Boots & Sabers

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1910, 18 Sep 19

Looking at School Performance

Pathetic. Just pathetic.

Just four out of ten K-12 students are proficient in math and English language arts, according to new data from Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI). Statewide, only 40.9 percent of all students are proficient or advanced in English language arts, down from 42.4 percent last year. In math, only 43.4 percent of all students show proficiency, a small decrease from last year’s 43.8 percent. According to DPI, a student who rates “proficient” means simply that the student is performing at grade level.

More than one-third of students, 34.4 percent, scored basic on the English languages arts section, while 23.2 percent scored below basic. A larger portion of students received scores of below basic compared to last year, showing a troubling decline in achievement. Millions more dollars have been sent to classrooms in recent budgets, including an increase of more than $655 million in the 2019-21 budget, on top of a $630 million increase in 2017-19. Student enrollment has remained stagnant. 

In social students, 49 percent of students demonstrated proficiency, down from last year’s proficiency of 50.6 percent. Science results were not reported this year because of a change in tested topics.

The results come from the spring 2019 administration of the Forward Exam, which is the fourth time Wisconsin students have taken the test. Nearly 589,000 students in 3rd through 11th grade took the exam. Participation was 98 percent for public school students, and 90.6 percent for private school choice students. 


1910, 18 September 2019


  1. Mar

    These so called tests have been killing education since Bush 2. Now, teachers try to teach to the test instead teaching overall academics. And if the teacher doesn’t get to what is on the test, well, then, those kids are screwed on the test.
    Then, they are including special education kids and non- English speakers who are mandated to take the test, lowering the test scores.

  2. Owen

    If they are teaching to the test, then they really suck at it.

  3. Merlin

    All the tests do is quantify the failure. Relief from testing is not relief from failure. Basic proficiency is not being met. If all the teachers are doing is teaching to tests meant to measure nothing more than basic proficiency and still failing, then the total scope of classroom failure becomes even more spectacular. Time to find some new excuses. And lowering standards to fudge the numbers higher shouldn’t even be an option.

  4. Jason

    Thank god for those Choice programs actually pulling up the statewide trends.  Think how bad it would look if the liberals could actually get rid of school choice!  5-10% lower overall !

  5. Mar

    Merlin and Owen, if the teacher falls behind in teaching to the test, that automatically ensures a lower score on the test.
    And there can be many reasons why they fall behind. There can be behavior issues, language issues, weather issues, academic issues, attendance problems and more. Its not cut and dry.

  6. Merlin

    This downward trending failure is nothing recent and neither are the issues, problems, and excuses used to explain it all away. Public education is a monopolistic, quasi-governmental industry immune to market forces and practically void of credible oversight. Teachers catch the heat for failure directly because they’re the public face, which may not be fair, but they are the folks in direct contact with the children who are not meeting expectations and they’ve gone right along with the industry’s decades-old, self-enriching, mo’ money-mo’ money failed solutions. Proficiency testing using credible standards is proving that the public education industry is generally incapable of policing itself.

  7. Pat

    I have to agree with Professor Marbles. Another factor that plays heavily into this is environmental. You could probably throw as much choice, and market driven force into the education system but unless the issues that plague the inner cities, and economically depressed areas, I fail to see any mass improvement. And, I don’t have an answer for it.

  8. dad29

    Ah, “economically depressed”!!

    Sure.  Back in 1932 or so, all the chilluns failed all the tests because economic depression.  Right?

    THE answer:  fatherless homes.

  9. Pat

    What’s a chillun? Is that street talk like, I be chillun?

    1/4 of children are being raised in fatherless homes. That maybe a part of the problem. They are 4x more likely to be raised in poverty.

    So, what do you think the solution is?

  10. Kevin Scheunemann


    A return to Christian values, which means the godless schools need to be reformed to toss the godless liberal religions out of them.

  11. Pat


    That sounds simple enough. Problem solved.

  12. Kevin Scheunemann


    Of course, as you know, the liberal godless religion, deeply entrenched in public schools, will be difficult to get out of the mindset and curriculum.

    Best to introduce a competitive free market school model rather than reform something that may not accept reform.

  13. Pat

    Yup. Sounds like a simple solution. Thanks.

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