(The Center Square) – Wisconsin State School Superintendent Carolyn Stanford-Taylor focused much of her 2020 State of Education speech on the coronavirus and its impact on schools.

She also briefly talked about the gap between white and Black students. 

Other than that, Stanford-Taylor didn’t mention grades, tests scores, or reading and math proficiency. 

“This spring, educators across Wisconsin re-envisioned their entire educational delivery models within a span of weeks,” Stanford-Taylor said in her virtual speech. “Together, we raced to break down barriers and forge new partnerships to provide meals, devices, internet access, instructional materials, and other supports to students in a safe and secure way.”

Stanford-Taylor, and her staff at the state’s Department of Public Instruction, left most of those decisions up to local schools. In fact, local schools decided how they came back to school this fall, and when they will return to a normal school day. 

Stanford-Taylor also talked about diversity. 

“This summer, I was inspired to see so many people – particularly young people – of all races and ethnicities coming together with one voice to acknowledge the lived experiences of Black Americans and demanding racial and social justice. Their voices and their leadership energizes many of us around the country and the world, and reminds us; change begins with us,” she said as she talked about the “the clarion call for racial and social justice.”

Stanford-Taylor also focused on Wisconsin’s racial achievement gap. White students in the state score better on standardized tests and graduate at higher rates than Black students in the state’s public schools. 

“It is time to finally shed the title of having the largest Black-White achievement gap in the country; to examine our systems, policies, programs, and ways of engaging with students, families, and each other; to truly listen to the voices of Black and other marginalized communities and deliver inclusive learning experiences that meet the needs of every child,” Stanford-Taylor said. 

She did not mention that only four in 10 students in the state meet standards in reading, math and science, or that schools in Madison and Milwaukee continue to lag behind other schools in the state. 

Stanford-Taylor also did not mention in her speech what this year will bring, and whether parents, teachers, and students should expect to return to standardized testing and other benchmark tests to measure student progress.

Afterward Stanford-Taylor’s address, DPI said schools will return to testing this year. 

Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square. Reposted with permission.

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