Against the Wind: African Americans and the Schools in Milwaukee, 1963-2002

By Bill Dahlk | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 20
REFORM AND
PROPRIETORSHIP,
1995–2002:
A SYSTEM OF SCHOOLS EMERGES

You have to get to the point where every school community has ownership of what’s going on.

—Spence Korte, MPS Superintendent, 1999–20021


PROPRIETORSHIPS—
DIVISION AND COMPETITION

The years from 1995 through 2002 in Milwaukee were fraught with educational turmoil. Much of it involved ongoing divisions: school board factionalism related to management versus labor, and public versus private issues as well as Milwaukee versus Wisconsin conflicts, and inside reformers versus outside reformers within the black community. Yet despite the turmoil—and partly because of it—there were notable educational initiatives and changes, especially after 1997. On balance, these developments began moving Milwaukee education toward a realization of Howard Fuller’s system of schools. This particular reformer was no longer the main proprietor, but his vision was coming into place.

The net result had potential for greater African American proprietorship, but some developments had a counter effect. There was greater engagement of black elected officials and clergy in educational issues, prompted partly by a threatened state takeover of MPS. The expanded voucher and charter programs increased parental choice,

1 MJS May 30, 1999.

-595-

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