By Terry Fondow
In two prior letters I have explained that, compared to all of the 373 K-12 districts in Wisconsin, Antigo ranks at 216 on achievement. That may seem low, until you look at Antigo’s predicted rank based on the high degree of poverty in the district. The predicted ranking is 329. Antigo beats its predicted ranking by more than 100 using all of the K-12 districts.
Another comparison is provided by using only those K-12 districts with more than 1000 students. There are 189 K-12 districts with more than 1000 students. Antigo’s achievement ranks at 116 of 189. Again, that may seem low until you look at Antigo’s predicted ranking based on the poverty level. The predicted ranking is 177. Compared to all of the districts, or just the comparables, the Antigo district is beating the odds.
Here is another set of relevant facts. There are only 29 districts in Wisconsin with more than 1000 students that have poverty greater than 50%, and there are only 13 that have poverty greater than Antigo’s 55.5%. Of the 29 high poverty districts, only five have an achievement ranking higher than Antigo. Based on any fair measure, the claim that Antigo is a low performing district is clearly false.
As I have said before, I have no opinion on the consolidation issue or the upcoming school board election. My sincere hope is that the Antigo district will elect board members who are reasonable, have open minds, don’t view those who disagree with them as enemies, and are motivated by a desire to serve the public rather than to pursue personal grievances. I also hope that the district can find a way forward that will reduce the rancor and negativity that, unfortunately, has come to be associated with the district. The fractious political history of the district, and the presence of vocal malcontents, can make it very difficult to recruit and retain quality leaders, teachers and board members. I also hope that there is a very high voter turnout at the election.
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