Total enrollment in Wisconsin schools declined for the fifth straight year in 2018-19, while the student population is becoming more diverse due largely to steady growth in the number of Hispanic students, according to findings of the Wisconsin Policy Forum’s 2019 School DataTool.
The tool also finds high school graduation rates were up in the 2017-18 school year for black and Hispanic students in Wisconsin, according to state Department of Public Instruction data collected for the tool. Overall graduation rates also increased to 89.6%, up from 88.6% a year earlier.
Areas of concern include reading scores for Wisconsin third graders, for whom proficiency levels declined for the third straight year.
These trends reflect what’s happening statewide for K-12 students in Wisconsin. To understand what’s happening at the district level, the Forum’s School DataTool enables the public to compare each of the 446 school districts in Wisconsin in these and other areas relating to student enrollment, school district spending, graduation rates, and student performance.
Produced by the Forum -- the state’s leading source for nonpartisan, independent public policy research –this is the first update to the tool since its February debut. This update offers another year of data for the 2017-18 school year – and in a few areas, for the 2018-19 year -- plus an expanded range of data metrics by which to assess Wisconsin school districts.
Declining school enrollment is a trend that started in Wisconsin in 2014. Statewide enrollment in 2018-19 was 858,833, having decreased every year since 2013-14, when it was 873,531.
Not all metrics tracked by the tool have seen significant change. Many have remained relatively stable over time, such as statewide average composite ACT scores, which have hovered around 20 the last five years. They declined slightly to 19.6 in 2018-19.
The School DataTool bolsters the Forum’s role as a go-to source for understanding local and state government policy and workforce issues in Wisconsin.
Earlier this year we released the 2019 Municipal DataTool, including data on all 601 cities and villages in the state, and the 2019 Metro Milwaukee InnovationTool, which looked at how the four country Milwaukee region fares on key measures of economic innovation.
CLICK HERE to access the School DataTool.