Tag Archives: disparity

Wisconsin reading, math scores up slightly

Reading and math scores for most Wisconsin public school students increased slightly on tests administered last fall, but wide achievement gaps between white students and minorities persist, results released this week show.

Test results for students participating in the taxpayer-subsidized private school voucher program were to be released later Tuesday.

The scores are looked at closely by parents, educators and policy makers to assess both how well students are learning and how schools are doing at educating them. Last year, the report showed voucher school students lagging their public school counterparts, a finding that only further fueled the rancorous debate in the Legislature over expanding the program.

Ultimately, the Legislature and Gov. Scott Walker reached an agreement to allow vouchers in 25 additional schools or school systems, with a 500-student cap beyond Milwaukee and Racine. That cap grows to 1,000 students next year, and advocates plan to push for even greater expansion.

The public school results showed that just under half of the state’s students — nearly 49 percent — scored either proficient or advanced, the two highest ratings, in math. In reading, just over a third — nearly 37 percent — were proficient or advanced.

The scores were up slightly from last year, when 48.1 percent of students were proficient or advanced in math, and 36.2 percent were in reading.

Five years ago, about 47 percent were proficient or advanced in math and nearly 36 percent were in reading.

As has been the case for years, minority students continue to lag. American Indian, black and Hispanic students all had fewer proficient or advanced math scores. In reading, all minority groups, including Asian students, scored lower than their white counterparts.

The disparity was deepest among black students, where only 18 percent were in the highest two ranks in math and just 14 percent were in reading. White students were 56 percent proficient or advanced in math and almost 43 percent were in reading.

“Our achievement gaps are no secret and are too large,” state Superintendent Tony Evers said in a statement.

A task force Evers created to study the issue plans to meet for the first time today.

The tests show that over 42 percent of Wisconsin students are in poverty. That is a 5 percentage point increase over the past five years. While just over 30 percent of white students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, nearly 82 percent of black students qualify, along with nearly 78 percent of Hispanic students and more than 68 percent of American Indians.

The results reported Tuesday are the last under the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations, which have been used to assess student achievement since 1992. Those tests are being replaced next school year with new annual online exams, and another component that can measure progress throughout the year instead of just one point in time.

Every high school junior in Wisconsin will also take the ACT college entrance exam, with the state picking up the $50 fee. All 11th graders will also take another test designed to assess job skills called WorkKeys. Students in elementary grades would take a new test being designed by a 28-state consortium that includes Wisconsin.

The tests are aligned with the Common Core education standards.

Evers, who advocated for the new tests, said they will help the Department of Public Instruction close achievement gaps and prepare students to graduate ready for college or a career.

Nearly all of the state’s 430,600 students in grades three through eight and 10 took the reading and math tests last fall.

Tax Day study: U.S. has largest pay gap in world

The new executive pay watch, prepared by the AFL-CIO, was released on Tax Day and shows that the world’s largest pay gap exists in the United States, where CEOsof the largest companies made 354 times the average income of the average rank-and-file worker.

AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said the pay gap is by far the widest in the world. In 2012, CEOs received on average $12.3 million while the average rank-and-file worker took home around $34,645, according to Trumka, who said the new data confirms CEO-to-worker pay disparities have increased dramatically over the past several decades.

Thirty years ago, CEOs were paid 42 times that of rank-and-file workers in the U.S.

For Wisconsin, the AFL-CIO survey shows:

• The average CEO pay was $4,907,639 in 2012.

• Average worker pay in 2012 in Wisconsin was $38,869.

The union’s Executive PayWatch is the most comprehensive searchable online database that tracks CEO pay at S&P 500 companies.

In addition to the new data, Trumka said PayWatch explores how CEO-backed groups such as the Business Roundtable and Fix the Debt are “drumming up a deficit scare to conceal their efforts to get more tax cuts for corporations, while hacking at Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits for working people.”

Trumka said, “American chief executives continued to do very well for themselves last year, while workers struggle to make ends meet. We are calling out the hypocrisy of rich CEOs who have the gall to ask for corporate tax cuts to be paid for by squeezing the retirement security of working America. The American public deserves to know the truth about their self-serving agenda.”

Closing a corporate tax loophole that allows U.S. multinational companies to avoid taxation on overseas profits would raise $42 billion in new revenue in 2013 alone, according to the AFL-CIO.

PayWatch also contains a Mutual Fund Votes Survey, which examines votes cast by the largest mutual fund families regarding CEO pay to help investors compare how mutual fund families voted on compensation issues, and a map that allows users to compare and contrast CEO pay ratios of top executives.

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