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The Success of Milwaukee Succeeds

In order to deepen commitment and find ways to scale what works for our children to help them succeed in life from cradle to career, Milwaukee Succeeds leadership focused on finding solutions in a day-long, intensive retreat. Research shows the ability to read proficiently by the 3rd grade is critical for success down the road. Therefore, Milwaukee has put much time and energy to figuring out what works; focusing on Reading Foundations in early grades allows children to develop a strong set of skills allowing them to build confidence and to flourish in all subjects. Not surprisingly, a young reader is developed at home, in the classroom, and with the help of a qualified tutor. Adopted from Minnesota, an evidence-based tutoring program called Wisconsin Reading Corps has seen great success in its first two years of operation in Milwaukee. But we are not reaching enough kids through philanthropic contributions alone, so a number of people who care about education across the political divides came together to solve the issue.

Did we do it? We will know soon. Tim Sheehy came up with a great political strategy to reposition funding in the proposed state budget. Dr. Darienne Driver, Dr. Vicki Martin, Mark Mone and Michael Lovell made a commitment to extend training in Reading Foundations across all the political divides to include every K-3 teacher in Milwaukee.

This is the big success of Milwaukee Succeeds. It is coordination, cooperation and partnership. It is the trust to create sustainable change. It is the opportunity to set aside differences in philosophy for all children and the commitment to find the resources. Milwaukee Succeeds work across all sectors is a major step forward.

We've been at this political war for so many years. And we still struggle to educate our children because we can't isolate education from the broader systems of poverty, crime, incarceration and violence.

Yet despite the war, we see individual successes school by school though not as a community or as a broader system.

Dr. Jill Biden visited Bradley Tech at the invitation of Dr. Vicki Martin, President of MATC and Bradley Tech Commission President on Friday prior to giving the commencement address at MATC. The Bradley Tech students are amazing whether they are welding, creating CNC patterns on Illustrator, creating apps or working on automated processes in Project Lead the Way. Seeing and talking with the students grounds us in all the potential that goes beyond politics, scores and stereotypes. It grounds us in the future.

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