Monday, May 07, 2007

Violence, the schools and the community

If you want to understand what is behind the violence that seems to in the Milwaukee Public Schools, read researcher Lois Quinn's "New Indicators of Neighborhood Need in Zipcode 53206."

It's in there, behind that rather dry title.

The violence that is occuring in MPS is changing, which Sarah Carr is capturing in her series on school violence. It's not the number of incidents -- it's the degree of anger behind the incidents, the attacks on MPS staff, and the involvement of parents and other family members in fights.

What Quinn, senior secientist at UWM's Employment and Training Institute, shows clearly is that part of the city is falling apart, economically and socially. MPS has 6,872 students who live in the 53206 zip code. This broken part of the city accounts for almost 8% of the district's enrollment.

Here is some of the data in Quinn's report. And what, if not dysfunction and despair, do we expect to be the result?
  • The number of individuals being released from state adult correctional facilities in zipcode 53206 grew dramatically, from 201 in 1993 to 879 in 2005, a 336% increase. Many subsequently return to prison.
  • Just 4% of the released population living in 53206 had a driver's license with no suspensions or revocations.
  • For the 30- to 34-year old age group, 21% of the men from 53206 are reported in a state DOC facility, another 42% were previously incarcerated in a state correctional facility, and only 38% were never in an adult state correction facility.
  • The incarceration rate leads to huge imbalances in the numbers of men and women. By their early twenties, the number of males in zipcode 53206 is only 74% of the number of women. In the 30- to 34-year-old group, the male population is just 64% as large as the female population.
  • Housing prices rose sharply in the past three years, while the total adjusted gross income of working age tax filers decreased 10.5% between 2000 and 2005. When inflation is factored in, real incomes droped 18.5% over those five years.
  • 60 subprime lenders were doing business in 53206 in 2004 and 2005. Subprime housing loans in the zipcode neighborhood totaled $55 million during those two years. Now, though, the higher interest rates have kicked in and people are losing their homes. In January, zipcoce 53206 accounted for 75 -- or 20% -- of the 377 foreclosure cases in Milwaukee County Circuit Court.
  • There were just 449 married tax files with dependents out of the 5,273 income tax filers who reported dependents in 2005. There were 684 single tax filers with dependents who reported incomes of less than $5,000, and another 985 with incomes under $10,000.
  • The number of businesses in the area droped from 210 in 1994 to 180 in 2000, then rose to 218 in 2003 before falling to 200 in 2004. The increase from 2000 to 2004 is apparently due to an increase in the number of child care centers operating in the neighborhood.
  • 90% of the jobs in 53206 are held by people who don't live there.
If we try real hard, we can just keep not paying attention.

1 comment:

mjonthemove said...

Great work. This makes a ton of sense.