So we did our own look at reading scores at all Milwaukee schools fitting the 80/80 description, including high schools and separate elementary and middle schools that include smaller groupings of grades. Our main data source: the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
Why are officials focusing on these schools at all?
High-poverty schools tend to have lower achievement than low-poverty schools. Milwaukee’s highest-poverty schools serve racial minorities. Milwaukee’s black students post some of the lowest achievement scores nationally among black students nationwide in certain grades and subjects.
To the numbers
Under Tyson’s approach, the K-8 schools, we found 57 that met the criteria.
Their average schoolwide reading proficiency score: 7.9 percent.
In the broader pool of schools, which tallied 95 schools, the average was 7.3 percent.
So the 8 percent claim is on target.
Of course, this is the reading average based on the collective reading proficiency at each school. It doesn’t mean every school came in at the overall school average of 7.3 percent.
Five schools, for example, had not a single pupil score proficient in reading on the state tests, which are administered to students in third through eighth grades, and once in high school, in 10th grade. The state assigned those schools a 0 percent score.
On the other end of the scale, the best reading proficiency score at an 80/80 school was 21 percent at Hartford Avenue University School in MPS. Second (20 percent) was Franklin School, also in MPS. St. Marcus Lutheran was third (19 percent).
Madison, too, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.