Commentary on school choice in Madison

Madison Teacher and Parent Jen Greenwald:

I have worked as a teacher in the Madison Metropolitan School District since 1997. I have raised my two biracial daughters in and out of Madison public schools. And, like many of the people who support Isthmus Montessori, I would like to see radical change in our district. A school system that truly honors children for who they are would be a much better place for all of us.

However, I disagree that Isthmus Montessori would create the change we want to see. It would provide change for the very small number of children (fewer than 1 percent of students in the district) who win the lottery to attend the charter school — but at the expense of other students in the district. It is neither logical nor equitable to provide such a small number of children with a learning environment focused on creativity, imagination and exploration while insisting on more rigidity and standardization in the regular public schools, which serve the vast majority of our students.

Madison spends far more than most, now nearly 20,000 per student.

Yet, we have long tolerated disastrous reading results, while rejecting any sort of K-12 governance choice.

A majority of the Madison school board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school.