1-15-20 thiesfeldt-nygren call for dpi audit

Two Republican lawmakers are calling for an audit of the state Department  of Public Instruction citing concerns about declining test scores, specifically in the area of reading.   State representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt of Fond du Lac and State Representative John Nygren of Marinette are asking for the audit,  stating the DPI budget has increased by nearly $3 billion since 2012.   Nygren is the co-chair of the Joint Finance committee and Thiesfeldt  chairs the  Assembly Education Committee.     In a joint statement the lawmakers said   “Despite providing more resources than ever for public schools, student achievement in reading, unfortunately, continues to decline.”   “Wisconsin’s overall test scores are headed in the wrong direction. Especially concerning is the downward trend in reading scores, the core of education attainment,” said Rep. Thiesfeldt.   “Recent Forward Exam results show that 60% of Wisconsin students cannot read or write at grade level. Taxpayers and students deserve better.”   The proposed audit would examine approaches to reading instruction and resulting student achievement. Specifically, LAB would examine methods of reading instruction utilized in Wisconsin’s schools, the impact of the Foundations of Reading Test on teacher licensure, and whether DPI consistently measures student achievement. A similar audit was conducted in 1998.    “Given the significant level of taxpayer resources dedicated to education, the need for oversight and accountability could not be clearer,” said Reps. Nygren and Thiesfeldt.  “It is our hope that this audit will provide long overdue oversight of funding provided to DPI and help inform legislative action to improve student outcomes.”