As a coalition of education reformers prepare to gather in Green Bay to discuss the advantages of expanding the School Choice Program, they will meet in a city whose public schools rank below average among the state's largest school districts.
"Green Bay is outperforming larger districts like Racine and Milwaukee, but these results are still subpar" said Brett Healy, President of the John K. Maciver Institute for Public Policy. "Titletown's middle and high schools rate out as a "D" according to state measurements. While things are better for pupils in the earlier grades, there is still plenty of room for improvement."
According to the State Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin's new school report cards signal a new era of school accountability that honors the complex work of schools and focuses on making sure our students graduate ready for college and career. The report cards place a high value on integrating information used to tell the public how our schools are doing with information that gives practical guidance to schools on how to improve. In short, the system is designed to be both informative and useful."
The MacIver Institute analyzed scores and assigned letter grades, similar to the grading scale used in most Wisconsin classrooms.
Green Bay Area Public Schools scored 64.7 out of a possible 100 points in the state's new school accountability report cards, according to data released in late 2012 by the Department of Public Instruction. On an A-F grading scale, this would put the city's schools at a C- overall.
That puts Green Bay third out of the state's five largest districts, in front of Racine and Milwaukee but behind Madison and Kenosha. The district's score was 5.5 points lower than the statewide average for all public schools.
Despite strong showings in Student Growth, Closing Gaps, and On-Track and Postsecondary Readiness, Green Bay fell in the middle of the curve for Wisconsin's largest district. Some of this disappointment can be traced back to penalties that many schools suffered on their individual report cards. Schools were docked five points each for infractions such as low test participation rates, high numbers of dropouts, and high absenteeism rates.
For the MacIver analysis, schools were given overall grades that were based on their scores in four separate categories. Those were student achievement (a base level of student knowledge), student growth (a measurement of annual student progress), closing gaps (how different student groups are performing), and on-track and postsecondary readiness (a measure of how prepared students are for the next step in their education). Additional deductions could be made on a school-by-school basis related to issues such as dropout rates, absenteeism, and test participation.
These grades fell into five categories, which are shown below.
See the full report here.
Americans for Prosperity Foundation WI is hosting a School Choice Academy in Green Bay at the Clarion Hotel, 201 Main Street, on Thursday from 6 to 8 pm.
Doors open at 6 pm and the program runs from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. MacIver Education Policy Analyst Christian D'Andrea will speak at the event and will be joined by Fox News' Juan Williams, Scott Jensen of the American Federation of Children, Tony Katz from All Patriots Media, Jim Bender of School Choice Wisconsin, Wisconsin teacher Kristi LaCroix and Luke Hilgemann from AFP.