Education in Waukesha County
August 21, 2022

Tamira Musgrave



  • From 2011-2015, Waukesha County surpassed the state of Wisconsin concerning higher education achievement. 
  • Students are tested throughout the state using the annual Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), administered by the Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction. These test results are published in each district’s annual report card. 
  • Tony Evers signed the 2019 Wisconsin Act 185, which prohibits the release of school and district accountability report cards during the 2020-2021 school year, withholding public information. 
  • In April of this year, three available seats on the Waukesha School Board were taken by Republicans. 
  • Waukesha School Board is already making strides towards a better future for our children by voting in favor of banning teachers and staff from displaying the pride flag or listing their preferred pronouns.
  • One Wisconsin school district has openly contracted with two consulting firms that instruct teachers or educators on bringing CRT into their classrooms.

Waukesha School District is located in southeastern Wisconsin. Waukesha County is the fourth largest county in Wisconsin. In 2010, the population of Waukesha was 390,051. In 2021, the population grew to 408,756, a population increase of +4.8%

District Schools

Waukesha School District operates twenty-five K-12 schools, listed below in alphabetical order. 

  • Banting Elementary School
  • Bethesda Elementary School 
  • Blair Elementary School
  • Butler Middle School
  • Central Middle School
  • eAchieve Academy
  • Hadfield Elementary School
  • Harvey Philip Alternative High School
  • Hawthorne Elementary School
  • Heyer Elementary School
  • Hillcrest Elementary School
  • Horning Middle School
  • Lowell Elementary School
  • Meadowbrook Elementary School
  • North High School
  • Prairie Elementary School
  • Rose Glen Elementary School
  • South High School
  • Summit View Elementary School
  • Waukesha Academy of Health Professions
  • Waukesha Engineering Preparatory Academy
  • Waukesha STEM Academy (Randall)
  • Waukesha STEM Academy (Saratoga)
  • West High School
  • Whittier Elementary School

Waukesha School District Demographics 

From 2011-2015, Waukesha County surpassed the state of Wisconsin as a whole concerning higher education achievement. The U.S. Census Bureau revealed that over 41% of Waukesha County residents 25 and older went on to obtain bachelor’s degrees, compared to Wisconsin at 27.8% and 29.8% for the United States entirely.

Median Household Income

Between 2011-2015, the median household income was $76,545 in Waukesha County. During that period, the median income for Wisconsin residents was $53,357, and the United States was $53,889. 

Poverty Rate

Between 2011-2015, the poverty rate was 4.7% in Waukesha County, the statewide poverty rate was 12.1%, and the national poverty rate was 13.5%.

Waukesha County Academic Performance 

Students are tested throughout the state using the annual Wisconsin Student Assessment System (WSAS), administered by the Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction. The WSAS assesses students’ proficiency in various subjects and is administered to grades 3-8 and 10th grade. 

WSAS tests are also utilized to evaluate ability in science, language arts, and social studies for grades 4, 8, and 10. The test results are published in each district’s Annual District Report Card. 

Annual District Report Card Grading Scale:

Designation Score
Significantly Exceeds Expectations83-100
Exceeds Expectations73-82.9
Meets Expectations63-72.9
Meets Few Expectations53-62.9
Fails To Meet Expectations0-52.9

The Annual District Report Card compares district/state preformance based on:

  • Student Achievement. Compares math and reading performance by district students and sets national standards.
  • Student Growth. Compares year-to-year performance in math and reading sections of WSAS tests.
  • Closing Gaps. Compares test performance by low-performing groups within the district to similar groups across the state. 
  • On-Track/Postsecondary Readiness.  Assess college and career preparedness by observing benchmarks such as attendance, graduation rate, English language arts, and math achievement. 

Districts will receive grades from 0-100 on the annual report card. The highest scores will come in at 83 and above, whereas the lowest would be anything under 52.9. The overall score of the Waukesha School District placed a score of 71.2 during 2015-2016.

Unfortunately, the 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 prohibits the release of school and district accountability report cards during the 2020-2021 school year. The Office of Educational Accountability did not issue school/district report cards for 2019-2020, the report cards that should have been publicly released in November. So the question is, why is this information being withheld from the public? 

On April 15th, 2020, Evers signed the 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 into law. This act was a state response to the COVID-19 pandemic enacting particular provisions carried out in previous emergency orders. About a month earlier, on March 13th, Gov. Tony Evers forced public and private schools to close under state order “through April 5th.” 

However, the order wound up lasting much longer and lasted throughout the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. This decision heavily impacted over a million children. Both socially and academically. Many question whether Tony Evers hid the information concerning district report cards for the 2019-2020 school year to cover how badly his decision impacted our children’s academic success.

GOP Wins Three Seats On Waukesha School Board 

In April of this year, three available seats on the Waukesha School Board were taken by Republicans. Education and parental influence are two things voters across the United States are becoming more concerned about as we hear and see what is going on within public school walls. This win is something schools and parents desperately needed, as times have been changing rapidly over the past few years. 

Educators and teachers in Wisconsin have a duty, and that duty is to help prepare students for college, employment, and the world that they are about to face. Right now, our students are in a dangerous situation.

What once was despicable and inappropriate in a classroom setting is now being normalized and forced into that setting. Student achievement and fundamental curriculum are at the top of the priority list for these newly elected board members. 

Wisconsin School District Openly Pushing CRT

One Wisconsin school district has openly contracted with two consulting firms that instruct teachers or educators on bringing CRT into their classrooms. Parents Defending Education (PDE) reported that Milwaukee Public Schools contracted with Pacific Educational Group in the 2021-2022 school year for $292,750. Taken from the report:

“Per the “Description of Services and the Specifications” in the contract, one session titled “Virtual Leads 2” centers on “Using Critical Race Theory To Transform Leadership and The Organization.” The document explains that the seminar “further examines the impact of race in schooling and introduces Critical Race Theory (CRT), along with its importance, relevance, and application as an analytical tool for understanding race and the educational disparities resulting from systemic racism. CRT is established as a theoretical and requisite knowledge base in ‘Framework’ for system equity transformation.”

The third seminar instructed district staff members to “review leaders,” ensuring they understand critical race theory and begin implementing it as a tool for analyzing personal, professional, and organizational manifestations of systemic racism. 

So, what’s the problem with all of this? Critical Race Theory actively encourages discrimination based on skin color. At its core, this theory separates human beings into two categories; the oppressors and the victims. Some schools in Oregon and California even have their students worrying about finding the right answer in subjects like mathematics.

It encourages educators to “center ethnomathematics,” which includes various guidelines, one of which instructs teachers to identify and challenge the ways math is used to “uphold imperialist, capitalist, and racist views.”

The district didn’t stop there. Last October, they also contracted with Second Step, a social-emotional learning program. This five-year contract with the Committee For Children cost $663,241.50. Approximately $397,944.90 of these dollars are Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, which translates to the district using COVID relief money for this program. 

Second Step’s website proudly states that it is designed to assist schools in imposing social-emotional learning “in a way that builds on students’ cultural assets, critically examines systems of power, and helps to develop better ways of learning, teaching, and being.”

The new and improved Waukesha School Board is already making strides towards a better future for our children and has voted in favor of banning teachers and staff from displaying the pride flag or listing their preferred pronouns. This decision is just another step towards getting parental influence, fundamental education, and morals back into our schools. 

Mounting Resignations From Waukesha School District 

More than 95 resignations have accumulated since July. The Alliance for Education in Waukesha states that the district had lost 10% of its staff since January-July. The AEW also suggested following these tips to slow down the resignations:

  • “Cease all political campaigning, appearances, and rhetoric.”
  • “Speak up for educators and district employees when the community disparages them.”
  • “Rescind the ban of pride flags and safe space signage in classrooms.”
  • “Commit to a cost of living increase for the 2023-2024 school years.”

There is a reason why attendance and preformance have been plummeting in government-run schools, and no, it’s not just COVID. Private school enrollment and homeschooling rates have skyrocketed. Educators resign from teaching because they can’t have a pride flag in their classroom and can’t discuss sex, white supremacy, and systemic racism with 3rd graders.  

Educating children and preparing them for life is critical. Parents must equip themselves with knowledge and an understanding of what is happening in public schools.

Q&A with WILL Research Director, Will Flanders, and Will Director of Education Policy, Libby Sobic:

We reached out to ask some legal questions about education in Wisconsin; here’s what we’ve found.

Are District Report Cards for government-funded schools public information?  

Yes, all district and school report cards can be found here:

From a legal standpoint, why would district report cards be concealed?  

We are not aware of any instances of districts concealing their report cards.  It is certainly true that they may not want to prominently feature them if the results are poor. 

Is teaching Critical Race Theory legal in schools?

Wisconsin law does not have a definition of “critical race theory” as part of the K-12 curriculum options for Wisconsin schools. Wisconsin school districts have the authority to adopt their own curriculum, as long as it meets the subject and graduation requirements set by law. Therefore, there is no direct prohibition from teaching materials based in “critical race theory” in Wisconsin. A WILL report found several examples of “critical race theory” curricula in Wisconsin schools. See more here

What are “Anti-CRT” laws? 

Some states have enacted “anti-CRT” laws that prohibit the teaching of certain topics or subjects in public schools. Often these bills focus on subjects that are emphasized in critical race or gender theory. Wisconsin does not have a law that does this. 

What is the Wisconsin Parental Bill of Rights?

Last legislative session, WILL supported legislation that would have created a parental bill of rights. This bill passed the legislature but was vetoed by Governor Evers. The bill’s purpose was empower parents and ensure that their rights to direct the upbringing of their children were respected in public schools. 

What legal rights do parents have over their children’s education? 

State and federal laws provide rights to parents to direct the upbringing of their children and provide parents with the authority to engage with public schools regarding their children’s education. For example, federal law, through the Pupil Protection Rights Act (PPRA), gives parents the affirmative authority to review their children’s curriculum, be notified about surveys of their child on controversial topics, and opt their child out of surveys. Wisconsin law gives parents the authority to opt their child out of Human Growth and Development courses, should the district choose to implement them. 

The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution recognizes the “inherent right” of parents to “direct the upbringing and education of children under their control.” WILL is actively involved in litigation to have the Wisconsin Supreme Court recognize a similar right under the state’s constitution. 

What can Wisconsin parents and communities do to fight inappropriate topics and language in the classroom?

Wisconsin gives school board’s immense authority and power over the public school education. Parents must be engaged with their local school board and encourage them to pass pro-parent, pro-equality and pro-transparency policies. WILL’s Restoring American Project includes several model school board policies that can serve as a helpful resource for school boards to do so. 

Additionally, parents must know their rights under federal and state law to stay engaged with their child’s education, including communications with their teacher about curriculum and student experience.

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