Those results are the reality of the independent charter schools in Milwaukee compared to traditional public schools, according to the latest data released by DPI on school performance. By state law, charter schools are public schools and must accept all students, and hold a random lottery for open seats. Charter schools also serve a similar rate of low-income children as MPS, based on the percentage of students identified for free and reduced lunch benefits (81% for independent charters and 84% for MPS, respectively).
About 29% of students attending independent charter schools in Milwaukee last year were proficient or advanced in math on the WKCE, compared to about 19% in the traditional public schools. The gap in reading proficiency is smaller, with charter schools around 6% higher in proficiency rates than Milwaukee Public Schools.
2012-2013 School Year WKCE Advanced and Proficient Rates
While certainly there is much more work to be done to give students across our city and state the educational outcomes they deserve, the recent data show that independent charter schools in Milwaukee are having a positive impact on the futures of our students, and remain the highest-performing sector of public schools in the city.
Schools such as Bruce Guadalupe Community School, which serves a population of 78% students receiving free and reduced lunch benefits, exceed the statewide averages for math proficiency. Much can be learned from several of these high-performing schools, and these schools should be recognized and their processes disseminated to others.