Nerad Details His First-Year Vision To Madison School Board


For the past two weeks, Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendant Dan Nerad has been learning the ropes in Madison. He said he has been doing a lot of listening and learning.
On Monday, he officially brought his ideas to the Madison School Board, for the first time laying out a vision for his first year as superintendant.
“I guess my hope, over time, is that while I’m learning about the Madison Metropolitan School District that I can also help inform the school district of important new directions I hope we can take over time,” said Nerad.
One idea Nerad said he believes should be revisited in Madison is 4-year-old kindergarten.

TJ Mertz has more.
Much more on Madison & 4 Year Old Kindergarden here.

4 thoughts on “Nerad Details His First-Year Vision To Madison School Board”

  1. I’ll start by admitting that 4-year old kindergarten is a great marketing concept. Many financially- and time-stressed parents love hooking taxpayers for glorified daycare. The education bureaucracy loves it, and teachers’ unions, too, provided they get cut in on the deal. The appeal goes across races and classes. So, why not dump tax dollars into a program with this much support?
    Because there are far better uses for that money. If you want to really impact early deficits in school readiness you would have a screening program starting much, much earlier than 4 years old. That program would screen all children yearly from age 1, identify deficits in development, educate parents in child development and in early learning, and provide remedial programs only for those children who need it. Most kids won’t need the program, but for the kids that do, it is far more important to reach them at age 1. Age 4 is too late.

  2. Donald,
    The United Way sponsored a project called the Born Learning Delegation which was made up of people from many community agencies, pediatricians and school districts (including MMSD). Art Rainwater was one of the co-chairs. I served on the committee. Here is a link to the findings and goals/strategies for the BL effort.
    The first goal is that all children are screened for at risk status, cognitive, social and emotional development by 18 months and again at age 3 (at a minimum) and are provided with access to the needed services. Everyone saw this as a #1 priority. The report includes strategies and action items and this is implemented over the next few years.
    FYI. Arlene

  3. Arlene,
    Thanks a lot for your work on this committee. It seems to be the sort of program I think we need. I’d rather have district funding going for this than universal pre-K.

  4. Arlene, thanks for the information on the Born Learning Delegation. I do wonder, however, about precious district or United Way funding being spent on this effort, given the excellent WI DHFS Birth-to-Three program. This program provides the same type of assessment and therapy services, with much of Dane County’s program based at UW-Madison’s Waisman Center.
    Don, do you really feel that funding pre-Kindergarden readiness opportunities is just a waste of taxpayer dollars, especially when the other items the District spends money on (such as transit costs) continues to restrict its ability to provide basic programs and services, and support its infrastructure?
    Providing funding for programs that makes a half or full day structured preschool available to everyone (especially those folks unable to pay $800-1200/mo. for full-time daycare or preschool) seems both worthwhile and productive. This program would directly support children and families in our district. The District and community would benefit from a better prepared student body.
    As a taxpayer and parent, I would gladly pay more in taxes if those dollars were spent on improving student readiness.

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