Education

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OPINION: Last Call to Save Milwaukee Public Schools

With $800 million at stake, it’s time to finally dismantle the School Board and give control to a reform-minded leader
August 31, 2021

A pandemic tipping point

A refusal by MPS and the teachers union to resume in-person classes is a boon to other schools
By Mike Nichols

Students bear brunt of COVID-19 inequality

Families turn to private schools as MPS ignores federal entreaties and keeps classrooms shut
By Julie Grace

MPS not done with BLM at school

The district failed to fund the curriculum and the teachers, but some MPS believers are pressing on
By Donovan Newkirk

Black Education Matters

While NBA players tout education reform, Milwaukee school officials continue to rig the game
By Jay Miller
October 1, 2020

Analysis: Madison school district’s lenient discipline policy is a dismal failure

Six years after policy began, classrooms are out of control, teachers are afraid and students — black and white — are suffering
By Dave Daley
July 14, 2020

Analysis: Teaching intolerance in the guise of promoting tolerance

Suspension policies advanced by the race-grievance complex harm both students and teachers
By Robert L. Woodson Sr.
July 14, 2020

The pandemic and the UW System

With fewer students and huge deficits likely, the state should consider closing some campuses and following online model for certain courses
By Ike Brannon
June 18, 2020

Teaching cursive and/or coding: Where should Wisconsin draw (or type) the line?

Authors debate whether a proposed mandate to teach cursive writing in Wisconsin elementary schools is prudent and whether high school students should be required to learn coding.
By Rachel Horton, Emily Jashinsky, Mary Newby and Jeremy Thiesfeldt
May 7, 2020

No need for state-run student loan refinancing

Over 180 credit unions and banks across Wisconsin already offer student loan refinancing products and/or student loans.
By Jay Miller

Assembly Bill 195 is a good start for teachers and schools

Wisconsin should rethink its entire teacher certification process.
By Mark Schug and Scott Niederjohn
August 8, 2019

Economic impact of UW campuses is overstated

Outside of UW-Madison, the argument that the colleges have huge multiplier effect on communities and the state is nonsensical.
By Ike Brannon
August 2, 2019

Labor shortage stems from minority education gap

Lack of minority high school and college grads and wide prosperity gaps will only exacerbate the region’s growing employee shortage, Milwaukee business leaders fear
By Ken Wysocky
July 29, 2019

The ironic facts: Women flourishing at UW and other colleges

In the University of Wisconsin System and on the Madison campus, women dominate in degrees, personnel and leadership roles.
By Christian Schneider

UW women's studies program now offers 100 courses

Activist leanings and a lack of ideological diversity are among the many knocks against the growing Gender and Women’s Studies program.
By Rachel Horton

Private school principals say federal funding process is flawed

Special needs students are left behind because of inequitable allocation of federal resources, administrators say in Badger Institute survey.
By Julie Grace
March 13, 2018

Teachers want to help kids, not do paperwork

Federal requirements in special ed are especially burdensome, educators tell Badger Institute in survey.
By Dan Benson and Julie Grace
January 25, 2018

Educators decry feds' heavy-handed approach toward local schools

"I have to do a lot of paperwork and spend time testing my kids instead of teaching my kids."
By Dan Benson and Julie Grace
January 25, 2018

Wisconsin school officials want federal role in local education reduced

Funding regulations hamper districts and don’t improve education, local officials say in Badger Institute survey.
By Dan Benson and Julie Grace
December 12, 2017

Schools hire pricey specialists to deal with federal grant rules

Paperwork takes staff away from daily responsibilities and educating kids, officials say.
By Julie Grace
November 13, 2017

Betsy DeVos vows to free local educators from paperwork

U.S. education secretary also plans to give them more say over federal school dollars.
By Dan Benson
October 4, 2017

Federal rules distort local education policy

School officials make decisions they wouldn’t make otherwise to comply with funding requirements.
By Julie Grace and Dan Benson
September 12, 2017

WI legislators missing opportunity to take control of education

ESSA could offer opportunities for state to involve districts in decision-making.
By Julie Grace and Dan Benson
September 12, 2017

Are high taxes driving away workers from Wisconsin?

Claiming to have a workforce strategy without a real strategy to attract and retain people makes little sense.
By Tom Hefty
June 28, 2017

Help students succeed before they get to college

Admitting students with little chance to graduate helps no one; tying UW System funding to graduation rates would force change.
By Ike Brannon and Mike Nichols
March 1, 2017

The bureaucratic 'skim' of federal school funding

Managing federal education dollars is costing Wisconsin taxpayers millions and benefiting children hardly at all.
By Dan Benson and Dave Daley
February 15, 2017

The federalization of Wisconsin DPI

Washington’s grip on state schools continues to grow.
By Dan Benson and Dave Daley
January 24, 2017

Pathways Milwaukee guides students toward success in college

Many Wisconsin high school graduates arrive at college unprepared and end up in remedial math and writing classes, which makes completing a degree unlikely.
By Betsy Thatcher
January 19, 2017

Fixing colleges is hard, but here are ideas on how to start

We need to rethink how we use the faculty at the non-Ph.D.-granting schools in Wisconsin to improve the lot of the state’s students.
By Ike Brannon
November 22, 2016

Analysis: Cash-strapped school districts burdened by federal grant regulations

Hundreds of districts in Wisconsin and thousands more nationwide are saddled with the Single Audit of federal funds that feeds a bloated bureaucracy in Washington while adding little or no value to educational efforts.
By Dan Benson
October 11, 2016

West Allis school district weaning itself from some federal money

“Our philosophy used to be procure (funding) and then figure out how to use (the money),” Director of Business Services Andy Chromy said.
By Dan Benson
October 11, 2016

Back to the Drawing Board

How to recreate the outstate university and finally give students their money's worth
By Ike Brannon and Philip Coyle
September 2016

The Trouble with Tenure

► What do the UW instructors without it - the ones doing much of the teaching - think?
By Ike Brannon, Ph.D.
► How the Regents can make professors accountable to taxpayers and students
By Mike Nichols and Michael Flaherty, with Charles Sorensen, Ph.D.
February 2016

School choice: A success story

“My family wanted private schools because private schools take education seriously. They offer a more rich education and prepare me for my future,” said Sahara Aden, of Milwaukee. But her family couldn’t afford the steep tuition.
By Liz Tolsma
December 2, 2015

Lessons for liberal arts majors from recent UW grads

We need to know why nearly half of liberal arts graduates from our state’s top university regret the way they spent their money.
By Emily Jashinsky
November 19, 2015

Creating a direct pipeline from high school to tech jobs

Many of LakeView Technology Academy’s graduates are leaving high school with half of an associate’s degree in their pockets. Others are entering four-year universities as second-semester freshmen.
By Betsy Thatcher
September 24, 2015

Time to review Wisconsin's tuition reciprocity agreements

The number of Minnesotans migrating east for Wisconsin universities is now nearly double the number of Wisconsinites traveling west for Minnesota schools.
By Michael Flaherty
June 24, 2015

Children with special needs discriminated against - until now

The special education voucher program will help a small but deserving group of kids who repeatedly have been denied the opportunities available to their non-disabled peers.
By Mike Nichols
May 20, 2015

Beyond the Ivory Tower

How to get the UW System more involved in ground-level economic development.
By Charles Sorensen, with Michael Flaherty
May 2015

An imbalance in public funding for UWM

The funding disparity between UWM and UW-Madison reflects that the two institutions have sharply different histories and are in many ways two different animals.
By Tom Tolan
March 31, 2015

Parents deserve a choice on where to educate children with special needs

There is strong public support for special needs vouchers: 62% of Wisconsin residents support such a program, according to a WPRI poll.
By Liz Tolsma
March 25, 2015

In support of special needs scholarships

The Wisconsin Special Needs Scholarship initiative would give parents the opportunity to do what they believe is best for their child, much like parents who seek the best medical treatment for their child’s illness.
By Craig Peterson
March 4, 2015

MPS needs an overhaul; Milwaukee kids deserve better

The system is performing so poorly that major changes, not just tweaks, are needed.
By Shannon Whitworth
February 18, 2015

There's no polarization on special needs vouchers

According to a WPRI poll, 62% of Wisconsinites somewhat or completely support a special needs voucher proposal, while 27% are somewhat or completely opposed.
By Mike Nichols
January 22, 2015

Higher Ed Quandary: Women Lean In; Men Tune Out

Male students are so outnumbered on our nation’s campuses that it’s worth considering who really controls the dynamics of day-to-day life.
By Emily Jashinsky
August 18, 2014

WIAA’s ‘1.65 Solution’ Hurts Private Schools in the Name of Sports Equity

The last thing Wisconsin and the WIAA need are state lawmakers or the governor (of either party) calling the shots in high school sports.
By Michael Flaherty
April 7, 2014

Unrealized Potential: The Need for Accountability in Wisconsin's Special Education Programs

Report is a blueprint for how legislators can include special needs programs in the accountability legislation they have promised to develop and offers further proof of the need for more options for students with disabilities.
By Michael R. Ford, Ph.D., and Mike Nichols
March 2014

Good Riddance. What's Next for MPS?

Everybody who cares about their kids has to also start caring enough to educate the Milwaukee School Board as it looks for a new superintendent.
Mike Nichols - February 20, 2014

District Charter School Change a Needless Distraction

It is counterproductive to force school districts to rebrand a popular district-option while the state expands the competitive atmosphere of K-12 education.
By Mike Ford
December 18, 2013

What's Thwarting Charter School Expansion? Follow the Money.

Allow local districts to count students from their districts attending independent charter schools and then transfer the state and local revenue generated by each pupil to the charter school.
By Mike Ford
October 18, 2013

How to Correct our Schools of Ed

Report recommends specific ways for legislators to hold schools of education accountable and make sure teachers are getting the training they need in order to succeed in the classroom.
By Mike Ford and Mark C. Schug
October 2013

Can the Proposed Voucher Accountability System Work?

Taking small steps to tone down the rhetoric on both sides and demonstrate why increased trust is warranted is a much more realistic and preferable route.
By Mike Ford
August 15, 2013

Giving Credit to Private Schools

The new program will create an additional expense to the state. However, it is possible that the loss in GPR may be offset by the positive fiscal impact of reducing declining enrollment trends in private schools.
By Mike Ford
July 2013

Recovery Schools Can Break the Education Monopoly

In New Orleans, through the first Recovery School District in the nation, the percentage of students attending failing schools there has been reduced from 78% to 40%.
By Neerav Kingland
June 2013

Pathway to Success for Milwaukee Schools

Report lays out the steps needed to return a culture of excellence to Milwaukee schools and explains why achieving this turnaround will be challenging.
June 2013

Understanding School Finance in Wisconsin: A Primer

Report gives readers a base level of knowledge of school finance to help them better understand key issues surrounding Wisconsin's education system.
By Mike Ford
May 2013

The Impact of Disruptive Students in Wisconsin Public Schools

Wisconsin has a commitment to provide a public education for all of its pupils. However, that commitment comes with the responsibility of giving teachers an instructional environment in which they can succeed and protecting students from the negative effects of misbehaving classmates.
By Michael Ford
April 2013

How Wisconsin is Failing to Help Students with Disabilities

Many children are still all too often denied their right to an appropriate education and recognition as individuals given a fair chance of leading productive and fulfilling lives.
By Mike Nichols
February 2013

Using Value-Added Analysis to Raise Student Achievement in Wisconsin

The statewide, uniform use of value-added analyses already being done in Wisconsin is a step toward giving teachers and principals additional tools to meet the needs of Wisconsin pupils.
By Sarah Archibald, Ph.D. and Mike Ford
June 2012

The Economic Power of Early Childhood Education in Wisconsin

Investment in young children supports economic development by boosting the long-run productivity of the labor force and reducing public costs.
By Rob Grunewald and Don Bezruki
March 2012

A Modern Teacher Compensation System for Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s teacher compensation system is outdated, out-of-touch, and not designed to attract and retain top talent.
By Mike Ford
January 2012

Why Milwaukee's Police are More Effective Than Their Teachers

MPS has a fundamental lack of focus. Instilling accountability will require a structural and cultural transformation similar to the one the Milwaukee Police Department has undergone — one that revolves around measurable objectives.
By Mike Nichols
September 2011

Failing our Children: Wisconsin's Deficit in Teaching Personal Finance and Economics

In the academic programs of Wisconsin’s public schools, economics and personal finance have a weak presence. Despite the obvious importance of the subject matter, relatively few students take courses in economics or personal finance, relatively few teachers are qualified to teach such courses, and educators generally do not see the situation as problematic.
By Scott Niederjohn, Ph.D.
May 2011

Run Away! Must We Protect our Schoolkids from Bunnies?

If the governor’s budget forces some administrators to cut back on staff to the point where they don’t have time to worry about political correctness in the classroom or the lunchroom, that’s fine by me.
By Sunny Schubert
April 26, 2011

Teacher Licensure in Wisconsin - Who is Protected: Parents or the Education Establishment?

It has been 10 years since Wisconsin overhauled an old set of rules for state teacher licensure (PI 3 and PI 4) and replaced it with a new set called PI 34. This report assesses PI 34 in an effort to learn whether it has made good on its high expectations.
By Mark Schug, Ph.D., and Scott Niederjohn, Ph.D.
February 2011

Making the University of Wisconsin System More Accountable Through Greater Autonomy

Encouraging dialogue between universities and their constituents in business, industry, agriculture and general citizenry can focus the educational process on needs.
By Christian Schneider; research by Nathaniel Inglis Steinfeld
December 2010

A Critical Element of Reform of Milwaukee Public Schools: The Escalating Cost of Retiree Health Insurance

The unfunded liability for these health care costs stands at $2.6 billion, more than double the district’s entire annual operating budget. These costs will ultimately be borne by Milwaukee taxpayers, and, because of the state school funding formula, taxpayers statewide.
By Don Bezruki
December 2009

Value Added Testing: Improving State Testing and Teacher Compensation in Wisconsin

New testing approaches not only could serve as a basis for changing state-required tests, but they could also pave the way to improvements in how Wisconsin’s teachers are compensated. These changes would have important implications for the teaching profession.
By Mark Schug, Ph.D., and Scott Niederjohn, Ph.D.
May 2009

Mandated K-12 Testing in Wisconsin: A System in Need of Reform

The state should move toward a testing program with computer-based scoring so that results could be obtained and used promptly.
By Mark Schug, Ph.D., and Scott Niederjohn, Ph.D.
April 2009

Fixing the Milwaukee Public Schools

The limits of parent-driven reform
By David Dodenhoff, Ph.D.
October 2007

Renewing the University of Wisconsin System

Creating the Capacity to Manage and Compete
By Thomas Fletemeyer
July 2007

The Achievement Gap in Milwaukee Public Schools

Outcomes by gender, race, and income level
By Sammis White, Ph.D.
June 2007

The Milwaukee Teacher Residency Requirement

Why it's bad for schools, and why it won't go away
By Mark Schug, Ph.D. and Scott Niederjohn, Ph.D.
June 2006

The Status of High School Education in Wisconsin

A tale of two Wisconsins
By Philip J. McDade
January 2006

Education That Works in the Milwaukee Public Schools

The benefits from phonics and direct instruction
By Sammis White, Ph.D.
July 2005

Health Insurance for Wisconsin Public Schools

The case for competitive bidding
By James Miller, Scott Niederjohn, Ph.D. and Chad Cotti
January 2005

Wisconsin's Public Schools - An Economics-Free Zone

In the twenty-first century it is an alarming trend that a large percent of Wisconsin students have an almost remedial-level knowledge of American economic and financial institutions
By Mark Schug
May 2003

The Growth of Special Education in Wisconsin

No issue in Wisconsin government has grown faster in the last decade than special education. It has accelerated to a $1 billion per year educational program with little accountability
By Thomas Hruz
July 2002

Evaluating World History Texts in Wisconsin Public High Schools

What are Wisconsin high schoolers learning about history?
By Paul Kengor, Ph.D.
June 2002

Chartering the University of Wisconsin-Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, the state’s flagship campus, is increasingly important to the future of Wisconsin. In a new century in which the economy is becoming ever more reliant on knowledge, the state’s lead university must be able to step up and better serve its constituency
James Miller, Frank Cipriani, Ph.D.
November 2001

The Politics of Civil Liberty on Campus

Over the past generation, political correctness has advanced by leaps and bounds on our nation’s campuses.
By Donald Downs, Ph.D.
October 2001

Performance-Based Pay for Teachers in Wisconsin

Options and Opportunities
By Thomas Hruz
June 2001

Direct Instruction and the Teaching of Early Reading

Wisconsin's teacher-led insurgency
By Mark Schug, Ph.D., Sara Tarver, Ph.D. and Richard Western, Ph.D.
March 2001

Health Insurance for Public School Teachers in Wisconsin

A good value for taxpayers or a case of market abuse?
By Mark Browne, Ph.D. and Linda Leetch, Ph.D.
December 2000

The Costs and Benefits of Smaller Classes in Wisconsin

A further evaluation of the SAGE program
By Thomas Hruz
September 2000

Standards-Based Education Reform in Wisconsin

What It Will Take to Make It Work
By Mark Schug, Ph.D. and Richard Western, Ph.D.
March 2000

How School Choice Almost Died in Wisconsin

Over the last decade no issue in Wisconsin has been more closely watched here and across the country than the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program.
By Susan Mitchell
September 1999

Homeschooling in Wisconsin

A review of current issues and trends
By Robert Luebke, Ph.D.
July 1999

School to Work in Wisconsin

Inflated claims, meager results
By Mark Schug, Ph.D. and Richard Western
January 1999

The Educational Performance of Hmong Students in Wisconsin

Looking at Hmong children clearly shows that a functional, supportive family is still the single best barometer for educational success in our public schools.
By Ray Hutchison, Ph.D.
December 1997

Teaching Environmental Education to Wisconsin Teachers

A review of university course materials
By Michael Sanera
November 1997

Deregulating Teacher Training in Wisconsin

As Wisconsin grapples with the question of educational reform, one area that has not been explored is the role of the schools of education and the certification of our teachers.
By Mark Schug, Ph.D. and Richard Western, Ph.D.
June 1997

Reforming Public Education in Wisconsin

Moving from bureaucracy to accountability
By James Cibulka, Ph.D.
August 1996

The Value of Fringe Benefits and Tenure in Wisconsin

Public versus private
By Richard Cebula, Ph.D.
January 1996

Expanded School Choice in Wisconsin

A profile of eligible students and schools
By Howard Fuller and Sammis White
July 1995

The University of Wisconsin System

An agenda for the 21st century
By Daniel Alesch, Ph.D.
March 1994

Dual Education in the Madison Metropolitan School District

The perception of the Madison school district is that it is one of the top urban districts. That's why it's so perplexing to find that black students are doing as poorly as they are in Milwaukee in Racine
By Steven Korris
February 1994

Why MPS Doesn't Work

Barriers to reform in the Milwaukee Public Schools
By Susan Mitchell
January 1994

Educational Choice in Wisconsin

Public funds for private schools, early childhood through post-secondary
By Susan Mitchell
May 1993

The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

The Milwaukee Parental Choice Program is one of the most talked about issues in Wisconsin and the nation, and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is trying to kill it.
By George Mitchell
November 1992

Restructuring Wisconsin's Educational System

How effective is the Department of Public Instruction?
By James Cibulka, Ph.D.
September 1991

Challenging Our Brightest Students

A regional high school of excellence
By Sammis White and John Wagner
May 1991

Fiscal Accountability in Milwaukee's Public Elementary Schools

Where does the money go?
By Michael Fischer
September 1990

Evaluating Wisconsin's Teachers

It can be done
By Richard Bingham, Ph.D. and John Heywood, Ph.D.
December 1989

Wisconsin's Shrinking Educational Advantage

The Internal "Brain Drain" Reexamined
By William Durden, Ph.D.
October 1989

An Evaluation of State-Financed School Integration in Metropolitan Milwaukee

This study reviews the state-financed program of racial integration in metropolitan Milwaukee public schools. It addresses the cost of the program, the manner in which it has been implemented, and academic results
By George A. Mitchell
June 1989

The Lack of Confidence in Public Education in Wisconsin

A survey of how 3,000 Wisconsin residents view public education in Wisconsin
By Gordon S. Black, Ph.D.
April 1989

Educational Choice

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about mediocrity in American education and what can be done about it
By John Chubb and Terry Moe
March 1989

Wisconsin's Internal Brain Drain

The state's most valuable - and undeveloped - resource
By William Durden, Ph.D.
May 1988

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