Achievement, Teacher Unions and “an emphasis on adult employment”

The ultimate nightmare scenario for teachers unions isn’t a case like Janus but large numbers of African-American parents rejecting them as legitimate and not viewing them as partners in a shared cause. And this is why the Warren affair is so important. — James Merriman (@JamesMerriman6) November 25, 2019 Item 10.11: $100,000 contract to WestEd … Continue reading Achievement, Teacher Unions and “an emphasis on adult employment”

Money, Politics and Adult Employment/School Choice

Collin Anderson: Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren raked in tens of thousands of dollars from teachers’ unions before reversing her past support for student vouchers and education reform. In 2004, Warren argued that vouchers “relieve parents” from relying on failing public schools. Her campaign’s newly-released education plan attacks charter schools and school choice. Warren’s reversal … Continue reading Money, Politics and Adult Employment/School Choice

Deja vu: 2008 – 2019 Credit for non MadIson School District Courses and Adult Employment

Logan Wroge: To help students make the transition to a higher-intensity setting, two Madison School District teachers spend time at Goodman South instructing courses with solely STEM Academy students and some with a mix of traditional college and high school students. “We thought it was really important to have high school teachers be part of … Continue reading Deja vu: 2008 – 2019 Credit for non MadIson School District Courses and Adult Employment

“Rule Making”, achievement, adult employment, mulligans and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Molly Beck: Tuesday’s decision overturns the court’s own ruling just three years ago when a split panel of justices said in Coyne v. Walker that Evers could write rules and regulations related to education policy on his own — without permission from then-Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature — because the state constitution provides him with … Continue reading “Rule Making”, achievement, adult employment, mulligans and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Adult Employment: Bay Area teachers hold sickout to support striking Oakland teachers

ABC 7: The Albany Teachers Association is currently in negotiations with its district. Their contract expires in the fall. They feel the real battle though is with the state and plan on addressing school funding with Governor Gavin Newsom. “Because the districts can do what they can do, but the state has a lot more … Continue reading Adult Employment: Bay Area teachers hold sickout to support striking Oakland teachers

Adult employment and the Madison School Board’s self interest

Chris Rickert: Like the rest of the board, both also voted to approve the 304-page employee handbook that replaced union contracts beginning in summer 2016. District legal counsel Dylan Pauly pointed to two board policies that include provisions related to managing conflicts of interest among board members. One says board members should “avoid conflicts of … Continue reading Adult employment and the Madison School Board’s self interest

Feeling the Squeeze: Pension Costs Are Crowding Out Education Spending; The Focus On Adult Employment

Josh McGee Taxpayer contributions to teachers’ retirement plans are expected to grow substantially over the next decade. But the underfunding shortfall is so large that aggregate pension debt will also continue to grow. Retirement costs per pupil are already approaching 10% of all education expenditures. Without meaningful reform, these costs, as well as the aggregate … Continue reading Feeling the Squeeze: Pension Costs Are Crowding Out Education Spending; The Focus On Adult Employment

Adult Employment and Empty Milwaukee Public Schools’ Buildings

Erin Richards: Spurred by a deal gone sour between Milwaukee Public Schools and the developer commissioned to renovate one of its empty buildings — a deal that kept a private school from buying the facility — Common Council President Michael Murphy has introduced an ordinance that would position the city to take charge and sell … Continue reading Adult Employment and Empty Milwaukee Public Schools’ Buildings

Heavy Adult Employment Focus in the Milwaukee Public a Schools

Erin Richards But after Tyson made his offer, an MPS teacher who also is a teachers’ union employee submitted a plan to reopen Lee as a district-run charter school. The School Board was said to be considering both options. It was scheduled to discuss the potential sale or lease of several empty buildings, including the … Continue reading Heavy Adult Employment Focus in the Milwaukee Public a Schools

Deja Vu: A Focus on “Adult Employment” or the Impossibility of Governance Change in the Madison Schools

The Madison School Board discussed the renewal of Administrator contracts (500K PDF) during their June 10, 2013 meeting (video, about 50 minutes into the meeting). Listen via this 5mb mp3 audio.
The timing and length of administrator contracts along with substantive reviews is not a new subject:
February, 2006: Are Administrators Golden?

Lawrie Kobza pointed out last night that 2-year rolling administrative contracts may be important for some groups of administrators and that the School Board should consider that issue. Otherwise, if the annual pattern continues, extensions will occur in February before the School Board looks at the budget and makes their decisions about staffing. Even though the Superintendent has indicated what positions he proposes to eliminate for next year, when the School Board has additional information later in the budget year, they may want to make different decisions based upon various tradeoffs they believe are important for the entire district.
What might the School Board consider doing? Develop criteria to use to identify/rank your most “valuable” administrative positions (perhaps this already exists) and those positions where the district might be losing its competitive edge. Identify what the “at risk” issues are – wages, financial, gender/racial mix, location, student population mix. Or, start with prioritizing rolling two-year contracts for one of the more “important,” basic administrative groups – principals. Provide the School Board with options re administrative contracts. School board members please ask for options for this group of contracts.
Ms. Kobza commented that making an extension of contracts in February for this group of staff could make these positions appear to be golden, untouchable. Leaving as is might not be well received in Madison by a large number of people, including the thousands of MMSD staff who are not administrators on rolling two-year contracts nor a Superintendent with a rolling contract (without a horizon, I think). The board might be told MMSD won’t be able to attract talented administrators. I feel the School Board needs to publicly discuss the issues and risks to its entire talent pool.
Mr. Nadler reported that MMSD might be losing its edge in the area of administration. He gave one example where there more than a few applicants for an elementary school position (20 applicants); however, other districts, such as Sun Prairie, are attracting more applicants (more than 100). The communities surrounding Madison are becoming more attractive over time as places to live and to do business. If we don’t recognize and try to understand the issues, beyond simply wages and benefits, the situation will continue to worsen. I feel the process in place needs to change in order to be a) more responseive to the issues, b) more flexible for the School Board in their decisionmaking processes, especially around budget time.

Administrator Contracts – School Board Adds to Agenda

Questions that are not clear to me include: a) is a two-year rolling contract required for all administrators, b) what is the difference between non-renewal and extension of a contract – is the end of January date really an extension?, c)is there a Board policy – if not, does one need to be developed, d) are there options open to the School Board to hold on one-year contract extensions due to upcoming cuts to the budget, e) how can changes be made by moving/retraining staff if needed, and f) can grant money being used to pay for administrators be used in other ways (not including grant oversight/accounting? We’re in the same spot as the past two years – not talking about administrator contracts until one week or so before a deadline.
I feel this information needs to be clear and to be transparent to all employees, the board and the community. I believe a multi-year staffing strategy as part of a multi-year strategic plan is important to have, especially given the critical nature of the district’s resources. This idea is not proposed as a solution to the public school’s financial situation – not at all, that’s not the point.

Retired Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman on the “adult employment focus”.
Additional administrator contract links, here.
It is ironic, in my view, that there has not been much change in the District’s administration from the Rainwater era….

An Emphasis on Adult Employment



Andrew Coulson:

This week, President Obama called for the hiring of 10,000 new teachers to beef up math and science achievement. Meanwhile, in America, Earth, Sol-System, public school employment has grown 10 times faster than enrollment for 40 years (see chart), while achievement at the end of high school has stagnated in math and declined in science (see other chart).
Either the president is badly misinformed about our education system or he thinks that promising to hire another 10,000 teachers union members is politically advantageous-in which case he would seem to be badly misinformed about the present political climate. Or he lives in an alternate universe in which Kirk and Spock have facial hair and government monopolies are efficient. It’s hard to say.

Related: Madison School District 2010-2011 Budget Update: $5,100,000 Fund Balance Increase since June, 2009; Property Taxes to Increase 9+%, and Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman:

“Beware of legacy practices (most of what we do every day is the maintenance of the status quo), @12:40 minutes into the talk – the very public institutions intended for student learning has become focused instead on adult employment. I say that as an employee. Adult practices and attitudes have become embedded in organizational culture governed by strict regulations and union contracts that dictate most of what occurs inside schools today. Any impetus to change direction or structure is met with swift and stiff resistance. It’s as if we are stuck in a time warp keeping a 19th century school model on life support in an attempt to meet 21st century demands.” Zimman went on to discuss the Wisconsin DPI’s vigorous enforcement of teacher licensing practices and provided some unfortunate math & science teacher examples (including the “impossibility” of meeting the demand for such teachers (about 14 minutes)). He further cited exploding teacher salary, benefit and retiree costs eating instructional dollars (“Similar to GM”; “worry” about the children given this situation).

Janet Mertz:

Thanks much for taking the time from your busy schedule to respond to our letter below. I am delighted to note your serious interest in the topic of how to obtain middle school teachers who are highly qualified to teach mathematics to the MMSD’s students so that all might succeed. We are all in agreement with the District’s laudable goal of having all students complete algebra I/geometry or integrated algebra I/geometry by the end of 10th grade. One essential component necessary for achieving this goal is having teachers who are highly competent to teach 6th- through 8th-grade mathematics to our students so they will be well prepared for high school-level mathematics when they arrive in high school.
The primary point on which we seem to disagree is how best to obtain such highly qualified middle school math teachers. It is my strong belief that the MMSD will never succeed in fully staffing all of our middle schools with excellent math teachers, especially in a timely manner, if the primary mechanism for doing so is to provide additional, voluntary math ed opportunities to the District’s K-8 generalists who are currently teaching mathematics in our middle schools. The District currently has a small number of math-certified middle school teachers. It undoubtedly has some additional K-8 generalists who already are or could readily become terrific middle school math teachers with a couple of hundred hours of additional math ed training. However, I sincerely doubt we could ever train dozens of additional K-8 generalists to the level of content knowledge necessary to be outstanding middle school math teachers so that ALL of our middle school students could be taught mathematics by such teachers.

Urban Reform Institute Releases Report on Upward Mobility

Charles Blain, Wendell Cox and Joel Kotkin: Really? California, well known for its wealth, had the sixth highest median household income in the nation in 2019, yet has had the highest housing-cost-adjusted poverty rate among the states since data was first published in 2011.2 A net 2.4 million residents left California between 2000 and 2019, … Continue reading Urban Reform Institute Releases Report on Upward Mobility

$1.2 Billion in Property Tax Increases Up for Vote in November School Referenda (Madison, by far the largest)

Ola Lisowski: Voters will consider nearly $1.2 billion in property tax increases in the November election, thanks to school district referenda. Taxpayers in 41 school districts across the state will consider a total of 51 questions on their ballots for projects ranging from brand new buildings, upgrades to existing facilities and permission to spend beyond … Continue reading $1.2 Billion in Property Tax Increases Up for Vote in November School Referenda (Madison, by far the largest)

The pandemic has eroded democracy and respect for human rights

The Economist: People were hungry during lockdown. So Francis Zaake, a Ugandan member of parliament, bought some rice and sugar and had it delivered to his neediest constituents. For this charitable act, he was arrested. Mr Zaake is a member of the opposition, and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has ordered that only the government may … Continue reading The pandemic has eroded democracy and respect for human rights

“I’ve heard parents say that they feel like their children have wilted,”

David Wahlberg: Suicides are up in Dane County this year compared to last year, especially among youth and young adults, with mental health providers seeing a link to COVID-19 and a related uptick in treatment for depression. The county had 57 suicides this year as of last week, more than the total of 54 for … Continue reading “I’ve heard parents say that they feel like their children have wilted,”

West Ada cancels school Monday after more than 650 teachers call out sick

CBS2: Hundreds of teachers are taking a sick day for Monday, according to the West Ada School District, one day after the board voted in favor of a hybrid schedule. A spokeswoman for the district says out of 2,145 classroom teachers, 652 have taken a sick day for Monday. The sick calls leave approximately 500 … Continue reading West Ada cancels school Monday after more than 650 teachers call out sick

California teacher unions fight calls to reopen schools

Howard Blume and Laura Newberry: As parents express widespread dissatisfaction with distance learning, two influential California teachers unions are pushing against growing momentum to reopen schools in many communities, saying that campuses are not yet safe enough amid the pandemic. Leaders with the California Teachers Assn., with 300,000 members, and United Teachers Los Angeles, representing … Continue reading California teacher unions fight calls to reopen schools

Influential literacy expert Lucy Calkins is changing her views

Emily Hanford: The author of one of the nation’s most influential and widely used curriculum for teaching reading is beginning to change her views.  The group headed by Lucy Calkins, a leading figure in the long-running fight over how best to teach children to read, is admitting that its materials need to be changed to … Continue reading Influential literacy expert Lucy Calkins is changing her views

San Francisco Mayor Urges Opening Schools

Today I issued a statement on the need for our School District to focus on reopening our public schools, not renaming them. To address inequities, we need to get our kids back in the classroom. pic.twitter.com/nHnauVZzFe — London Breed (@LondonBreed) October 16, 2020 Related: Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a … Continue reading San Francisco Mayor Urges Opening Schools

Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’

Elizabeth Beyer: She said the curriculum offered to students was not intended to be delivered digitally and her children now have online meetings with their teachers for five hours each week compared to 30 hours of live teaching prior to the pandemic. “We need to give parents options so those who feel safe sending their … Continue reading Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’

Poor numerical literacy linked to greater susceptibility to Covid-19 fake news

Natalie Grover: People with poor numerical literacy are more likely to believe Covid-19 misinformation, according to a survey conducted in five countries. Researchers at Cambridge University said the findings suggested improving people’s analytical skills could help turn the tide against an epidemic of “fake news” surrounding the health crisis. Five national surveys – reflecting national … Continue reading Poor numerical literacy linked to greater susceptibility to Covid-19 fake news

Civics: How a Road Trip Through America’s Battlegrounds Revealed a Nation Plagued by Misinformation

Charlotte Alter: A lifetime ago, on Sept. 14, Greg Vanlandeghem sat outside a café in Holly, Mich., and explained to me that he planned to vote for the President’s re-election because he saw the race as a contest between two bad options. “We’ve got a guy trying not to die,” he told me, “and we’ve … Continue reading Civics: How a Road Trip Through America’s Battlegrounds Revealed a Nation Plagued by Misinformation

As the Governor and the Mayor Disagree, NYC Parents and Educators Search for Clear Guidance on In-Person Schooling

Zoe Kirsch: For Brooklyn parent Priscilla Santos, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Tuesday announcement that he was releasing his own plan for temporary New York City COVID-related school closures dispelled any lingering remnants of faith she had in political leadership after a bleak, confusing summer. Santos is the special education representative for her district’s Community … Continue reading As the Governor and the Mayor Disagree, NYC Parents and Educators Search for Clear Guidance on In-Person Schooling

Covid-19 and Madison’s K-12 World

Hi, I’m cap tines K-12 education reporter Scott Gerard. Today. Our cap times IDFs panel will discuss how will COVID-19 change K-12 education. I’m lucky to have three wonderful panelists with me to help answer that question. Marilee McKenzie is a teacher at Middleton’s Clark street community school, where she has worked since the school was in its planning stages.

She’s in her [00:03:00] 11th year of teaching. Dr. Gloria Ladson billings is a nationally recognized education expert who was a U w Madison faculty member for more than 26 years, including as a professor in the departments of curriculum and instruction, educational policy studies and educational leadership and policy analysis.

She is also the current president of the national Academy of education. Finally dr. Carlton Jenkins is the new superintendent of the Madison metropolitan school district. He started the districts top job in August, coming from the Robbinsdale school district in Minnesota, where he worked for the past five years, Jenkins began his career in the Madison area.

Having worked in Beloit and at Memorial high school in early 1990s before moving to various districts around the country. Thank you all so much for being here. Mary Lee, I’m going to start with you. You’ve been working with students directly throughout this pandemic. How has it gone? Both in the spring when changes were very sudden, and then this fall with a summer to reflect and [00:04:00] plan, it’s been interesting for sure.

Um, overall, I would say the it’s been hard. There has been nothing about this have been like, ah, It’s really, it makes my life easy. It’s been really challenging. And at the same time, the amount of growth and learning that we’ve been able to do as staff has been incredible. And I think about how teachers have moved from face-to-face to online to then planning for.

Does Money Matter More in the Country? Education Funding Reductions and Achievement in Kansas, 2010–2018

Emily Rauscher: The U.S. Department of Education made recent technical changes reducing eligibility for the Rural and Low-Income School Program. Given smaller budgets and lower economies of scale, rural districts may be less able to absorb short-term funding cuts and experience stronger negative achievement effects. Kansas implemented a state-level finance change (block grant funding) after … Continue reading Does Money Matter More in the Country? Education Funding Reductions and Achievement in Kansas, 2010–2018

Remote Learning Is a Catastrophe. Teachers Unions Share the Blame.

Jonathan Chait: Years from now, when we look back at the coronavirus pandemic, it is very possible that the most damaging element we will identify is its catastrophic effect upon public education. The devastation will be social and economic, permanently degrading the skill base of the workforce and robbing a generation of children, especially low-income … Continue reading Remote Learning Is a Catastrophe. Teachers Unions Share the Blame.

Lockdowns Intended To Preserve Our Health Are Making Us Poorer and Angrier

JD Tuccille: The U.S. economy may be slowly pulling itself out of the doldrums inflicted by social distancing and government lockdown orders promoted as efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19, but many Americans continue to suffer. Half of Americans who lost their job because of the pandemic are still out of work, and the … Continue reading Lockdowns Intended To Preserve Our Health Are Making Us Poorer and Angrier

Stats Hold a Surprise: Lockdowns May Have Had Little Effect on COVID-19 Spread

Jay Richards, William Briggs and Douglas Axe: In 1932, Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis famously called the states “laboratories of democracy.” Different states can test out different policies, and they can learn from each other. That proved true in 2020. Governors in different states responded to the COVID-19 pandemic at different times and in different … Continue reading Stats Hold a Surprise: Lockdowns May Have Had Little Effect on COVID-19 Spread

Civics: High court strikes down Michigan Governor Whitmer’s emergency powers; gov vows to use other means

Beth LeBlanc, Craig Mauger and Melissa Nann Burke: In a landmark ruling with far-reaching implications, the Michigan Supreme Court decided Friday that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer violated her constitutional authority by continuing to issue orders to combat COVID-19 without the approval of state lawmakers. The state’s high court ruled 4-3 that a state law allowing the … Continue reading Civics: High court strikes down Michigan Governor Whitmer’s emergency powers; gov vows to use other means

Commentary on Taxpayer supported Madison Schools’ compensation practices (and budget)

Scott Girard: The budget vote this summer took place in a June 29 public meeting, and district spokesman Tim LeMonds pointed to a mention in the June 26 staff newsletter, which he called “the primary mechanism used for communicating to all staff.” In that newsletter, a “Budget Update” section on page two includes a mention … Continue reading Commentary on Taxpayer supported Madison Schools’ compensation practices (and budget)

Schools reopen, no surge

Joanne Jacobs: Florida reopened schools for in-person teaching in August. The feared coronavirus surge didn’t happen, reports a team of USA Today reporters. “The state’s positive case count among kids ages 5 to 17 declined through late September after a peak in July. More than half of Florida families returned their children to school in-person, while the rest chose remote … Continue reading Schools reopen, no surge

Dane County school districts reevaluating role of police in schools

Chris Rickert: Amid a national conversation on policing and race, Dane County school districts are taking a closer look at the work officers do in their schools but so far have not gone as far as the Madison School District and removed them entirely. Of the 16 districts completely or predominantly within the county, 12 … Continue reading Dane County school districts reevaluating role of police in schools

Fact-check: Does Joe Biden want to end school choice?

Statesman: What Biden says about school choice The Biden campaign said he’s firmly against using public money for private K-12 schools. Here’s the full statement we received: “Joe Biden opposes the Trump/(Betsy) DeVos conception of ‘school choice,’ which is private school vouchers that would destroy our public schools. He’s also against for-profit and low-performing charter … Continue reading Fact-check: Does Joe Biden want to end school choice?

We are throwing the working class under the bus – an interview with Professor Martin Kulldorff

Alastair Benn: In this interview with Reaction’s Deputy Editor Alastair Benn, Martin Kulldorff, Professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and leading figure in the field of infectious disease epidemiology, argues for an age-targeted response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns result in too much collateral damage, he argues, and impose unreasonable costs on the working … Continue reading We are throwing the working class under the bus – an interview with Professor Martin Kulldorff

Reimagining a more equitable and resilient K–12 education system

McKinsey: The COVID-19 pandemic has upended school systems around the world. The pace has been frenetic as systems have had to stand up remote learning overnight, plan whether and how to reopen schools amid changing epidemiological circumstances, and support students academically and emotionally. The scope of the challenge has thus far left little time for deeper … Continue reading Reimagining a more equitable and resilient K–12 education system

Activist Brandi Grayson says she’s an ‘agitator,’ fighter for Black lives

Emily Hamer: Grayson also consistently fights for Madison’s Black community on smaller stages. At a recent City Council meeting, Grayson urged council members to pass police oversight measures to hold the city’s law enforcement accountable, something protesters have pushed for. She said voting in support would be to “do what’s right in the lives of … Continue reading Activist Brandi Grayson says she’s an ‘agitator,’ fighter for Black lives

Dane County Board continues to duel with the University of Wisconsin; budget assumes status quo (!)

Kelly Meyerhofer: Brenda Gonzalez, director of community relations at UW-Madison who spoke during the County Board meeting in opposition of the resolution, said testing and protocol put in place should keep the number of positive cases on campus low. She said Public Health Madison and Dane County is monitoring possible transmission of cases from campus … Continue reading Dane County Board continues to duel with the University of Wisconsin; budget assumes status quo (!)

COVID-19 emergency measures and the impending authoritarian pandemic

Stephen Thomson, Eric C Ip: COVID-19 has brought the world grinding to a halt. As of early August 2020, the greatest public health emergency of the century thus far has registered almost 20 million infected people and claimed over 730,000 lives across all inhabited continents, bringing public health systems to their knees, and causing shutdowns of … Continue reading COVID-19 emergency measures and the impending authoritarian pandemic

Why Mayor Elorza changed his tune on charter schools in Providence

Dan McGowan: When Mayor Jorge Elorza raised concerns last year about a charter school organization’s expansion plan in Providence, he had a very practical reason. He was in charge of a school system with 24,000 students, and he feared that the district would not be able to absorb the financial hit if too many students … Continue reading Why Mayor Elorza changed his tune on charter schools in Providence

Wisconsin’s largest teachers unions again ask state leaders to move all schools to virtual-only instruction

Annysa Johnson: The news conference, which also featured Madison Teachers Inc. President Andy Waity, was part of a national day of action by teachers unions across the country, calling for safe working conditions in schools during the pandemic. The renewed push to bar in-person instruction comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has spiked in the … Continue reading Wisconsin’s largest teachers unions again ask state leaders to move all schools to virtual-only instruction

Colorado governor pleads with parents to sign their kids up for school as state faces enrollment declines

Jesse Paul and Erica Breunlin: Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday pleaded with Colorado parents to enroll their children in school, saying that districts have seen declines in the number of kids signed up for classes during the coronavirus crisis, especially among younger grades. “Your kid will return to school someday,” Polis said at a coronavirus … Continue reading Colorado governor pleads with parents to sign their kids up for school as state faces enrollment declines

“I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person”

Will Cioci: “I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person,” she said. “I have asked that the county should revisit some of those K-12 limits.” One particular area of concern with … Continue reading “I am particularly unhappy about the fact that Dane County has chosen some very low numbers of case limits to decide whether to allow K-12 to start back up again in person”

Madison School District Staff Cannot Lie or Deceive Parents About Gender Transitions at School

WILL: WILL sued MMSD for violating parental rights with gender identity policy The News: Dane County Circuit Court Judge Frank Remington issued an injunction last week in a WILL parental rights lawsuit that forbids Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) employees from lying or deceiving parents about the gender identity that their child may have adopted at school. The lawsuit … Continue reading Madison School District Staff Cannot Lie or Deceive Parents About Gender Transitions at School

K-12 Tax; referendum and spending climate: Blue-city urbanization imposes a downward mobility people don’t want and don’t need.

Joel Kotkin: “No Bourgeois, No Democracy” – Barrington Moore Protecting and fighting for the middle class regularly dominates rhetoric on the Right and Left. Yet activists on both sides now often seek to undermine single-family home ownership, the linchpin of middle-class aspiration. The current drive to outlaw single-family zoning—the one protection homeowners possess against unwanted … Continue reading K-12 Tax; referendum and spending climate: Blue-city urbanization imposes a downward mobility people don’t want and don’t need.

America’s missing kids: Amid COVID-19 and online school, thousands of students haven’t shown up

Erin Richards: This year, after a lot of research about COVID-19 and schooling options and after the district announced it was starting virtually, Ludtke withdrew the girls and enrolled them in a state college that offers online classes. They’re earning both college and high school credit in English and math. (Because the girls are 12 and 13, the college administrators asked … Continue reading America’s missing kids: Amid COVID-19 and online school, thousands of students haven’t shown up

Commentary on 2020 Urban Governance

Kevin Williamson: This represents a truly impressive display of political incompetence on the part of Black Lives Matter and its allies. If you came to the American public with an argument that cities such as Louisville and Philadelphia are poorly governed, that this poor governance imposes especially terrible costs on African Americans, that the municipal … Continue reading Commentary on 2020 Urban Governance

25 Madison high school students named semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship

Elizabeth Beyer: Twenty-five Madison high school seniors have been named semifinalists for the 2021 National Merit Scholarships. The students join about 16,000 other high school seniors across the country that were named this month as semifinalists for the prestigious scholarship. About 15,000 of semifinalists are named finalists, and about 7,600 of the finalists go on … Continue reading 25 Madison high school students named semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship

Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

Adam Tyner, Ph.D. Sarah Kabourek; Foreword by: Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. Michael J. Petrilli: Even as phonics battles rage in the realm of primary reading and with two-thirds of American fourth and eighth graders failing to read proficiently, another tussle has been with us for ages regarding how best to develop the vital elements of reading … Continue reading Social Studies Instruction and Reading Comprehension: Evidence from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study

Man out on bail charged with homicide in crash that killed former Madison schools standout, board member

Chris Rickert: An 18-year-old Madison man out on bail was charged with reckless homicide Thursday in a crash last week on the West Side that killed a 22-year-old former Madison School Board member and National Merit Scholar. Maurice M. Chandler is also charged with driving with a revoked license, reckless injury and eight bail-jumping violations … Continue reading Man out on bail charged with homicide in crash that killed former Madison schools standout, board member

Grants help parents form ‘equity pods’

Joanne Jacobs: Pods and microschools aren’t just for affluent parents who can afford to hire a teacher or tutor, writes Beth Hawkins on The 74. Lower-income and minority parents are using small grants to create “equity pods” and microschools. With a $10,000 grant from the National Parents Union, Brandice Hatcher is opening her Righteous Voice Mentoring … Continue reading Grants help parents form ‘equity pods’

Not indoctrinated, just ignorant

Joanne Jacobs: I remember the fight over national history standards in 1994.  The standards, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, which would have been available for state adoption, if they wished, were attacked for for anti-Americanism. They crashed and burned. History isn’t about good and evil, writes Natalie Wexler in Forbes. History is complicated. President Trump wants … Continue reading Not indoctrinated, just ignorant

Court Victory Ensures Wisconsin DPI Cannot Play Games with School Choice Data

Will Flanders: Last week, a Jefferson County Circuit Judge ruled that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) violated the law when it came to releasing data on the state’s private school choice programs. Along with Jim Bender of School Choice Wisconsin and Matt Kittle of Empower Wisconsin, I served as a plaintiff in this case brought … Continue reading Court Victory Ensures Wisconsin DPI Cannot Play Games with School Choice Data

Tennessee students likely experienced ‘significant’ learning loss due to school closures this year, state says

Meghan Mangrum: Tennessee students have likely experienced significant learning loss, especially in reading and math, this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Preliminary data released Wednesday by the Tennessee Department of Education projects an estimated 50% decrease in proficiency rates in 3rd grade reading and a projected 65% decrease in proficiency in math. “The department has … Continue reading Tennessee students likely experienced ‘significant’ learning loss due to school closures this year, state says

The Moral Case for Reopening Schools—Without Masks

John Tierney: If you’re a public-minded student or teacher committed to reducing the death toll from Covid-19, what is the morally correct way to behave? According to the epidemiologist Sunetra Gupta, you should do just about the opposite of what’s being preached by college presidents, teachers’ unions, political leaders, and the scientific and media establishment. … Continue reading The Moral Case for Reopening Schools—Without Masks

Q&A: Maxine McKinney de Royston says virtual instruction is a chance to “reimagine education”

Scott Girard: Maxine McKinney de Royston has a pair of perspectives on virtual learning. The parent of three is also an assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, seeing the clash between the reality of what the Madison Metropolitan School District is implementing and what she considers best … Continue reading Q&A: Maxine McKinney de Royston says virtual instruction is a chance to “reimagine education”

After a turbulent search process, MMSD’s first Black superintendent takes charge

Benjamin Farrell: On July 10, after another, much shorter search, MMSD settled on UW-Madison alumnus and former associate principal of Madison Memorial High School Dr. Carlton Jenkins to be the district’s first Black superintendent. Since his time at Madison Memorial, Jenkinshas held high-ranking positions in school districts in New Hope, Minnesota; Beloit, Wisconsin; and Atlanta, … Continue reading After a turbulent search process, MMSD’s first Black superintendent takes charge

UW-Madison fires back at Dane County for proposing online classes, sending students home

Kelly Meyerhofer: The best way to reduce the number of infections, Blank said, is “not by issuing press releases calling for students to leave, but to partner in developing collaborative solutions for the benefit of all residents.” She warned that the county is unlikely to see a rapid decline in cases until agencies with jurisdiction … Continue reading UW-Madison fires back at Dane County for proposing online classes, sending students home

Madison seeks to waive the State of Wisconsin’s civics exam requirement

Logan Wroge: In other action Monday, the School Board gave district administrators the go-ahead to request waivers this year on attendance and truancy enforcement, annual instructional hours and a civics exam high schoolers need to pass to graduate. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results Madison’s taxpayer … Continue reading Madison seeks to waive the State of Wisconsin’s civics exam requirement

Judge finds Wisconsin DPI improperly released test scores to media

Todd Richmond: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction violated state law when it withheld voucher students’ standardized test scores for a day last fall, a judge ruled Friday. School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued the department in Jefferson County court in November. The lawsuit revolved … Continue reading Judge finds Wisconsin DPI improperly released test scores to media

Judge Rules Wisconsin DPI Violated State Law in Release of 2019 School Choice Data

Wisconsin institute for law and liberty: The News: Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier issued a summary judgement ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) violated state law when the state agency released partial data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs … Continue reading Judge Rules Wisconsin DPI Violated State Law in Release of 2019 School Choice Data

Needs Improvement: How Wisconsin’s Report Card Can Mislead Parents

Will Flanders: This year, no Forward Exam was administered to Wisconsin students due to the coronavirus and school shutdowns. For policymakers, this presents a challenge as it makes it more difficult to understand where problems lie, and where the focus should be for improvement. However, this also presents an opportunity to make modifications to some … Continue reading Needs Improvement: How Wisconsin’s Report Card Can Mislead Parents

Madison estimated to lose 400 students this fall; continuing to seek a new school building via 2020 tax & spending increase

Scott Girard: Ruppell estimated Monday that the district would see a 400-student drop in enrollment this school year, though that won’t be finalized until the state certifies enrollment numbers in early October. That’s up nearly 350 students from the estimated drop of 51 pre-COVID, which is why the district implemented a hiring freeze over the … Continue reading Madison estimated to lose 400 students this fall; continuing to seek a new school building via 2020 tax & spending increase

Majority of surveyed Wisconsin districts offering in-person school

Logan Wroge: With the bulk of schools back in session now, a majority of Wisconsin school districts representing about half of the state’s public school students report plans to open up school buildings for some form of in-person instruction during the ongoing pandemic. A Wisconsin State Journal review found in rural parts of the state … Continue reading Majority of surveyed Wisconsin districts offering in-person school

Preschool of the Arts expands to include elementary students amid COVID-19 pandemic

Pamela Cotant: The early childhood center on Madison’s West Side, which previously served children from ages 17 months to about 5, has added kindergarten through second grade this fall as it pivots to address the new realities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new arrangement helps the preschool families who were juggling jobs and assisting their … Continue reading Preschool of the Arts expands to include elementary students amid COVID-19 pandemic

Minnesota’s broad COVID-19 testing under microscope

Jeremy Olson: Criticism grew after Harvard’s Dr. Michael Mina told the New York Times last month about his concerns over test results with cycle levels of 30 or more. He argued for lower cycle thresholds but increased and more rapid testing, including of asymptomatic people who can spread the virus without knowing it. A Canadian … Continue reading Minnesota’s broad COVID-19 testing under microscope

Dane County digging in for a fight over in-person class ban

Nick Viviani: ane County officials are hunkering down for a fight over its health department’s order barring in-person instructions in local schools, including religious and private ones, for most students. “The order for schools is lawful and we will defend it vigorously, because the reason Public Health put it in place is worth fighting for—the … Continue reading Dane County digging in for a fight over in-person class ban

Madison School District plans to apply for waivers from some state requirements

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District plans to apply for a series of waivers from state requirements later this month for the 2020-21 school year. On the same day as students began the school year virtually, administrators told the School Board about three waivers they plan to request — as long as the board … Continue reading Madison School District plans to apply for waivers from some state requirements

Frustrated by virtual classes, families use open enrollment to transfer children to schools with in-person learning

Annysa Johnson: Catherine Winkel was prepared for the usual back-to-school expenses. The notebooks and binders, pens and pencils, new clothes, new shoes. There was one expense she hadn’t expected: thousands of dollars in tuition to send her 7-year-old to private school where she could attend classes in person. But after the Mequon-Thiensville School District announced … Continue reading Frustrated by virtual classes, families use open enrollment to transfer children to schools with in-person learning

State Supreme Court puts pause on Dane County Madison public health order barring in-person school

Scott Girard: Schools in Dane County that want to open for in-person education can do so immediately for all grades after the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked enforcement of the Public Health Madison & Dane County order requiring virtual learning for grades 3-12. The court’s conservative majority issued the 4-3 ruling [PDF document], which combined … Continue reading State Supreme Court puts pause on Dane County Madison public health order barring in-person school

The Problem in Reading

Chris Stewart interviews Emily Hanford (video). audio mp3 transcript Emily Hanford notes and links. 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 … Continue reading The Problem in Reading

‘It’s probably too late.’ Head of UW-Whitewater gives prognosis for fall term amid virus

Jonah Beleckis: UW-Whitewater’s interim chancellor said the university was “not far behind” UW-Madison, which on Wednesday night announced it would move all classes online for two weeks because of rising coronavirus cases. Less than a week into his current role, Interim Chancellor Greg Cook spoke during a Whitewater City Council meeting Wednesday. Elected officials were … Continue reading ‘It’s probably too late.’ Head of UW-Whitewater gives prognosis for fall term amid virus

Taking Stock of 2020 with Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

Madison School Board Member Ali Muldrow (WORT-FM): Today, Wednesday host Ali Muldrow spends the hour with Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway to take stock and openly discuss issues facing the city, with the input of listener callers. It’s a wide-ranging conversation that covers topics like racial injustice in Wisconsin, the mayor’s opinion of the Madison Police Department … Continue reading Taking Stock of 2020 with Madison Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway

Dane County Executive Writes to Close University of Wisconsin On Campus Classes

Dane County Executive asks @UWMadison to send everyone home from UW Housing and increase testing, quarantine space, and contact tracing on campus. “The University made the decision to proceed with holding classes this fall despite recommendations from local and national experts” pic.twitter.com/XHTQec2RVu — Will Cioci (@wjcioci) September 9, 2020 Letter: page 1 and page 2 … Continue reading Dane County Executive Writes to Close University of Wisconsin On Campus Classes

Madison’s new grading policy will only let students fall through the cracks

Jillian Ludwig: The implications of this grading floor are even more important considering that MMSD is known to have a significant racial achievement gap. There is a stark difference between a grade of 0% and 50%, and it has value. By getting rid of this important distinction, the district risks letting students fall further through the cracks … Continue reading Madison’s new grading policy will only let students fall through the cracks

A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes

Rabail Chaudhry, George Dranitsaris, Talha Mubashir, Justyna Bartoszko and Sheila Riazi: Increasing COVID-19 caseloads were associated with countries with higher obesity (adjusted rate ratio [RR]=1.06; 95%CI: 1.01–1.11), median population age (RR=1.10; 95%CI: 1.05–1.15) and longer time to border closures from the first reported case (RR=1.04; 95%CI: 1.01–1.08). Increased mortality per million was significantly associated with … Continue reading A country level analysis measuring the impact of government actions, country preparedness and socioeconomic factors on COVID-19 mortality and related health outcomes

Prep sports: Area programs’ plans for the fall (or alternative spring) seasons

Art Kabelowsky: A list of decisions made by schools in the Wisconsin State Journal core coverage area on whether to play fall or alternative spring seasons in various high school sports. Prep football 2020: Who’s playing in the fall, and who’s waiting for spring A list of football programs in area and region conferences, and … Continue reading Prep sports: Area programs’ plans for the fall (or alternative spring) seasons

Private schools, parents ask Supreme Court to block Dane County health order that limits in-person classes

Bruce Vielmetti: It notes that schools spent months developing detailed plans, per earlier county orders, to safely reopen. Tseytlin also argues that the statute defining local health officials’ duties says they can inspect schools, but reserves the right to close them to the head of the state Department of Health Services. In a response to … Continue reading Private schools, parents ask Supreme Court to block Dane County health order that limits in-person classes

‘We have an important first day coming up’: MMSD set to begin year with virtual learning

Scott Girard: While schedules vary from school to school, some are publicly available online and show a more traditional school day — in front of a screen instead of in a classroom. At Elvehjem Elementary School, for example, second graders will have a morning meeting from 8:30-9 a.m., a “foundational skills” lesson from 9-9:30 a.m. … Continue reading ‘We have an important first day coming up’: MMSD set to begin year with virtual learning

School in Western India paints village walls to conduct classes

WION: But, teachers in Nilamnagar, western India, have started a unique initiative to make sure that children don’t miss out of learning due to technological shortfalls.  They have set up outdoor classrooms for a total of 1,700 students for age group 6-16, where a small group gather around painted walls, which are used for teachings.  … Continue reading School in Western India paints village walls to conduct classes

Choosing a good-citizen school (Milwaukee)

Joanne Jacobs: Thirty years ago, Milwaukee launched a private-school voucher program for low-income students. In 1998, when religious schools were allowed to participate, enrollment expanded. Overall, test scores for voucher students resemble their public school counterparts. But there’s a critical difference: Voucher students are more likely to complete high school, enroll in college and earn a … Continue reading Choosing a good-citizen school (Milwaukee)

The High-Performing School Deserts of Rural America

Will Flanders: Among education reform advocates, improving urban education is often the focus. That’s no surprise since tens of thousands of kids in cities suffer from decades of educational failure and limited opportunity. But often overlooked are the challenges and problems plaguing rural education. Sometimes opportunities for success are just as limited, or even more so, … Continue reading The High-Performing School Deserts of Rural America

Middleton High School student’s petition asks for pass/no pass grading during virtual learning

Scott Girard: Many districts moved to pass/no pass grading in the spring during the sudden switch to virtual as the COVID-19 pandemic forced unexpected closures. But with more time to plan and build their virtual learning environments, schools are moving back to letter grades for high school students this fall. The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, … Continue reading Middleton High School student’s petition asks for pass/no pass grading during virtual learning

Biden says school reopening a national emergency

Alexa Mencia: Joe Biden delivered a speech in Delaware Wednesday on the issue of safely reopening America’s schools, which he says is a “national emergency.”  In his second speech in three days, the Democratic presidential candidate outlined his plan to keep students and teachers safe during the pandemic. The remarks come ahead of a planned trip … Continue reading Biden says school reopening a national emergency

Acting collectively and systemically for equity in pandemic schooling

Maxine McKinney de Royston and Erica O. Turner: Let’s be clear: an uncontrolled COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Black racism, xenophobia, climate crises and economic collapse are deepening existing inequities. A large body of research, including our own, shows that students of color are systematically denied access to safe and high-quality education. Maxine’s article, “I’m a Teacher, I’m … Continue reading Acting collectively and systemically for equity in pandemic schooling

Parents Press For Dane County Schools To Teach In-Person During Pandemic

Shamane Mills: Dane County parents upset over online instruction at schools that were intending to hold classes in-person are speaking out following a recent emergency order by the local health department, which restricted all public and private schools to virtual instruction for grades 3-12 because of COVID-19. Parents and their children carried signs outside city … Continue reading Parents Press For Dane County Schools To Teach In-Person During Pandemic

“Public schools keep collecting tax revenue regardless of whether school opens on time.”

Hannah Stoll: I was supposed to go back to class next week, but the public school I attend won’t open even for remote learning for three weeks. Its classrooms will be shut for at least another two months. My twin sister and younger brother, who attend a Jewish school in a Boston suburb, are going … Continue reading “Public schools keep collecting tax revenue regardless of whether school opens on time.”

Dane County Madison Public Health issues hundreds of warnings for alleged COVID-19 order violations

Chris Rickert: Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 5,568 cases of COVID-19 in Dane County, including 41 new cases reported Wednesday and 40 documented deaths. Statewide there have been 77,129 cases and 1,142 deaths. SSM Health, which owns St. Mary’s Hospital, was sent warning letters on Aug. 7, 13 and 19 for … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health issues hundreds of warnings for alleged COVID-19 order violations

Disrupted Schooling Spells Worse Results and Deeper Inequality

The Economist: Of the 50 largest school districts in America, 35 plan to start the coming term entirely remotely. The opportunity to squelch the virus over the summer has been lost, upending plans for “hybrid” education (part-time in-person instruction). This means more than just child-care headaches for parents. The continued disruption to schooling will probably … Continue reading Disrupted Schooling Spells Worse Results and Deeper Inequality

Protecting union jobs rather than giving parents $3,000 to educate the children

Liv Finne: Most schools in Washington will remain closed this fall. Some school districts are tightening their belts in anticipation of the COVID-19 budget cuts that are coming. Last week Governor Inslee bypassed the legislature and the decisions of local school districts to protect the jobs of union school bus drivers. He’s made sure money … Continue reading Protecting union jobs rather than giving parents $3,000 to educate the children

Dane County Madison Public Health amendment allows in-person instruction for students with disabilities

Scott Girard: Students with disabilities who need some in-person instruction will be allowed to go to schools this fall after Public Health Madison & Dane County amended its previous order Tuesday. PHMDC had announced on Friday, Aug. 21, that no students beyond grades K-2 were allowed for in-person instruction until certain metrics were met. After a challenging spring for … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health amendment allows in-person instruction for students with disabilities