TUE AM News: New investment strategies aim to bring ‘political transparency’ to S&P 500 index funds; State math, reading scores drop, but not as much as national average

— Two Madison-based companies have released new investment strategies aimed at bringing “complete political transparency” to S&P 500 index funds. 

Goods Unite Us and Quiver Quantitative yesterday announced the launch of the “Republican Large-Cap Core Strategy” and the “No-PAC Large-Cap Core Strategy” for investors. These investment products are modeled after the “Democratic Large-Cap Core Fund,” launched in November 2020. 

This initial strategy was created to “provide similar risk and performance as the S&P 500” but only includes companies that have made over 75 percent of their political contributions to Democratic candidates and causes, according to a release. 

The two new strategies are focused on businesses that support Republican candidates and groups, and those that don’t have or donate to political action committees, respectively. 

“Having all three strategies will now allow for an apples-to-apples comparison of Democratic v. Republican S&P 500 performance and comparisons of S&P 500 performance between corporations that do — and do not — use political action committees to influence politics,” Quiver Quant’s CEO James Kardatzke said in a statement. 

Since Goods Unite Us launched in 2017, the company says more than a million consumers have used its apps and websites to understand how their purchasing choices indirectly affect the political realm. 

Its mission is to “bring transparency to corporate political activities and to allow consumers and investors to align their monetary decisions with their politics and their personal beliefs,” according to CEO Abigail Wuest. 

With the new strategies aimed at Republican-supporting and non-political businesses, she says the business is “helping to ensure that all consumers who care about where their money is going and how it is being used have investment options available to them.” 

See more details in the release: https://www.wisbusiness.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/Goods-Quiver-Partnership-Press-Release-1.pdf 

— Fourth- and eighth-grade students’ reading and math scores declined in Wisconsin as in most states since 2019, but overall scores remained higher than the national average across grade levels.

Nationally, the average math score for fourth graders dropped five points compared to 2019, while the score for eighth graders declined by eight points. Reading scores for both fourth and eighth graders dropped three points.

By comparison, the average math score for fourth graders in Wisconsin public schools decreased by 1.41 points compared to 2019 and eighth graders’ math score went down 7.52 points. Meanwhile, the average reading score for Wisconsin fourth graders dropped by 2.33 points and eighth graders’ reading scores went down 5.15 points.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or “Nation’s Report Card,” lists the District of Columbia as having the highest racial achievement gaps in math and reading scores for Black and white students in the country. Wisconsin has the highest Black-white racial gap of any state in the country based on average scores for both grades in each subject.

The data show no improvements in math in any state or large urban district since the pre-pandemic era as the national average score in math was the lowest ever recorded.

State schools Superintendent Jill Underly said the results reflect national trends showing students are recovering from disruptions to learning caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Recovery is a continuous journey, and we haven’t yet reached a destination we are satisfied with, nor do we just want to return to where we were before,” Underly said.

She added students, educators and schools “need our support more than ever.”

See more at WisPolitics.com: https://www.wispolitics.com/2022/mon-pm-update-wisconsin-math-reading-scores-drop-but-not-as-much-as-national-average 

— Graduate students at UW-Madison are analyzing environmental data for a heat wave warning system that aims to help protect people from weather-related health issues. 

PhD students Elizabeth Berg and Becky Rose as well as master’s degree student Sara Pabich are teaming up with climatologist Larry Kalkstein on this effort. As part of the Wisconsin Health Health Network, they’re tracking “extreme heat events” in six cities including Milwaukee and Madison. 

Kalkstein is the president of Applied Climatologists and chief heat science advisor for the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center. In a report from UW-Madison, he explains that how well vulnerable populations can handle high heat levels is a more important factor than the actual temperature. 

“We are trying to determine when people are most sensitive to heat waves,” he said. “Health practitioners want to know when people are most vulnerable to heat related illnesses and deaths.”

Rose says she’s hopeful that a warning system focused more on health outcomes will help save lives, noting extreme high temperatures are expected to “become more and more frequent and severe” in the coming years. 

The university points to a 2021 report from the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts that projects the number of days per year in Wisconsin with temperatures above 90 degrees will triple by the middle of the century. 

The Wisconsin Health Network includes Dane County, the city of Madison, the Sustainable Madison Committee, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts, the Global Health Institute in Madison, Milwaukee County’s Office of Emergency Management, the City of Milwaukee Sustainability Office and other state and local health officials. 

See more details here: https://news.wisc.edu/grad-students-work-with-climatologist-on-tool-to-alert-communities-to-dangerous-heat-levels/ 

— Exact Sciences is touting new research that shows reducing the cost for follow-up colonoscopies after a positive colon cancer stool test can help patients live longer. 

The study focused on a policy in Oregon that eliminated patient cost-sharing for follow-up colonoscopy screening. The Madison-based company says the policy “significantly increased the uptake of colorectal cancer screening” and led to more patients using non-invasive testing methods, such as Exact Sciences’ Cologuard colon cancer test. 

Impacts were estimated for a cohort of average-risk people who were newly eligible for colon cancer screening. According to a release, a 10 percent shift from colonoscopies to stool-based testing and a “modest” 5 percent increase in total screening led to a 5 percent improvement in “life years gained” — a measurement of improved survival. 

Dr. Paul Limburg, chief medical officer for the company’s screening division, says the study results “demonstrate the positive impact removing obstacles to colorectal cancer screening can have on clinical and economic outcomes associated with this highly preventable form of cancer.” 

See the release: https://investor.exactsciences.com/investor-relations/press-releases/press-release-details/2022/Exact-Sciences-Expands-Leadership-in-Colorectal-Cancer-Screening-with-New-Data-Presented-at-the-American-College-of-Gastroenterology-2022-Annual-Meeting/default.aspx 

<i>For more of the most relevant news on COVID-19, reports on groundbreaking health research in Wisconsin, links to top stories and more, sign up today for the free daily Health Care Report from WisPolitics.com and WisBusiness.com.</i>

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— Tracy Johnson, president and CEO of the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin, says she wasn’t surprised by Harley-Davidson’s announcement this past week that the company plans to ‘repurpose’ its Milwaukee headquarters.

“There has been talk about reconverting that, putting that back on the market for additional office space, turning that into a campus,” Johnson said on WISN’s “UpFront,” which is produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. “I think they have a lot of opportunities to also split up that property.” 

Harley’s CEO Jochen Zeitz told Bloomberg the move is to accommodate a more virtual workforce.

More broadly, Johnson said CARW’s new third-quarter report showed a slowdown, higher vacancies and negative absorption with companies continuing to adjust to a post-pandemic workforce.

“Companies that have signed leases 10 years ago before the pandemic, and before there was such a focus on technology and hybrid work, are letting those leases burn off,” Johnson said. “They’re making different decisions about their office footprint. You also see users saying I can get more for less as rents are decreasing and more space becomes available.”

See more from the show: https://www.wisn.com/upfront


# Wisconsin has widest score gap between Black and white students


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# Questions on Harley-Davidson headquarters add to intrigue of upcoming earnings release




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– Fertilizer company constructing $20 million plant in Stanley



– A national bank is lauding Oneida’s financial moves and aims to grow investment in Indian Country



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– The baby formula shortage is easing in Wisconsin



– Pay it Forward: Robert Grede delivers $26,000 in medical supplies to Ukraine military through Rotary International


– Insuring mass timber buildings can be more complex, but cheaper


– Pat Connaughton’s firm plans apartment development in West Allis


– Bipartisan study committee to review 3 bills to expedite commercial building process


– Milwaukee-area Pick ’n Save converting to Metro Market



– Tiger Woods’ hole-in-one ball from Greater Milwaukee Open up for auction



– They said it: Milwaukee execs open to push for demolition of I-794 to make room for development



<i>See these and other press releases: 

https://www.wisbusiness.com/press-releases/ </i>

Goods Unite Us: Partners with Quiver Quantitative to release Republican and No-PAC Large-Cap Core Strategies

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