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.

Waunakee school board reverses decision on all-virtual start to school year

WKOW-TV: The Waunakee Community School District Board of Education voted to reverse its decision on an all-virtual start to the school year. During a meeting Monday night [video], members of the board talked about recent coronavirus numbers and learning options that would best fit the community. In a 4-3 vote, the board was in favor … Continue reading Waunakee school board reverses decision on all-virtual start to school year

School teachers from across the state protest for a virtual fall semester

Tamia Fowlkes: Protesters from four of Wisconsin’s largest cities gathered Monday in a National Day of Resistance caravan to demand that legislators and superintendents make the fall 2020 academic semester completely virtual. Educator unions, community organizations and advocates from Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine traveled to the Capitol, the state Department of Public Instruction and … Continue reading School teachers from across the state protest for a virtual fall semester

Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools’ fall plan includes Sept. 8 virtual start, MSCR child care for up to 1,000 kids

Scott Girard: District administrators outlined the latest updates to the “Instructional Continuity Plan” Monday night for the School Board’s Instruction Work Group. Board members expressed appreciation to staff for their efforts and asked questions about engaging students and ensuring they get some social experiences despite the restrictions of the virtual environment. The district announced July 17 it … Continue reading Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools’ fall plan includes Sept. 8 virtual start, MSCR child care for up to 1,000 kids

Many (Madison) area private schools offering in-person learning this fall

Scott Girard: As the 2020-21 school year approaches, private schools are taking advantage of smaller enrollments and fewer buildings to plan in-person learning while area public schools are focusing on virtual learning. And since the Madison Metropolitan School District announced July 17 it would start the year entirely virtually, some private schools are seeing an increase in … Continue reading Many (Madison) area private schools offering in-person learning this fall

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: U.S. Gets a Debt Warning From Fitch as Stimulus Battle Rages

Benjamin Purvis: One of the world’s major credit-rating companies fired a warning shot regarding the U.S.’s worsening public finances on Friday, just as lawmakers in Washington contemplate spending more to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Fitch Ratings revised its outlook on the country’s credit score to negative from stable, citing a “deterioration … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: U.S. Gets a Debt Warning From Fitch as Stimulus Battle Rages

Commentary on support for America’s (world leading $) government run K-12 schools

Johan Neem: As parents opt out, could we see eroding support for public education? Based on my research as a historian of American education, I fear so. The reason is simple. In a country that has long been hostile to big government, public schools succeeded because almost every family was a stakeholder. At the time of the … Continue reading Commentary on support for America’s (world leading $) government run K-12 schools

Former Madison SRO: Removing police from schools unlikely to reduce arrest disparity

Shezad Baloch: Corey Saffold served as a school resource officer for four years at Madison West High School. We asked about the implications of the end of the SRO program and removal of Madison police officers from the schools. Now the head of security at Verona Area School District, he repeatedly said he is only speaking on behalf … Continue reading Former Madison SRO: Removing police from schools unlikely to reduce arrest disparity

The Virus May Strike Teachers Unions

David Henderson: If you have school-age children, you may be wondering if they’ll ever get an education. On Tuesday the American Federation of Teachers, the second-largest education union, threatened “safety strikes” if reopening plans aren’t to its liking. Some state and local governments are insisting that public K-12 schooling this fall be conducted online three … Continue reading The Virus May Strike Teachers Unions

Wisconsin High Performance School Deserts

Jessica Holmberg & Will Flanders: Educational quality varies extensively across the state of Wisconsin. While some students have ready access to high-performing public, private, and charter schools, many areas of the state are high-performing school deserts—where families have few high-performing school options to help push their child forward. In this study, WILL utilizes statistical analysis … Continue reading Wisconsin High Performance School Deserts

How ‘Nice White Parents’ illustrates a powerful way of covering school inequality

Alexander Russo: Over the few days, the political right has been in an uproar over Nice White Parents, the Chana Joffe-Walt-reported and -hosted podcast that premiers today, via Serial and the New York Times. “Disintegrationists are now claiming that if you are a good parent who wants to educate your child in the best possible way, … Continue reading How ‘Nice White Parents’ illustrates a powerful way of covering school inequality

How a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers

Emily Hanford: Molly Woodworth was a kid who seemed to do well at everything: good grades, in the gifted and talented program. But she couldn’t read very well. “There was no rhyme or reason to reading for me,” she said. “When a teacher would dictate a word and say, ‘Tell me how you think you … Continue reading How a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers

“spending more money than ever with absolutely no idea what the result will be”

Betty Peters, via a kind email: America will, I expect, be spending more money than ever with absolutely no idea what the result will be.  And what about the families, the parents and children–who have no real choices because the various governors are making “shooting from the hip” decisions that affect all citizens.  Even  church … Continue reading “spending more money than ever with absolutely no idea what the result will be”

Madison Superintendent hire Carlton Jenkins tells Black leaders he’s ‘ready to go to work’

Logan Wroge: Former School Board member James Howard, who also served as president, said the district’s No. 1 challenge is the low reading outcomes for Black children, where only 9% of scored proficient on a state assessment. “Before our kids can succeed academically … we have to do something about our reading scores,” Howard said. … Continue reading Madison Superintendent hire Carlton Jenkins tells Black leaders he’s ‘ready to go to work’

Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School District’s online Teacher Effectiveness

Emily Shetler: Almost immediately after the Madison School District joined other districts across the country in announcing a return to online instruction instead of bringing students back to the classroom for the fall semester, posts started popping up on Facebook groups, Craigslist, Reddit and the University of Wisconsin-Madison student job board seeking in-home academic help. Parents … Continue reading Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School District’s online Teacher Effectiveness

Madison School District to use some federal COVID-19 relief funds for online math instruction (Fall 2020 Referendum tax & Spending increase plans continue)

Logan Wroge: The Madison School District will spend close to $500,000 out of the $8.2 million the district estimates it will receive from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to shore up its mathematics instruction for elementary and middle school students. Using CARES Act money, the district plans to: • Purchase … Continue reading Madison School District to use some federal COVID-19 relief funds for online math instruction (Fall 2020 Referendum tax & Spending increase plans continue)

Analysis: Michigan Teachers Union & Its Health Insurance Trust Raked In at Least $11 Million in Small Business Bailout Money

Mike Antonucci: When I wrote that the National Education Association and its state affiliates were big business, I got it only half-right. It turns out they are small business, too. Under public pressure, the federal government released a partial list of fund recipients from the Paycheck Protection Program, a project created as part of a package … Continue reading Analysis: Michigan Teachers Union & Its Health Insurance Trust Raked In at Least $11 Million in Small Business Bailout Money

Independent Madison charter Milestone Democratic School designed ‘by youth, for youth’

Logan Wroge: In 2017, Anderson and a partner approached the UW System’s Office of Educational Opportunity about starting an independent charter. The school’s design team was formed the next year, and Milestone received approval from the System in 2019 to open as Madison’s third independent charter. Independent charters are tuition-free, public schools authorized by government … Continue reading Independent Madison charter Milestone Democratic School designed ‘by youth, for youth’

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 schools may receive an additional $3.9M in redistributed federal tax dollars amidst fall 2020 referendum plans

Logan Wroge: The Madison School District is eligible for up to $3.9 million. It’s the only district in Dane County that is eligible for money from this specific pot in the CARES Act. Costs continue to grow for local, state and federal taxpayers in the K-12 space, as well: Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 schools may receive an additional $3.9M in redistributed federal tax dollars amidst fall 2020 referendum plans

The Latest in School Segregation: Private Pandemic ‘Pods’

Clara Totenberg Green: As school districts across the nation announce that their buildings will remain closed in the fall, parents are quickly organizing “learning pods” or “pandemic pods” — small groupings of children who gather every day and learn in a shared space, often participating in the online instruction provided by their schools. Pods are … Continue reading The Latest in School Segregation: Private Pandemic ‘Pods’

Nordic Study Suggests Open Schools Don’t Spread Virus Much

Kati Pohjanpalo and Hanna Hoikkala: Scientists behind a Nordic study have found that keeping primary schools open during the coronavirus pandemic may not have had much bearing on contagion rates. There was no measurable difference in the number of coronavirus cases among children in Sweden, where schools were left open, compared with neighboring Finland, where … Continue reading Nordic Study Suggests Open Schools Don’t Spread Virus Much

Commentary on the Madison School District’s hiring and lay-off policies

Logan Wroge: The district is proposing qualifications include: scores on the state’s Educator Effectiveness evaluation, cultural competency, experience, academic credentials and certifications, proficiency in a second language, and seniority. Several board members said elevating qualifications as a determining factor — instead of having layoffs based solely on seniority as they are now — would allow … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District’s hiring and lay-off policies

U.S. could redirect funds to schools that don’t close during pandemic

Susan Heavey: “If schools aren’t going to reopen, we’re not suggesting pulling funding from education but instead allowing families … (to) take that money and figure out where their kids can get educated if their schools are going to refuse to open,” Betsy DeVos told Fox News in an interview. DeVos, a proponent of private … Continue reading U.S. could redirect funds to schools that don’t close during pandemic

Teachers unions in largest districts call on Wisconsin Governor (& former DPI Leader) Tony Evers to require schools start virtually

Annysa Johnson & Molly Beck: Teachers unions in the state’s five largest school districts are calling on Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s top health and education leaders Monday to require schools to remain closed for now and to start the school year online only, arguing the threat from the coronavirus remains too high for students and staff … Continue reading Teachers unions in largest districts call on Wisconsin Governor (& former DPI Leader) Tony Evers to require schools start virtually

Commentary on 2020 K-12 Governance and opening this fall

Wisconsin State Journal: Unfortunately, the Madison School District announced Friday it will offer online classes only this fall — despite six or seven weeks to go before the fall semester begins. By then, a lot could change with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Dane County recently and wisely implemented a mask requirementfor inside … Continue reading Commentary on 2020 K-12 Governance and opening this fall

K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Flight to suburbs boosts U.S. homebuilding

Lucia Mutukani: “The numbers also verify that many people are leaving, or planning to leave, big cities as telecommuting becomes the norm for many businesses.” Housing starts increased 17.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.186 million units last month, the Commerce Department said. The percentage gain was the largest since October 2016. Data … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum & Spending Climate: Flight to suburbs boosts U.S. homebuilding

Madison’s taxpayer supported schools need to fix its transparency problem if it wants voters’ trust (achievement?)

Dave Zweifel: If the Madison School Board hopes to convince the district’s voters to approve two referendums totaling $350 million this fall, it might be wise for it and the school district it governs to stop playing games with our long tradition of open government. At the same meeting this week where the board authorized … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported schools need to fix its transparency problem if it wants voters’ trust (achievement?)

Madison Teachers Inc. demands virtual school to start year

Scott Girard: Madison Teachers Inc. is demanding the Madison Metropolitan School District begin the 2020-21 school year virtually amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In a press release Thursday, MTI asked district leadership to make five commitments: All virtual learning for the first quarter of the school year and until health officials report zero new cases for … Continue reading Madison Teachers Inc. demands virtual school to start year

Analysis: Madison school district’s lenient discipline policy is a dismal failure

Dave Daley: In 2013, the Madison school district had a zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior. Suspension was almost automatic for most violations. When Cheatham became superintendent that year, she was determined to bring down suspension and expulsion rates that she felt unfairly affected black students. Black students made up 62% of expulsions for the previous four … Continue reading Analysis: Madison school district’s lenient discipline policy is a dismal failure

Madison School Board approves a substantial tax and spending hike fall 2020 referendum

Scott Girard: If approved, the district would be able to exceed the revenue limit by $6 million in 2020-21, an additional $8 million in 2021-22, another $9 million in 2022-23 and finally another $10 million in 2023-24. The referendum would allow the district to surpass the revenue limit by that total of $33 million in … Continue reading Madison School Board approves a substantial tax and spending hike fall 2020 referendum

“We know best”: Madison School Board approves superintendent contract before it becomes public

Logan Wroge: The Madison School Board approved a contract Monday to hire a Minnesota school administrator as the next superintendent before releasing details of the agreement to the public. That’s a change from how the board handled the hiring process for its first choice for superintendent — who later backed out of the job — … Continue reading “We know best”: Madison School Board approves superintendent contract before it becomes public

That feeling when the news archives read like today’s front page

Alan Borsuk: They make for timely reading. Among the news stories I found:   Then: Sept. 7, 1976, The Milwaukee Journal. This was the first day of court-ordered desegregation of Milwaukee Public Schools. I organized the newspaper’s coverage that day. The hope was that this was “the beginning of an exciting new era in Milwaukee education,” as one story put it. Which, of course, isn’t an accurate … Continue reading That feeling when the news archives read like today’s front page

7.13.2020 Madison School District Fall Referendum Presentation Deck

Administration PDF: Proposed Question 1: Shall the Madison Metropolitan School District, Dane County, Wisconsin be authorized to exceed the revenue limit specified in Section 121.91, Wisconsin Statutes, by $6,000,000 for 2020-2021 school year; by an additional $8,000,000 (for a total $14,000,000) for 2021-2022 school year; by an additional $9,000,000 (for a total of $23,000,000) for … Continue reading 7.13.2020 Madison School District Fall Referendum Presentation Deck

Carlton Jenkins is named Madison’s next K-12 Superintendent

Scott Girard: Carlton Jenkins said moving to work in the Madison Metropolitan School District would be like “going home.” One of two finalists to become the district’s next superintendent, Jenkins was an associate principal at Memorial High School in 1993 and earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Throughout the day Tuesday, the Robbinsdale … Continue reading Carlton Jenkins is named Madison’s next K-12 Superintendent

Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science

Louisa Moats: The most fundamental responsibility of schools is teaching students to read. Because reading affects all other academic achievement and is associated with social, emotional, economic, and physical health, it has been the most researched aspect of human cognition. By the year 2000, after decades of multidisciplinary research, the scientific community had achieved broad … Continue reading Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science

Howard Fuller: On education, race and racism, and how we move forward as a country

Annysa Johnson: Howard Fuller announced this month that he is retiring from Marquette University, where he is a distinguished professor of education and founder and director of its Institute for the Transformation of Learning. At 79, Fuller has served in many roles in his lifetime: civil rights activist, educator and civil servant. He is a former superintendent of Milwaukee … Continue reading Howard Fuller: On education, race and racism, and how we move forward as a country

The Pandemic Has Reawakened the School Choice Movement

Libby Sobic: “This pandemic has reawakened this movement of school choice,” said Calvin Lee of American Federation for Children at a roundtable discussion on school choice in Waukesha, Wisconsin this week. While COVID-19 has not been easy for many families as they have tried to balance work and educating their children at home, it has offered many … Continue reading The Pandemic Has Reawakened the School Choice Movement

Madison School Board to vote on Police Presence, layoffs and budget

Scott Girard: If the vote goes as expected, the 2020-21 school year will be the first in more than two decades without a police officer stationed in each of the district’s comprehensive high schools. Employee Handbook changes Madison Teachers Inc. is organizing opposition to a set of proposed Employee Handbook changes that would change the … Continue reading Madison School Board to vote on Police Presence, layoffs and budget

Ex-CPS principal who tamed tough Fenger High explains why cops don’t belong in schools

Mark Brown: A school principal will always need a good working relationship with the local district commander, but police are asked to intervene in too many situations, Dozier believes. “We put too much on them,” she says. “It doesn’t necessarily warrant a police response.” The problem with getting police involved is that it sucks students … Continue reading Ex-CPS principal who tamed tough Fenger High explains why cops don’t belong in schools

Commentary on Two 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School District Superintendent Candidates

Scott Girard: Madison School Board president Gloria Reyes said in the release the district is “very fortunate to have an impressive pool of highly qualified candidates participate in this process.” “With a focus on how candidates aligned with the Leadership Profile, the Board was able to select two phenomenal finalists, both with deep roots in … Continue reading Commentary on Two 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School District Superintendent Candidates

2018 committee report could help guide upcoming Madison school resource officer decisions

Scott Girard: Most members who spoke with the Cap Times said they favored removing officers, but didn’t think doing so immediately would solve the problem at the heart of the issue: feeling safe at school. And some of the committee members wonder what happened to their months of work and why Reyes is calling for another subcommittee … Continue reading 2018 committee report could help guide upcoming Madison school resource officer decisions

Madison School Board will vote on police contract Monday

Scott Girard: The Madison School Board will vote Monday on continuing or ending early its contract with the Madison Police Department to have officers stationed in its four comprehensive high schools. Based on public statements from board members this spring and previous votes, it’s likely the board will vote to end the contract early, though … Continue reading Madison School Board will vote on police contract Monday

Wisconsin DPI 87 page “reopening schools” plan

Wisconsin DPI: Responding to COVID-19 is a tremendous undertaking for schools. Schools are tasked with re-envisioning educational delivery models in a span of weeks and adjust practices accordingly. As we look toward the fall, the safety and health of our students, educators, and families remains of the highest importance. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI 87 page “reopening schools” plan

The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschooling

Melinda Anderson: Racial inequality in Baltimore’s public schools is in part the byproduct of long-standing neglect. In a system in which eight out of 10 students are black, broken heaters forced students to learn in frigid temperatures this past winter. Black children in Baltimore’s education system face systemic disadvantages: They’re suspended at much higher rates … Continue reading The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschooling

Charter Schools’ Enemies Block Black Success

Thomas Sowell: For decades, there has been widespread anxiety over how, when or whether the educational test score gap between white and non-white youngsters could be closed. But that gap has already been closed by the Success Academy charter school network in New York City. Their predominantly black and Hispanic students already pass tests in … Continue reading Charter Schools’ Enemies Block Black Success

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison’s 2019-2020 property tax payment and installment data

Craig Franklin, via a kind email: 1.       The total 2019 tax levy for City of Madison property is $713,571,544.19.  This amount includes lottery, school levy and first dollar credits paid by the State of Wisconsin. The total tax outstanding, from City of Madison property owners, as of May 31, 2020 (the date of the last … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison’s 2019-2020 property tax payment and installment data

Wisconsin School Districts Have Administrative Bloat to Blame for Budget Failures

Will Flanders: Wisconsin public school teachers made, on average, $55,985 in salary during the 2017–18 school year with an average of 14.2 students per teacher. During that school year, spending was $13,670 per student in local, state and federal funding. This means that about $195,392 is spent on the average classroom in the state. Of that, only about … Continue reading Wisconsin School Districts Have Administrative Bloat to Blame for Budget Failures

No, we haven’t ‘defunded education for years’

Corey DeAngelis & Matthew Nielsen: On average, the United States currently spends over $15,000 per student each year, and inflation-adjusted K-12 education spending per student has increased by 280% since 1960. In California, where the previously mentioned football coach resides, inflation-adjusted spending on K-12 education has increased by 129% since 1970. Furthermore, data from the … Continue reading No, we haven’t ‘defunded education for years’

Commentary on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s planned 2020-2021 budget

Scott Girard: Administrators are concerned about a potential state budget repair bill that could cut funding to K-12 schools, though Gov. Tony Evers told the Cap Times last week he’s hopeful such a measure can be avoided amid lower than anticipated revenue for the state. The budget Ruppel recommended Monday would save $8.4 million from … Continue reading Commentary on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s planned 2020-2021 budget

Virtual schools see bump in interest as COVID-19 pandemic makes for uncertain fall

Logan Wroge: In a normal week, Parr fields about five or six phone calls. But in recent weeks, he said he’s been answering easily 70 calls a week from across the region, including many from Madison. Parr said he could see the online school’s enrollment, which was about 150 full-time students this year and a … Continue reading Virtual schools see bump in interest as COVID-19 pandemic makes for uncertain fall

Home-schooled children are very well socialized, despite what some experts say

Karen Lenington: Homeschooling- it’s all the rage right now! One year ago no one would have believed that every school-age child in America would be educated at home by the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Ironically, just weeks before this educational upheaval, Professor Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard called for a summit to examine the … Continue reading Home-schooled children are very well socialized, despite what some experts say

As the Madison School district plans for more budget cuts, Evers hopeful no budget repair bill necessary

Briana Reilly: While MMSD is heavily reliant on property taxes instead of state aid compared to other districts, a decrease to the revenue authority or other measures that would lower the levy limit would serve as a funding cut. The district already cut $8 million from the 2019-20 budget in the preliminary 2020-21 budget. Contingencies could include … Continue reading As the Madison School district plans for more budget cuts, Evers hopeful no budget repair bill necessary

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Dane County school districts waive requirements for graduation

Chris Rickert: All 16 of the school districts completely or partially within Dane County have waived or loosened at least two academic standards to help seniors graduate at a time when schools have been shut down since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Information from the districts and the state Department of Public Instruction also … Continue reading Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Dane County school districts waive requirements for graduation

“This idea of parental choice, that’s great if the parent is well-educated. There are some families that’s perfect for. But to make it available to everyone? No. I think you’re asking for a huge amount of trouble,” Dietsch said.

Michael Graham: “Is it your belief that only well-educated parents can make proper decisions for what’s in the best interest of their children?” asked a dumbfounded Rep. Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro). Rather than saying “no,” Dietsch instead repeated her view that parents without college degrees are less capable of overseeing their children’s education. “In a democracy, … Continue reading “This idea of parental choice, that’s great if the parent is well-educated. There are some families that’s perfect for. But to make it available to everyone? No. I think you’re asking for a huge amount of trouble,” Dietsch said.

Analysis: Police Unions Stonewall All Attempts at Reform. So Do Teachers Unions. Is That Why They’ve Been So Silent?

Mike Antonucci: The Center for Public Integrity reports that police contracts have “arbitration clauses that often force police departments to rehire fired misbehaving cops” and that cop unions “have successfully lobbied for state laws granting police officers far more job security than the average U.S. worker.” A former attorney for the Service Employees International Union … Continue reading Analysis: Police Unions Stonewall All Attempts at Reform. So Do Teachers Unions. Is That Why They’ve Been So Silent?

“our schools first started by killing their minds”

Jasmine Lane: Shallow successes allow us to pat ourselves on the back. But a high graduation rate is meaningless when our graduates enter the world without a fundamental grasp of the tools and knowledge necessary for full participation in life and citizenship. We can hope for a reimagining of schooling during this time, but nothing … Continue reading “our schools first started by killing their minds”

MTI files complaint with state employment relations commission over budget cuts survey

Scott Girard: Madison Teachers Inc. has filed a complaintagainst the Madison Metropolitan School District related to a survey sent out to staff last week. The Prohibited Practice Complaint was filed Monday with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission and seeks an immediate cease and desist of the survey and asks that the district be made to destroy … Continue reading MTI files complaint with state employment relations commission over budget cuts survey

Madison teachers union backs removal of police from high schools

Logan Wroge: Madison’s teachers union is shifting its stance on school-based police officers and is now advocating they be taken out of the city’s main high schools — but only if 33 additional support staff are hired. In a statement Sunday, Madison Teachers Inc. said it backs the removal of school resource officers, or SROs, … Continue reading Madison teachers union backs removal of police from high schools

Governance: How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts (Act 10)

Noam Scheiber, Farah Stockman and J. David Goodman: Over the past five years, as demands for reform have mounted in the aftermath of police violence in cities like Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and now Minneapolis, police unions have emerged as one of the most significant roadblocks to change. The greater the political pressure for reform, the … Continue reading Governance: How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts (Act 10)

Wisconsin private schools weigh whether to accept federal pandemic relief money

Kelly Meyerhofer: The “real help” will come from other federal funding, she said. For example, Wisconsin is slated to receive $175 million from Congress for K-12 schools through what’s known as the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. The law allows governors to disperse the money as they see fit, so private schools could potentially be … Continue reading Wisconsin private schools weigh whether to accept federal pandemic relief money

How ‘Reading Instruction’ Oppresses Black And Brown Children

Natalie Wexler: On national tests last year, only 18 percent of black 4th-graders scored proficient or above in reading; the figure for white 4th-graders was 45 percent. For 8th graders, the percentages were 15 and 42 percent. It’s sobering that over half of white students fail to meet the proficiency bar. But the figures for black students should outrage anyone who cares … Continue reading How ‘Reading Instruction’ Oppresses Black And Brown Children

Law review article highlights MMSD’s racial disparities in literacy

Scott Girard: A recently published law review article has some strong words for the Madison Metropolitan School District’s literacy achievement gap and how that connects with Dane County’s disparate incarceration rates for black people. “Where Dane County’s largest public school district has largely failed to produce literate Black fourth graders for more than a decade, it follows … Continue reading Law review article highlights MMSD’s racial disparities in literacy

On the education front, one way to move from anger to action would be to make sure all youngsters are proficient in reading

Alan Borsuk: First, success in reaching proficiency in reading is shockingly low among students from low-income homes and those who are black or Hispanic. The Wisconsin gap between white kids and black kids has often been measured as the worst in the United States.  Only 13% of black fourth through eighth graders in Wisconsin were rated as proficient or … Continue reading On the education front, one way to move from anger to action would be to make sure all youngsters are proficient in reading

Statement on recent incidents of racial injustice and SRO’s

Gloria Reyes, Madison School Board President: Dear MMSD Family and Community: I would like to acknowledge the hurt our community is feeling after recent events of racial injustice. I stand by the many voices who have so passionately rallied our community to speak out against racism, and reject it in all its forms. I honor … Continue reading Statement on recent incidents of racial injustice and SRO’s

Group places American flags scrawled with obscenities on Madison School Board leader’s lawn

Reyes is a former police officer. https://t.co/HB0xGCSNaQ — Patrick Marley (@patrickdmarley) June 5, 2020 Chris Rickert: A group protesting the presence of police officers in Madison’s four main high schools placed what appear to be dozens of American flags scrawled with obscenities targeting police overnight Thursday on the lawn of the Madison School Board president, … Continue reading Group places American flags scrawled with obscenities on Madison School Board leader’s lawn

“qualifications and not seniority will decide who gets let go”

Scott Girard: Among the changes is one that would allow the district to choose who is laid off and designated as surplus staff based on qualifications rather than seniority. That is among a slate of administrator-proposed “preliminary recommendations” the board discussed Monday night during an Instruction Work Group meeting, with a vote anticipated at the full June … Continue reading “qualifications and not seniority will decide who gets let go”

Mission vs organization: Student enrollment vs tax receipts

Marielle Argueza: It’s census season, meaning there’s a lot of attention on how many people live where right now, but population numbers and projections are always changing, even between census years. In 2018, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments forecast a slowdown in population growth in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. And … Continue reading Mission vs organization: Student enrollment vs tax receipts

Top officials at Milwaukee Public Schools don’t apply or interview for jobs

Casey Geraldo: The I-TEAM verified with a district spokesperson who clarified in an email that “the superintendent has the ability to appoint these positions regardless of an application process or not.” He continued, writing “I’d be curious to learn if that is common practice for other large districts.” We called other similar-sized districts. Both Kansas … Continue reading Top officials at Milwaukee Public Schools don’t apply or interview for jobs

“I don’t think that actually stating they’re supporting these policies actually means that anything will change” (DPI Teacher Mulligans continue)

Logan Wroge: “I don’t think that actually stating they’re supporting these policies actually means that anything will change,” said Mark Seidenberg, a UW-Madison psychology professor. “I don’t take their statement as anything more than an attempt to defuse some of the controversy and some of the criticism that’s being directed their way.” While there’s broad … Continue reading “I don’t think that actually stating they’re supporting these policies actually means that anything will change” (DPI Teacher Mulligans continue)

From the Cap Times (Madison) editorial board, a rant on education — just not about students

Jim Bender: More than 43,000 families in Wisconsin’s school choice programs likely will be surprised to learn that they constitute a “threat” to the state. The editorial board of the Capital Times offered up that opinion in a recent attack on programs that serve these low-income and working-class families. The impetus for the editorial — … Continue reading From the Cap Times (Madison) editorial board, a rant on education — just not about students

Old People Have All the Interesting Jobs in America

Tyler Cowen: Why so many of America’s best and brightest college graduates go into management consulting, finance or law school is a perennial question. There are some compelling theories, which I will get to, but first I would like to turn the question around: Why are so many people in top positions, whether in the public … Continue reading Old People Have All the Interesting Jobs in America

Teacher in-retirement & pension change proposal from 55 to 59.5 (!)

Riley Vetterkind: Felzkowski and Stroebel say the bill would make it easier for retired teachers to fill workforce shortages in local school districts in order to meet the needs of students. Since 2009-10, the number of Wisconsin teachers has declined by 1,338, or 2.2%, while the number of public school students over the same time … Continue reading Teacher in-retirement & pension change proposal from 55 to 59.5 (!)

Our Tax Dollars at Work: Wisconsin DPI loses School Choice Case

WILL: Waukesha Circuit Court Judge Bohren issued a summary judgement order Tuesday in favor of School Choice Wisconsin Action (SCWA), a WILL client, that sued the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the state education agency, for their unfair, illegal treatment of private schools in Wisconsin’s choice programs. WILL filed the lawsuit on behalf of … Continue reading Our Tax Dollars at Work: Wisconsin DPI loses School Choice Case

Parent union forming to combat power of public school teachers unions; “The tyranny of low expectations”

Nick Givas: Keri Rodrigues and Alma Marquez said they were so appalled by the low standards of America’s public school teachers unions, they formed the National Parents Union (NPU), so families could have a greater say in their children’s education. Rodrigues, a mother of three from Boston, and Marquez, a mother of one from Los Angeles, are no strangers … Continue reading Parent union forming to combat power of public school teachers unions; “The tyranny of low expectations”

Nygren and Thiesfeldt Call for Audit of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Wisconsin Legislature: –State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance and State Representative Jeremy (R-Fond du Lac), Chair of the Assembly Education Committee released the following statement calling for an audit of the Department of Public Instruction: “Representing nearly one-fifth of the entire state budget, the Department of Public Instruction budget … Continue reading Nygren and Thiesfeldt Call for Audit of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Minnesota teachers union opposes constitutional amendment to address achievement gap

Mary Lynn Smith: The largest organization representing Minnesota educators announced Wednesday that it opposes a plan to change the state Constitution in an effort to narrow the state’s persistent academic achievement gap. Education Minnesota, the union representing 80,000 members who work in pre-K and K-12 schools and higher-education institutions, announced its opposition as the authors … Continue reading Minnesota teachers union opposes constitutional amendment to address achievement gap

Administrative Commentary on the taxpayer supported Palmyra-Eagle School District (and the relevance of many smaller districts)

Chris Rickert: Five of the six other board members, all representing other local school districts, agreed. Only the state superintendent of public instruction’s designee to the board, David Carlson, voted against keeping the district open. District employees, students and community members packing the district’s middle school gymnasium where the board was meeting erupted in applause … Continue reading Administrative Commentary on the taxpayer supported Palmyra-Eagle School District (and the relevance of many smaller districts)

Parent questions Madison School District practice barring third party from working with child in class

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District’s practice of barring an outside therapy organization from providing classroom support for students with special needs is being questioned after a parent’s request to do so was at first allowed, and later prohibited. The parent, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of her son, … Continue reading Parent questions Madison School District practice barring third party from working with child in class

Mission vs Organization: Parent and Student Choice vs the Status Quo

Michael Clark & Jeremy Kelley: Public school buildings, which previously have been rated high enough by the Ohio Department of Education’s annual building report cards that families did not have access to the school-choice exit option, will instead be designated as “underperforming” if only a subset of students or academic subjects now fall into that … Continue reading Mission vs Organization: Parent and Student Choice vs the Status Quo

Federalism, local governance, influence and how we arrived at Wisconsin ACT 10

Rachel Cohen: Meanwhile, a top priority for labor has been sitting quietly on Pelosi’s desk and, unlike USMCA, already commands enough support to get it over the House finish line. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would be the most comprehensive rewrite of U.S. labor law in decades. It would eliminate right-to-work laws, impose … Continue reading Federalism, local governance, influence and how we arrived at Wisconsin ACT 10

Bargaining for the Common Good Is Neither Common Nor Good. But It Makes for Great Public Relations

Mike Antonucci: Have you heard? Teachers unions are no longer interested in negotiating only the salaries, benefits and working conditions of their members, but affordable housing, restorative justice, climate change and a host of other social issues as well. Unions call this “bargaining for the common good” and have parlayed the concept into positive — … Continue reading Bargaining for the Common Good Is Neither Common Nor Good. But It Makes for Great Public Relations

How Are Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers Getting Post-Strike Makeup Days Off?

Dana Kozlov: The Chicago Teachers Union did not budge during its 11-day strike. “We should return to work in the schools pending one thing – and that one thing is a return-to-work agreement,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said on the 11th and last day of the strike on Oct. 31. The union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot agreed … Continue reading How Are Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers Getting Post-Strike Makeup Days Off?

Politifact joins the Wisconsin Reading mulligan party

Wisconsin’s new Governor, Democrat Tony Evers, recently acknowledged his support for thousands of elementary reading teacher content knowledge exam mulligans. Now comes Politifact: As proof, Thiesfeldt’s staff pointed to the most recent Wisconsin Student Assessment System results. The annual tests include the Forward Exam for grades three to eight and ACT-related tests for grades nine … Continue reading Politifact joins the Wisconsin Reading mulligan party

Great New Essay Tells the Truth About Teacher Pay. Unfortunately, in Ed World, the Truth Is Just Another Story

Mike Antonucci: Biggs and Richwine are especially effective in dissecting the annual reports on the “teacher pay gap” published by the union-backed Economic Policy Institute. They demonstrate that when EPI’s methodology is applied to other professions, it shows “pay gaps” for about 40 percent of all occupations. EPI’s methods suggest telemarketers are woefully underpaid. Biggs … Continue reading Great New Essay Tells the Truth About Teacher Pay. Unfortunately, in Ed World, the Truth Is Just Another Story

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

Wiseye @ 24 September WisPolitics Lunch: Jim Zellmer: Thank you for your service Governor Evers. Under your leadership, the Wisconsin d.p.i. granted Mulligan’s to thousands of elementary teachers who couldn’t pass a reading exam (that’s the “Foundations of Reading” elementary teacher reading content knowledge exam), yet our students lag Alabama, a state that spends less … Continue reading My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results