“The School District of Choice in Dane County”

A. David Dahmer:

MMSD School Board President Ed Hughes said that public education these days is under a lot of pointed criticism if not under an outright attack. “Initiatives like the voucher expansion program are premised on the notion that urban traditional public schools are not up to the task of effectively educating a diverse body of students,” Hughes says. “We’re out to prove that they are wrong. We agree with Superintendent Cheatham that in Madison all of the pieces are in place for us to be successful. Following the framework that she will describe to you, we set the goal for ourselves to be the model of a thriving urban school district that is built on strong community partnerships as well as genuine collaboration of teachers and staff. As we do that, we will be the school district of choice in Dane County.”
Cheatham said that Madison has a lot of great things going for it, but also had its share of challenges.
“A continually changing set of priorities has made it difficult for our educators to remain focused on the day-to-day work of teaching and learning, a culture of autonomy that has made it difficult to guaranteed access to a challenging curriculum for all students,” Cheatham said. “The system is hard for many of our students to navigate which results in too many of our students falling through the cracks.”
It starts with a simple but bold vision that every school is a thriving school that prepares every student for college, career, and community. “From now on, we will be incredibly focused on making that day-to-day vision become a reality,” she said.
“Many districts create plans at central office and implement them from the top down. Instead, schools will become the driving force of change in Madison,” Cheatham said. “Rather than present our educators with an ever-changing array of strategies, we will focus on what we know works — high quality teaching, coherent instruction, and strong leadership — and implement these strategies extremely well.”

Related: The Dichotomy of Madison School Board Governance: “Same Service” vs. “having the courage and determination to stay focused on this work and do it well is in itself a revolutionary shift for our district”.
“The notion that parents inherently know what school is best for their kids is an example of conservative magical thinking.”; “For whatever reason, parents as a group tend to undervalue the benefits of diversity in the public schools….”.
Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.