Cost per student Mercer $25,097,
Wis. $13,505, Nation $11,762
ACT comp. score Mercer 17.0,
Wis. 19.6, Lakeland UHS 20.0,
Hurley 18.7; perfect score 36.0
Mercer DPI Report Card score
lowest of all 421 Wis. districts

Monday, September 9, 2019

The DPI Testing Investigation
Sweeping foreboding information under the rug is nothing new at the Mercer School.  But what will the new Mercer School Board do about what appears to be the latest scandal to surface?

The word is that a Mercer teacher was fired (some say that person was given the opportunity to resign) as a result of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s investigation into test administration and scoring at the school. The investigation has been ongoing for over a year and the issue apparently came to a head last week when the DPI gave the school the chance to act or face public disclosure of its investigation findings.

The agenda for a closed session at a special School Board meeting last Wednesday contained items which appeared related to the DPI investigation.  (See MSF 9/5/19 Special School Board Meeting)

The former administrator and his School Board never allowed any public disclosure of the DPI investigation. There is no way of knowing how deep the investigation went or if last Friday’s firing (or resignation) is just the tip of the iceberg.

The DPI’s “Educator Licensing Online” information shows the license status for the teacher involved in Friday’s incident as “under investigation”.

Any breach of test administration and scoring rules is viewed by educators everywhere as a very serious matter.   Not only does such cheating give a false sense of achievement to students aided by being given answers to test questions, but it also does a disservice to those students who follow the rules.

The Mercer School Board’s new president, Bob Davis, has said that he is committed to total transparency.  But will Mercer citizens get to hear a full report about the outcome of the DPI investigation and what steps he and Board have taken, and will take, to prevent this from ever happening again at the Mercer School?  


  1. It is not only a disservice to the students, but very well could effect their admittance in to their institution of choice.

    Aside from this, what about the involvement of Schoeneman in the senior class trip fiasco and the "50 Shades of Gray" showing to underage students? Then there is Torkelson's misuse of funds and as the sole District Administrator, responsibility and knowledge of the test score debacle . The list goes on with Boltz, Kussard, Thompson, etc.

    So in the name of honesty, transparency and applying the rules fairly to all, what about "quit or be fired" for the rest of them?

    1. Any "normal" educational institution would have outright fired these immoral individuals. But its all in who you know. Alcohol and sex on the beach is Mercer's new moral norm, I guess. Investigations don't lie.

  2. We shall see how truthful Bob Davis is and what steps he will take to show he really cares about Mercer kids!! Only time will tell what a difference he and the board will make! This foolishness has gone on way too long and people need to be held accountable!

  3. It must say something about Mercer school, and the quality of the teaching staff, that the teachers adjust answers on tests, so students can get passing grades, and the school is still ranked 422 out of 422 in the state.

    1. Many of the good teachers have left or have been forced out because the school culture has been so discouraging of real academic achievement. I can only imagine how bleak it must be at Mercer School these days.

  4. Davis is a windy clueless showman, Nehring said the community doesn't know what they r talking about (ostrich), Loth is ignorant to the facts and "all in", Holmsrom has Torkys house listed and number 5 is the odd man out, Jim who ran his campaign on creating transparency. 4 - 1 this sounds familiar! It'll never change! The board never addressed the license revocation at the board meeting Tues, then on Fri the teacher is no longer employed. HMMMM, Simply put the board had to take action if the dpi has revoked a license, they didn't take action because they did the RIGHT THING FOR ONCE! Keep in mind people all of this unethical behavior was commanded under the Torkelson administration and it would appear to continue under this new board and the inexperienced, overpaid new administrator ($90,000 august 1 - june 30 - only an 11 month contract people). Attend the annual meeting and VOTE NO ON THE BUDGET! It's all a disgusting disaster.