Erin Richards

Erin Richards is an education reporter and editor at The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. She completed this article with support from the Spencer Fellowship in Education Reporting at Columbia University. 

Recent Articles

Milwaukee’s Voucher Verdict

What 26 years of vouchers can teach the private-school choice movement—if only it would listen

AP Photo/Darren Hauck
This article appears in the Winter 2017 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . Tromain Collier was looking for work last year when he heard about an opening at Ceria M. Travis Academy, a private K–12 school in Milwaukee where student tuition was funded by taxpayers. He was hired and started at the beginning of October. Collier, 33, had an online bachelor’s degree in business and experience as a security guard and basketball coach. He figured teaching couldn’t be that much harder. He was assigned to teach a split class of third- and fourth-graders. The school, he says, offered him no curriculum and no record of what the previous teachers had taught. He started punching search terms into the computer such as “third grade reading” and “Common Core”—academic standards he’d heard of on the news. The classroom bookshelf held a total of five science books, which Collier recognized from his own elementary school days...