Where is the outrage on Wisconsin‘s achievement gap? And Madison…

Alan Borsuk:

There was not much reaction and certainly no surge of commitment and effort.

Jump ahead to now. Everything that was true in 2004 remains true.

NAEP scores come out generally every two years and a new round was released a few days ago. The scores for Wisconsin stayed generally flat and were unimpressive. Wisconsin’s ranking compared to other states has slid gradually for many years. Broken down by ethnic and racial groups, Wisconsin does worse than the national averages in every grouping, including that white kids do worse than white kids nationwide.

But other places are making more progress than Wisconsin, and that, too, has been true for years. If you’re into this subject, you are betting I’m about to mention Massachusetts and Florida. You win. Both of those states have been determined, consistent, and rigorous overall in pursuing strategies to improve reading scores. They are far from perfect, but we ought to be learning more from them.

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results, despite spending more than most, now nearly $20,000 per student.

Wisconsin, unlike Massachusetts, has just one (barely) teacher content knowledge requirement, manifested by the Foundations of Reading examination.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has recently attempted to “dumb down” the Foundations of Reading requirement. The DPI is lead by Tony Evers, who is also running for governor.

A Capitol conversation on Wisconsin’s reading challenges (2011!).

“Too often, according to Mark Seidenberg’s important, alarming new book, “Language at the Speed of Sight,” Johnny can’t read because schools of education didn’t give Johnny’s teachers the proper tools to show him how”.