Notes, Politics and our long term, disastrous reading results; Madison + State

Quinton Klabon:

1 year and $1 BILLION in federal relief later, it’s still tragic.

•6,000 fewer kids on college track
•101,000 kids below grade level
•Green Bay, Janesville stuck at pandemic low
•Milwaukee Black kids not catching up

Scott Girard:

In the Madison Metropolitan School District, proficiency rates in both subjects are well above the state for white students, but below the state for Black students.

Among the district’s white students, 64.3% scored either proficient or advanced in English language arts; among its Black students, it was just 8%, nearly the same as the 7.9% the year before.

In math, MMSD saw 60.7% of its white students test in the top two categories and 5.7% of its Black students do the same.

Institute for Reforming Government Senior Research Director Quinton Klabon said in a news release on the results that the state took a positive step forward with recent reading legislation, but was critical of how schools have spent their COVID-19 relief funding in recent years. Additional changes beyond the reading legislation will be required to make “Wisconsin’s schools our premier attraction for families once again,” he said.

“Wisconsin is quickly becoming a state where disadvantaged students do not succeed,” Klabon said.


Corrinne Hess

Wisconsin continues to have the largest achievement gap between Black and white students

Fewer than 40 percent of Wisconsin students were proficient in reading and math during the 2022-23 school year. Standardized test scores were better than the previous two years but are still not back to pre-pandemic levels.

Results of the Forward Exam, a statewide test taken by Wisconsin’s 3rd through 8th graders, the PreACT Secure test given in grades 9 and 10 and the ACT given in grade 11 showed 38.9 percent of children were proficient in reading and 37.4 percent were proficient in math last year. 

When taken alone, the Forward Exam showed Wisconsin students were 39 percent proficient reading and 41 percent proficient in math. 

That’s up from a low of just over 33 percent proficiency in both reading and math during the height of the pandemic during the 2020-21 school year.  

Prior to the pandemic in the 2018-19 school year, 41 percent of Wisconsin students scored proficient in reading and 43.4 percent in math.

State Superintendent Jill Underly said she’s proud of this year’s test results and the increased participation rate of nearly 95 percent of students being tested.  

“I am also tired of politicians claiming that our children aren’t learning because they aren’t reaching a proficiency score,” Underly said in a statement. “Instead of using test scores as a cudgel, we should all take the time to learn what a high bar proficiency on this test represents, because the truth is that our proficiency cut scores are very high in comparison to every other state in the country.”

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, 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.

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?