Last October, Madison Superintendent Jen Cheatham signed a resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding OCR’s compliance review of access to advanced coursework by Hispanic and African-American students in the District. The resolution agreement was presented at the December 5, 2016 Instruction Workgroup meeting (agenda item 6.1):
The description of the resolution agreement by Dylan Pauly & Jen Cheatham starts around 2 (h) 16 (m)
The OCR resolution agreement was included on the agenda (item 9.3) of the December 12, 2016 full board meeting as part of the Instruction Workgroup “report out” without discussion.
When OCR does a compliance review, it issues a resolution letter to the subject institution which describes OCR’s review and OCR’s findings. The resolution agreement (signed by the institution) then sets forth what the institution agrees to do to address the issues in the resolution letter.
Adele Rapport (PDF), via a kind reader:
According to the Superintendent, the District did not have a unified cuniculum prior to the 2013-201 4 school year. The Distiict recently reported to OCR that it is implementing “a multi-year, multi-phased plan to engage in course alignment. The end result will be courses that share a common course plan, common titles and course descriptions in the high school course guides, syllabi using common templates and common end-of-course summative assessments.” As summarized below. the District’s cum~nt approach to AL services is the product of several programs and initiatives as well as a recently concJuded audit by WDPI.
In 2008 The District received a $5.3 million Smaller Learning Communities grant from the Department. With these funds the District began, in its words, “to rethink and reconceptualize the high school experience.” As a result of this process, the Distri<.:t in October 2010 announced the "Dual Pathways Plan," with goals that included aligning the curriculum among all four high schools: closing the achievement gap between white students and students of color: and remedying what the District concedes was unequal access for students to advanced courses. The District proposed we meet these goals by implementing two different pathways for high school students: a "preparatory pathway" and an "accelerated pathway".
In March, 2011, The WDPI concluded an investigation of the District's TAG program by determining that the District had failed to comply with four State of Wisconsin requirements for TAG programs: (1) establish a TAG plan and hire a TAG coordinator: (2) identify TAG students in multiple domain areas, including intellectual, academic, creative. leadership and the arts: (3) provide access to TAG programming without cost and allow parents to participate in identification and programming. The District subsequently adopted and implemented a corrective action plan to address findings of WDPI's audit. On February 6, 2015, WDPI concluded monitoring the implementation of the District's corrective action plan, finding the District in compliance with all relevant statutory requirements for TAG programs in Wisconsin.
Also in 2011, in response to unfavorable feedback from parents and community members regarding the Dual Pathways proposal, the District modified the proposal and enacted a more modest series of reforms focusing on curriculum alignment. The District began to scale back its use of prerequisites for advanced high school courses, implementing a system of "recommended skills and experiences." The District also increased its advanced course offerings for the ninth and tenth grade, and expanded its assessment of elementary and middle school students for advanced kaming opportunities by broadening its reliance on qualitative factors like teacher recommendations.
The District offers honors ond AP courses to provide enriched academic opportunities for students. The District does not offer an International Baccalaureate program. Students can take honors courses at the middle school level, and both honors and AP courses at the high school level. None of the high schools offers weighted grades or credits for honors or AP courses. The District's offoring of honors and AP courses varies among schools, and neither the alternative high school (Shabazz City High School) nor the non-traditional high school (Innovative and Alternative Education) which focuses on expeliential learning, offers such courses.
The District offored 13 different AP courses in multiple sections during the 2013-14 school year and 24 different AP courses during the 2015-16 school year. Recognizing that its AP course offerings vary across its four high schools, the District recently completed a three-year plan for course vetting and course alignment that includes AP coursework. Pursuant to this plan, the District plans to standardize across all four high schools AP courses that do not have prerequisites. In addition, the Dist1ict's Director of CuITiculum and Instruction said the District has the goal to have a standard set of AP courses across all four high schools: the schools will not necessarily offer all of the same courses, but the AP courses each offers will be drawn from the same set of AP courses. The District will gauge student interest in AP courses in deciding where to offer the courses. However, the District will ensure that core AP courses such as Physics and English will be offered at all four high schools. The AL Direclor noted that a first step in offering higher level math courses at all high schools is to ensure that Algebra 1 is the same at all school. The Director of Curriculum and Management confirmed that the District is realigning the math curriculum.
The magnitude of the racial disparity in AP enrollment is worse for math and science AP courses. There were only 18 math and 17 science AP enrollments by African-American students, a rate of 1.2 math and 1.1 science AP enrollments per 100 African-American students. There were only 44 math and 38 science AP enrollments by Hispanic students, a rate of 3.9 math and 3.3 science AP enrollments per 100 Hispanic students. By comparison, there were 526.5 math and 368 science AP enrollments by white students, a rate of 14.9 math and 10.4 science AP enrollments per 100 white students. Thus, in the 2013-14 school year, enrollments by white students in AP math and AP science courses were 12.4 and 9.5 times greater respectively, than enrollments by African-American students, and 3.8 and 3.2 times greater, respectively, than enrollmentw by Hispanic students.
Further the data provided by the District show that there was underepresentation of African American and Hispanic students in AP courses at each high school in the District. During the 2013-2014 school year, the disparity between African-American students' participation and all other students' participation was statistically significant in 12 of 15 AP courses offered at East High School, 5 of 13 courses at LaFollette High School, 13 of 17 courses at Memorial High School and 9 of 14 courses at West High School. The disparity between Hispanic student enrollment and all other students' enrollment was statistically significant in 2 of 15 AP courses offered at East High SchooL 0 of 13 courses at LaFollette High School. 6 of 17 courses at Memorial High School and 8 of 14 courses at West High School.
In addition. African-American students underrepresentation in AP math ws statistically significant in all 12 of the AP math offerings that were offered at every District high school (in the three courses of Calculus AB, Calculus BC and Statistics) and Hispanic students underrepresentation in AP math was statistically significant in 3 of the same 12 AP math offerings. As for participation in AP science, African-American students' underrepresentation was statistically significant in 8 of 12 offerings of AP science (in the three courses of Physics C, Chemistry, Biology and Environmental Science), and Hispanic students' underrepresentation was statistically significant in 3 of the same 12 AP science offerings.
Small Learning Communities English 10
Math Forum Math Task Force
2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before
Madison’s Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results.