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MPS and RUSD respond to 2-star rating on state report card

Posted at 8:54 PM, Nov 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-12 21:54:06-05

MILWAUKEE — Most Wisconsin schools and districts meet or exceed expectations according to the latest round of state report cards, but two local districts do not fit into those categories.

Milwaukee Public Schools and Racine Unified School District both got 2-star ratings, that's out of 5, meaning they "meet few expectations."

The Department of Public Instruction released the report cards on Tuesday morning. The scores center on four areas: student achievement, school growth, closing gaps between student groups, and students on track for postsecondary readiness.

MPS's overall score went up from 57 in the 2017-18 school year to 58.4 in the 2018-19 school year. The district was docked 5 points for their absenteeism rate.

Superintendent Dr. Keith Posley highlighted top-ranked schools, such as Milwaukee Excellence and Milwaukee College Prep, but says overall attendance and poverty are some of their biggest challenges.

"This is growth in progress. You can see we are trending in the right direction. We are going in the right direction. Growth takes time," said Posley.

Alexander Johnson grew up in MPS. Now his 11-year-old son is an MPS student, so it is important to Johnson that the schools and the district do well.

"Especially with like school choice the school choice program is becoming larger my kid doesn't have to go to MPS. So we can take him to another school district, but I like my school. I like MPS. This is our community," said Johnson.

Racine Unified School District received a 2-star rating. Their overall score dropped from 58 in the 2017-18 school year to 56.8 in the 2018-19 school year. RUSD Superintendent Dr. Eric Gallien released the following statement in response to the report card:

While we are disappointed our overall District score did not go up (this is attributed to a 5-point deduction for chronic absenteeism) we are pleased to see fewer schools in the failing category. In addition, we celebrate the following:

- All three comprehensive high schools, Case, Horlick and Park, saw increases in their scores, with two of them (Horlick & Park) moving into higher categories. As we look to the first graduating class of the Academies of Racine we can see it’s working. The focus and purpose of the Academies of Racine are to engage high school students, making learning come alive through hands-on, relevant work and exposing our students to more opportunities that prepare them for post-secondary success.
- Three schools moved up into higher categories, while 12 schools improved their score from last year.
- We averaged 81.1 points (out of 100) for On Track and Post Secondary Readiness. That means RUSD saw higher graduation rates and steady attendance from last year to this year.
- We are closing the gap. We saw growth in our Closing the Gap score, up 2.8 points from last year.
- We have higher District growth this year than last year in both English Language Arts and Math.

One of the biggest challenges we see is absenteeism. We’re heading in the right direction – our schools are trending up. However, we are seeing significant reductions on our report card for chronic absenteeism. We must partner with our parents and community on this issue to make sure our kids get to school every day.

Check your school or school district's report card here