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The Malcolm X Academy building will continue to sit empty for the foreseeable future. In an attempt to prevent minority students from moving to a private school to achieve a better education, the Milwaukee Public School Board refused to sell the empty building to St. Marcus Lutheran School, one of the most successful choice schools in Milwaukee.

Such is the case for the city’s St. Marcus Lutheran School. The high-performing private school has a long waiting list for any available seats that open up, and it’s not difficult to understand why. By virtually all measures, St. Marcus Lutheran is outperforming Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) – its government-run counterpart – by a wide margin. The most telling statistic is probably the schools’ graduation rates: St. Marcus succeeds in getting a diploma into the hands of 96 percent of its students, compared to MPS’ dismal 65 percent graduation rate.

If families who qualify for the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program could flee their neighborhood government school, many of them obviously would. More than 25,000 students already have fled the district, which has caused MPS’ enrollment to crater. The attendance drop, in turn, has led to a surplus of school buildings the downsized district no longer needs.

Instead, MPS entered into a deal with a developer under which the developer would purchase the building and the MPS would rent it back and in 2 years, buy it back at double the initial selling price. And now MPS has ended the contract with the developer, adding insult to injury for St. Marcus and the countless students hopes of getting a decent education. The deal was made to keep the building from getting into the hands of any choice school.

But even refusing to sell the building to a competitor wasn’t enough for city and school leaders. They actually inserted language into the building’s deed that barred any future owners from selling the building to a charter or voucher school.

And to trap minority students:

Bender’s right. By keeping the Malcolm X Academy out of St. Marcus’ hands, an untold number of Milwaukee children will remain trapped in a subpar school, and that will have enormous ramifications on their future success as adults.



One Response

  1. Pat

    Give a chance to someone and they might actually succeed. Even those who you thought where a lost cause can turn their lives around. There’s a report showing how they housed homeless alcoholics together and gave them the choice to get their alcohol served by the staff. Thanks to that little experiment, many of these guys saw themselves in each other and quit drinking while others slowed down considerably. As for these schools, they do wonders for kids. Instead of shoving a government forced program you know where, they teach kids valuable life lessons and how to be an individual.


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