Wisconsin school chief calls achievement gap a 'crisis'

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin's schools chief says a nearly $600 million boost in education funding is a "down payment" on equity and closing the state's persistent achievement gap.

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor calls that gap a "crisis."

She delivered the message Thursday during her first state of education address at the Capitol. Taylor took over as state superintendent after her predecessor, Tony Evers, was elected governor.

The speech comes a week after standardized test scores showed that less than half of Wisconsin students are proficient in math and English. The scores also showed a continuing achievement gap.

Stanford Taylor says progress is being made to address "deep, persistent gaps in achievement, access and opportunity."

Democrats say the poor test results showed the need to increase funding for K-12 schools, while Republicans say they showed that the status quo was not working.

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