Steven Elbow’s Tuesday article in The Capital Times on the proposed Madison Studio School included a rather tantalizing opening quote from organizer Nancy Donahue:
When Nancy Donahue began her effort for a charter school in Madison, she had no idea she would be wading into a world of politics.
“It’s a campaign,” said Donahue, who hopes to have her arts- and technology-oriented Studio School up and running next fall. “And before this I was very apolitical. But I’ve learned if you believe in something you do what you have to do.”
A couple of close observers of Madison’s political tea leaves emailed some additional context:
Former teacher and Progressive Dane education task force member Kristin Forde is a member of the Madison Studio School’s “core planning group”. In the past, Forde has participated in School Board candidate interviews and a Progressive Dane (PD) candidate Forum.
Madison School Board President Johnny Winston, Jr. has been and is supported by PD along with recently elected (in one of the closest local elections in memory – by 70 votes) board member Arlene Silveira.
PD reportedly requires any candidate they endorse to back all of their future candidates and initiatives. [ed: Shades of “with us or against us“. Evidently both Russ Feingold and Barack Obama have not read the memo.]
I find PD’s positions interesting. They recently strongly supported the Linden Park edge school [map] (opposed by a few locals who dislike the sprawl implications, though it handily passed in November, with 69% voting in favor). I do think Madison is behind the innovation curve with respect to online learning and possibly charters. Appleton has 12 charter schools, including an online school.
- The Madison Studio School Proposal 256K PDF.
- Philosophy, staff and Board information 256K PDF.
- Budget documents 1 [jpg] [PDF] [.xls] | 2 [jpg] [PDF] [.xls] | 3 [jpg] [PDF] [.xls]
- SIS notes and links
The timing and politics are a challenge, given the recently disclosed 7 year Madison School District structural deficit which will require larger than normal reductions in the 2007 / 2008 budget increases.
I have very fond memories of Madison’s Preschool of the Arts.
It will be interesting to see if the Studio School supporters endorse PD’s spring, 2007 candidates, which include Johnny Winston, Jr who is standing for re-election.