The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction this week published public and choice school and district report cards for the 2020-21 school year, as required by state law.
Both federal and state law require DPI to annually release accountability reports, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these report requirements were suspended for the 2019-20 school year.
Report card ratings range from five stars, denoting schools and districts that significantly exceed expectations, to one star for those that fail to meet expectations. For 2020-21, 2,101 public schools and 376 choice schools received report cards. Of those schools, 1,781 met, exceeded, or significantly exceeded expectations. Of the 421 school districts that received report cards, 399 met, exceeded, or significantly exceeded expectations.
How did Franklin do? Since the school district’s communications guru Chad Kafka won’t tell you, I will.
The entire Franklin district received a score of 78.2. That’s a drop from 2018-19 when the district scored 79.5.
Not significant by any means, but a decline nonetheless. I guess FPS didn’t charge enough school property taxes this time around.
Ben Franklin Elementary: 81.9, up from 79.3
Country Dale Elementary: 83.1, up from 82.1
Pleasant View Elementary: 86.7, down from 90.9
Robinwood Elementary: 83.9, down from 85.5
Southwood Glen Elementary: 91.6, up from 91.5
Forest Park Middle School: 73.4, down from 78.5
Franklin High School: 78.7, down from 82.3
According to the DPI all Franklin schools exceeded expectations with the exception of Country Dale that significantly exceeded expectations.
Some schools, because of size or grade range, do not have enough data to receive a score. Public schools with insufficient data participate in an alternate accountability process.
The Milwaukee County Correctional Facility in Franklin is such a school. It got an Alternate Rating – Satisfactory Progress.
Here’s an interesting note from the Journal Sentinel:
DPI officials did not want to produce report cards this year due to the pandemic’s effects on standardized testing procedures and other variables, but lawmakers did not grant the suspension. Department officials did not take questions on a press call and declined an interview request.
And from state Senator Alberta Darling:
Fewer state schools are meeting or exceeding expectations in the latest round of testing. The Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Senator Alberta Darling, says slipping isn’t surprising after kids were kept out of schools, but there must be major changes in how children are taught in Wisconsin.
“We knew kids were struggling during the pandemic, these tests just confirm that,” Darling said, “Instead of offering solutions, Governor Evers is vetoing real reforms that will help kids.”
On a Friday afternoon, Governor Evers vetoed Senate Bill 454 that was introduced by Senator Kathy Bernier of Chippewa Falls and co-authored by Senator Darling. The bill will screen schoolchildren on their reading abilities earlier and more often, notify parents of concerns, and create a clear direction to get kids back on track to succeed. The bill is based on successful models in other states, including Mississippi, which dramatically increased reading levels after passing similar legislation. Spotting reading problems sooner dramatically increases the chance that a child will succeed in school and life.
“The report cards are not a punishment but rather a snapshot in time and show the real need for reform in Wisconsin. It’s clear that Governor Evers doesn’t have any real solutions and continues to fall back on the status quo.” Darling said, “Wisconsin schools are receiving historic levels of funding. What they need now is real leadership and not roadblocks to reform from the Governor.”
Senator Darling represents portions of Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, and Waukesha Counties.