If you live in Kenosha and care about future generations, you should grab a copy of the Baseline Report 2017 that was released by a local non-profit, Building Our Future.
Building Our Future is Kenosha County’s first cradle-to-career collective impact effort focused on education and workforce development.
The baseline report is filled with information that measures success in school, utilizing testing results along with demographics. It’s also important to know that the measurement going forward will be the same so that comparisons to the baseline will show areas of progress or areas of decline.
A report like this cuts several ways. It measures all students and then divides students up, depending on the color of their skin and if they come from an economically challenged environment.
Here’s the problem, many people see the indicators and make them the problem rather than a measurement of the problem. When some read a report like this, they extend their own, personal beliefs and use the measurements to blame others or make excuses for inequities.
We’ve heard the blame game many times: it’s the test’s fault, it’s the teacher’s fault, it’s the student’s fault, it’s the parent’s fault, it’s because they are black, it’s because they are white, it’s because they are poor, etc.
Here is one example of the data:
Third grade English/Language Arts (ELA): Measuring reading skills is important because research has shown that third-grade reading proficiency is linked to high school performance, graduation and college enrollment for Wisconsin students.
In Kenosha County, about 45 percent of the students are meeting state ELA norms for third grade, and 67 percent of economically disadvantaged students are below proficient standards. When it comes to race, 56 percent of white students are proficient, 13 percent of black students are proficient, and 27 percent of Hispanic students are proficient.
Did you just fall into the trap of casting your personal bias or beliefs on a group of students because of the way the measurement tool works? To be sure, when conclusions are drawn on the measurements instead of defining the real problem behind the measurement, polarization and lines in the sand are drawn and everyone starts pointing the finger at something or someone instead of digging deeper.
Editorial written by and published in The Kenosha News
We recently released a baseline report from this past year outlining how far we’ve come since the start of our partnership and featuring a variety of data and statistics based on the county from both a financial and educational perspective. Our team spent 2017 working on a variety of outreach projects within the community in effort to help better the education and workforce development.
In our work teams' countywide efforts to help students reach their full potential, keeping their diverse experiences and backgrounds in mind is key to sustainable and equitable change. For example, the poverty rate for Kenosha County is 15%. However, only 13% of white population is in poverty, and these rates are much higher for other groups—26% for the Hispanic population, 43% for the black population, and 22% for the rest of the population. For renters that make $50,000 or less per year, 68% of those spend almost a third of their income or more on rent.
The graphs illustrate how these patterns show in student achievement and, in addition to the graphs shown, 32% of economically disadvantaged students tested proficient in English/Language Arts in 3rd grade, compared to 63% for their non-economically disadvantaged counterparts. Results in 8th grade math proficiency were similar, where the numbers sit at 20% of economically disadvantaged students were proficient, compared to 46% of those who were not economically disadvantaged.
With these statistics, we can see the improvement that is possible for our future leaders. Thinking mathematically is important in the education of young students as it affects their ability to learn and process material. Also, if a child is already falling behind in reading by the 3rd grade, it is more likely for them to continue to grow even further behind as they move along in school. If a child is struggling to read proficiently by third grade it is important to give them the opportunity to strengthen their reading skills as soon as possible so that it does not further hinder their education.
To download the full report or summary click on the link at the right of this blog page.
How to Get Involved:
It’s important to recognize when our children need help in their education, let’s help them prepare for their future ahead:
Article written by Megan Maurer
Published by the Kenosha News
The Executive Summary gives a snapshot of what was accomplished in 2017.