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MPS Superintendent Pushes For Change In Wisconsin’s Largest District

Superintendent Driver Has Pushed For A Wide Array Of Reforms Throughout District

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Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Darienne Driver speaks at Marquette University
Ross Terrell/WPR

Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Darienne Driver spoke Wednesday at Marquette University Law School about issues facing the state’s largest school district.

Driver, who has been superintendent since 2014, is proposing a number of changes, including changes to the school year calendar, making MPS the only authorizer for new charter schools in the city and requiring uniforms.

Milwaukee school board members approved a district-wide uniform policy late last month, which Driver said will let kids focus on academics.

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“What’s important with this policy is there’s still the option to opt out if a school community decides this is something they don’t want,” Driver said. “But we definitely have more communities that have been asking for this than not.”

Driver said they will spend $20 per student to provide students with two shirts and a pair of pants. There have been critics of the district’s plan to spend money on uniforms, but it is necessary to make sure students are able to meet the requirements, she said.

Driver has also pushed for the district to be the sole authorizer for charter schools, claiming having one chartering entity will benefit the students more than anyone.

“The conversation for too long has been about who’s chartering with who,” she said. “What happens is people are so busy trying to figure out who they’re going to charter with (that) we’re not talking at all about how we’re going to improve student achievement.”

Currently, the city government and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee can also approve new charter schools.

Driver said MPS is able to provide special education, social work and professional development support to any school authorized.

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