Wisconsin DPI Electronic Teacher Licensing

Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF):

The Department of Public Instruction receives 36,000 teacher license applications each year (initial and renewal applications). To help make this process more efficient, DPI created the Educator Licensing Online (ELO) System in December, 2013. DPI no longer accepts paper applications for license renewal; one must complete and submit the renewal application through this online system.

Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for a license renewal. If your license is set to expire on June 30 of this year, start collecting the required documentation early. You will need to provide information about the certifications currently held (they can all be renewed), and where and when you completed your certification (you can provide multiple IHEs). If you were licensed in 2004 or after, you must have your PDP reviewed and approved. Once that is accomplished, the District will provide that information directly to DPI.

Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF):

Former Edgewood student sues school alleging racial harassment

Ed Treleven:

A former Edgewood High School student sued the school, its president and its principal this week over a described pattern of racial harassment and bullying that he said Edgewood was well aware of but took little action to stop.

Blake Broadnax, who was a student at Edgewood High School from 2011 through December 2013, along with his parents, Keith and Rena Broadnax, allege the treatment Broadnax received from students and staff at the high school breached the school’s duty to provide him an education in a safe environment.

“Defendants also have been aware for years that Edgewood had a recurring problem with racial incidents and have allowed a culture of racism and racial bullying to persist and grow at Edgewood,” the lawsuit states.

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: $1,185,613,000,000: Federal Taxes Hit Record Through February; Gov’t Still Runs $386B Deficit

Ali Meyer:

In constant 2015 dollars, the $1,185,613,000,000 that the federal government collected from October through February in fiscal 2015 was $94,803,620,000 more than the $1,090,809,380,000 it collected in October through February in fiscal 2014.

That $1,090,809,380 that the federal government brought in in October through February of fiscal 2015 is now the second-highest-ever federal tax intake through February.

Although the federal government brought in a record of approximately $1,185,613,000,000 in revenue in the first five months of fiscal 2015, according to the Treasury, it also spent approximately $1,572,149,000,000—leaving a deficit of approximately $386,537,000,000.

The Future Of Loneliness

Olivia Laing:

At the end of last winter, a gigantic billboard advertising Android, Google’s operating system, appeared over Times Square in New York. In a lower-case sans serif font – corporate code for friendly – it declared: “be together. not the same.” This erratically punctuated mantra sums up the web’s most magical proposition – its existence as a space in which no one need ever suffer the pang of loneliness, in which friendship, sex and love are never more than a click away, and difference is a source of glamour, not of shame.

About one-third of borrowers with federal student loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education are late on their payments, according to new federal data.

Shahien Nasiripour:

The figures, released by the Education Department on Thursday, are the first comprehensive look at the delinquency plaguing those who hold federal student loans. By the new metric, which the department has never used before, roughly 33 percent of borrowers were more than five days late on one of their federal student loans as of Dec. 31. (Since the department only released individual figures for its four largest contractors, rather than a total percentage, however, the actual figure may be a few percentage points higher or lower.)

Previous measures had put the delinquency rate much lower, masking the true amount of distress among borrowers trying to make good on their taxpayer-backed debts.

Some 41 million Americans collectively carry more than $1.1 trillion in education loans owned or guaranteed by the Education Department, a total that surpasses every form of consumer credit in the U.S. except home mortgages. Thursday’s figure reflects more than two-thirds of the $1.1 trillion total. The remainder is owned by the private sector as part of a bank-based federal loan program that has since been discontinued.

The new measure of borrower distress comes as the White House urges the Education Department to improve its management of the growing federal student loan program and to give borrowers more protections against unmanageable debt loads.

Why Now Is the Time to Go Into Teaching

Sean McComb:

About this time of year eight years ago, I was a first-year teacher sitting in the purgatory that is hall duty. Between inspecting hall passes and greeting visitors my mind wandered to some dark questions. Why were my students so despondent? Why am I not reaching them? Is this career right for me?

I was teaching tenth grade students English and diligently following inherited wisdom to responsibly prepare my students for the state high school assessment. Sadly, for too long we centered on the minutia of crafting and organizing the five paragraph essays that were a part of that test at the time. Regrettably, we read and analyzed short, dry passages from stories. My students, as students are apt to do, were returning me the exact engagement deserved by the learning experiences I was offering to them.

K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum Climate: Recent Debt & Productivity Changes

Frank Hollenbeck:

Productivity increased less than 1 percent on average in the last three years and real wages have flat lined or declined for decades. From mid-2007 to mid-2014, real wages declined 4.9 percent for workers with a high school degree, dropped 2.5 percent for workers with a college degree and rose just 0.2 percent for workers with an advanced degree.

Is the boom being built on broad base investment in plant and equipment? The current average age of working plants and equipment in the US is one of the oldest on record.

Commentary on Madison’s April 7, 2015 Maintenance Referendum; District spending data remains MIA

Molly Beck:

If approved, the referendum would raise property taxes about $62 on the average $237,678 Madison home for 10 years. The district is still paying off $30 million in referendum debt for the construction of Olson and Chavez elementary schools in the late 2000s, according to the district. The final payment, for the Olson project, is due in 2026.

The aggressive school district campaign to get the word out to voters about the proposal and a community group that has been knocking on doors advocating for its passage have largely been met with very little opposition.

“It’s really quiet,” said board vice president James Howard. “I guess we’ll just have to wait until April 7 to find out” whether it has community support.

Board member T.J. Mertz, who has worked closely with the pro-referendum nonprofit Community And Schools Together, said the board has received about a half-dozen emails questioning the increase in property taxes.

“But there is no organized opposition,” Mertz said. “Whether that’s a function of apathy, the political culture of Madison or the lack of a strong Republican Party (in the city), or whether this is a popular measure, it’s impossible to read in the absence of no organized opposition,” adding that there also has not been a conservative school board candidate in about six years.

The proposal comes at a time when the school district faces at least a $12 million gap in its $435 million operating budget for the 2015-16 school year. The maintenance work and $2 million in technology costs also included in the proposal would ease pressure on the district’s budget, Mertz said.

I emailed Michael Barry to confirm Ms. Beck’s $435,000,000 Madison Schools’ budget number, which is 8% or $32,000,000 higher than the previously discussed $402,000,000 2014-2015 budget. I’ve not heard from Mr. Barry.

That said, pity the poor citizen who wishes to determine total spending or changes over time using the District’s published information.

Pat Schneider:

At a forum this week on the referendum projects, many in the crowd on the city’s near west side focused on property taxes and “what we’re doing to save money,” Silveira said Tuesday in a meeting with the Capital Times editorial board.

“People get confused. They think if we pass the referendum, we won’t have the gap on the operating side,” said Silveira, the current president of the school board who is retiring at the end of her term next month.

In fact, cuts in state funding will contribute to a shortfall that, if voters approve the referendum bond sale, would demand a property tax increase next year of up to nearly 5.2 percent to balance the budget, about 1 percent of which would be due to spending approved by the referendum.

Those projects to expand crowded schools, add accessibility and update mechanical systems, as listed in this article about referendum advocacy and detailed on a school district web page.

Wisconsin State Journal:

The State Journal editorial board endorses this reasonable request.

Madison’s per-pupil spending on schools is more than $1,000 above the state average of about $12,000. That’s mostly due to operational costs, including higher pay and benefits for employees.

Madison property taxes are high, too. That’s partly because the state sends less aid to Madison, based on a formula that penalizes communities with higher property value.

But when it comes to construction, the Madison School District has been conservative. The district with nearly 50 schools and 28,000 students has built only three new schools in the last 45 years.

Moreover, Madison’s debt per student is the lowest among all of the school districts in Dane County, and half the state average, according to district figures. At the same time, interest rates are incredibly low.

The proposed maintenance tax & spending referendum includes plans to expand two of the District’s least diverse schools: Van Hise & Hamilton.

Only 20 Percent Turnout Expected Statewide for Tuesday’s Election.

Online learning could disrupt higher education, but many universities are resisting it

The Economist:

One reason is that universities are wary of undermining the value of their degrees. So the certificates that students get for completing MOOCs do not, by and large, count towards degrees, and are therefore unlikely to make much difference to their earnings. And online degrees tend to be priced so that they do not undercut the traditional, campus-based sort: at ASU they cost $60,000, compared with $40,000 for campus-based degrees for in-state students and $80,000 for out-of-state students. Thus they have not helped hold down costs.

Resistance by faculty also slows down the adoption of new technology. When academics at San Jose State University were asked to teach a course on social justice created for EdX, a MOOC, by Michael Sandel, a Harvard professor, they refused, telling Mr Sandel that such developments threatened to “replace professors, dismantle departments and provide a diminished education for students in public universities”. Similar protests have been echoing around the country. For now, the interests of academics generally prevail over those of students.

Welcome to Ohio State, Where Everything Is for Sale

Steven Conn:

I’m excited to announce that my university has changed its motto. Out with the old and in with: “Omnia Venduntur!”

Our old motto, “Disciplina In Civitatem,” or “Education for Citizenship,” just sounded so, you know, land-granty, so civic-minded. It certainly doesn’t capture our new ethos of entrepreneurial dynamism and financial chicanery. Besides, the state legislature here, dominated for years now by the GOP, hasn’t been interested in either education or citizenship for a long time.

So instead: “Everything Is for Sale!” (Actually, the trustees originally wanted to carve “Every Asset a Monetizable Asset” into stone, but it turns out “monetizable” doesn’t have a Latin translation.) Yes, sir, we are open for business! And by “open for business” I mean: Make us an offer for something, and we’ll sell it to you like a pair of pants at a department-store closeout.

We’ve been moving in this direction for some time. We were among the first to become a “Coke campus,” which means that in exchange for some cash, we’ve agreed that Coke and Coke products are the only soft drinks permitted on campus. Periodically we all get helpful email reminders of our beverage obligations, which say things like: “If you go to the grocery store to purchase beverages for a university event, you must purchase Coke products regardless of the price of other items.” How else can the university hope to achieve its stated goal of moving from “excellence to eminence”?

The End of College? Not So Fast

Donald Heller:

In his new book, The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere, Kevin Carey lays out a dystopian future for American higher education as we know it. Colleges and universities will cease to exist, with the exception of perhaps “15 to 50” of them, and will be replaced by the “University of Everywhere,” which will provide “abundant and free” educational resources that for centuries have been locked up in the monopoly enjoyed by universities. The reasons for this revolution? Carey ascribes his predictions largely to the availability of massive open online courses and the coming revolution in badging, or microcredentials.

In Carey’s educational future, students will no longer need to spend tens of thousands of dollars per year for four (or often, six) years on a bachelor’s degree. Any courses they could take at an accredited institution will be available for free on the Internet, and third-party certification organizations will crop up that will attest to the learning achieved in each of these courses. These certification badges, in Carey’s model, will verify free or at very low cost the equivalent education and training that students today receive in a bachelor’s-degree program. Voila! The end of college.

The smartest kids in the world, my arse

Chester Finn, Jr:

The idea for this book was born two years ago, when I read Amanda Ripley’s volume The Smartest Kids in the World. I hate to be promiscuous with compliments, but it’s a very adequate effort. Its title, however, is highly misleading, which I realizedas soon as I checked the book’s index and didn’t see any of my granddaughters mentioned. That’s like Romeo and Juliet without Juliet. The Old Testament without Moses. Black Swan without swans.

So I decided then and there to write a book that’s actually about the smartest kids in the world—and how countries around the globe educate them.

Regular Fordham followers know that we’re not fans of how America’s schools treat gifted students; benign neglect is usually the best they can hope for, like Mary and Kitty Bennet, Jan Brady, and the members of Coldplay not named Chris Martin.

So how do other nations do it? Especially those whose high-achieving kids are knocking the socks off ours? We began with a hypothesis: that the strongest nations would practice what we call the Quarantine Strategy. At the earliest possible moment—never later than preschool—identify children with outstanding academic potential and cordon them off from all exposure to their dim-witted peers, as well as any influence from pop music, competitive athletics, or vaccines. This is what my parents did for me, and it worked like a charm.

Making time for kids? Study says quality trumps quantity.

Brigid Schulte:

Do parents, especially mothers, spend enough time with their children?

Though American parents are with their children more than any parents in the world, many feel guilty because they don’t believe it’s enough. That’s because there’s a widespread cultural assumption that the time parents, particularly mothers, spend with children is key to ensuring a bright future.

Now groundbreaking new research upends that conventional wisdom and finds that that isn’t the case. At all.

In fact, it appears the sheer amount of time parents spend with their kids between the ages of 3 and 11 has virtually no relationship to how children turn out, and a minimal effect on adolescents, according to the first large-scale longitudinal study of parent time to be published in April in the Journal of Marriage and Family. The finding includes children’s academic achievement, behavior and emotional well-being.

Why More Education Won’t Fix Economic Inequality

Neil Irwin:

In their simulation, they assume that 10 percent of non-college-educated men of prime working age suddenly obtained a college degree or higher, which would be an unprecedented rise in the proportion of the work force with advanced education.

They assume that these more educated men go from their current pay levels to pay that is in line with current college graduates, minus an adjustment for the fact that more college grads in the work force could depress their wages a bit.

There is no doubt that in this simulated world with a more educated labor force, middle-income workers earn more — $37,060 in simulated 2013 earnings for a person at the 50th percentile, compared with $34,000 in the real world, a 9 percent improvement.

Why My MOOC is Not Built on Video


The problem with making videos “central” to the student experience is that it comes at the expense of higher-order learning activities. More worrying is that students will spend almost all their time watching videos, as if that could magically elicit learning, without the hard work.

Videos can be one device for building a MOOC or a small online or blended course, but not generally the most important one. We need to acknowledge the limitations of video and place emphasis on authentic learning and not just “engagement” (time watching, # of clicks). [6]

‘Free-range’ family again in spotlight after police pick up children

Brigid Schulte & Donna St. George:

A familiar debate over how much freedom parents should give their children ignited Monday with the news that a Montgomery County couple had, for the third time, tangled with Child Protective Services for allowing their youngsters to take a walk on their own.

A couple of months after Danielle and Alexander Meitiv were found responsible for “unsubstantiated neglect” for letting Rafi, 10, and Dvora, 6, walk home from a park close to where they live in downtown Silver Spring, they gave the children permission to do it again.

Responding to a call from a citizen, police collected the children and took them to CPS in Montgomery where, 5 1/2 anxious hours later, they were reunited with their parents.

Hardy Boys and Girls: On Undergraduates and Self-Infantilization

Andy Seal:

There has recently been a spate of essays investigating a striking tendency on campuses across the nation: many undergraduates are seeking more and more to avoid or pre-empt encounters with speech or images that they deem “triggering” or traumatizing. Instead of allowing these encounters to happen (as they would be forced to do in the world after college), they either try to form safe spaces in which they “burrow” as in a “cocoon” or they attempt to secure remedial action by school authorities after the fact.

I’m going to address one of these essays specifically here rather than the genre, Judith Shulevitz’s “In College and Hiding from Scary Ideas,” from the New York Times. Shulevitz references a couple of other similar pieces should you care to catch up, but her piece covers most of the arguments I’ve heard regarding students’ “self-infantilization.” To cut to the chase, I think what she and others have described is neither a process of infantilization nor a process initiated by the students themselves, and her essay badly misdirects readers from the larger transformations in higher education that I believe are actually at issue here.

Let us begin with one of the subtexts of Shulevitz’s essay: that undergraduates today are less mentally strong and flexible than students of yore. Well, it’s not much of a subtext, in fact. She writes, “it’s disconcerting to see students clamor for a kind of intrusive supervision that would have outraged students a few generations ago. But those were hardier souls. Now students’ needs are anticipated by a small army of service professionals — mental health counselors, student-life deans and the like.”

PhD ‘overproduction’ is not new and faculty retirements won’t solve it

Melonie Fullick:

In my last post I took a look at some of the history and context of Canadian universities’ hiring of contract faculty. While I was digging around for information, I couldn’t help noticing the relevance of some of the material to another ongoing debate in higher education: that of the “overproduction” of PhDs. Since “too many PhDs” is a recurring theme in media commentary about graduate education (e.g. Nature, The Economist), I thought I’d explore the issue in more depth and connect it to some of the research I found. Are we really “producing” too many PhDs, and if so, is this a recent problem?

Let’s start with doctoral enrollment increases: how have PhD numbers increased over time, for example in Ontario? Recent graduate expansion has been significant within a short period. On this COU page, we find the specifics spelled out: “Between 2003 and 2011, the government added funding for 15,000 additional graduate spaces. In the 2011 budget, the government announced funding for an additional 6,000 graduate spaces” to 2015. That’s more than 20,000 places added in about 10 years, some of it clearly an echo of the Double Cohort’s undergraduate enrollment bulge. Over that period, PhD students have comprised about 35 percent of total graduate enrollments.

Everything to Like About Kevin Carey’s End of College & Reasons to Pause

Miloš Milovanović:

Kevin Carey’s new book, “The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere” has legs. It has been in the New York Times, on NPR and has an active Twitter hashtag (#endofcollege). Carey’s thesis is that technology can make learning happen anywhere. Rather than go to college once or twice, people will go to college forever. Colleges have grown greedy and short-sighted in their quest for prestige. Online degrees and short-term credentials of various sorts can, should, and probably will be the death of traditional higher education. The thesis should sound familiar. It’s been made enough times. But the thesis is better at describing than prescribing because it ignores the faultlines that created the problem: the politics of race, class, gender and inequality.

Carey’s take on higher education disruption is not unique for ignoring politics some people would rather not deal with. Many technological solutions to social problems have a blind spot for politics. And I don’t just mean electoral politics and public policy (although both are major). I mean the politics of how we choose where we live, how we live, and who we are. Fundamentally, most architects of the end of college want an apolitical solution to a political problem. Like Carey, they provide solutions for problems as we wished they worked and not the problems as they actually work.

Education is not a design problem with a technical solution. It’s a social and political project neoliberals want to innovate away.

Megan Erickson:

The point was this: forget the cash. Forget that American teachers spend an average of $500 a year supplying their classrooms with materials. Anything is possible, if you put your mind to it.

Similarly, Design Thinking for Educators, the eighty-one page “design toolkit” made available to teachers as a free download by New York City-based firm IDEO — which has designed cafeterias for the San Francisco Unified School District, turned libraries into “learning labs” for the Gates Foundation, and developed a marketing plan for the for-profit online Capella University — contains no physical tools. Problems ranging from “I just can’t get my students to pay attention” to “Students come to school hungry and can’t focus on work” are defined by the organization as opportunities for design in disguise.

Tim Brown, IDEO’s CEO and a regular at Davos and TED talks, has described design thinking as a way to inject “local, collaborative, participatory” planning into the development of products, organizational processes, and now schools.

Why Is So Much of Our Discussion of Higher Ed Driven by Elite Institutions?

Corey Robin:

One of the things that makes me crazy about the media’s discussion of higher education is how much of it is driven and framed by elite schools. During the 90s, when it seemed like every college and university was fighting over whether Shakespeare should give way to Toni Morrison on the syllabus, it occurred to few pundits to look at what was happening in community colleges or lower-tier public universities, where most students get their education. And where the picture looks quite different.

The same goes today for the wars over trigger warnings and safe spaces: on both sides of the debate, this is primarily an argument over elite schools. Which has little to do with a place like Brooklyn College, where I teach. Seriously: just check out Judith Shulevitz’s recent piece on the topic in the Times, which got so much notice. In a 2100-word oped, here are all the institutions that make an appearance: Brown, Columbia, Northwestern, Oxford, Smith, Hampshire, Barnard, and the University of Chicago. There are fewer students in all of these institutions combined than there are at CUNY alone; between them, these colleges and universities enroll less than .5% of all students in America (not counting Oxford, of course, though it wouldn’t really change the numbers).

Everything you need to know about Quebec’s latest student strike

Ethan Cox:

He was quoted in Le Devoir explaining that the austerity regime enacted by the provincial government would not allow him to pay for a makeup semester in late summer, as was held in 2012. “I don’t see how I can take money away from primary and secondary schools to fund people who decide to walk out the door of their university.”

The minister broke with the government policy of referring to student strikes as “boycotts” by calling on students who opposed the strike to show up to their general assemblies and vote against. Nevertheless, he insisted there was no right to strike accorded to students.

Can the minister follow through on his threat to make students pay if the strike continues? We’ll get to the bottom of it, along with all your burning questions about the current Quebec student strike, in this handy explainer.

Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

Fareed Zakaria:

If Americans are united in any conviction these days, it is that we urgently need to shift the country’s education toward the teaching of specific, technical skills. Every month, it seems, we hear about our children’s bad test scores in math and science — and about new initiatives from companies, universities or foundations to expand STEM courses (science, technology, engineering and math) and deemphasize the humanities. From President Obama on down, public officials have cautioned against pursuing degrees like art history, which are seen as expensive luxuries in today’s world. Republicans want to go several steps further and defund these kinds of majors. “Is it a vital interest of the state to have more anthropologists?” asked Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott. “I don’t think so.” America’s last bipartisan cause is this: A liberal education is irrelevant, and technical training is the new path forward. It is the only way, we are told, to ensure that Americans survive in an age defined by technology and shaped by global competition. The stakes could not be higher.

This dismissal of broad-based learning, however, comes from a fundamental misreading of the facts — and puts America on a dangerously narrow path for the future. The United States has led the world in economic dynamism, innovation and entrepreneurship thanks to exactly the kind of teaching we are now told to defenestrate. A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy. When unveiling a new edition of the iPad, Steve Jobs explained that “it’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — that it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.”