Public Policy Forum Blog

Give the Journel Sentinel your $0.02 on MPS

Readers' forums are a nice feature on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's website. Sarah Carr's recent series on violence in MPS is the topic of a moderated forum that includes comments from several MPS students and parents. The commenters are generally thoughtful and earnest; Sarah's reporting has generated a great deal of healthy debate on a pressing issue.

The majority of comments are aimed at parents, who are seen as not fulfilling their duties to their children. One proposed solution: terminating parental rights and creating "boarding school orphanages." Believe it or not, I've heard that one before. Other comments focus on changes to the school system itself, from more security personnel to stricter enforcement of conduct codes. Of the comments I've read, the one suggestion that I haven't heard before:

Humans are motivated by many things, and schools should take full advantage of those characteristics. These include incentives that appeal to the students and punishments that don't appeal to students. Both suspensions and expulsions are not motivating to many of the students who are from low socio-economic families that do not highly value education or have given up on schools improving their lives. . . In Special Education, students have "Individual Education Plans". Perhaps parrelle [sic] to that, every child needs an "Individual Incentive Contract".

Interestingly, higher quality early childhood education hasn't come up. What would your suggestion be? Surf on over to and participate in the discussion.

Anneliese Dickman