Municipal Law Alert, February 2012
What factors determine student performance? Expenditures? Demographics? Teacher education? Teacher salaries? Parents? Community expectations? Of course these questions have been debated for years with no sign of a consensus.
We do have statistics that provide clues to some of the questions. The Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance publishes their studies in a booklet titled School Facts. The most recent version is School Facts 11. It includes information on student test scores, school district revenue, expenditures, staff sizes, staff ratios, property values, student demography and other district characteristics.
School Facts 11 lists 120 different statistical measures for each of Wisconsin’s 423 school districts. It represents a truly prodigious effort. Other than replicating all 120 categories, there is no way to summarize or condense the information in a meaningful way. I have pulled out a few of the items that I found interesting. This is just a sample of the information available. [All schools in the chart are in CESA 11, except Eau Claire, which is in CESA 10.]