MADISON (AP) -- Most Wisconsin schools meet or exceed expectations as defined on new, more stringent report cards released by the state Department of Public Instruction.
The report cards of more than 2,100 public schools released Monday, October 22nd assign scores of between 0 and 100 based on student achievement, student growth in reading and math, graduation rates and closing of achievement gaps between different groups of students.
More than 85 percent of schools meet or exceed expectations.
Only 76 schools failed to meet expectations, the lowest possible ranking.
Gov. Scott Walkerpraised the news, but says too many schools are failing. In a statement, Gov. Walker said: "Superintendent Tony Evers and the Department of Public Instruction took an important step toward increasing school accountability. While a majority of school districts are performing at or exceeding expectations, there are still too many that are failing. All Wisconsin kids deserve high-quality public education. Parents, caregivers, and communities need to know how their local schools are performing, so they can make informed decisions about their children’s educations and futures."
State Superintendent Tony Evers says the new report cards are designed to be a better and more comprehensive way to measure the effectiveness of schools in preparing students for college or work.
WEAC President Mary Bell said in a statement: "It's our goal that Wisconsin Public Schools are among the strongest in the nation - we favor high standards. The report cards show a varied picture of school achievement, with the majority of Wisconsin schools meeting and exceeding expectations. The data also show schools with extreme levels of student poverty or other barriers to learning face more challenges when it comes to student achievement. Our organization is committed to advancing solutions that help educators share what's working and unite them all around the call for adequate school funding and addressing the social needs of all children."
MTEA President Bob Peterson made the following statement in response to the release of the school report cards: "These report cards state the obvious: students from the most affluent communities with well-resourced school systems do best on standardized exams. The fact that many of Milwaukee's schools are doing as well as they are-in the city that has the highest poverty and joblessness rates, the largest number of homeless children and the most serious housing problems in the state-is a credit to the dedication and talent of our educators.
Our community needs a wake-up call. Schools and educators can't do it alone. As educators, we will take care of the learning needs of our children, but our community and our state need to step up to take care of students' social needs and fund our schools adequately so that all kids get a fair shot.
Our state just made the largest cuts to public schools since the Great Depression. That's on top of the $50 million that voucher schools drain from the Milwaukee Public Schools each year. These voucher schools perform no better than public schools and are not held accountable by the DPI Report Card system. All schools that receive public dollars-including voucher schools-should be included in the report cards.
Because of budget cuts, many schools in Milwaukee are by and large without art, music, physical education or librarians, and have classes that are too large. Our students face some of the most segregated living conditions and highest poverty rates in the country. Our state has now institutionalized those segregated conditions in our schools through more budget cuts.
Teachers support accountability for all teachers and all schools that receive public dollars, as well as for communities to ensure adequate funding and resources for public education. The report card should help to change-not merely document-the region's separate and unequal realities."