I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
So I was emailed a PDF version of the April 2012 edition of the Milwaukee Magazine with this email message.
I don’t want to say this is the smoking gun, but this shows Cudahy is going backwards and in the wrong direction not only with City Government, but with Schools. We don’t do hardly anything to entice better students and seem to model our School District to lower incomes and average to below average students. I think we worry about the average and below average and toss the above average in a utility closet with a sign on the door that says “Some Day we will get to you and care about you!”
You can read or download the Milwaukee Magazine here. (HT Erik Brooks)
Another person emailed me this about the info and study:
“Randy contact the Super about this:
I would be interested in seeing his response. Almost highest per pupil spending, almost smallest student - teacher ratio, and poop results. Unfortunately, this does not surprise me.”
Another person emailed me this:
“Clearly, spending money doesn’t solve the problems where Cudahy is #2 in dollars per student but second to last on the list.
The lunch assistance program percentage of 45% seems out of whack.
The average Cudahy income is not far off the WI average income. I know there are many students that claim they are living with their grandparents or relative and go to Cudahy schools. This means they would qualify for the lunch programs. I’ve also seen this problem before where the administrators and PTA think the solution out of their money problems is to strive to increase the amount of federal tax dollars they get from the "under privileged."
Page 73 an advertisement from the town of Shorewood, as I’ve said families move to an area because of sports and the education. They don’t move there because of car lots and taverns. Notice the udder silence on all of the school issues from PTAs in the area?
Goes with my complete disdain for PTAs as they are just fund raising arms of the school boards now.”
So I decided to ask Superintendent Heiden:
Any thoughts of Cudahy ranking second from last in this report?
Here is what Superintendent Heiden replied.
Here's my take on the article. First and foremost I am always suspect of the data. For example they list that we have 5 AP courses. Not true. We actually offer 9 AP courses. Not all of them run at any given time due to student interest. I have someone checking on the other figures that they reported as well. I am not sure why we would be listed as the second highest district on per pupil spending.
The real issue I have with the ranking is that it does not take poverty (social economic standing) in to account. Notice that all of the lowest ranked districts have the highest poverty rates. I do like the article on the next page where they applied a statistical model to predict how districts should perform based on the WKCE data. We over-performed which would resonate with us given all of the efforts we currently employ in our district in an effort to raise the bar. We really think we are heading in the right direction. It has been a long haul but one that is definitely worth it.
Our teachers and administrators work extremely hard on a daily basis to make our district a district to be proud of.
So, all in all, I think the ranking and the article is a mixed bag.
School District of Cudahy
2915 E. Ramsey Ave
A few more emails:
I am a Cudahy School teacher and have chosen to conceal my identity from you. I read your blog as do many people and I hear that you are going to be talking about the Milwaukee School District ranking that shows Cudahy in almost last place. You fail to understand that Cudahy does the best with what we have and if we didn’t have so many transients and could entice high income earners to move to Cudahy things would turnaround.”
Poverty is the elephant in the room with the City of Cudahy..... the School District is doing good work with a tough demographic.”
An email from Superintendent Heiden to the schools -
“Cudahy was featured in the March issue of Milwaukee Magazine. I have attached the PDF of the article....
While we continue to rank near the bottom for area schools it is good to see that we are considered "over-performers" when they factor in poverty.
I am extremely proud of this accomplishment. I understand that it did not happen without a lot of hard work and effort on the part of all of you. Thank you for your contributions to the students and families of Cudahy.
Addition from email-
Randy, I’m hesitant to respond directly to Heather on your blog about the PTA.
I mean what the group of people do to get some fun things for the kids around the school is fine, I guess. But do you really need the PTA moniker? Call it what it is, a school fundraiser non-taxable org.
And not all the funds go to kids’ activities, right. They go sometimes (often) to things the district should be providing for education tools. She says the PTA isn’t a political org, yet the PTA describes itself as an advocate for children's education. The PTA dues go directly to DC for lobbying. As an advocate for children, perhaps they should be looking at the books of the district.
I’m sorry for speaking bluntly, but I think many people are beginning to see the same thing. PTA, girl scouts, boy scouts - these are not the organizations we all grew up with. They are fundraising arms of the national groups now.
Further, I believe local PTAs have district organized PTAs that have the expertise and experience to be the ones making sure the children are educated - not that parents are buying enough gift wrap. Or maybe I’m just cynically ever since Harper Valley PTA made that mom stop wearing short skirts.