“I think our track record is pretty good,” Evers said, citing decreased suspensions and expulsions, increased number of students taking college-level courses while still in high school and modest increases in reading proficiency.
“Is it where we want? Absolutely not,” he said.
Reading a key issuefor Humphries
The state’s reading proficiency levels have been a key issue for Humphries, who has said the DPI must have new leadership in order to improve those levels and students’ skills in other subjects.
Since the early 2000s, Wisconsin’s ranking for reading skills has dropped, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
He said DPI is not aggressive enough in translating their priorities to school officials in an effort to combat some persistent academic problems.
“Unless DPI is held accountable in making sure schools understand the importance … we’re not likely to have an impact, Humphries said. “We’ve seen that with academic achievement gaps.”
Humphries and Holtz have proposed writing new state academic standards, and Humphries said he would introduce a process that would allow persistently low-performing schools to be converted into new ones under new administration, including private voucher schools and charter schools, as long school boards agree.