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Collective Impact Forum;
Milwaukee's COVID-19 response has been a remarkable mobilization of resources and organizations to address needs for shelter, food, testing, Internet connection, and more. Necessity has forced such collective efforts in many cities, but Milwaukee's may be unique in the civic architecture that has been built and that may be sustained beyond the crisis.The experience in Milwaukee provides a window into a city's comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis that also offers six lessons for how collective impact initiatives can be most effective in both meeting emergency needs and pursuing systems changes.
From 2008-2017, Metro Milwaukee has benefited from rising opportunities, inspired by the vision that the community and Greater Milwaukee Foundation share for a thriving and equitable region. Milwaukee saw significant progress in education, youth development, neighborhood economic development and other areas, continuing a century-long commitment by the Foundation to strengthen the region through philanthropy. Data and stories reflecting the investment and impact of this 10-year period illustrate the shared success that is achieved through partnership among donors, community stakeholders, and the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.
Center for Popular Democracy;
The systemic criminalization of youth of color, youth with disabilities, and youth of color with disabilities in schools is one of the most blatant and egregious examples of structural racism and violence in this country. The presence of police officers, guns, handcuffs, and metal detectors in schools creates hostile teaching and learning environments that are reinforced by harsh, punitive, and exclusionaryii school discipline policies. Together these practices constitute what is widely referred to as the school-to-prison pipeline. As this report demonstrates, Milwaukee's reliance on punitive approaches to discipline is ineffective, costly, and, most troublingly, racially biased.
Public Policy Forum;
Few issues better capture the complex and controversial nature of urban problems facing Metropolitan Milwaukee than the issue of affordable housing. Encompassing matters of racial segregation, poverty and failed public-private partnerships, the Milwaukee metro area's struggle to provide a safe, decent and affordable supply of housing to low-income citizens has been a difficult one. Even before the national economic meltdown, countless reports documented the severe housing burden facing low-income citizens in Milwaukee County. That burden, combined with the scarcity of affordable housing in suburban parts of southeast Wisconsin, has cemented the region's place as one of the most racially segregated in the country. In today's economy, those problems have intensified.
Public Policy Forum;
The Public Policy Forum's role in the Audit of Greater Milwaukee's Regional Cultural Assets was to examine the fiscal condition of those cultural assets owned and/or funded by Milwaukee County: the Milwaukee Public Museum, Marcus Center for the Performing Arts, Milwaukee County War Memorial Center, Milwaukee County Historical Society, Charles Allis Museum, Villa Terrace Decorative Art Museum, Milwaukee County Cultural Artistic and Musical Programming Advisory Council, Milwaukee County Zoo and Milwaukee County Parks.
Implemented in 1994 in Milwaukee, New Hope provided full-time, low-wage workers with several benefits for three years: an earnings supplement, low-cost health insurance, and subsidized child care. A random assignment study shows positive effects for both adults and children, some of which persisted five years after the program ended.
Public Policy Forum;
This report presents an analysis of the fiscal condition of the City of Milwaukee government, applying a professional financial evaluation system of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). The city conducted this type of analysis internally during the 1990s, but it has done nothing similar this decade. In March 2009, the Forum released an evaluation of the finances of Milwaukee County also using the ICMA methodology. Milwaukee's city government currently is experiencing serious financial difficulties. The recession hit Milwaukee hard, as it has the region and state, and the negative impact on Milwaukee's businesses and property values has had financial repercussions on city coffers. In addition, the massive decline in stock prices has devalued pension investments. While ranked the second most secure public pension fund in the nation prior to the economic downturn, Milwaukee's pension fund now has an unfunded liability of more than $700 million.
Public Policy Forum;
A survey of Milwaukee Kindergarten teachers finds nearly all (97%) report they can generally tell early in the school year which children attended preschool and which did not. Teachers also feel that those who attended preschool typically perform much better in Kindergarten and at least somewhat better after that. The survey of 77 teachers of five-year-old Kindergarten (K5) in the Milwaukee public school district (MPS) also finds that most teachers (93%) feel children with preschool or four-year-old Kindergarten (K4) backgrounds are somewhat to much better prepared to enter K5 than their peers. In addition, the majority (83%) feel spending time in preschool or K4 is very important prior to entering K5. These findings hold true for teachers in schools with higher-than-average enrollments of low-income children, as well as teachers in schools with fewer low-income children.
Public Policy Forum;
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.
Public Policy Forum;
Milwaukee County government faces immediate and substantial fiscal and programmatic challenges. The county's structural deficit -- defined as the gap between expenditure needs and anticipated revenues -- is projected to grow from $48 million in 2011 to more than $106 million by 2014, despite several successive years of significant expenditure and staff reductions and anticipation of significant wage and benefit concessions in 2010. This projection is the clearest indication yet that the county's finances are crumbling and that valued services in areas like parks, transit, mental health and public safety face severe degradation without prompt and concerted action. This action could take any of several forms, including the complete elimination of Milwaukee County government. This report, commissioned by the Greater Milwaukee Committee, provides detailed analysis and perspective on the complex issues surrounding that option, as well as other potential structural changes.
Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice;
Cobb's review of this report praises it for its technically sound analysis and results that are descriptively useful. However, Cobb cautions that any real claims about whether the voucher program is actually causing higher graduation rates must depend upon a much stronger research design.
Milwaukee Succeeds is a unique effort is bringing together all the key stakeholders to support a common set of goals to improve educational outcomes for all children in the city of Milwaukee. Milwaukee and its children often end up on the wrong end of the list when it comes to education, poverty and the myriad of social and emotional issues surrounding them. To overcome these challenges, it will take a vision that all in our community embrace. After all, "success for every child, in every school" is a pretty large undertaking; one that will require a big commitment to fulfill. Milwaukee Succeeds believes our community is up for the challenge because we believe in the promise of our city. We know how hard individuals and groups are already working to improve the educational environment in Milwaukee. We have seen some dedicated efforts getting remarkable results with the children in our schools. But we also know it will take more than hard work. The work is too big for any one organization to tackle and the issues are too complex for any single group to overcome. It will take all of us -- parents, educators, community leaders, faith-based leaders, business leaders and more -- working toward our common goals. This Milestone Report lays out the challenges we face and the goals that have been set to tackle them. In the data section, the issues are outlined as they exist today - some of which may seem daunting. With each challenge, there are clear outcomes we have set to achieve by 2020. But this report also makes a promise: We pledge to work together to achieve the goals we have laid out and to fulfill our commitment to the kids. That is the spirit of Milwaukee Succeeds and all who will join forces with us to take on this important work. We are a diverse group who pledges to collaborate and to focus on issues where our collective effort can make an impact. One issue at a time, one problem at a time working across the spectrum of cradle to career is how we will see success unfold. We share the communitywide sense of urgency on improving the educational outcomes for children in our city, but we know that to create lasting change, we have to be in this for the long haul. This Milestone Report is just a starting point. It lays out the journey we have in front of us and the goals we expect to achieve along the way. We believe that by working together we all will get there. We know that by working together, we all will help Milwaukee succeed.