Lakeland business prof co-authors report calling for MPS changes
Academics - posted on 6/9/2006
A Lakeland business professor has co-authored a report, released today, that says a teacher residency requirement in the Milwaukee Public Schools hurts education in Milwaukee.
Scott Niederjohn, Lakeland's Charlotte and Walter Kohler Assistant Professor of Economics and Business, co-authored the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute report with UW-Milwaukee education professor Mark Schug.
Niederjohn and Schug report that "surveys conducted with teachers-in-training -elsewhere and in Milwaukee - show that most new teachers are unwilling to seek jobs in urban districts with residency requirements." Milwaukee and Chicago are the only two among the nation's top 50 school districts that have a residency requirement.
In their survey, conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, about 62 percent of teachers-in-training reported that the residency requirement would make them less likely to seek a position in MPS. "More than 82 percent reported that they would prefer to apply for teaching positions in school districts that do not have a residency requirement."
The authors argue that, over time, a smaller applicant pool for new teachers will produce a decline in teacher quality.
Niederjohn and Schug call for the state legislature to step in and rescind the MPS teacher residency requirement.
"Rescinding it would not fix all the problems that need fixing in MPS," Niederjohn said. "But doing away with the requirement would help by enlarging the talent pool from which MPS does its hiring. Benefits would begin to accrue immediately, and they would accumulate.
"The effect over time would be substantial improvement in the quality of education provided by MPS. The state has a legitimate interest in doing what it can to secure such improvement."
A copy of the complete report is available at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute website, http://wpri.org/
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