ON-Lion Letter
In late May, IFF released a new study analyzing the performance, location, and enrollment of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), charter schools, and certain private schools participating in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program in 2008-2009.  The study, Choosing Performance:  An Analysis of School Location and Performance in Milwaukee, determined that most children do not attend or live near a school that meets the Wisconsin State Standard.  The Wisconsin State Standard is 74% of students scoring proficient or better on the reading portion of the Wisconsin Knowledge Concepts Examination (WKCE) and 58% of students scoring proficient or better on the math portion of the WKCE.

Choosing Performance pinpoints for MPS, city leaders, and school-reform stakeholders the top eight zip-code areas in Milwaukee with the greatest number of school-age children, but the fewest schools that meet state standards for academic performance.  The study also sets priorities for improvement.

In 2008-09, according to the study, the 23 of 180 non-selective public and charter schools that met state standards could only serve 10.9% of the students currently enrolled in public schools (9,625 of 87,814).  Forty-nine additional public and charter schools met 75% of the state standard.

"Two-thirds of Milwaukee children cannot enroll in a school that comes close to meeting state standards,” said IFF executive vice president Joe Neri.  "IFF's report highlights specific geographic areas for improvement, and provides community-level data that civic leaders, stakeholders, and families can use to begin to address the problem."

IFF, formerly known as the Illinois Facilities Fund, has used the same analysis to study the distribution of schools in St. Louis, Denver, and Kansas City.  The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation supported the Milwaukee study.
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