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Public Schooling in Southeast Wisconsin 2016

Our 31st annual report analyzing data from southeast Wisconsin's public school districts finds that while 68 of the 92 school districts are exceeding or significantly exceeding expectations on our new state report cards, there are large achievement gaps across the region on state assessments for low-income students and students of color. 

Key findings:

  • Regional enrollment decline quickens. School district enrollment in southeast Wisconsin declined by 1.2 percentage points in 2015-16, a loss of 3,576 students. This follows a 0.8-point decrease in 2014-15.
  • Student diversity increases. Students of color comprise 43.3% of enrollments in regional school districts, up from 42.7% in 2014-15. Hispanic students continue to increase in numbers, while African American and white student enrollment decreased in the past year. 
  • College readiness measures stagnant or declining. The composite ACT score for the region and state showed no change in 2015-16. More students participated in AP exams, though the pass rate fell 1.6 percentage points. The high school graduation rate in southeast Wisconsin is 83.9%, a decrease of 0.6 points, and trails the state average graduation rate of 88.4%.
  • Higher student attendance, but also higher truancy. Districts in the region posted a 95.4% attendance rate, up 1.3 percentage points in the past year. However, the region also saw truancy rates tick up 0.4 points to 2.1%.


Media Coverage

""New Report Highlights Achievement Gap In Southeastern Wisconsin School Districts"
Milwaukee Business Journal

""Database: How southeastern Wisconsin public schools rank"
Milwaukee Business Journal