Wisconsin Teachers Failing At Their Jobs

In the middle of our discussion about the union protests in Wisconsin, here’s a fact worth noting.

As of 2009, only 40% of Wisconsin 8th graders tested as being proficient in math (PDF).

And their teachers are complaining about being required to do something we all do, contribute a portion of their health care premiums.

Strikes me that they should be counting themselves lucky to even have a job considering how badly they seem to be doing it.

FILED UNDER: Education, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Mike Drew says:

    Yay! Let’s bash some teachers, since obviously the only input to educational outcomes is how well teachers do their jobs! And while we’re at it let’s straight-up lie about what they’re protesting about! (Cuz, sorry Doug, but you’re too damn smart not to know they’re protesting over the unilateral change to bargaining rules, not the prospect of changes in benefits contributions, which they uniformly say they are willing to negotiate over).

  2. Mr Squirrel says:

    The PDF you cite shows that only 31% of Wisconsin 8th-graders tested proficient at math on the NAEP. Then again, this is compared to only 25% nationwide. 40% of the WI students tested at Basic levels according to NAEP, versus 39% nationwide.

    You are citing a statistic that actually shows the Wisconsin students doing slightly better than the national average, and using it to imply that Wisconsin teachers are somehow failing. How does this make any sense?

  3. reid says:

    Doug: Lame, partisan hackery. Please try harder (and I mean to be objective, not spin better!)

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Here’s Doug’s problem: every day he can find a hundred examples of Republican imbecility.

    So people say, well, Doug, if these people are so clueless, why are you with them?

    So Doug tries to find “balance.” Unfortunately Democrats just aren’t as stupid or frankly as evil as Republicans.

    So we get straw-grasping posts like this that are promptly blown apart.

  5. anjin-san says:

    Perhaps Doug would provide similar test results from some deep red states for the sake of balance. But then we might have to take a look at our overall societal failure in the area of education and think about what is says about us.

    Nah, lets just bash some teaches.

    I also note that said teacher bashers never seem to mention say, superintendents of schools or other executives who I would think have some responsibility for poor performance. Nope, let’s just talk about those greedy, evil, incompetent teachers.

  6. Michael,

    Why do you continue to assume that I am a Republican? Is it just because I refuse to be taken in by the economic hackery of the Democratic Party?

  7. michael reynolds says:

    Doug:

    Actions, not words. You vote GOP. You’ve never voted Democrat. If I voted straight Democrat I think it would be fair to call me a Democrat, even if I said I was a Whig.

    And by the way, Democratic economic hackery? That’s actually funny. Yeah, we’re the ones who said we could cut taxes and raise revenue, that we could “starve the beast,” that all we had to do is cut “waste, fraud and abuse,” that Iraq would be self-financing, that money pumped in at the top would just magically trickle down and create jobs, that free markets could basically be self-regulating tra la tra la.

    Right. We’re the economic hacks. Your party has all but ruined this country’s economy and we’re now stuck digging out of the disaster your brilliant economics whiz kids caused.

  8. reid says:

    “economic hackery of the Democratic Party”

    Ha! Good one! As michael ably points out, the party YOU usually vote for is the one that believes in magical cure-all tax cuts and so on. If that’s the only reason you vote R (or anti-D), you really need to re-think things.

  9. anjin-san says:

    > I refuse to be taken in by the economic hackery of the Democratic Party?

    RIght. Just think back to the economic disaster that Clinton bequeathed to Bush, and the vibrant economy that Bush left for his successor.

    Quite right Doug. Thanks for setting us straight.

  10. Michael,

    Your Democrats are as bad as the GOP, that’s why I don’t belong to either party

    Now, please understand that fact and understand that your party has so little in common with what I believe in that there’s no way I could ever consider myself a “member”

    And that’s all I’m going to say about that

  11. reid says:

    Doug: Pardon us if we don’t accept your “fact” that Democrats are as bad as the GOP. You seem to be stuck in some mindset where Democrats all want 90% tax rates and to hand out big screen TVs to the unemployed. Face it, the Democrats are the moderates these days, even on economic issues.

    Given all of your blogging, it’s pretty lame to run off without defending your position (which you still haven’t at all)). Afraid that some reflection will shake your core beliefs?

  12. Brummagem Joe says:

    “You are citing a statistic that actually shows the Wisconsin students doing slightly better than the national average, and using it to imply that Wisconsin teachers are somehow failing. How does this make any sense?”

    It doesn’t but Doug has to sustain his ideology somehow.

  13. reid,

    No, I just have better things to do today then spend my time engaged in a pointless fight in a comment thread. Its not USENET in the 90s anymore

  14. Brummagem Joe says:

    Doug Mataconis says:
    Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 12:05
    Michael,

    “Why do you continue to assume that I am a Republican? Is it just because I refuse to be taken in by the economic hackery of the Democratic Party?”

    Doug: At the end of WW 2 the public debt stood at about 200% of GDP. Between then and 1980 a mixture of Democratic (18 years) and Republican(16 years) govts had brought it down to around 40% of GDP by 1980. Ok so far? Between 1980 and now nominal GDP has increased five times but the public debt has increased 11 times ! Still with me? The vast majority of this increase occurred during the incumbencies of Republican presidents who occupied the WH for 20 out of the 29 years. Was that hard to follow or would you like me to go over it again? So how exactly Doug given this record is economic hackery concentrated in the Democratic party?

  15. reid says:

    Doug: Your choice, but don’t expect folks here to stop calling for an explanation. I think a top post explaining your reasoning could be a very good read, if it’s done honestly. It doesn’t have to be pointless. Really, we ask because we respect you… to a degree! We wouldn’t bother asking at (or even visiting) a typical wingnut site.

    Enjoy your day.

  16. Brummagem Joe says:

    Reid:
    Given all of your blogging, it’s pretty lame to run off without defending your position (which you still haven’t at all)). Afraid that some reflection will shake your core beliefs?

    Running off is Doug’s modus operandi when faced with an unquestionable body of evidence. He’s not going to respond to the numbers I quote either which are all basically accurate. Instead he tells us he’s got better things to do with his time. Unfortunately, despite the law degree from Koch owned George Mason he’s an just another Republican with an agnatology problem.

  17. reid says:

    BJ: Yes, I personally get frustrated that people like Doug and James are helping the wingnut uprising in this country. It’s too bad that they seem to have an irrational, deep-seated hatred for Democrats (liberals, etc.). To me, voting D is the only sane choice anymore. I do hold out hope that they will come to their senses.

    By the way, it seemed like you disappeared for awhile… welcome back, if so!

  18. TG Chicago says:

    Doug, I must say I find it odd that you wish to be a political blogger, but you are unwilling to explain your core political beliefs.

    Honestly, in this thread you come off as someone who, at some point in their life, felt that a core part of their identity was being a Republican… or at least being a not-Democrat. And though a deeper investigation of the facts has slowly led you away from being Republican, you retain such a strong “not-Democrat” core that you’re unwilling to examine what it is that you truly believe in — the political truths that animate your blogging.

    If I’m wrong about that, so be it. But you’re unwilling to explain things any further. So I hope you can understand why I’m going to retain that impression until you explain otherwise. Your readership simply wants to know where you’re coming from.

  19. anjin-san says:

    > No, I just have better things to do today then spend my time engaged in a pointless fight in a comment thread.

    Have a good day bithead.

  20. jwest says:

    Anjin-san,

    “……African-American fourth-graders in Wisconsin scored the worst in the nation.
    Only 9 percent of minority students performed at a proficient level.”
    http://www.wisn.com/r/22958694/detail.html

    Why aren’t you marching in Madison to have these teachers fired?

  21. Robert in SF says:

    I think there is a fundamental difference between supporting/explaining your political beliefs/philosophy and your stands on specific political issues/scenarios in the “real world”.

    In essence, political beliefs are all hypothetical, in that they apply only in the discussion of the principle of the policy…the classic “I believe in free markets cause it leaves the choice up to the consumer, with no big-government telling me what I have to do or buy or not buy.”

    But political beliefs are always complicated by their implementation in the real world. They don’t have the nuance that is needed for application in an actual, existing, real world environment. Not without deep and wide unintended, unanticipated, unwelcome consequences. THe example of “free markets” here would be that the markets are not free now, and to transition to a new model that is “free” would reek havoc on all of the current businesses out there, the economy, safety, and short and long term effects on the consumers. It would be chaos and would not work out for a very long time, and not without some radical paradigm shifting on the part of every person and business involved.

    Also, the US does not operate in a vacuum, so an individual’s political beliefs cannot be implemented as such, without dealing with the real world interactions with other political policies that are out there, within the US and outside.

    Another example is unions, as in the blog post.
    Unions are the free market in operation, as it were. In principle, enough workers agree that they will cooperate amongst themselves such that they reach a contact with the business to allow for certain conditions in the work arrangements. The business makes this decision of their own free will, given that the market of employees has power, as does the business. And they become in a sense partners in running a successful business, both in the short term and long term. No one forces the business to unionize. It’s an agreement with the union.

    However, the implementation of this philosophy/belief gets very messy in the real world, with corruption of the humans involved both on the union side and the business owner side, and with changes in time of the economic environment from outside forces. Very messy indeed.

    And that’s not even addressing very specific data and information about a particular case in the real world.

    Just like the other hot political topics, such as abortion, the economy, foreign relations, the environment, etc. The beliefs all get messy in the real world.

    I think temperance of the beliefs should be the norm, not the exception. We should all have our beliefs with the allowance that we won’t get “our” way 100%, so the progress we do get in implementing our politics has to be practical and pragmatic to adjust to the incomplete ideal.

  22. cosa says:

    Why can’t we just have school choice. Those teachers/schools that work well will succeed. Those that don’t won’t. There’s no longer a good reason for a monopoly on pre-college education.

  23. matt says:

    So what do you do when the school that does well is 50 miles from your house?