Shifting Gears Approach to Systems Change, The

Education and Literacy, Government Reform

Shifting Gears Approach to Systems Change, The

Evaluates the Shifting Gears initiative to strengthen state postsecondary, adult basic education, and skills development systems through data, policy change, engagement, and communications. Focuses on the logic model and the policy agenda and action plan.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois, Asia (Southeastern)-India, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Michigan, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin

Public Schooling in Southeastern Wisconsin

Education and Literacy

Public Schooling in Southeastern Wisconsin

For the 23rd consecutive year, the Public Policy Forum has compiled and analyzed data from Southeastern Wisconsin's school districts in order to better inform policymakers and the public about progress-or lack thereof-on commonly utilized measures of academic achievement. This year's analysis of the 2008-09 academic year indicates cause for encouragement in some areas, but also cause for significant concern.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin (Southeastern), North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee

High Cost of Wisconsin's Dropout Rate, The

Education and Literacy

High Cost of Wisconsin's Dropout Rate, The

Outlines the scope of the high school dropout problem in Wisconsin and dropouts' risk of unemployment, health problems, and incarceration. Estimates costs to the state through reduced tax revenues, increased Medicaid costs, and high incarceration rates.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin

Principal Concerns in Wisconsin: Focus on Future Leaders for Rural Schools

Education and Literacy

Principal Concerns in Wisconsin: Focus on Future Leaders for Rural Schools

States need, among other things, to build detailed longitudinal data systems for principals like the ones they use to track teachers and students. But in some places those types of systems are still a long way off. In the meantime, system leaders can examine the administrative data they already have to paint a basic picture of their principal workforce, one that can help prompt deeper questions and discussions about the challenges and opportunities they face.

This Principal Concerns brief offers an example of this type of analysis for Wisconsin. Why should Wisconsin be concerned about its principal workforce? After all, by some measures, the state's schools are doing well. Wisconsin's NAEP scores, for example, are consistently higher than the national average.

Yet there is still much work to be done to ensure that all students achieve at high levels, and strong leadership is key to that success. Under the state's recently revamped accountability system, 266 schools across the state are not meeting performance expectations. In Milwaukee Public Schools, the state's largest school system, only 21 percent of schools met or exceeded the state's expectations.

Wisconsin will need to pursue a range of strategies and levers to improve results for all of its students. One important improvement strategy is to ensure that districts are recruiting, developing, and retaining good principals. Where there are many early- to mid-career principals, states need to emphasize professional development. But where there is an approaching wave of retirements, states should focus more heavily on recruiting and preparing new leaders.

To identify Wisconsin's specific needs, we need to answer these questions: How many principals are near retirement eligibility? How is retirement eligibility distributed across schools and locations? How are experienced and new principals distributed across school types?

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin

Continuous Improvement in Education

Education and Literacy

Continuous Improvement in Education

In recent years, 'continuous improvement' has become a popular catchphrase in the field of education. However, while continuous improvement has become commonplace and well-documented in other industries, such as healthcare and manufacturing, little is known about how this work has manifested itself in education.

This white paper attempts to map the landscape of this terrain by identifying and describing organizations engaged in continuous improvement, and by highlighting commonalities and differences among them. The findings classify three types of organizations engaged in continuous improvement: those focused on instructional improvement at the classroom level; those concentrating on system-wide improvement; and those addressing collective impact. Each type is described in turn and illustrated by an organizational case study. Through the analysis, six common themes that characterize all three types of organizations (e.g., leadership and strategy, communication and engagement, organizational infrastructure, methodology, data collection and analysis, and building capacity) are enumerated.

This white paper makes four concluding observations. First, the three case studies provide evidence of organizations conducting continuous improvement work in the field of education, albeit at different levels and in different ways. Second, entry points to continuous improvement work are not mutually exclusive, but are nested and, hence, mutually informative and comparative. Third, continuous improvement is not synonymous with improving all organizational processes simultaneously; rather, research and learning cycles are iterative and gradual in nature. Fourth, despite being both iterative and gradual, it is imperative that improvement work is planned and undertaken in a rigorous, thoughtful, and transparent fashion.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southern)-Maryland-Montgomery County, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Waukesha County-Menomonee Falls, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio-Hamilton County-Cincinnati

New regulations impacting school choice program: School closures up, number of new schools down

Education and Literacy

New regulations impacting school choice program: School closures up, number of new schools down

Between the 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years, fewer new schools joined the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) than ever before. In addition, 13 MPCP schools closed and another three schools merged - the most year-over-year closures the program has seen. In this 12th edition of the Public Policy Forum's annual census of MPCP schools, we find 112 schools are participating in the choice program, enrolling 21,062 students using taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers. The number of full-time equivalent students using vouchers is greater than in any other year of the program's 19-year history; however, there are fewer schools participating today than earlier this decade.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin-Milwaukee County-Milwaukee

2011 LIFE (Leading Indicators For Excellence) Study Regional Report

Community and Economic Development;Education and Literacy;Housing and Homelessness

2011 LIFE (Leading Indicators For Excellence) Study Regional Report

Provides data on ten quality-of-life indicators, including cost of living, schools, health care, economy, nonprofit/volunteer sector, outdoor activities and community events, family-oriented environment, and safety, in Wisconsin's lower Fox River region.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste. Fraud and Abuse

Education and Literacy

Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste. Fraud and Abuse

This report echoes a warning from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General. The report draws upon news reports, criminal complaints and more to detail how, in just 15 of the 42 states that have charter schools, charter operators have used school funds illegally to buy personal luxuries for themselves, support their other businesses, and more. The report also includes recommendations for policymakers on how they can address the problem of rampant fraud, waste and abuse in the charter school industry. Both organizations recommend pausing charter expansion until these problems are addressed.

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Southwestern)-Arizona, North America-United States (Southern)-Louisiana, North America-United States (Southern)-Florida, North America-United States (Southern)-District of Columbia-Washington, North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York, North America-United States (Western)-Hawaii, North America-United States (Western)-Colorado, North America-United States (Western)-California, North America-United States (Northeastern)-New Jersey, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Wisconsin, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Ohio, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Minnesota, North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois, North America-United States (Southwestern)-Texas

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