This gotcha headline has made the rounds on the right-wing blogosphere and Drudge today, as conservatives point to it as proof that Wisconsin teachers are not only causing union trouble in that state, but they're awful at their jobs:
Two-Thirds of Wisconsin Public-School 8th Graders Can't Read Proficiently--Despite Highest Per Pupil Spending in Midwest
From the far-right CNSnews.com [emphasis added]:
In the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests administered by the U.S. Department of Education in 2009--the latest year available--only 32 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned a "proficient" rating while another 2 percent earned an "advanced" rating. The other 66 percent of Wisconsin public-school eighth graders earned ratings below "proficient," including 44 percent who earned a rating of "basic" and 22 percent who earned a rating of "below basic."
Right. And here's where the hit piece promptly falls apart:
Nationwide, only 30 percent of public school eighth graders earned a rating of "proficient" or better in reading, and the average reading score on the NAEP test was 262 out of 500.
That's right, the reading proficiency rate for Wisconsin eighth graders is slightly higher than the national average. But other than that the article is hugely embarrassing to teachers in that state. Or something.
UPDATED: More CNSnews.com brilliance:
Only 39 Percent of Wisconsin Public-School Eighth Graders Proficient in Math, Says Department of Education
The national average for eighth grade math students? It's 25 percent.