2/3 Wis. 8th Graders Not Proficient

John Seiler:

Wisconsin teachers have been on strike. And they object to Gov. Scott Walker’s move to end or limit collective bargaining. They’re also the highest-paid teachers in the Midwest.

So, how well are they teaching? This is from CNS News:

Two-thirds of the eighth graders in Wisconsin public schools cannot read proficiently according to the U.S. Department of Education, despite the fact that Wisconsin spends more per pupil in its public schools than any other state in the Midwest.

In the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009—the latest year available—only 32 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned a “proficient” rating while another 2 percent earned an “advanced” rating. The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings below “proficient,” including 44 percent who earned a rating of “basic” and 22 percent who earned a rating of “below basic.”

The test also showed that the reading abilities of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders had not improved at all between 1998 and 2009 despite a significant inflation-adjusted increase in the amount of money Wisconsin public schools spent per pupil each year.

Here’s an idea. Shutter the government schools. Send the kids home. End truancy laws. Cut taxes. Give the money back to parents. Let them school their own kids how they see fit.

Why not have a complete free-market in education as we do, say, for computers, cell phones and other things that drop in price every year while increasing in quality?

Test scores will soar. They couldn’t possibly do worse than under the current government system.

Feb. 23, 2011

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