public Schools is performing below the large city schools average in all categories in all grades tested.

“The overall results are disappointing,” said MPS Superintendent Darienne Driver. “It is unacceptable that our students, especially our students of color are, for the most part, scoring below state and national levels.”

Some of the major findings include the following:

8th grade students moved from below basic to the basic range in reading

The 8th grade reading gap between students with disabilities and their peers is smaller than previous reports

The gaps between white students and students of colors have not changed significantly

The gap has widened in all areas between students who live in poverty and those who do not

“There are a number of issues that impact our children,” said Driver. “These scores are reflective of the challenges our young people face inside and outside the classroom. We need support from our state and local partners to help every child be successful. Our children are relying on us as adults – parents, educators, and the community – to engage them in learning and help them reach their fullest potential. We must continue to work together and not fail our children or short-change their futures.”

Driver said MPS has invested in several new programs this year specifically designed to offer more opportunities for students to grow and improve academically.

The Office of Black and Latino Male Achievement is working to improve success rates for African American and Latino young men, launching manhood academies, mentor luncheons, and culturally responsive teaching practices
Summer Academy continues to expand, offering students the chance to retake courses failed during the traditional school year. J-Term, which takes place in June, gives middle and high school students the opportunity to catch up and keep up with their peers

Transformational Reading Instruction, which focuses on reading instruction and early literacy, is showing growth in reading for kindergarten and 2nd grade students in selected schools

The number of Community Schools will expand to ten – pending budget approval. Community Schools provide important links and resources between parents, community partners, the school and students

The district recently adopted a new kindergarten -8th grade math curriculum and is working closely with GE Healthcare Foundation to focus on STEM education

Working with The Council of the Great City Schools, and three other urban school districts, MPS will participate in the Balanced Literacy Pilot with Student Achievement Partners. This intensive professional development program focuses on literacy accelerators related to foundational reading skills
More than two-dozen Culturally Responsive Teaching Fellows and an additional two-dozen plus interns are working in schools to support and build Culturally Responsive Teaching Practices, which are designed to improve student engagement

“The district has difficult decisions to make as we prepare the FY19 budget,” Driver stated. “We must find ways to maximize resources so our students with the greatest needs have access to the educators and programs that will help them improve. We must explore every option as we dedicate ourselves to prepare our students for success.”

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