Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school policies in the spotlight: Marlon Anderson edition

Sean Cooper:

he attempted to instruct the student that the word was offensive. In doing so, he used the slur himself, which was overheard by administrators who had recently installed a zero tolerance anti-racism policy that prompted them to immediately fire Anderson for the utterance. Students subsequently rallied to Anderson’s defense, walking out of class in protest demanding that administrators recognize that words have context and intent, a view that was largely demoted to the fringes of polite thought in 2019, but given the race of the parties involved, school administrators all but had to acquiesce to their demands and Anderson was reinstated. 

For Pesca and other journalists of a similar ilk, Anderson’s reversed expulsion was an interesting example of how the soft squishy language of anti-racism policies collapsed upon their hard impact with reality. What put meat on the bones of this story though was the way the media handled the whole affair, with several national news organizations taking up a narrative that Anderson was fired on the grounds of an anti-racism offense when he, to borrow the phrase deployed in myriad headlines, “used a racial slur” against a student. Other news outlets like CNN further obfuscated the crux of the issue—that intent and context change the meaning of language—when they covered the student protests and interviewed Anderson but blurred his face and silenced him speaking when he explained what was said and how. Though certainly there are sensitivities a cable broadcast network must abide by regarding racial epithets, CNN’s extensive effort to remove Anderson from the context of a story about context undermined their own journalistic inquiry.  

“When the news says he was using the N-word that implies he was wielding the N-word. And that was not done here,” Pesca said during the segment on The Gist. “In fact, when the media reports that he used the N-word but then the media doesn’t say the N-word, can’t give you the actual quotes, bleeps it out, they’re really agreeing with one side of the story. The side that says there is no context for this.” 

The problem for Pesca arose during the production of this segment when he originally recorded himself saying Anderson’s quote with the slur intact, something that offended at least one of his producers, according to Pesca’s account and another Slate employee familiar with the incident. (Both of his producers from that episode did not return requests to be interviewed for this story.)

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?