Sandy Cullen’s article in the June 28, 2005 WI State Journal Sherman’s curriculum riles parents notes:
On Friday, the state Department of Public Instruction ruled that under Wisconsin law, instrumental music instruction must be available to all students in grades seven through 12 during the regular school day.
“It is unusual to pull students from one class to meet instructional time in another class,” said Michael George, director of the Content & Learning Team for the state Department of Public Instruction, who issued Friday’s ruling. “Clearly, they’re not getting the same experience as other students.”
Besides music instruction, Sherman parents are concerned that few students have the opportunity to take 8th grade algebra and that no child will have the opportunity to take a full year of foreign language prior to high school.
Yehle said middle school is a time when students should be sampling many subject areas to gauge their interests and skills, and should be introduced to what it’s like to study a foreign language, rather than develop proficiencies.
Sherman principal Ann Yehle’s comments seem at odd with a) Wisconsin’s Model Academic Standards in foreign language which call for “… a strong foreign language program beginning in the elementary grades” and b) Wisconsin’s Administrative Code – Public Instruction, Chapter PI 8 Appendix 8 Instructional Guidelines which recommend 100 minutes of foreign language instruction per week beginning in Grade 5.
It’s hard to see where Sherman Middle School’s curriculum is not being dummed down for its students compared to other Madison middle schools and to school districts surrounding Madison WI.