An Emphasis on adult employment

Given the academic and social challenges that students face, many local education agencies are planning to use #Covidrelief money to hire more staff members and beef up training, benefits and pay for those already on the payroll. https://t.co/UiT0INSU8N — FutureEd (@FutureEdGU) January 25, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health. The data clearly indicate that … Continue reading An Emphasis on adult employment

“An emphasis on adult employment”; Chicago Teachers Union 2022 edition

NEW: The Chicago Teachers Union says its planned vote tonight would see members refuse in-person work until Jan. 18 or until the city’s COVID-19 wave falls below the threshold Chicago Public Schools set last year, whichever happens first. — Nader Issa (@NaderDIssa) January 4, 2022 Maureen Kelleher: If ever there was a moment to ensure … Continue reading “An emphasis on adult employment”; Chicago Teachers Union 2022 edition

Mandates, adult employment and children’s mental health

School closings and “remote learning” have caused a massive mental health crisis among teenagers. This, and the disruption to their intellectual development, will be enduring and severe.https://t.co/Q3mtWJ9MnR pic.twitter.com/ONrnYIWBPI — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 26, 2021 I think about whenever I (frequently) see children running around outside, masked. Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public … Continue reading Mandates, adult employment and children’s mental health

“And emphasis on adult employment” – Wauwatosa edition

Open Record: It’s a FOX6 investigation that sparked change before it even went to air. Thousands of tax dollars poured into a school program — but was it for the kids or a school leader’s relationship? In this episode of Open Record, FOX6 Investigator Amanda St. Hilaire explains how she came upon AVID and the … Continue reading “And emphasis on adult employment” – Wauwatosa edition

Political Posturing, interests and “adult employment” on taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health ordering schools closed

Wisconsin Supreme Court: For the respondent, there was a brief filed by Remzy D. Bitar, Sadie R. Zurfluh, and Municipal and Litigation Group ̧ Waukesha. There was an oral argument by Remzy D. Bitar. For the petitioners Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, et al., there was a reply brief filed by Richard M. … Continue reading Political Posturing, interests and “adult employment” on taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health ordering schools closed

“An emphasis on adult employment “

There are no hidden complexities that could possibly explain this misalignment of social priorities. #openschools@GavinNewsom pic.twitter.com/GfPCXWEq8b — Jeanne Noble (@JeanneNoble18) April 3, 2021 Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Molly Beck and Madeline Heim: which pushed Dane County this week not … Continue reading “An emphasis on adult employment “

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.

K-12 Governance – Wisconsin DPI; all about the Money…

We also discussed state report cards with @DrJillUnderly. More kids performed at ‘below basic’ levels than pre-pandemic. In MKE and Beloit, about 2/3 students are ‘below basic.’ Dr. Underly says the solution is more funding. “Revenue, honestly, is what creates opportunities.” pic.twitter.com/JaRX6bXPGQ — A.J. Bayatpour (@AJBayatpour) November 27, 2022 Complete interview. Complete Interview. The data clearly … Continue reading K-12 Governance – Wisconsin DPI; all about the Money…

Taxpayer supported Madison School District’s open records non responses

Scott Girard: In May, Wisconsin Transparency Project president and founder Tom Kamenick wrote in an email to the Cap Times that he has “received more complaints about MMSD than any other government agency.” “I’m frequently seeing lengthy delays, exorbitant fees, and downright illegal denials from the district,” Kamenick wrote. “The district seems to make transparency … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Madison School District’s open records non responses

Teacher union$ and $chool Board Governance: Californian edition

Mine Antonucci: The California Teachers Association spent heavily on school board races in the state, distributing $1.8 million to 125 local affiliates, which were required by union policy to add almost $1 million more to the total. That investment seems to have mostly paid off. California election results take weeks to finalize, but union-backed candidates are leading … Continue reading Teacher union$ and $chool Board Governance: Californian edition

2023 Madison Mayoral election: School governance makes a rare appearance?

Scott Girard: As mayor, she would not have unilateral authority to put officers in schools. The school resource officer program, originally begun in the 1990s, operated on a contract between the city of Madison and the Madison Metropolitan School District. Both sides voted to terminate it in summer 2020 amid nationwide and local protests over police brutality of … Continue reading 2023 Madison Mayoral election: School governance makes a rare appearance?

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: “record-high spending” in Madison

Allison Garfield: On top of the record-high spending proposed in the original budget — like $21.6 million to reconstruct John Nolen Drive and $23 million in federal funding to secure a fully electric, 46-bus fleet — the council also: The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: “record-high spending” in Madison

“But Dr. Copeland decided to do something different. He put the needs of the students first. He made the decision to place someone that was qualified in front of the students,”

Olivia Herken: Others agreed, saying Copeland was known for “speaking plainly.” “As an educator, when I’ve had the opportunity to speak and interact with Dr. Copeland, I can say that he’s always had respect for me and my interests, as well as my culture,” said Marlene Patiño. She’s a bilingual dual-language seventh-grade science teacher, whose … Continue reading “But Dr. Copeland decided to do something different. He put the needs of the students first. He made the decision to place someone that was qualified in front of the students,”

Fifty-eight educators say ‘Sold a Story’ podcast series sells incomplete story about reading instruction

Posted at the Hechinger Report: Re “A company has made millions selling books on reading instruction rooted in bad science” (Nov. 10, 2022) We are educators who have devoted our lives to the cause of helping children read and write with power. We’re dismayed that at this moment in our history, when all of us … Continue reading Fifty-eight educators say ‘Sold a Story’ podcast series sells incomplete story about reading instruction

Wisconsin DPI veracity: 84% exceed expectations

Rory Linane: Milwaukee Public Schools was among 84 school districts that received a lower star-rating than last year. Giving two stars, DPI said the district “meets few expectations.” Last year, the DPI gave the district three stars and said it met expectations. Most school districts, about 270, were given the same star rating they got … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI veracity: 84% exceed expectations

“So Now What? The Path Ahead for Education in Wisconsin and the Nation.” November 17, 2022 Event

Marquette Law School: Please join us on Thursday, November 17, for a program, “So Now What? The Path Ahead for Education in Wisconsin and the Nation.” In Wisconsin, the outcome of the November elections, particularly for governor, will be an important marker in setting the course of education policy going forward, as a new state … Continue reading “So Now What? The Path Ahead for Education in Wisconsin and the Nation.” November 17, 2022 Event

Commentary on the 2023 Madison School Board elections (2 seats). Achievement?

Scott Girard Vander Meulen has faced an opponent in each of her two previous campaigns. In 2017, Ed Hughes was on the ballot but dropped out of the race following a health issue in his family and in 2020, the late Wayne Strong ran against her, but suspended his campaign amid his own health issues before returning … Continue reading Commentary on the 2023 Madison School Board elections (2 seats). Achievement?

“I’ll just note here in passing that traditionalists believe that the ability to communicate is an important skill for a teacher”

Dave Cieslewicz: To which I think I can safely say that I share a widespread reaction among Madisonians: Huh? Again, we could use a whole lot more context here and it would be useful if Copeland would speak to reporters to clarity just exactly what was going on. But from what’s currently on the record … Continue reading “I’ll just note here in passing that traditionalists believe that the ability to communicate is an important skill for a teacher”

Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 Governance climate: “could barely communicate with me” and that “they’re just giving people damn jobs.”

Chris Rickert: Attempts to reach Copeland Thursday night were not successful. Copeland filed a grievance seeking to recover his job on Oct. 12. Attempts to reach his attorney in that matter also were not successful. Many Sennett parents and staff were dismayed by Copeland’s sudden firing. During a School Board meeting shortly after he was … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 Governance climate: “could barely communicate with me” and that “they’re just giving people damn jobs.”

Madison K-12 Governance & School Safety

David Blaska: Because our Woke school boss confuses correlation with causation. Like all good critical race theorists, he’s big on disproportionality. If A doesn’t equal B, he goes all Al Sharpton.  Today’s subject is time outs in an empty room for troublemakers or, rarely, restraint. Restraint being just holding back a kid so he doesn’t bust another … Continue reading Madison K-12 Governance & School Safety

Wisconsin drops from 200 to 186, 2nd worst in Reading (NAEP, African American Students)

Students of all backgrounds are having academic success in Mississippi. Our state is in the top of the nation in 4th grade reading gains for black students! Thank you to our teachers, parents, and students for working so hard to get us here. pic.twitter.com/7Jw3wkj47H — Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) November 4, 2022 The data clearly indicate … Continue reading Wisconsin drops from 200 to 186, 2nd worst in Reading (NAEP, African American Students)

Madison East’s April van Buren shares passion for high school journalism

Scott Girard: A St. Louis-area native, van Buren spent five years teaching there and five more in New Mexico before she arrived in Madison and began working at La Follette. Her jobs have included a mix of teaching English, being a school librarian and now teaching a mix of design and technology classes. At all … Continue reading Madison East’s April van Buren shares passion for high school journalism

Commentary on status quo K-12 governance in Wisconsin

Molly Beck: “The proposal appears to be largely more of the same with some targeted funds at special education,” Bender said of Evers’ proposal. “After surprisingly vetoing bills on reading improvement last year, a bit unexpected that there are not more resources aimed at improving not only the low proficiency rates, but the nation’s worst … Continue reading Commentary on status quo K-12 governance in Wisconsin

School climate: 2022 election edition

“Perhaps the gravest injustice of our time is the imprisonment of minority kids in substandard public schools… The real culprits are union collective-bargaining agreements and state laws that put teachers unions’ interests ahead of students’.”https://t.co/P2Qj2XTUA6 — Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVos) November 1, 2022 The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for … Continue reading School climate: 2022 election edition

$pending a lot more for Madison’s k-12 school district

Scott Girard: The new budget totals $597.9 million in spending, up from the $515.7 million spent in 2021-22 and the $482.9 million the year prior. It’s also up from the June preliminary budget, which called for $561.3 million in spending. The tax rate, however, is down to $9.97 per $100,000 of property value from the … Continue reading $pending a lot more for Madison’s k-12 school district

Madison West high school fight: 25 students and a strong-arm robbery in which police recovered marijuana, fake IDs, fake currency and a spent shell casing.

Chris Rickert: Officers searching the vehicle the suspects arrived in found the marijuana and other items, the blog said. Lisko said that while no charges have been filed, a detective has been assigned to the matter. Principal Dan Kigeya said in an email home to parents Thursday afternoon that “staff responded to the incident quickly, … Continue reading Madison West high school fight: 25 students and a strong-arm robbery in which police recovered marijuana, fake IDs, fake currency and a spent shell casing.

Priorities amidst long term, disastrous reading results: Madison’s Jefferson Middle School renaming committee restarts work

Scott Girard After stalling out earlier this year, a Madison School Board ad hoc committee considering a new name for Jefferson Middle School reconvened Tuesday evening. The School Board originally appointed the committee in March after then-Jefferson principal Sue Abplanalp made a renaming request to the board Feb. 28. The district received 42 proposals for new … Continue reading Priorities amidst long term, disastrous reading results: Madison’s Jefferson Middle School renaming committee restarts work

Tell parents truth: Enough with the happy talk

Joanne Jacobs: Tell parents the unpleasant truth about learning loss, writes Andrew Rotherham in a story on the state NAEP scores in the The 74. “The disaster and inequity of pandemic policies is now in clear focus,” he writes. Despite a few outliers — Department of Defense and Catholic schools — “it’s an across-the-board disaster … Continue reading Tell parents truth: Enough with the happy talk

Eliminating Advanced Courses in Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools, Redux. ““The problem is most of the parents are not that much involved, and they don’t even know what’s going on,” he said.”

Olivia Herken: “Historically, the concept of advanced learning and honors has served to segregate students based on race, socioeconomic status and special education status,” School Board member Savion Castro said. And when these students do access the advanced classes, they often report feeling “isolated, feeling tokenized and experiencing a white-washed curriculum.” “I think we all … Continue reading Eliminating Advanced Courses in Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools, Redux. ““The problem is most of the parents are not that much involved, and they don’t even know what’s going on,” he said.”

Wisconsin falls from a tie for 18th to 32nd in fourth grade reading when demographics are accounted for.

Will Flanders: Recently, results from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) have caused shockwaves around the country. At least partially-related to teachers’ union-led shutdowns that kept schools closed well past when it was reasonable to do so,[i] decades of progress in scores were erased over the course of three years.[ii]   Despite declining scores across the … Continue reading Wisconsin falls from a tie for 18th to 32nd in fourth grade reading when demographics are accounted for.

“all of them stressed the importance of more funding for public schools”

Scott Girard: “This means a lot to me because I don’t want students who are younger than me to lack various resources and opportunities that will be offered,” La Follette’s Yoanna Hoskins said. “I want my teachers to be well compensated and respected for all the hard work they put in every single day.” Adding … Continue reading “all of them stressed the importance of more funding for public schools”

Wisconsin students’ math, reading scores drop from 2019

Scott Girard: In reading, Wisconsin eighth graders saw their average score drop by five points compared to a three-point drop for the nation. Wisconsin students hadn’t had an average score this low in NAEP data going back to 1998. The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, … Continue reading Wisconsin students’ math, reading scores drop from 2019

“American Experiment’s polling indicates that by a wide margin, Minnesotans want the public schools to prioritize academic excellence, not politics, “equity” or culture war issues”

John Hindraker: Minnesota, as in other states, concerned parents have banded together to try to wrest control of the public schools away from teachers’ unions, in order to improve the quality of education and to stop left-wing indoctrination. Earlier this year, we started a 501(c)(4) organization called the Minnesota Parents Alliance to lead those efforts … Continue reading “American Experiment’s polling indicates that by a wide margin, Minnesotans want the public schools to prioritize academic excellence, not politics, “equity” or culture war issues”

Effects of Maturing Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students

David N. Figlio Cassandra M.D. Hart and Krzysztof Karbownik Using a rich dataset that merges student-level school records with birth records, and leveraging a student fixed effects design, we explore how a Florida private school choice program affected public school students’ outcomes as the program matured and scaled up. We observe growing benefits (higher standardized … Continue reading Effects of Maturing Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students

Commentary on K-12 tax and spending increases amidst stagnant or declining enrollment

Olivia Herken: The La Crosse School District has the largest referendum in the state this fall, asking voters to approve nearly $195 million to consolidate its two high schools due to declining enrollment and aging facilities. Some Oregon residents who oppose the referendum doubt it would have a big impact. Some question whether they’ve been … Continue reading Commentary on K-12 tax and spending increases amidst stagnant or declining enrollment

Yes, Critical Race Theory Is Being Taught in Schools
A new survey of young Americans vindicates the fears of CRT’s critics.

Zach Goldberg Eric Kaufmann We began by asking our 18- to 20-year-old respondents (82.4 percent of whom reported attending public schools) whether they had ever been taught in class or heard about from an adult at school each of six concepts—four of which are central to critical race theory. The chart below, which displays the … Continue reading Yes, Critical Race Theory Is Being Taught in Schools
A new survey of young Americans vindicates the fears of CRT’s critics.

Former education journalist: How I missed the phonics story

Maureen Downey: Patti Ghezzi covered education for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1996 until 2006. In a guest column today, Ghezzi writes about the big story she says she missed while covering Georgia schools — the phonics story. It wasn’t until years after she left the beat that Ghezzi said she realized widespread problems with how … Continue reading Former education journalist: How I missed the phonics story

The states where teachers still hit students — and more reader questions!

Andrew Van Dam: You might want to look at corporal punishment of children in schools. — Lucien Lombardo, New York As a means of controlling classrooms or improving academic performance, corporal punishment has an uninspiring track record. Last year, a review of 69 studiespublished in the medical journal the Lancet found “physical punishment is ineffective in … Continue reading The states where teachers still hit students — and more reader questions!

“The Madison school district’s 2022-23 budget has increased from the preliminary $561 million budget adopted in June”

Olivia Herken: We have extended ourselves beyond a balanced budget with this calculated use of fund balance to make this historical investment in our hourly staff,” board member Christina Gomez Schmidt said, “which we have heard is very important. “I do want to recognize that our obligation in the next year’s planning and budget is … Continue reading “The Madison school district’s 2022-23 budget has increased from the preliminary $561 million budget adopted in June”

Notes on Taxpayer Supported K-12 Wisconsin and Madison Enrollment Declines

Rory Linnane: The picture isn’t complete, as the count excludes homeschooling and students who pay tuition in private schools. And the numbers released by the Department of Public Instruction on Friday are unaudited.  According to the preliminary numbers, the decline for public school districts is less dramatic than earlier years of the pandemic but continues a downward … Continue reading Notes on Taxpayer Supported K-12 Wisconsin and Madison Enrollment Declines

The Remediless Reading Right

Shana Hurley: Lawmakers nationwide are trying to improve reading by embracing a scientific consensus regarding literacy acquisition and enacting robust regulatory regimes touching every part of the learning process. For most actors, “Right to Read” laws establish clear accountability rules and noncompliance remedies. However, students who are not provided with statutory reading entitlements have inconsistent … Continue reading The Remediless Reading Right

Commentary and advocacy on Wisconsin K-12 Redistributed taxpayer funds

Scott Girard: In the Madison Metropolitan School District, the formula meant $2,068 per student of unfunded special education costs in the 2019-20 school year, according to a district-by-district map that accompanies the report. MMSD spent $80.7 million on special education in the 2019-20 school year and received $19 million in state reimbursement, plus $6.1 million in … Continue reading Commentary and advocacy on Wisconsin K-12 Redistributed taxpayer funds

“Mississippi’s rise from having some of the nation’s lowest-performing reading scores to its most improved — required nearly a decade of new laws, strategic planning and fresh thinking”

David Kaufman: Indeed, 32 percent of Mississippi students hit literacy targets in 2019, up from 27 percent in 2017 and just 17 percent in 1998, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Despite the successes so far, Ms. Wright — who retired from education this year — believes there are plenty of challenges left to … Continue reading “Mississippi’s rise from having some of the nation’s lowest-performing reading scores to its most improved — required nearly a decade of new laws, strategic planning and fresh thinking”

Madison public charter school mostly mum on gun found in employee’s backpack

Chris Rickert: A state-authorized public charter school in Madison initially refused to work with police after a student found a gun in a school employee’s backpack, according to a recently released police report, and the employee refused to answer questions about the incident. Police ultimately closed their investigation of the June 1 incident involving Milestone Democratic … Continue reading Madison public charter school mostly mum on gun found in employee’s backpack

Thin Madison K-12 Commentary (Achievement?)

Scott Girard: Two years into the job, Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent Carlton Jenkins received praise from the Madison School Board for his handling of the district’s 2022-23 budget and leadership. A summary of the board’s annual performance review of the district’s top staff member was released Wednesday evening. While most of the review was … Continue reading Thin Madison K-12 Commentary (Achievement?)

Notes on taxpayer supported censorship

Just the news: The Stanford Internet Observatory, University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, think tank Atlantic Council, and social media analytics firm Graphika claimed their consortium had a 35% success rate getting flagged content removed, throttled or labeled.  The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the State Department, and liberal groups … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported censorship

Commentary on Wisconsin K-12 Governance and the November 2022 elections

Alan Borsuk: But the results for MPS were terrible. They were bad before the pandemic, and they’re worse now. The percentages of students proficient in reading and math were in single digits in many schools. What can be done about that? Would the plans either candidate is advocating bring real change in how thousands of … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin K-12 Governance and the November 2022 elections

Observations on K-12 staffing growth

👌 I’ll try again- educating students is not the core function of the public school system. That is an occasional bi-product of the core function, which is set by the interests dominating school board elections. The core function is to maximize adult employment & thus dues. Ergo: pic.twitter.com/05BZBde2F7 — Matthew Ladner (@matthewladner) October 3, 2022

K-12 Literacy Governance Climate

Has Biden EdSec Cardona ever addressed literacy reform, much less pushed schools to make changes? Have national education teams and outlets been asking him about his position? https://t.co/45kID7plxW — Alexander (@alexanderrusso) October 2, 2022 The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black … Continue reading K-12 Literacy Governance Climate

“with little consideration for the staff or other customers, she said”

Daniela Jaime: Torres said she’s had to tell students repeatedly not to smoke or vape indoors and be courteous towards patrons, but the response has been so negative that on one occasion, she said, a student threw food at her after being kicked out. Torres no longer allows students to dine in, posting signs at … Continue reading “with little consideration for the staff or other customers, she said”

$pending on the 2022 Wisconsin Governor election: Evers and Michels; education climate

Molly Beck and Daniel Bice: Evers entered the final two months of the race with about $5 million more in cash than Michels. The first-term governor received $20,000 donations from 10 individuals, including Andrea Soros, daughter of liberal billionaire George Soros. Others who maxed out were Abigail Dow, an instructional coach in New York City; … Continue reading $pending on the 2022 Wisconsin Governor election: Evers and Michels; education climate

Commentary on legacy taxpayer supported K-12 Governance outcomes

Leah Triedler: But in a statement after the speech, Republican Sen. Alberta Darling, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said Wisconsin students’ poor performance stems from Gov. Tony Evers “refusing to reform education in Wisconsin” despite Republican efforts, including a literacy bill Evers vetoed twice. Darling said Underly is following in his footsteps. “The DPI Secretary … Continue reading Commentary on legacy taxpayer supported K-12 Governance outcomes

Notes on the pros and cons of single payer (K-12 taxpayer models…)

summarised via Tyler Cowen: But going forward, I think the old metrics that showed large advantages for single payer are going to continue to slide. Unions (formal or otherwise) are going to militate for higher pay. Governments are going to have to deal with one side of the political spectrum going into hoc to the … Continue reading Notes on the pros and cons of single payer (K-12 taxpayer models…)

School Choice Politics and elected officials who attended private school

This isn’t a thing. If students’ families can pick where they go, there is no segregation. In the current setup, unless you can afford to live in the neighborhoods with nice schools, you’re locked out. https://t.co/D9ETr84Bfj — Mister Vigilante (@MisterVigilante) September 16, 2022 The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement … Continue reading School Choice Politics and elected officials who attended private school

Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

Mitchell Schmidt: A new coalition of conservatives, policy groups and advocacy organizations has begun developing a package of education goals for the coming legislative session — with expanded school choice as a top priority — that could play a considerable role in the upcoming race for governor this November. Officials with the Wisconsin Coalition for … Continue reading Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

Mitchell Schmidt: A new coalition of conservatives, policy groups and advocacy organizations has begun developing a package of education goals for the coming legislative session — with expanded school choice as a top priority — that could play a considerable role in the upcoming race for governor this November. Officials with the Wisconsin Coalition for … Continue reading Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

Taxpayer Funded Wisconsin DPI Preschool Gender Documents

🚨🚨GROOMING ALERT! The Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction has created a guide for “gender expansive” PRESCHOOLERS The guide dubs parents “trolls” and “jerks” if they refuse to use “they/them” pronouns or allow their kids to read books about trans toddlers pic.twitter.com/TrQ5BVc1Yw — Chrissy Clark (@chrissyclark_) September 13, 2022 DPI Commentary: “The Wisconsin Department of Public … Continue reading Taxpayer Funded Wisconsin DPI Preschool Gender Documents

Where is the federal taxpayer k-12 “windfall” being spent?

Charley Locke: Some have been pushed to take more inventive approaches to solve the staffing shortages. In Philadelphia, during a districtwide bus-driver shortage, the district paid families $300 a month to drive their kids to and from school. Atlanta Public Schools used nearly $2.2 million to provide on-site child care for 1,800 teachers to enable … Continue reading Where is the federal taxpayer k-12 “windfall” being spent?

“Because I can be smart, and I don’t have to pretend”

Wishkub Kinepoway I wanted diversity. I wanted my children to see, like, different nationalities. I wanted them to feel included. And I also wanted, like – I’m an educator, so I have an education background with early childhood, and I just wanted intentional learning experiences for my children. I was actually unfamiliar with what a … Continue reading “Because I can be smart, and I don’t have to pretend”

Schoolchildren Are Not ‘Mere Creatures of the State’

Robert Pondiscio In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an Oregon law requiring that parents or guardians send their children to public school in the districts where they lived. The Society of Sisters, which ran private academies, claimed that the law interfered with the right of parents to choose religious instruction for their children. The … Continue reading Schoolchildren Are Not ‘Mere Creatures of the State’

“Wisconsin, on the other hand, has barely moved the needle on NAEP scores in 30 years” mulligans reign…

Charles Smith: The percentage of students who performed at or above the proficient level in reading was 36% in 2019, 35% in 2017 and 34% in 1998. While Wisconsin’s numbers remain higher than Mississippi’s, the trend line is flat. Further, Black fourth-graders in Mississippi are outperforming Black fourthgraders in Wisconsin in reading, portending what’s to … Continue reading “Wisconsin, on the other hand, has barely moved the needle on NAEP scores in 30 years” mulligans reign…

Did Woke Madison help murder Beth Potter and Robin Carre?

David Blaska: This Wednesday 09-07-22, Khari Sanford will be sentenced in Dane County Circuit Court for the execution-style slaying of Dr. Beth Potter and her husband Robin Carre. They were murdered by a person they had tried to help,” their memorial obituary reads. Khari Sanford was 18 years old on March 30, 2020 when he entered the … Continue reading Did Woke Madison help murder Beth Potter and Robin Carre?

Incumbent Wisconsin Governor proposes $2B in additional K-12 tax & Spending….

Rory Linnane: Evers said his plan for the 2023-25 budget would draw on the state’s projected $5 billion budget surplus while “holding the line” on property taxes.  Evers’ opponent in the November election, Tim Michels, called Evers’ plan “more money and more bureaucracy.”  “The tired, old Evers approach has not worked,” Michels said in a … Continue reading Incumbent Wisconsin Governor proposes $2B in additional K-12 tax & Spending….

The drops in test scores were roughly four times greater among the stu­dents who were the least pro­fi­cient in both math and read­ing

Ben Chapman and Douglas Belkin: Scores re­leased Thurs­day show un­prece­dented drops on the long-term trends tests that are part of the Na­tional As­sess­ment of Ed­u­ca­tional Progress, known as the “Na­tion’s Re­port Card.” The tests are ad­min­is­tered to U.S. stu­dents age 9. The test scores re­flect more than a pan­demic prob­lem, with ex­perts say­ing it could … Continue reading The drops in test scores were roughly four times greater among the stu­dents who were the least pro­fi­cient in both math and read­ing

Madison School Board approves $2-per-hour wage increase for education assistants

Elizabeth Beyer: Legislative Republicans have defended their decision to keep revenue limits flat by noting Wisconsin schools will be getting $2.3 billion in federal COVID relief aid, known as Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER funds. Madison is anticipating its share will be roughly $66.7 million. School officials have not laid out how … Continue reading Madison School Board approves $2-per-hour wage increase for education assistants

Lower Black and Latino Pass Rates Don’t Make a Test Racist

John McWhorter The Association of Social Work Boards administers tests typically required for the licensure of social workers. Apparently, this amounts to a kind of racism that must be reckoned with. There is a Change.org petition circulating saying just that, based on the claim that the association’s clinical exam is biased because from 2018 to … Continue reading Lower Black and Latino Pass Rates Don’t Make a Test Racist

Notes on taxpayer supported Madison High School Construction projects

Elizabeth Beyer: Here are highlights of the work being done currently at Madison’s four main high schools, according to the Madison School District. Notes and links on the recent Madison tax and spending increase referendum The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported Madison High School Construction projects

“That’s very different than what you’re peddling to a sixth or seventh or eighth grader, where a teacher’s word is law.”

Adam Wren: “If you look down your nose at someone long enough, one day they will punch you in it.” And I think that’s what happened. I sat there that night — I don’t watch much television — but these national network commentators are talking to each other incredulously. What happened here? Well, these under-educated … Continue reading “That’s very different than what you’re peddling to a sixth or seventh or eighth grader, where a teacher’s word is law.”

Mandates, School Closures and Student Academic Outcomes: Virginia Edition

Moria Balingit: While students saw across-the-board gains in the 2021-2022 school year compared to the previous academic year, state education officials said the progress was not enough, and pinned some of the good news on lowered standards — not on better student performance. “Despite the scores being up from last year, they are down from … Continue reading Mandates, School Closures and Student Academic Outcomes: Virginia Edition

History: A look back at Wisconsin Governor Tony Ever’s 1997 DPI campaign

Heather Smith: During his rough and tumble 1997 campaign Evers directly criticized fellow Democrat Benson saying he had failed to call attention to the problems in our state’s education system, and that continual promotion of the good without sounding the alarm on the bad “wrecks our credibility.”  Evers said students and districts were in trouble … Continue reading History: A look back at Wisconsin Governor Tony Ever’s 1997 DPI campaign

59.9% of Black students in the Madison Metropolitan School District who were enrolled in an AP course in 2017-18 did not take the test.

Wisconsin Policy Forum: Scott Girard: That was the fourth-highest percentage among the 10 districts in the state with the most Black students enrolled in AP courses, behind only Beloit (83.7%), Wauwatosa (82%) and Racine (68.9%). Milwaukee Public Schools, the only Wisconsin district larger than MMSD, saw all student groups have lower rates of opting out … Continue reading 59.9% of Black students in the Madison Metropolitan School District who were enrolled in an AP course in 2017-18 did not take the test.

“For seven years in a row, Oakland was the fastest-gaining urban district in California for reading,” recalls Weaver. “And we hated it.”

Marginal Revolution: The teachers felt like curriculum robots—and pushed back. “This seems dehumanizing, this is colonizing, this is the man telling us what to do,” says Weaver, describing their response to the approach. “So we fought tooth and nail as a teacher group to throw that out.” This is one of the most crazy things … Continue reading “For seven years in a row, Oakland was the fastest-gaining urban district in California for reading,” recalls Weaver. “And we hated it.”

Officials made public-health bets that students will have to pay for

Nat Malkus: What Weingarten conveniently leaves out is the reason for “two years of disruption.” Time and again, cautious state and school leaders — disproportionately Democrats in concert with teachers’ unions — extended school closures or strict Covid protocols, demonstrated little responsiveness as new evidence on Covid emerged, and minimized the trade-offs. Many red-state leaders … Continue reading Officials made public-health bets that students will have to pay for

“What we know for certain is that schools have been lousy at teaching kids how to read”

Dale Chu: In the 1840s, Horace Mann, known as the “father of American education,” argued that children should be taught to read whole words instead of individual letters, which he described as “skeleton-shaped, bloodless, ghostly apparitions” that make children feel “death-like, when compelled to face them.” This malformed opinion morphed into the broader whole-language theory, … Continue reading “What we know for certain is that schools have been lousy at teaching kids how to read”

An update on Madison’s Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results

Administration Slides for the School Board (PDF): Forward LA Proficiency (3-5) Participation increased to 87% from 50% in 20-21, nearing pre-pandemic ranges.Overall, 40% of students grades 3-5 scored proficient on Forward ELA While a decrease from 20-21 (43%), scores that year likely inflated by non-random low participation– trends in ELA scores fairly steady or increasing … Continue reading An update on Madison’s Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results

Inside the Massive Effort to Change the Way Kids Are Taught to Read

Belinda Luscombe: As a teacher in Oakland, Calif., Kareem Weaver helped struggling fourth- and fifth-grade kids learn to read by using a very structured, phonics-based reading curriculum called Open Court. It worked for the students, but not so much for the teachers. “For seven years in a row, Oakland was the fastest-gaining urban district in … Continue reading Inside the Massive Effort to Change the Way Kids Are Taught to Read