NewsLocal News


Milwaukee schools work to be equitable when students face discipline

Posted at 10:25 PM, Mar 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-09 23:25:28-05

MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee Public Schools administrators shared new data about race and discipline among its students this school year in a committee meeting Tuesday night.

MPS data shows there have been 240 behavior events this school year as almost all of its students attended class from home, compared to 40,040 last school year. The data shows of all the students who had behavior referrals this year, 63.8% are African American, 21.3% are Hispanic, and 1.7% are Asian students.

MPS says disproportionality is down 16% this year.

In a Facebook post, Black Educators Caucus MKE wrote, "Even in a pandemic, Black students are disproportionately represented in discipline events."

"It's not about bringing to us a report on how the disproportionality is coming down, it's what are we doing to sustain that over time," said MPS Board Vice President Dr. Luiz Baez.

"What do white educators need to learn about whiteness and race?" said MPS parent and educator Angela Lucas Foley. "What do Black educators need to learn about education systems that operate from a frame of whiteness?"

MPS demographic data from the 2019-2020 school year shows 51.3% of students are African American and 27% are Hispanic.

MPS administrators have been working with the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights about discipline after a report from the office found there were racial disparities in discipline going back to the 2014-2015 school year.

Administrators report they are meeting goals to be more equitable, in part by offering more anti-racism training and resources.

Teachers and parents say they want the district to keep working on this.

"As a teacher, I help to lead my school's discipline work team, and in that role I have what I think is a simple request. In order to do this work in a way that leads to quantifiable change, which is undoubtedly the goal to reduce disproportionality, our team has felt that we need feedback on the notes and minutes we are providing from these meetings," said MPS teacher Lucas Wierer. "Our group has been working for several months, but we don't get any feedback on our minutes and notes."

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip