Public Policy Forum Blog

PPF annual analysis of school district performance: How's your district doing?

The Forum's annual analysis of public school districts in southeast Wisconsin is released today, and finds the regional academic achievement scores continue to come more in line with the statewide scores. Unfortunately, lower scores in the rest of the state contribute to the smaller difference as much as improved scores in the seven-county region.

The report also finds that while the region does well on ACT and AP exams, as compared to the rest of the state, it is lagging more and more in graduation rates, mostly due to the low graduation rates in MPS.

The region's large racial achievement gap has been highlighted in several previous editions of the report. This year's analysis shows little progress has been made toward closing the gap in scores between white and African-American students--it is nearly as large now as it was five years ago and is persistent across all districts. All districts also show a significant gender achievement gap in reading, with girls outperforming boys at every grade level.

Other findings:

  • This year's 8th graders' reading proficiency rate slipped down as compared to the rate for last year's 7th graders, a trend that has been true statewide in previous years but has occured in the region for the first time this year.
  • Total enrollment in the region remained virtually static, but the number of minority students attending public schools in the region grew by 39%.
  • The number of students participating in the free or reduced-price lunch program grew significantly this year for both the region and the state as a whole. Almost all districts in southeast Wisconsin had more students qualify for the program serving low-income children.

The full report, as well as a poster-sized summary detailing data from individual districts, can be found here.

Underwriters of this year's edition include: Alverno College, Multiple Listing Service, Northwestern Mutual Foundation, Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance, Stifel Nicolaus, and Waukesha County Technical College.

Anneliese Dickman