Like any nervous student, Gov. Evers has fudged a bad report card. But the truth is that Wisconsin has punched below its weight for a long time. As scores drop compared to other states, it looks like we had an educational head start but are about to get lapped. – Quinton Klabon, IRG Senior Research Director
- What happened? Gov. Tony Evers has claimed that Wisconsin’s schools rank 8th nationwide. He says it in his State of the State address, in videos, and on social media.
- What’s the truth? Gov. Evers is wrong 4 times. First, the nonsense ranking uses February 2019 data. Gov. Evers is actually celebrating Gov. Walker-era numbers. Second, the ranking uses 8th grade scores, not 4th grade, where Wisconsin ranks 24th. Third, comparing Wisconsin to states more affected by poverty, segregation, and variation in languages makes no sense. If all states were equally diverse, Wisconsin would rank 41st, 30th, 21st, and 14th in the 4 tested areas. Fourth, Wisconsin’s ranking will tank in October once new scores are released. As Mississippi and Tennessee celebrated full reading recovery, Milwaukee and Racine posted historic lows.
- What should be done? School choice! Not just that, though. We need schools and teachers colleges to copy how they teach reading from Florida, Mississippi, and other states that have passed us. We need drastic intervention for younger students in math, which pandemic policies have hurt the most. Teachers need less debt, more real-life experience, and more diversity by moving to Tennessee’s apprenticeship model. All will affect state GDP long-term.