However, committee chair Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, challenged critics of the bill, including DPI, to come forward with a proposal to address reading readiness.
“I’ve got to tell you, I’m getting tired of this. The current way we teach reading in the state of Wisconsin, almost across the entire board, that castle has been ruling the kingdom for 30-some years and the castle walls have been breached in other states and it’s about to happen here,” he said. “It’s time to join up or get out of the way or at least go neutral.”
Statewide testing released in September 2019 by DPI found that for students in grades 3-8 and grade 11, 39.3% of students tested proficient or better in English/language arts in 2018-19, down from 40.6% in 2017-18.
The round of testing found that the state’s persistent racial academic achievement gap had narrowed due to a drop in performance among white students. For example, white students in fifth grade dropped 4.6 percentage points in English/language arts proficiency compared to a 1.6 percentage-point decrease for Black students in fifth grade.
In the eighth grade, the percentage of Black students scoring proficient or advanced in English/language arts rose 2 percentage points to 12.1%, while the percentage of white students in that group dropped 1.1 percentage points. But the proficiency difference is still separated by a 30-point gap.
“For too long, Wisconsin’s K-12 system has churned out too many students who are not proficient in reading, causing a workforce crisis,” CJ Szafir, president of the conservative Institute for Reforming Government, said in an email. “The ‘Roadmap to Reading Success’ bill transforms our childhood literacy policies by equipping parents and teachers with the information they need in order to ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed.”
2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results
My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results
Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.