Mission vs. Organization: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results

Jenny Peek:

The November meeting did draw some reading experts — including UW-Madison cognitive neuroscientist Mark Seidenberg and Madison reading advocate Laurie Frost – who have been publicly critical of the district’s teaching approach to reading. When they spoke, Morateck emphasized that the meeting was meant for parents, not the community at large, although she did not ask anyone to leave.

“The point of this was to bring in the community and to hear what the community wants to hear,” Morateck said. “And when I say community, I mean parents.”

But Klein complained about this distinction, saying she was glad to see people who simply care about how reading is being taught in the district attend the meeting.

Frost called it a “contrived restriction” on a community meeting. “It’s time to stop playing games, and to actually pay attention to the science and to actually impact the data, to look at the data and take [it] seriously, and to put aside our adult politics about whole language, phonics, whatever, and make sure the kids are learning.”

At the meeting, Seidenberg said that what the community wants is a forum to talk about their concerns.

“I’ve been here in Madison since 2001, and have never had a discussion with anyone from the Madison Metropolitan School District about any policies related to achievement gaps, dyslexia, language differences, bilingual background, speaking a different dialect,” he said. “And so there’s a certain amount of frustration when you say, ‘We’re really interested in these criteria, and we’re really going to look at them seriously.’”

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

2013: Reading Recovery in Madison….. 28% to 58%; Lags National Effectiveness Average….

12 of those 24 have been enrolled in Madison School since Pre-K kindergarten or kindergarden. 12 students have been in Madison Schools.

They have High attendance. They have been in the same (you know) feeder school they have not had high mobility. There is no excuse for 12 of my students to be reading at the first second or third grade level and that’s where they’re at and I’m angry and I’m not the only one that’s angry.

The teachers are angry because we are being held accountable for things that we didn’t do at the high school level. Of those 24 students, 21 of them have been enrolled in Madison for four or more years.

Of those 24 students one is Caucasian the rest of them identify as some other ethnic group.

I am tired of the district playing what I called whack-a-mole, (in) another words a problem happens at Cherokee boom we bop it down and we we fix it temporarily and then something at Sherman or something at Toki or something at Faulk and we bop it down and its quiet for awhile but it has not been fixed on a system-wide level and that’s what has to change.

2017: Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

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”