Wisconsin Public Schools — Highest Spending In Midwest; Terrible Results

As Wisconsin teachers rally for more pay and benefits, I thought it would be interesting to see how the Wisconsin schools are faring under their tutelage.  Not so well:

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.

In 1998, according to the U.S. Department of Education, Wisconsin public school eighth graders scored an average of 266 out of 500 on the NAEP reading test. In 2009, Wisconsin public school eighth graders once again scored an average of 266 out of 500 on the NAEP reading test. Meanwhile, Wisconsin public schools increased their per pupil expenditures from $4,956 per pupil in 1998 to 10,791 per pupil in 2008. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator the $4,956 Wisconsin spent per pupil in 1998 dollars equaled $6,546 in 2008 dollars. That means that from 1998 to 2008, Wisconsin public schools increased their per pupil spending by $4,245 in real terms yet did not add a single point to the reading scores of their eighth graders and still could lift only one-third of their eighth graders to at least a “proficient” level in reading.

The $10,791 that Wisconsin spent per pupil in its public elementary and secondary schools in fiscal year 2008 was more than any other state in the Midwest.

A bunch of that $10,791 per pupil spending goes to teacher compensation.  For example, the average annual salary for a teacher in the Milwaukee Public School system is $56,500.  They also receive a staggering benefits package bringing total compensation to $100,005 in 2011.

I also found the 2010-2011 Milwaukee Public School calendar on line.  For teachers, the school year began August 30, 2010 (students didn’t arrive until September 1, 2010) and will end June 14, 2011.  That’s about 10 1/2 weeks off already.  Then we add 10 more days off for Winter Recess, a random 1-day “mid-semester break” in February, and another week off  week off for Spring Break.  That brings us to holidays — Labor Day, 2 days for Thanksgiving, MLK Day, and Memorial Day.  Oh, and at least 8 more days for planning, etc. in which students are not in attendance.   All in, I counted 174 days of instruction for the entire school year.

$100,000 is a lot of money for a part-time job.  It is especially a lot of money when you are not doing it very well and cannot be fired.

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Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 1:45 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. […] sector unions have been feeding at the public trough for decades while using union dues deducted from taxpayer-funded paychecks to re-elect their […]


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