The ‘Education Governor’ has a big problem: Failing education

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, who likes to fancy himself the ‘Education Governor,” has an education problem.

The U.S. Department of Education on Monday released the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) on reading and math, and the results once again show the widest achievement gap between black and white students in the country.

While Wisconsin fared relatively better than most states, scores dropped from where they were pre-pandemic — more evidence of the damage caused by Evers’ school lockdowns and his silence while his teachers union pals kept schools closed.

“Today’s NAEP scores make one thing clear: the Evers administration’s school shutdowns have been catastrophic for our children,” said Quinton Klabon, Senior Research Director for the Institute for Reforming Government.

NAEP, known as the Nation’s Report Card, tests a sample groups of fourth- and eighth-grade students in math and reading. Monday’s report card was the first issued since 2019.

While Wisconsin finished among the top 10, the state’s test scores were down from 2019, and the number of students proficient in math and reading dropped from 45 percent to 43 percent. Nationally, the average fourth-grade math score declined by 5 points to its lowest level since 2005. The average eighth-grade math score dropped by 8 points to its lowest level since 2003.

Wisconsin Department of Instruction Superintendent Jill Underly celebrated Wisconsin’s results. She said public education is still recovering from the pandemic.

“The results released today reiterate trends we have seen across the nation as students continue to recover from learning disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Underly said. “Recovery is a continuous journey, and we haven’t yet reached a destination we are satisfied with, nor do we just want to return to where we were before.”

Students are recovering from poor policy choices and teacher union stooges like Underly who failed to follow public health guidance that urged schools to reopen. Milwaukee Public Schools and other union-heavy districts continued to operate failed remote learning models long after research was showing the damage being done to children — academically, socially, and mentally.

The latest report card shows;

  • Wisconsin has the largest racial achievement gap of any state in the nation
  • Black kids in MPS are last in the nation in reading
  • Kids in MPS are two years behind kids in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Atlanta

“Although our state tests have indicated this, we now know where Milwaukee stands with other major U.S. cities,” said state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), chairwoman of the Senate’s Education Committee, “This is heartbreaking, our kids deserve better and instead we have bureaucrats fighting bipartisan reforms while schools continue to try the same failed methods that got us here.”

The national tracker follows the release of abysmal standardized state test scores, which showed 39 percent of Wisconsin students could solve a math problem at grade level or better, while 37 percent were proficient in language arts.

Darling noted Evers’ two vetoes of a bipartisan reading bill that provided support and interventions earlier to young students struggling to read. The same reforms have proved successful in states like Missisippi.

“The governor and his DPI Secretary continue to protect the failing status quo,” the senator said.

Still, the “Education Governor” likes to brag about Wisconsin’s top 10 ranking on the Nation’s Report Card, even as Wisconsin ranks dead last in reading achievement among black students. Meanwhile, hispanic students dropped from 1st in the nation to 28th while white students fell from 6th to 27th.

After unprecedented state and federal funding over the past several years, Evers and the left want to pump billions of dollars more into Wisconsin’s faltering public education system. Without reforms, accountability or choice. That sounds a lot like the definition of insanity.

“Teachers unions and cowardly bureaucrats conspired to keep kids out of the classroom during the pandemic. Now, the nation’s report card is in, and it reveals these adults failed our kids,” U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-8th CD) said.

Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 25, 2022

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