Excerpt: There aren't as many positive stories about closing the achievement gaps between black and white students as anyone would like, but here's one - and it's from right under our noses.
Brown Deer is a changing community and school district. If that label carries negative weight with you, look at some of the good things happening in Brown Deer, specifically, that the schools are responding well to challenges and getting results.
Here are a few facts that may surprise you:
Fewer than a third of the students at Brown Deer High School are white. Just under half are African-American and the rest are Asian, Hispanic or in a fairly new category, "two or more" races or ethnic groups. The white percentage for the district was 75% in 1995-'96, 46% in 2006-'07 and 32% this year. The proportion of students who are low-income - defined as qualifying for free or reduced price lunch - went from 22% five years ago to 39% this year.
Here's a claim that, to my knowledge (and the knowledge of Brown Deer school officials), no other district in Wisconsin can make: On this year's state tests, black 10th-graders in Brown Deer did better in reading than Wisconsin students as a whole. To be specific, 84.2% of Brown Deer's black sophomores were rated proficient or advanced in reading. For all students in the state, the figure was 78.1%. For all black Wisconsin 10th-graders, it was 47.7%.