New Book Examines Segregation and Education in Milwaukee

New Wisconsin Historical Society Press release not only provides insight into the effects of Milwaukee’s segregation on the education of its children, it could be a great study for writers who are interest in this subject. The author speaks tomorrow (Nov. 20) at Boswell Book Company whose owner Daniel Goldin was honored with CWW’s 2014 Christopher Latham Sholes Award, which is present to an individual or organization for “outstanding encouragement of Wisconsin writers.”

New Book Details Tumultuous History of ‘Educating Milwaukee’
Educating Milwaukee by James K. NelsenThe history of American public education has been arduous and exciting, controversial and celebrated, and perhaps nowhere more so than in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From segregation and school choice to debates over funding and curriculum guidelines, Milwaukee has been a national epicenter for educational changes and choices. In his new Wisconsin Historical Society Press book, Educating Milwaukee: How One City’s History of Segregation and Struggle Shaped Its Schools, Dr. James K. Nelsen chronicles Milwaukee’s unique struggle for integration and quality education and traces the origins of the modern school choice movement, which has been growing in strength throughout the United States.
Nelsen follows Milwaukee’s tumultuous education history through three eras: “no choice,” “forced choice,” and “school choice.” He details the story of Milwaukee’s choice movement through to modern times. Today, Milwaukee families have more schooling options than ever — with charter schools, open enrollment, state-funded vouchers, and neighborhood schools — and yet Milwaukee’s impoverished African American students still struggle to succeed and stay in school.
“Educating Milwaukee” also shares how competing visions of equity and excellence have played out in one city’s schools in the modern era, offering both a cautionary tale and a “choice” example. The book will be available in bookstores everywhere and online retailers later this month. An e-book edition will also be available.
Join author and educator Dr. James K. Nelsen for a discussion of the unique story of “Educating Milwaukee” and the city’s ongoing struggles for integration and quality education, including school-choice, at a special book launch event Friday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m. at Boswell Book Company, 2559 N. Downer Ave., Milwaukee. There will be time for audience questions. A book signing will follow.
Media: For a review copy of “Educating Milwaukee,” to interview the author, or for more information, please contact Kristin Gilpatrick, Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 816 State St., Madison, WI 53706; 608-264-6465; email:
The Wisconsin Historical Society Press, publishing the best of
Wisconsin history and culture since 1855 as a division of the Wisconsin Historical Society
About the Author
James K. Nelsen has a PhD in urban history from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and teaches high school social studies at Golda Meir School in Milwaukee, a public magnet school for college-bound students in grades 3 through 12. As a lifelong resident of Milwaukee, he finds the history of the city fascinating, from its early days in the mid-nineteenth century to the modern challenges of urban life today. As a teacher, he enjoys researching the history of education from colonial times to the present. When not teaching or researching, he enjoys volunteering with youth groups, exploring his city, and following his beloved Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.

More about the Council for Wisconsin Writers and its awards is at CWW is accepting entries for its 2015 awards. Entry deadline is Feb. 1, 2016.


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