By Jeff Simpson
Zeus Rodriguez, cousin to Assemblywoman Jessie Rodriguez (R-Scott Jensen), has decided to go for the money.
Until recently, Rodriguez was president of Milwaukee's St. Anthony School, the country's largest K-12 Catholic school system.
The standards are so high at St. Anthony School that they hired Mr. Rodriguez to run their school, despite having zero experience in education.
He did however, have experience, and a huge conflict of interest, in running a "non-profit" Hispanics for School Choice.
How someone could run the "largest Catholic school system in the country and also run a "non-profit" especially where the two are not exactly equal is a question that needs to be asked.
A quick look at the results and that question is easily answered.
Rodriguez greatly increased the numbers of students attending St. Anthony.
He was hired by St. Anthony a year later, in 2011. Since then the school has grown from about 1,476 students in four buildings to almost 2,000 students in five buildings, plus 280 employees.Every child in the school means more and more dollars to pay for "presidents". However the one thing that Mr, Rodriguez did not deliver is results or a high quality education(despite making that his priority(wink wink)).
As president, Rodriguez said, he aimed to focus on improvement."Our model was: Let's get aggressive. Accountability. Testing. Internal reviews. Let's improve," he said.
Like most urban schools serving predominantly low-income students in Milwaukee, overall state test scores for St. Anthony were and still are low. In the fall of 2010, just 7% of children could read proficiently, and about 10% could do math on grade level.
State data shows they jumped considerably by the fall of 2013: 12% of children were proficient in reading; 19% were proficient in math. That beat the average math proficiency score for all voucher schools but was the same for reading.
St. Anthony scores about the same as Milwaukee Public Schools; score comparisons vary, depending on whether all students or just low-income students are compared
While they have improved very slightly, I would guess much of that improvement came from the extra 500+ kids they sold snake oil too and stole from the public schools.
88% of the kids in his schools are NOT proficient in reading and 81% of his students are NOT proficient in math, In most schools that is a very solid F.
It could possibly be blamed partly on the massive turnover at the school or it could be blamed on hiring a president to run a school who is a college drop out with zero experience in anything but selling Snake Oil.
Mr Rodriguez had this to say:
"I feel like I've been called to effect change for underserved kids," Rodriguez said.
The problem is we see by the (lack of ) results he has delivered for his kids and the fact he is now expanding his reach into other states (like Wisconsin), run by anti education far right ideologues, that maybe he was misquoted.
This seems a more fitting quote for Mr. Rodriguez:
"I feel like I have been called to collect change(and dollars) by taking advantage of underserved kids".