Last November I wrote about the different types of charter schools operating in Wisconsin. My hope was to list in one place a simple description of a reform model that people often find confusing.
Today I am going to dig a little deeper into the demographic profile of Milwaukee’s independent charter school sector. In 2011-2012 18 independent charter schools operated in Milwaukee. Seven were authorized by the City of Milwaukee, and 11 were authorized by UWM.
Below is a comparison of the demographics of independent charter school students with the demographics of Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) students. All data is from the Department of Public Instruction.
- City of Milwaukee: 2,431
- UWM: 4,299
- City and UWM: 6,730
- MPS: 79,130
Percentage of Minority Students
- City of Milwaukee: 95.9%
- UWM: 92.8%
- City and UWM: 94.0%
- MPS: 85.8%
Percentage of Low-Income Students
- City of Milwaukee: 81.0%
- UWM: 80.3%
- City and UWM: 80.6%
- MPS: 83.5%
Percentage of Special Needs Pupils
- City of Milwaukee: 11.2%
- UWM: 8.2%
- City and UWM: 9.3%
- MPS: 19.7%
I have three takeaways from this information:
1) Independent charter schools, like schools in MPS and the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, are serving an overwhelmingly low-income minority population.
2) There are no significant demographic differences between the students attending City and UWM charters.
3) Independent charter schools enroll a smaller percentage of students eligible for special education services compared to MPS.