IN MY OPINION: PW-S district state report card really amounted to ‘A-minuses’

To Ozaukee Press:

This is a response to last week’s Ozaukee Press editorial, “How will PW-S district respond to stinging report card.”  For the record, this is not a defense of the district’s report card, but rather comments on what the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction report card actually means. In full disclosure, I did have one child graduate from the district (and I was very pleased with the education that he received), and my wife currently works for the school district as a teacher.

The first issue that I have with the editorial is the statement that the report card, “ranks Port-Saukville not only behind the larger suburban districts of Cedarburg, Mequon-Thiensville and Grafton, but also the county’s small rural districts.” This statement either shows a fundamental misunderstanding of how the report cards are compiled or is an intentional attempt to deceive.

To quote the DPI website, “These report cards include data on multiple indicators for multiple years across four priority areas (achievement, growth, target group outcomes and on-track to graduation).” There is literally nothing about school size taken into account on school report cards.

Next, the editorial begins with a metaphor about a student report card, making the point that the district has the lowest grades in the county and, therefore, “has a lot of explaining to do.”

While the fact that it had the lowest grade in the county is in fact true, this lacks context. The district’s overall score of 75 places it squarely in the exceeds expectations category (scores between 70 and 82.9). So, to go back to the metaphor, that would be like a student bringing home a report card filled with A-minuses. Is there room for improvement? Sure. Is it an awful score? Absolutely not.

Finally, the editorial specifically points out the high school, saying that it “falls short in educational performance.” Again, this is factually incorrect. The school overall had a score of 70.2, which would again fall into the category of exceeds expectations. If the reference is specifically to “educational performance,” no such category exists on the report card, but perhaps the closest category would be achievement. On this, the school’s score comes in at 67.6, which falls in the high end of meets expectations (a score of 58 to 69.9). By definition this would not be falling short.

In the end, the district’s report card does have room for improvement, as does literally every school in the state, as none had a perfect score. An editorial that discussed this in an honest fashion would be welcome. This editorial did not do that.

Dan Ross

Port Washington

Editor’s note: An in-depth Ozaukee Press news story reported in detail on the PW-S district’s 2021-22 scores, including the very high marks received by its elementary schools, which were noted in the editorial. The editorial expressed concern over the high school’s much lower score, which at 70.2 is merely .3 of a point above the DPI’s middle rating and well below Port Washington High School’s 2020-21 score of 79.7 and its outstanding score of 87.7 for the 2018-19 school year.


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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