BIPARTISAN LONG-TERM TARGETS State leadership is essential to set state, not local goals, on a  global scale and monitor results for citizens over the long run. Even with different approaches to the HOW of teaching and to school organization, this will require the commitment to these common ‘Targets’ from the sitting Governor and from both parties over several administrations. This can be done! Both Democrats and Republicans sustained a 1993 Massachusetts initiative, The Grand Bargain,  to dramatically raise graduation requirements (MCAS) and teacher certification requirements (MTEL). Today, not only is the State by far #1 in the USA but is the only state that is at global levels for their 15 year olds {SCIENCE #2 in World!, READING #8!, MATH # 13!). Both Democratic and Republican presidents maintained commitment to the 1957 Man on the Moon “Stretch Target”. Via a practical, well-informed consensus mode that communicated with and won public support, and the full utilization and coordination of America’s best scientists/academicians /administrators/managers/blue collar workers, implementation with urgency followed …and 12 years later Armstrong and his first small step. RESULTS!

REALITY Our citizens and educators must first urgently acknowledge the major learning gaps between Wisconsin students and most First World kids, and the significant future occupational handicaps that such gaps generate. Even vs. other States, Wisconsin 4th graders in reading now are #34 in the nation. And our White 4th graders at #41, now read more poorly than Whites in Alabama & Mississippi {NAEP, WI READING COALITION, 2017} ! We have a major problem! And it impacts every future job…every future wage… and the self-worth of every child moving into adulthood. Long term! Wisconsin schools have been falling behind for several generations. And mind you, it is not only on the facts, but every poll we have seen indicates American (and very likely Wisconsin) workers also rank dead last among 18 industrial countries in “problem solving in technology rich environments” (IAFAC). Four-fifths of unemployed Americans cannot figure out a rudimentary problem in which they have to spot an error when data is transferred from a two-column spreadsheet to a bar graph. Every interviewed WI superintendent whose 15 year olds have taken the PISA international tests say their  #1 challenge is the weakness in ” critical problem solving”. Short term ‘fixes’ will not do. Only sustained, well directed and targeted programs will bring real progress!