Commentary on Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 School Discipline and Achievement Climate

Kaleem Caire:

Our School District has an obligation to learn from these incidents and to ensure that our staff, students and parents have clear guidelines about how to address similar situations when they arise, and how they can also avoid such challenges as well.

After reading the police reports, it is clear to me that the student’s actions and behavior leading up to the confrontation was unacceptable. As a father, I would never support my children behaving that way in school, in the community, at home or anywhere. I am left wondering what MMSD and the child’s parents have done, or could have done, together, to proactively address the challenges this student might be having that led to her inappropriate conduct. At the same time, there are other ways Mr. Mueller-Owens could have handled this situation that would have avoided him putting his hands on the student.

No matter how we look at this, the incident has been a painful and unfortunate situation for everyone involved, and for our entire community as well. The worst thing we can do is avoid talking about this incident, or worse, fighting with each about who was right and who was wrong. Madison clearly has challenges. We have to address them, not avoid them.

David Blaska:

feel sorry for the lady, I really do. It’s tough to see someone’s closely held belief system come crashing down all around them.

Madison’s school superintendent broke down in tears today (03-20-19) addressing Madison Downtown Rotary.

God knows, Jennifer Cheatham has walked through the valley of disruption. Three of the last six monthly school board meetings have broken down in chaos — the school board and its administrators driven from the meeting auditorium by raucous social justice warriors wielding the race card. Again this Monday (03-18-19), school district leadership retreated behind closed doors. Main topic on the agenda (irony alert): the overly legalistic behavior education plan — a plan that is more cause than symptom.

The school board that can’t keep order at its own meetings? No wonder the school classrooms erupt in chaos. Then again, when you throw your specially trained “positive behavior coach” under the school bus when he tries to restore order, what do you expect? (Reaction to the Whitehorse middle school incident.)

Which must just tear at Dr. Cheatham’s heart because the lady lives and breathes identity politics, repents her white privilege, and focuses Madison’s taxpayer-supported education through the refractive prism of racial equity. As opposed to more productive goals such as personal responsibility and individual achievement.

More chaos at the school board:

Go figure. The Madison school board ONCE AGAIN retreats behind locked doors. Because it cannot keep order at its own meetings

To do what? To fine-tune its cadaverous Behavior Education Plan! Oh, the irony!

The school board can’t even control its own meetings! No wonder it cannot keep the classrooms from erupting in chaos. (More here.)

2013: What will be different, this time? Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham’s Rotary Club talk.

December, 2018: “The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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::

On November 7, Superintendent Art Rainwater made his annual report to the Board of Education on progress toward meeting the district’s student achievement goal in reading. As he did last fall, the superintendent made some interesting claims about the district’s success in closing the academic achievement gap “based on race”.

According to Mr. Rainwater, the place to look for evidence of a closing achievement gap is the comparison of the percentage of African American third graders who score at the lowest level of performance on statewide tests and the percentage of other racial groups scoring at that level. He says that, after accounting for income differences, there is no gap associated with race at the lowest level of achievement in reading. He made the same claim last year, telling the Wisconsin State Journal on September 24, 2004, “for those kids for whom an ability to read would prevent them from being successful, we’ve reduced that percentage very substantially, and basically, for all practical purposes, closed the gap”. Last Monday, he stated that the gap between percentages scoring at the lowest level “is the original gap” that the board set out to close.

Unfortunately, that is not the achievement gap that the board aimed to close.