More on the GOP led anti-public education effort in Wisconsin

From Education Blogger Lloyd Lofthouse,

How do you turn a winner into a loser?
You generate lots lies and propaganda.

Hey, Wisconsin voters, when you voted out the Democratic majority in your state government back in 2010, and handed the governor’s mansion and both houses of the state legislature to a Republican majority, I’ll bet you had no idea that you might lose your excellent public schools—and, no matter what you are hearing in the media, by any comparison, your state’s public schools are excellent and might soon be as extinct as the Passenger Pigeon.

I’m sure Wisconsin isn’t hearing much truth about the state’s public schools in the media these days, but according to, in 2010-11, Wisconsin was tied with Vermont for the 2nd highest on-time high school graduation rate in the U.S. at 87%. Only Iowa was higher at 88%. For a comparison, the two worst states for on-time high school graduation were New Mexico at 63% and Nevada at 62%.

Then there is the Wisconsin high school graduate rate of adults age 25 and over. In 2009-2013, that number was  90.4% compared to an average of 84.9% for the U.S.

In addition, College Completion, reported that the 2010 college graduation rate in Wisconsin was ranked 15th in the U.S. ahead of 35 states and the District of Columbia. After spending at least six years in college, Wisconsin’s college graduation rate was 60.4%.

How does the United States and Wisconsin compare to the world?

Between 2010 and 2011, the percentage of adults with a college degree in the United States remained unchanged at 42%, and that, according to 24/7 Wall Street was still 5th place.  Russia was ranked 1st with 53.5% of the population compared to Wisconsin’s 60.4% that was 18.5% higher than the U.S. national average and almost 7% higher than Russia.

College graduation rates, however, are extremely misleading, because too many college graduates in the U.S., Russia, Canada (2nd place), and Japan (3rd place) can’t find jobs that require a college education. What this means is that these countries are graduating far too many students from expensive colleges when a vocational school would have been enough to find a job.

Comparing the United States to other countries using the average score on the PISA test is always misleading. For instance, Great reports that the first study comparing states in the U.S. to other countries discovered that in science, students in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wisconsin were only behind students in Singapore and Taiwan, but were equal to or ahead of students in the other 45 countries in the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study).

Then there is the World Economic Forum that ranks the United States #1 out of 131 nations in global competitiveness, using primary and higher education as part of its calculations.

I wonder how the corporate education reformers missed that rank, but I think we know that answer.
They accidentally missed it on purpose.

So, with Wisconsin graduating more students from high school than the national average, and graduating more students from college than the #1 country in the world, Russia, in addition to ranking in the top 4.25% of OECD countries in science, why is the GOP in Wisconsin pushing to get rid of the state’s obviously excellent public schools, and turn the state’s children over to for-profit corporate Charters that Stanford comparisons have revealed are mostly worse or the same as the public schools they are stealing children from—and that comparison is based on the country’s average.

Wisconsin is clearly way above the national average.

If that isn’t enough, The Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reported on how Wisconsin’s school districts compared internationally: “The Global Report Card indicates the level of math or reading achievement by the average student in a Wisconsin school district compared to the average student achievement in Finland, and average student achievement in a set of 25 developed countries. (Note—if you click on the link in this paragraph, you will discover that the database supporting this statement is no longer available. Why?)

In conclusion, I’ve read enough to know that education reform in the United States is clearly not about improving education, or the quality of teachers. In fact, it’s painfully obvious that education reform is about getting rid of one education system that’s democratic and replacing it with one that is corporate and will make rich people wealthier.

More at


Lloyd Lofthouse is an Education Blogger, author, former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran and a thirty year public school teacher.

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