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What about low-performing schools?

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What about low-performing schools?
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Wisconsin's new public school report cards show that about 15% of schools are not meeting most of the state's new-and-tougher standards, but officials have not said what they'll do about it.

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The state-issued school-by-school rankings released last week showed that the lowest performers did not keep up with the state's expectations for student growth, dropout-and-graduation rates, and other factors.

The state Department of Public Instruction says it will ask lawmakers next year to budget more money to help schools that are struggling. But some administrators are not holding their breath.

Sheboygan Superintendent Joe Sheehan says the state will probably claim that it doesn't have the money - and it will probably make schools use existing resources to improve. Miles Turner, head of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, fears that the schools' low marks will be used as punishment - and not an incentive to improve.

There's talk about a possible expansion of the state's private-school voucher program, if Republicans can regain control of both houses in next week's elections. Republican Luther Olsen of Ripon, a member of the Senate's Education Committee, says he doesn't believe the report cards will be politicized. But he says lawmakers need to approve consequences to make schools accountable.

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