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Bridges to Postsecondary Success: An analysis of specialized curricula in the Milwaukee Public Schools

The Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) is Wisconsin’s largest school district, with a population of nearly 80,000 students.  It also is an extremely diverse district from the perspectives of race, economics and academics. The district faces significant challenges, therefore, as well as significant opportunities in adopting comprehensive strategies to promote long-term success for all students.

With the recent state and local policy shifts toward greater accountability for post-graduation outcomes, many school districts have been looking for effective curricular options to promote college and career readiness. As a result, school administrators have begun to emphasize postsecondary-aligned curricula, including specialized programs such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Project Lead the Way.  In addition, MPS has invested heavily in career and technical education offerings in recent years. This study analyzes the effect of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Project Lead the Way, and career and technical education on college-going behavior over a recent four-year period.