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What’s Missing In Wisconsin

Posted By Malcolm A. Kline On February 25, 2011 @ 3:00 pm In Faculty Lounge | No Comments

In their rage to maintain their benefits, Wisconsin’s public school teachers are noticeably mum on their achievements. There might be a reason for that.

“Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest,” Terrence Jeffrey reported on CNSNews.com [1]. “In the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009—the latest year available [2]—only 32 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned a ‘proficient’ rating while another 2 percent earned an ‘advanced’ rating.”

“The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings below ‘proficient,’ including 44 percent who earned a rating of ‘basic’ and 22 percent who earned a rating of ‘below basic.’”

“The test also showed that the reading abilities of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders had not improved at all between 1998 and 2009 despite a significant inflation-adjusted increase in the amount of money Wisconsin public schools spent per pupil each year.”

“In 1998, according to the U.S. Department of Education, Wisconsin public school eighth graders scored an average of 266 out of 500 on the NAEP reading test. In 2009, Wisconsin public school eighth graders once again scored an average of 266 out of 500 on the NAEP reading test.  Meanwhile, Wisconsin public schools increased their per pupil expenditures from $4,956 [3] per pupil in 1998 to 10,791 [4] per pupil in 2008. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator [5] the $4,956 Wisconsin spent per pupil in 1998 dollars equaled $6,546 in 2008 dollars. That means that from 1998 to 2008, Wisconsin public schools increased their per pupil spending by $4,245 in real terms yet did not add a single point to the reading scores of their eighth graders and still could lift only one-third of their eighth graders to at least a ‘proficient’ level in reading.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia [6].

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org [7]

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URLs in this post:

[1] CNSNews.com: http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/two-thirds-wisconsin-public-school-8th-g

[2] the latest year available: http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2010458

[3] 4,956: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/npefs13years/tables/table_11cCT.asp?referrer=table

[4] 10,791: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2010/expenditures/tables/table_03.asp

[5] inflation calculator: http://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

[6] Accuracy in Academia: http://academia.org/

[7] mal.kline@academia.org: mailto:mal.kline@academia.org

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