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Sep 16, 201402:43 PMBlaska's Bring It!

with David Blaska

Act 10 is three years old and students are smarter than ever!

(page 1 of 2)

Act 10, Gov. Walker’s collective bargaining reform, is destroying Wisconsin schools! Or not. Our (You Know Who) acquaintances are so sure of it, they need no facts to buttress their faith-based beliefs.

“Case Closed: Scott Walker’s Budget Destroying Public Education,” the state Democratic Party screeched in November 2011, before the case was even opened.

Scott Walker is not only “an enemy of teachers,” wrote Heather DuBois Bourenane in September 2011 for Isthmus, but is guilty of “devastating attacks on public education itself in Wisconsin.”

Someone forgot to tell the evaluators at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Its school district report cards for 2014 would show the opposite.

Out of 424 school districts, 168 were ranked in the two highest ratings. That’s up from 143 that were so ranked in last year’s report card. On the bottom end of the scale, eight districts were poorly ranked, down from 11 last year. The average score statewide was 72.1 — up from 71.4 last year.

DPI’s report cards measure student achievement in reading and mathematics, student improvement over time, the closing of gaps in reading and math or graduation rates, and “performance on key indicators of readiness for graduation and postsecondary pursuits, whether college or career.”

Some districts, meanwhile, are bidding for in-demand teachers. Other districts are working collegially with teachers, rather than adversarially.

Key takeaways:

  • Of 424 districts, only eight “significantly exceed expectations.” They are: Swallow (with a score of 88.0) and North Lake (both elementary schools only), Mequon-Thiensville, Whitefish Bay, Elmbrook, Fox Point, Cedarburg, and Waterford. All are Milwaukee-Waukesha-area “gold coast” schools. None were in the Madison CESA 2 district.
  • One hundred sixty schools “exceed expectations,” the second-highest ranking. Those include 19 of 46 school districts in the Greater Madison area.
  • Two hundred forty-eight meet expectations, including Madison, with a score of 69.8.
  • Seven schools statewide “meet few expectations”: Beloit, Montello, Racine, Suring, Menominee Indian, Bowler, and Bayfield.
  • Milwaukee is the only district that “fails to meet expectations,” with a score of 51.1.


Old to new | New to old
Sep 16, 2014 02:54 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

If you want kids to do well in education, you have to free them from the dumbed down, union sponsored version on the liberal plantation.

Sep 16, 2014 04:07 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Garden & Gun is too clever for its own good. It's the Texas Monthly for the rest of the South. It's for the seersucker/bow tie crowd. Guys whose first names sound like last names (Tucker, Mason, Jackson, Hastings).

Three conservative tomes on the NYT bestseller list and what does that tell me? It tells me that goobers all buy the same three books. What does it tell you? Note that the book from that Duck Dynasty fool is in there, too. Picketty's Capital has been on the list for 22 weeks. Let's see if Ryan is still there come February. Bet he's not. Have you read Capital?

Sep 16, 2014 04:46 pm
 Posted by  John

@Anon 4:07: I thought Picketty's book was moved over to the fiction list after his data were outed as bogus, no? I suppose it's still a good fairy tale for simplistic readers looking to scare themselves with an imaginative story of big, bad capitalist monsters lurking under the bed.

Sep 17, 2014 11:38 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

Outed as "bogus" by whom, John? Have you read it, or just heard about it on 1310?

Sep 17, 2014 02:21 pm
 Posted by  patricko

Anon seems quite proud to be quite proud of the fact that he is one of the few to have actually read Picketty's book. My guess is that is because he has been avoiding books on economics for most of his life, waiting for one that he was assured, would mesh with his existing world view. (Those have been few and far between.) But it didn't move quickly off the best seller list because only conservatives buy books anymore. It did so because the massive hype that accompanied it's release was debunked as fast as it could be read. Now I won't deny that articles like this:

were written by people looking to take it down. But what book on social matters doesn't face that kind of criticism? The problem with Picketty's book though was that even his leftist friends didn't bother to defend it. I actually read a lot of books on economics. It's one of my favorite subjects and I was planning to read this one. But the reviews were pretty much unanimous that for this book, the conclusion was formed before the research was done, and the tail wagged the dog.

Sep 17, 2014 02:29 pm
 Posted by  patricko

By the way Anon, do you read Texas Monthly? I think not. You see, being a native Texan, I subscribe to it, IN SPITE of the fact that it is EXTREMELY LIBERAL.

Sep 18, 2014 12:17 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Lots of assumptions. And we all know what happens when we assume things...

I'm not proud of having read Capital, but I did read it and think that people should read a book before they trash it. I think it's worth reading because it's a book about economics meant for popular consumption, which makes it relevant. Like nearly every book, there are parts of it that are more and less worthwhile than others, but to dismiss it out of hand because Forbes came up with a list of things they don't like about it seems uncurious. I simply noted that it's been on the NYT list for over 20 weeks and predicted that Paul Ryan's thing would not last that long.

Sincere sympathies for your Texas upbringing. I read TM often, though not regularly. I read a lot of magazines irregularly because I fly a lot and they don't make you turn off your magazine during taxi and takeoff. I read The Economist, for example. And also Fast Company. I like reading both, but neither defines how I think. InBusiness is about a five minute read.

Sep 18, 2014 03:47 pm
 Posted by  patricko

I didn't trash it, I just chose not to read it based on the many negative reviews (not just Forbes.) And my guess is that you chose to read it based on reviews you read that piqued your interest. And I wouldn't claim that your choice of periodicals defines the way you think, but it is notable that all three publications you mention have a very definite liberal slant, including the Economist (to which I also subscribe.) I go out of my way to read the opposition, that's why I also read the Cap Times and Isthmus locally. But if you want to read a book on economics truly written for popular consumption, I would recommend Thomas Sowell's "Basic Economics: A Citizens Guide to the Economy."

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About This Blog

Raised on a farm near Sun Prairie, David Blaska is a recovering liberal who spent 18 years in daily newspapers, including 12 at The Capital Times in Madison as a reporter and editor. He served Gov. Tommy Thompson as acting press secretary in 1998 and is a veteran and survivor of 19 years in state government. He served 12 years on the Dane County Board of Supervisors. From December 2007 to November 2011 he wrote the consistently popular "Blaska's Blog" for Isthmus online's "The Daily Page" until, he says, the intolerant liberals ran him off. He blogs from Madison.

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