ON-Lion Letter
"Two years ago," the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute (WPRI), along with the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI), "undertook a broad examination of our quality of life in Wisconsin.  One of the primary threats to our quality of life is the quality of our schools," begins a May book from WPRI, Pathway to Success for Milwaukee Schools.  "Milwaukee schools are especially problematic.  Almost three generations can’t remember the time when the K-12 schools in Wisconsin's first class city were first class.  And so, WPRI has once again turned its focus to the schools in Milwaukee -- all schools including public, charter and private voucher schools.

"What you will find in the pages of this book is not an indictment of Milwaukee schools but rather a blueprint for some of the changes that would begin the turnaround," it continues.  "It lays out the steps needed to return a culture of excellence to Milwaukee schools.  In addition, this volume will also unveil our most profound discovery; we discovered the reason why achieving this turnaround will be really, really challenging."

The WPRI project "sought the input of a wide range of national education experts to train their expertise on Milwaukee" and "conducted two ground-breaking surveys of the Milwaukee public on questions related to education."  According to the surveys, "while Milwaukee says it supports a major overhaul of schools, the public really supports a very traditional approach to schools.
"We can't help but notice how our panel of experts and the Milwaukee public are on an altogether difference page with respect to their thoughts on schools," WPRI says.  "The Milwaukee public has little enthusiasm for creating the 'laboratories of innovation' our experts recommend."

In focus groups, the survey "heard from parents of children in charter and private voucher schools ... that they were much more satisfied with their children's education than were the parents of children in" the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) system.  "Similarly, the teachers in charter and private choice schools were more satisfied and fulfilled than their MPS counterparts. ...

"The elements that are present in these schools should be imbedded in every school in Milwaukee."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee substantially supports WPRI and AEI.
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