In hopes of revving up readership, I invited Miley Cyrus to join in presenting the annual Wisconsin education awards. But she was busy lowering standards of public decency in America, so you’ll have to put up with me. How boring — but this year wasn’t boring for Badger state education, so let’s get right to the 2015 honors.
The Everyone Gets an A Award. This goes to Wisconsin’s messed up standardized testing system for 2014-’15. Wondering how kids are doing in your community’s schools? So am I! So is everyone! Maybe they’re all doing great.
The launch of what was called the Badger Exam was awful. And the test was killed off before it really came to life. There were screw ups in several big ways. Now, at the end of 2015, no scores have been released publicly. (They’re coming soon, I’m told. Great. And we have a new state test coming in the spring. Also great.) This also kiboshed the state report cards for schools for the past year. From a public accountability standpoint, 2014-’15 might as well not have happened.
The Hail Mary Award. No, it doesn’t go to Aaron Rodgers for that pass against the Lions. It goes to the Milwaukee Archdiocese and its launch of an ambitious effort, called Seton Catholic Schools, aimed at raising the quality of more than two dozen parochial grade schools in the city. The initiative aims to centralize control of key matters, including hiring and training teachers and principals and raising overall professionalism and energy. This is a big deal and, given the thousands of children involved, I hope it pays off.