WUWM: Education Reporting

Education news is often mired in discussions about big issues — policies, budgets, political fights. WUWM’s Education Reporter Emily Files also wants to tell student’s stories and hear from parents, teachers and others helping kids succeed.

What are you curious about when it comes to education in the Milwaukee area? What do you think is missing from the education conversation in this region?

Help Emily by submitting your question below.

_

Emily Files / WUWM

It’s become common in Wisconsin for school districts to go directly to voters to ask for increased property tax funding. These school referendums have seen high approval rates in recent years.

You might think that the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic devastation would reverse the trend, but that is not what has happened this year.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated 2:31 p.m. CST

As Wisconsin enters the holiday season grappling with its most severe coronavirus spread yet, schools continue to make varied decisions about whether to teach in-person or virtually.

The statewide teachers’ union wants that to change. The Wisconsin Education Association Council is asking the state for uniform rules about when schools should close.

Emily Files / WUWM

Update 11/19 1:35 p.m.

The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is asking the state supreme court to block the city of Racine's order closing schools. The conservative law firm is representing School Choice Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, and a handful of Racine private schools that are beholden to the order, include Racine Christian School and Racine Lutheran High School. 

Emily Files / WUWM

This fall, Wisconsin public schools reported unprecedented enrollment declines — particularly in the youngest grades. Four-year-old kindergarten, also known as pre-kindergarten, shrunk by more than 8,000 students statewide, a 16% decline. Regular kindergarten enrollment is down by about 3,000, a 5% decline.

>>Kindergarten Enrollment Plummets In Wisconsin Amid Pandemic

Emily Files / WUWM

Wisconsin State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor is calling for a $1.4 billion education funding increase over the next two school years.

The Department of Public Instruction released its budget ask Monday night. It would restore the state’s commitment to fund two-thirds of school districts’ expenses. And it would put more money toward special education, mental health, students living in poverty, and English learners.

Courtesy of Georgia State University

Four southeast Wisconsin colleges have made an ambitious pledge: to close racial and income-based graduation gaps within the next 10 years.

Emily Files / WUWM

The about 70,000 students enrolled in Milwaukee Public Schools will continue with virtual learning for the foreseeable future.

>>School Year Starts Virtually For All MPS Students

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated 10/22 4:52 p.m.  

Four southeast Wisconsin schools are pledging to close racial and income gaps in college graduation by 2030.

UWM, MATC, UW-Parkside, and Carthage College are the first regional collective to join a national initiative from D.C.-based education firm EAB. The initiative is called Moon Shot for Equity.

COURTESY NAOSHI JOHNSON, JEREMIAH BAEZ AND MOO KO WAH

Back in April, WUWM talked with three Milwaukee high school seniors about how their college plans were made more uncertain by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the new school year is underway, we checked in with them to see how their plans panned out.

Emily Files / WUWM

Updated 4:17 p.m. CT

The coronavirus pandemic has taken a significant toll on school enrollment in Wisconsin – especially in the youngest grades.

Public schools lost about 25,000 students, or a 3% enrollment decline. That’s compared to roughly 0.5% declines the past two years. The biggest drop is in 4-year-old kindergarten. 4K numbers fell by about 16% this fall. Regular kindergarten enrollment fell by about 5%.

Emily Files / WUWM

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was in Waukesha Thursday to talk with families who are unhappy with virtual learning and have switched their children to different schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

School choice – or providing alternatives to traditional public schools – is a central part of DeVos’ platform. At the Waukesha roundtable event, DeVos said the pandemic has made the case for school choice even stronger.

Emily Files / WUWM

This fall, students’ college decision-making process will look different. Some colleges are still doing in-person tours, but the coronavirus has shut down most face-to-face events.

Last weekend, Cardinal Stritch University found a way to bring back the in-person connection many high school seniors are looking for as they sort through college options: a drive-thru college fair. 

Around 10 a.m. Saturday morning, cars were turning off Port Washington Road onto the main drive surrounding the Cardinal Stritch campus in Glendale.

Emily Files / WUWM

COVID-19 cases, along with hospitalizations and deaths, have reached a high point in Wisconsin. State leaders are calling it a crisis.

In response, teachers’ unions from the state’s largest districts renewed their demand Wednesday that Gov. Tony Evers and Health Secretary Designee Andrea Palm mandate distance learning for all schools. And some schools are reconsidering their initial plans.

Emily Files / WUWM

Many children in the Milwaukee area have started the school year with remote learning. But not all parents have the ability to stay home and supervise.

So, some child care programs are adapting to facilitate virtual learning. One of them is the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, which has been running child care programs throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

>>School Year Starts Virtually For All MPS Students

Courtesy of Ava Rheeve

Back in July, school districts were in the throes of deciding how to safely reopen during a pandemic. The Cedarburg School District was initially not going to require mask-wearing in its buildings. But two high school students put up a fight. 

Pages