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Nat'l education reform group gives Wisconsin "D+" for evaluation policies


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - A national education reform group gives Wisconsin a grade of "D+" for adopting policies that improve student outcomes.

But despite the low grade, the group “Students First” says the Badger State is the 20th-best at adopting policies that use test scores to evaluate teachers, create more charter schools with non-unionized teachers, and toughen policies for teacher tenure.

“Students First” is headed by Michelle Rhee, a controversial former school chancellor in Washington D.C. who pushed for the same practices her group is seeking.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel said the group’s report did not appear to consider all the effects of the 2011 Wisconsin law that limited union bargaining, and gave school boards the control over work rules and teacher benefits.

The “Students First” report said seniority continues to drive personnel decisions in Wisconsin schools when in fact, most schools now use teacher handbooks which put more pressure on teachers to perform.

The report also said Wisconsin should give each school grades of “A” through “F.” The state recently adopted new school report cards with five levels of performance.

People have connected those scores with letter grades, although state officials say it’s not proper to make those kinds of comparisons.