MPS superintendent joined other urban school leaders with the Council of the Great City Schools
By Karen Stokes
Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Darienne Driver along with 10 other urban public school leaders and the Council of the Great City Schools met with President Obama at the White House Monday, March 16, to discuss challenges, issues and reforms needed to improve urban public schools.
The Council of the Great City Schools is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that works to support urban school systems.
Leaders from school districts representing Oakland, San Francisco, Fresno, District of Columbia, St. Paul, Kansas City, Cleveland, Boston, El Paso and Orange County, Fla. and Milwaukee discussed successful educational strategies with the president.
“I am grateful for the opportunity we had to share the progress urban districts are making, to share the innovative practices we are putting in place to accelerate our growth and to reiterate our support for being accountable for student achievement,” said Dr. Driver in a statement.
“It was also an opportunity to express concern about the proposals to reauthorize Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that would reduce funding for many of the highest-need, highest poverty districts in the United States.”
According to a White House report, the Department of Education reports that high school graduation rates have increased more than 3 percent in the last two years for African American, American Indian, Hispanic, low-income students and students with limited English proficiency.
Being fully aware of the challenges of educating America’s children in the 21st century, President Obama has optimism for the future.
“The good news is that we are seeing, as a consequence of some of the reforms that we’ve initiated and partnered with at the state and local levels, we’re seeing improved reading scores, improved math scores, improved graduation rates.
We’re seeing improvement in some of the previously lowest-performing schools,” the president said.
“And this organization, I think has taken on the challenge and has been able to begin a process of turning school districts around and making sure that young people are getting the kind of education that they need to be able to compete in the 21st century.”
“On the whole, our message as a group was that urban districts are making steady progress and implementing efforts to accelerate that growth,” Dr. Driver said.
“Any effort to shift funds from high-need districts to less needy schools-as some ESEA re-authorization proposals would, risks reversing that progress.”
“As the president said Monday, continuing to invest in our children is something worth fighting for,” said Driver.