(I can’t resist digressing to recount how I was in a math class for high-performing seniors at a major Milwaukee high school several years ago. Let’s do some warm-up questions, the teacher said. One of them was: One-third rounds off to what percentage and what decimal value? Yes, 33% and .33. A good question for, maybe, sixth-graders, in my opinion. And these were kids taking Advanced Placement courses in other subjects! Perhaps I should point out that 31% is less than a third.)
Here’s another fact: Wisconsin law requires only 13 credits to get a high school diploma, the lowest total in the country, according to the state Department of Public Instruction. Permit me to repeat that: The lowest total in the country. True, probably every school district in the state requires more than, oh, about three courses a year in high school, and no teen with hopes for university admission or for success in pursuing a wide array of other options would take such a light load. Nonetheless, this does say something about where the bar is set by the state.
All of which is to say, college readiness is a serious concern nationwide, and don’t think Wisconsin is not part of that picture. It’s not enough to graduate from high school or even to get into college. How are students going to do when they get there?