Madison School District Policy Change Regarding Credit for Non-MMSD Courses

I emailed this message to the Madison School Board:

A policy change has recently been implemented in the MMSD regarding whether students can receive high school credit for courses offered by the MMSD that they take elsewhere (e.g.’s, via correspondence through UW-Extension, Stanford’s EPGY, and Northwestern’s Letterlinks programs, attendance at UW or MATC, summer programs offered through the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth and Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development).
Prior to this fall, students could receive high school credit for non-MMSD courses as long as they obtained prior written approval that the courses they planned to take were deemed worthy of high school credit. I have recently learned that this is no longer true. Rather, the only non-MMSD courses that can currently be approved for high school credit are ones in which a comparable course is not offered ANYWHERE in the District.
Why the change in policy?

Why was it permissible to implement this change in policy without first having open public discussions regarding its pros and cons followed by a BOE vote whether to approve it? This policy change will adversely affect a wide variety of students with learning needs that differ from the norm. These alternative learners include students who attend Shabazz High School or other alternative programs within the MMSD, students with disabilities or long-term illnesses, academically gifted students who learn at a faster pace, and students who lack the means to transport themselves in a timely manner to a District school that offers courses their neighborhood school does not.
The cost to the MMSD of the previous policy was essentially zero, if not negative. On the other hand, the new policy will be highly detrimental to some students who now may fail to graduate from high school due to lack of sufficient high school credits or specific courses required by the District or State of Wisconsin.
Some students affected by this policy change may leave the MMSD for other school districts or alternative schooling options such as home schooling. The latter will lead to loss of $s to the MMSD. Students lose. The MMSD loses. Thus, I urge you to place this item on the agendas for upcoming BOE and Curriculum and Achievement Meetings.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
Sincerely yours,
Janet Mertz,
West area parent