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.

50 years ago, ‘The Electric Company’ used comedy to boost kids’ reading skills

Elizabeth Blair: When The Electric Company debuted in October 1971, television hadn’t seen anything quite like it. Psychedelic graphics, wildly creative animation, mod outfits, over-the-top characters and sketch comedy all functioned to serve the same goal: teaching kids to read.  Brought to you by the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) — the same producers behind Sesame Street, which debuted … Continue reading 50 years ago, ‘The Electric Company’ used comedy to boost kids’ reading skills

The price of teacher mulligans

More can be said. For one, something much like engagement did work with Taiwan & South Korea, as they transitioned to democracy. And arguably the US prosperity of 90s-00s was based *in part* on China doing grueling hard work while America watched Friends. It wasn’t a gimme. pic.twitter.com/o6rvkWeEud — Balaji Srinivasan (@balajis) October 26, 2021 … Continue reading The price of teacher mulligans

8.9% (!) Madison School District Property Tax increase, amidst substantial spending growth… (results?)

Elizabeth Beyer: The total budget increases expenditures by 11.41% over the previous school year, which includes one-time federal and local COVID-19-related funding. The district expects a 4.5% increase in general state aid, or $40.2 million, even though the state provided no increase in the revenue limit. Enrollment, used to calculate the amount of state aid … Continue reading 8.9% (!) Madison School District Property Tax increase, amidst substantial spending growth… (results?)

My question to Ben Wikler & Paul Farrow on Our Disastrous Reading Results and the 2022 Wisconsin Governor Race

October 21 WisPolitics Event (about 41 minutes into the video clip). A followup questioner, at 47:10, mentioned that the response to my question was money and in fact the school districts that spend the most money (Milwaukee and Madison) have among the worst results. mp3 audio Transcript (Machine generated). Related: AB446. Ben Wikler and a … Continue reading My question to Ben Wikler & Paul Farrow on Our Disastrous Reading Results and the 2022 Wisconsin Governor Race

Notes on addressing the politics and substance of Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results

Scott Girard: Other groups that have registered against the bill include the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance and the Wisconsin State Reading Association. Those in support include the Wisconsin Reading Coalition, Decoding Dyslexia-WI and the Wisconsin Branch of The International Dyslexia Association. Dykstra, a … Continue reading Notes on addressing the politics and substance of Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results

Is the Public School System Constitutional?

Philip Hamburger: The public school system weighs on parents. It burdens them not simply with poor teaching and discipline, but with political bias, hostility toward religion, and now even sexual and racial indoctrination. Schools often seek openly to shape the very identity of children. What can parents do about it? “I don’t think parents should … Continue reading Is the Public School System Constitutional?

Madison East High School Fight among 100

Jeff Richgels: More than 10 police officers and a supervisor responded to fights amid a crowd of more than 100 students and parents outside East High School Wednesday afternoon, Madison police said. Police found no one with injuries from the incident, although several people left the scene shortly after police arrived, Officer Ryan Kimberley said in … Continue reading Madison East High School Fight among 100

Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

mp3 audio Transcript (Machine Generated). Representative LaKeshia Myers. Related: Assembly bill AB446 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results  Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results. My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading … Continue reading Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

Wisconsin Senate SB454 reading readiness assessments: DPI Testimony

I believe the DPI presenters were Barbara Novak and Tom McCarthy. mp3 audio [Transcript: machine generated] Written testimony (PDF): Thank you Chairwoman Darling and committee members for holding a hearing on Senate Bill 154 today. In Wisconsin, 64% of fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, with 34% … Continue reading Wisconsin Senate SB454 reading readiness assessments: DPI Testimony

Flying Blind: majority of taxpayer funded Madison Students opt out of state tests…, wordsmithing at the DPI

Elizabeth Beyer: More than half of Madison School District students opted out of statewide assessments last school year, far more than the unusually high number of students statewide who opted out amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The high opt-out rate makes comparing the test results with those of previous years nearly impossible. The results showed Madison … Continue reading Flying Blind: majority of taxpayer funded Madison Students opt out of state tests…, wordsmithing at the DPI

Teachers unions influenced last-minute CDC school guidance, received copies before public release, emails show

Joe Schoffstahl: The records further show that the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the two largest teachers unions in the U.S., received a copy of the guidance before the CDC released it to the public. The guidance included a phased reopening approach for K-12 schools based on coronavirus cases in the area. “These documents are … Continue reading Teachers unions influenced last-minute CDC school guidance, received copies before public release, emails show

Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)

October 21, 2021 11:00a.m. CST. Watch via Wisconsin Eye. Wisconsin AB 446; SIS links. The list of lobbying organizations (many taxpayer supported!) opposed to Roadmap to Reading Success is remarkable: Association of Wisconsin School Administrators League of Women Voters Wisconsin (!) Pearson NA (!) Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance WIRSA Wisconsin Association of School Boards Wisconsin … Continue reading Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)

Two out of three low-income black and Latino students in California read below grade level.

Joanne Jacobs: The Report Card focuses on low-income Latino third graders, who make up 43 percent of public school students. Only one school district in California — Bonita Unified in Los Angeles County — has more than 60 percent of these students reading at grade level; 12 teach the 50 percent mark. The best-performing districts … Continue reading Two out of three low-income black and Latino students in California read below grade level.

Long-Term NAEP Scores for 13-Year-Olds Drop for First Time Since Testing Began in 1970s — ‘A Matter for National Concern,’ Experts Say

Kevin Mahnken: Thirteen-year-olds saw unprecedented declines in both reading and math between 2012 and 2020, according to scores released this morning from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consistent with several years of previous data, the results point to a clear and widening cleavage between America’s highest- and lowest-performing students and raise urgent questions … Continue reading Long-Term NAEP Scores for 13-Year-Olds Drop for First Time Since Testing Began in 1970s — ‘A Matter for National Concern,’ Experts Say

Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Transcript (machine generated) mp3 audio Notes and links on AB446. Kelly Butler Barksdale Reading Institute bio. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results  Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results. My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans … Continue reading Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Waunakee (former Madison PTO President) Mom on our Disastrous Reading Results

“Waunakee, they’re getting 65% proficiency. That’s great for Wisconsin. That’s great. Want to keep to doing great. And so we like really, we’re going to move there (from Madison). How are we going to tutor all the kids we’ve missed in Wisconsin?” Machine generated transcript. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board … Continue reading Waunakee (former Madison PTO President) Mom on our Disastrous Reading Results

Donna Hejtmanek Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

“1993: Wisconsin Students #3 in the Nation in Reading 2019: #27 If Mississippi can do it, we can do it”. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results  Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results. My Question to Wisconsin Governor … Continue reading Donna Hejtmanek Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Parents and the education establishment

LARA LOGAN: “[FIRST AMENDMENT] is not a left-right issue. Parents across this country . . . want to have a say in their children’s education, and they are paying for it, so they should. It is their right.” via .@JudgeJeanine https://t.co/FgQDq4pS0J #NoAgendaLara pic.twitter.com/lhKPxsedEh — Lara Logan (@laralogan) October 12, 2021 “An emphasis on adult employment”. … Continue reading Parents and the education establishment

“used surveys in early 2020 to assess how students felt in their math classes and what teachers thought about their own efforts to help students feel like they belong”

Scott Girard: Key findings include that classroom and school belonging are distinct and that teachers with more confidence in their ability to teach math had a stronger sense of classroom belonging among their students. The research also found there was no systematic difference in math classroom belonging across racial/ethnic groups or by gender. “I’m heartened … Continue reading “used surveys in early 2020 to assess how students felt in their math classes and what teachers thought about their own efforts to help students feel like they belong”

Showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty isn’t a crime. It’s good parenting and good citizenship.

Maud Maron: I am a mother of four, a criminal defense attorney and a lifelong liberal who is deeply concerned about the direction of New York City’s public schools. I’ve been outspoken about my views, along with an untold number of frustrated parents. For that, the FBI is considering using the PATRIOT Act against me.  … Continue reading Showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty isn’t a crime. It’s good parenting and good citizenship.

Five foot tall Rhode Island mom is not intimidated by the DOJ or FBI.

Jim Polito: Nicole Solas is fighting CRT indoctrination in schools while being a mom taxi and changing diapers. The Rhode Island mother is being sued by the state’s largest teacher’s union for asking questions about what’s being taught to her kids. Now the Department of Justice and FBI have accepted the premise that she could … Continue reading Five foot tall Rhode Island mom is not intimidated by the DOJ or FBI.

Peng Her Wisconsin Assembly Bill 446 Testimony

mp3 audio: PDF Transcript (Machine generated). Related: Some legislators attempt to address our long term, disastrous reading results. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results. My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on … Continue reading Peng Her Wisconsin Assembly Bill 446 Testimony

The Biden Justice Department’s Lawless Threat against American Parents

Andrew McCarthy: On Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum in which he wailed about the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” Clearing his throat with an empty nod to the inconvenient fact that the Constitution protects “spirited debate,” Garland incorrectly — indeed, outrageously for … Continue reading The Biden Justice Department’s Lawless Threat against American Parents

Rigor: Canadian Marketing vs Wisconsin (Madison)?

“Most educated workforce in the world” Are we (Wisconsin/Madison) in the game? I have my doubts. Mulligans distract us. Two recent scenes at LHR, London Heathrow airport. 80 million people transited the airport in 2018. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school … Continue reading Rigor: Canadian Marketing vs Wisconsin (Madison)?

Are you sure your kid can read? All too many US public schools won’t tell you the truth

Michael Benjamin: We ask that question of any parent whose child attends a city Department of Education school and more broadly of families (especially urban ones) all across the nation. And not just elementary-school children, but even middle- and high-schoolers. Because all too many public schools not only fail to teach basic skills; they promote … Continue reading Are you sure your kid can read? All too many US public schools won’t tell you the truth

Wisconsin Assembly passes ban on teaching critical race theory

Riley Vetterkind: Teaching public school students and training employees about concepts such as systemic racism and implicit bias would be banned under legislation Republicans passed in the state Assembly Tuesday. GOP lawmakers also approved a bill, 61-37, that would create a statewide civics curriculum that all Wisconsin public and private schools would have to follow. … Continue reading Wisconsin Assembly passes ban on teaching critical race theory

“Funding for K-12 education in Wisconsin is at historic levels”

Representative Robin Vos: “Funding for K-12 education in Wisconsin is at historic levels, and this year our schools received a massive amount of one-time federal dollars. The Democrats’ singular focus to push more money into schools isn’t a winning strategy for our kids. We need to look at improving how they are being taught and … Continue reading “Funding for K-12 education in Wisconsin is at historic levels”

Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Rhetoric, amidst long term, disastrous reading results

Rory Linnane: Though the position is technically nonpartisan, Underly’s campaign was heavily funded by the Democratic Party in a race that saw unprecedented spending. Her campaign spent seven times that of her opponent, former Brown Deer Schools Superintendent Deborah Kerr. The only action Underly announced Thursday was the creation of a literacy task force to … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Rhetoric, amidst long term, disastrous reading results

Wisconsin: spending more on K-12 Government schools, for less

In her State of Education Address, State Superintendent Jill Underly commented on the divestment of schools in WI. But schools don’t have a funding crisis. With COVID aid coming into WI, schools received a record amount of funding in the 21-23 budget. https://t.co/h3IP4iCwYq pic.twitter.com/zHwFCpNTgu — MacIver Institute (@MacIverWisc) September 23, 2021 2017: West High Reading … Continue reading Wisconsin: spending more on K-12 Government schools, for less

How indoctrination shortchanges K-12 students.

Bonnie Snyder At the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education(FIRE), our longstanding concerns about the deteriorating free speech culture in higher education led to the suspicion that many of these pernicious problems originate before students ever set foot on campus. This spurred us to expand our organizational aims to include high school outreach, in order to teach … Continue reading How indoctrination shortchanges K-12 students.

Charter School Enrollment Growth (Wisconsin up 13%)

Erica Pandey: Charter schools picked off hundreds of thousands of public school students across the U.S. during the pandemic, according to a new analysis from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Why it matters: The pandemic has weakened America’s public education system, as Zoom classes, teacher fatigue and student disengagement take their toll. And that hobbled system … Continue reading Charter School Enrollment Growth (Wisconsin up 13%)

Our priorities for public education have shifted—away from academic learning and toward therapy and custody.

Paul Hill: Our priorities for public education have shifted—away from academic learning and toward therapy and custody. The latter objectives were always present, but today’s movement away from “solid” subjects is a big change. In the late nineteenth century, Americans invested in K–12 education for everyone and made attendance compulsory because of the need for … Continue reading Our priorities for public education have shifted—away from academic learning and toward therapy and custody.

Uncontrolled Spread: Science, Policy, Institutions, Infrastructure

Future: One thing’s for sure — with this COVID crisis, we’re at an inflection point between old and new technology — whether it’s in how we make vaccines, or how we apply the fields of synthetic biology and genetic epidemiology in public health response. So now’s the time to look both backward, and forward, to … Continue reading Uncontrolled Spread: Science, Policy, Institutions, Infrastructure

Teacher Union seeks to abolish Massachusetts Student Tests…

CBS4 Boston: The Massachusetts Teachers Association is speaking out against MCAS, saying the state’s standardized test “has allowed white supremacy to flourish in public schools.” The teachers union is endorsing a bill that would eliminate the MCAS graduation requirement in the state. The bill scheduled for a committee hearing Monday on Beacon Hill would offer … Continue reading Teacher Union seeks to abolish Massachusetts Student Tests…

A new study suggests that almost half of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have mild or asymptomatic cases.

David Zweig: At least 12,000 Americans have already died from COVID-19 this month, as the country inches through its latest surge in cases. But another worrying statistic is often cited to depict the dangers of this moment: The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States right now is as high as it has been since the beginning of February. It’s even … Continue reading A new study suggests that almost half of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have mild or asymptomatic cases.

Rhode Island Parent Union

Parents United: In Rhode Island, they have united to form a group of plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit against Governor McKee for executive overreach regarding his unconstitutional and non-science-based state-of-emergency declaration and school mask mandate. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 … Continue reading Rhode Island Parent Union

Few say that local schools are doing a good job, and most support school choice and charters. Additionally, just over half of those in America’s fastest-growing metros are wary of critical race theory (CRT) in school curriculum.

Michael Hendrix: Six out of ten say that crime is increasing in their area—including a majority of all racial and ethnic groups. Among those who live in urban cores but who express an interest in moving to a less dense area, crime rates are a top-three motivator. More than two in five respondents also see … Continue reading Few say that local schools are doing a good job, and most support school choice and charters. Additionally, just over half of those in America’s fastest-growing metros are wary of critical race theory (CRT) in school curriculum.

Student test scores drop as predicted during pandemic year in Missouri

Blythe Bernhard: Fewer than half of Missouri students performed at grade level or above in English (45%), math (35%) and science (37%) in the Missouri Assessment Program of standardized tests. In spring of 2019, the last time students were tested before the start of the pandemic, 49% of students scored proficient or advanced in English, … Continue reading Student test scores drop as predicted during pandemic year in Missouri

Wisconsin Legislators (some) attempt to address Our disastrous reading results

Mitchell Schmidt: However, committee chair Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, challenged critics of the bill, including DPI, to come forward with a proposal to address reading readiness. “I’ve got to tell you, I’m getting tired of this. The current way we teach reading in the state of Wisconsin, almost across the entire board, that … Continue reading Wisconsin Legislators (some) attempt to address Our disastrous reading results

Hearing Tuesday/Wednesday on Wisconsin’s Literacy Disaster

Public hearing is Tuesday at 10am, with the bill likely to be up around 10:30. Catch it on Wisconsin Eye. Lobbying information on Assembly Bill 446. Curiously, the League of Women Voters is against this legislation. Documents: Co-Sponsorship of LRB-1294 & 3781, Relating to: Reading Readiness Assessments and Granting Rule-Making Authority. Current Law vs. Roadmap … Continue reading Hearing Tuesday/Wednesday on Wisconsin’s Literacy Disaster

Notes and Commentary on Madison curricular choices

Should an elementary school give $4,600 to Ibram X. Kendi? Yes in Madison, Wis., where Thoreau Elementary @MMSDschools is purchasing “The Anti-Racist Baby” for 4K-2nd graders & “Stamped” for 3rd-5th graders. These books teach against neutrality, equality, and colorblindness. pic.twitter.com/ijIs6a4tXC — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) September 1, 2021 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on Madison curricular choices

Notes on the Tierney of low expectations; New York edition

Kyle Smith: Excellence. It’s a thing. And to sort out who is excellent requires competition in various tests with measurable outcomes.  Competition sadly exposes failure. But it also steers everyone to the most fitting role for them. I competed and failed at being a baseball player, soccer player and tennis player before I finally found … Continue reading Notes on the Tierney of low expectations; New York edition

Madison’s k-12 enrollment ethnic label commentary

Chris Rickert: The Madison School District is considering whether to remove the word “Karen” from a section of its online student enrollment form where parents can identify their children’s ethnicity, apparently after some expressed concerns about its modern-day connotations. But if it does, the district wouldn’t be able to collect information on more than 30 … Continue reading Madison’s k-12 enrollment ethnic label commentary

Notes and Commentary on K-12 Curriculum

Goldwater Institute: Schools are keeping parents in the dark In too many of our nation’s classrooms, children are being taught that everything should be seen through the lens of race—a divisive and damaging worldview that negates the value of the individual. Instead of reading our country’s founding documents, students are being told that America was … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on K-12 Curriculum

Notes and Commentary on Madison’s 2021-2022 “virtual school” plans

Scott Girard: Madison Teachers Inc. president Michael Jones said earlier Tuesday the union was working with the district on staffing the program. “The discussions for planning have been positive and we’re hopeful that we’ll have a model that’ll meet the needs of our kids, staff, and families,” Jones wrote to the Cap Times. The district … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on Madison’s 2021-2022 “virtual school” plans

“It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience…”; “how are you going to recall me?”

Mike Antonucci: Here are a few of the more pungent quotes from Myart-Cruz: “There is no such thing as learning loss. Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a … Continue reading “It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience…”; “how are you going to recall me?”

Notes and Commentary on Madison Area Catholic schools (no outcome data, however)

Chris Rickert: Enrollment has dropped by about 75 students at a prominent Madison Catholic church’s school amid questions about the new principal’s connections to a controversial Cross Plains priest and whether the school would require masks to guard against a resurgent COVID-19 pandemic. The dust-up is the latest source of tension in Dane County’s Catholic … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on Madison Area Catholic schools (no outcome data, however)

Mechanisms of airborne transmission

Chia C. Wang, Kimberly A. Prather,, Josué Sznitman, Jose L. Jimenez, Seema S. Lakdawala, Zeynep Tufekci, Linsey C. Marr: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted controversies and unknowns about how respiratory pathogens spread between hosts. Traditionally, it was thought that respiratory pathogens spread between people through large droplets produced in coughs and through contact with contaminated … Continue reading Mechanisms of airborne transmission

COVID-19 and Home Literacy Environment Consent Form

Harvard school Of Education Why is this research being conducted? This study examines the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19; also called SARS-CoV-2) pandemic on literacy environment in the home. We are looking for parents with children under the age of 11 to complete this one-time questionnaire. We expect about 750 adults to participate in … Continue reading COVID-19 and Home Literacy Environment Consent Form

“We’re spending more, and we’re steering the money where people say they want it to go. It just hasn’t worked”

Freddie deBoer: Do school expenditures determine student performance? Are our educational gaps resource gaps? I would have thought that I could confidently answer with a no and not be challenged, at this point. People have regressed spending by countries, states, and districts on outcome metrics for a long time, and they pretty much universally show … Continue reading “We’re spending more, and we’re steering the money where people say they want it to go. It just hasn’t worked”

The University of Wisconsin has apparently done Black people a favor. It lifted away a rock.

John McWhorter: And a crude performance at that. The students essentially demanded that an irrational, prescientific kind of fear — that a person can be meaningfully injured by the dead — be accepted as insight. They imply that the rock’s denotation of racism is akin to a Confederate statue’s denotation of the same, neglecting the … Continue reading The University of Wisconsin has apparently done Black people a favor. It lifted away a rock.

“the governor’s appointees are lowering educational standards for all children”

Michael Shellenberger: Rather than address racial disparities the governor’s appointees are lowering educational standards for all children. Most nations, including developing ones like Zimbabwe, require students to have three or more years of algebra, and require students seeking science and technology careers to have five. But the governor’s appointees on the State Board of Education’s … Continue reading “the governor’s appointees are lowering educational standards for all children”

Mandates and Masks Commentary

Emily Files Hamilton Superintendent Paul Mielke believes his district is following CDC recommendations. “It still came across as a ‘recommend’ and we are strongly recommending [masks,]” Mielke says. “So we’re actually matching their language. If they would have said schools should mandate, we would have looked at that.” Still, Mielke says the masking decision was … Continue reading Mandates and Masks Commentary

K—12 Governance Priorities & Effectiveness

Contrast the experience of schoolchildren in the Netherlands—no mask mandates or distancing for kids <12, ever—to the widespread US belief that we absolutely must mask kindergartners all day in school for their safety. You owe it to yourself to read the entire thing, I promise. pic.twitter.com/QrLaJSRph5 — Genève Campbell (@bergerbell) August 23, 2021 Related: Catholic schools will sue … Continue reading K—12 Governance Priorities & Effectiveness

Pandemic Learning: Large Increase In Virtual Charter And Homeschooling Enrollment Raises Questions

Steven Potter: A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum found huge increases in student enrollment in virtual charter and homeschooling last year. We discuss what that means for students, parents and school districts. 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 … Continue reading Pandemic Learning: Large Increase In Virtual Charter And Homeschooling Enrollment Raises Questions

“schools that went strictly remote experienced a 42 percent increase in disenrollment….”

NY Times: An analysis by N.W.E.A., a nonprofit that provides academic assessments, for example, found that Latino third graders scored 17 percentile points lower in math in the spring of 2021, compared to the typical achievements of Latino third graders in the spring of 2019. The decline was 15 percentile points for Black students and … Continue reading “schools that went strictly remote experienced a 42 percent increase in disenrollment….”

Fear of COVID-19 in Kids Is Getting Ahead of the Data

Lucy McBride: A recent peer-reviewed study in Britain of nearly 260,000 children (1,700 of whom showed symptoms) reminds us that for most kids, a coronavirus infection will manifest as the common cold—if anything. Also reassuring is that only 4.4 percent of children diagnosed with COVID-19 in this study had symptoms after 28 days (and 1.8 percent after … Continue reading Fear of COVID-19 in Kids Is Getting Ahead of the Data

The politics of literacy

How naïve is the lay American to believe that illiteracy is not intentional in govt schools—it’s why most politicians privately school and restrict constituent choice—literate people are “unmanageable and of no value to their master”—politicians lose control when voters can read. pic.twitter.com/9gG8ePRbsv — Marilyn Muller (@1in5advocacy) August 20, 2021 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks … Continue reading The politics of literacy

The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain

David Zweig: Many of America’s peer nations around the world — including the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy — have exempted kids, with varying age cutoffs, from wearing masks in classrooms. Conspicuously, there’s no evidence of more outbreaks in schools in those countries relative to schools in the U.S., … Continue reading The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain

The “noble government lies of COVID 19”

Kerrington Powell and Vinay Prasad: Later in 2020, Fauci participated in a second noble lie. In December, he explained in a phone interview with then–New York Times reporter Donald McNeil that he had been moving the target estimate for herd immunity based in part on emerging studies. But he also said: When polls said only about half of all … Continue reading The “noble government lies of COVID 19”

A Poll on Milwaukee School Choice

Noah Diekemper and Will Flanders: A new poll of likely Democratic Primary voters in Milwaukee County provides an interesting window into the divides over school choice and the Democratic coalition. The poll, commissioned by Milwaukee Works, a 501c4 organization with a focus on good governance in Milwaukee, asked respondents about a variety of issues, but school choice … Continue reading A Poll on Milwaukee School Choice

Mission vs Organization: “Even school board members weren’t allowed to read it”

Dylan Brogan: The Madison school district has repeatedly refused to release a report detailing its own investigation into whether district policies were followed during a field trip to Minneapolis in December 2019, when hidden cameras were found in the hotel bathrooms of students. Those events would lead a month later to the arrest of East … Continue reading Mission vs Organization: “Even school board members weren’t allowed to read it”

No person of color is well-served by removing the need to compete (“the tyranny of low expectations”)

Shannon Whitworth: My problems with the letter are legion, particularly as an African American man myself. The one that stands out for me is that this does absolutely nothing to advance the causes of people of color. In fact, it would diminish the credibility of any movement on top of creating resentment and division by … Continue reading No person of color is well-served by removing the need to compete (“the tyranny of low expectations”)

Advocating Parent and Student K-12 choice

Common Sense Wisconsin: Among the policies the POWER paper recommends: Promoting the existing open enrollment process to inform parents of their options Providing curriculum transparency so parents can enroll or transfer with full understanding of what’s being taught Eliminating the per-pupil funding disparities between choice, charter and brick and mortar students Expanding school choice to … Continue reading Advocating Parent and Student K-12 choice

Commentary K-12 Curricular Awareness & Transparency

“What we saw Wednesday was…nothing new— the maintenance of white supremacy just has new packaging.” Thanks @ToneMSN for letting my write about the audacity that was last week’s committee hearings on Critical Race Theory. https://t.co/jsg0M9LOcg — Nada Elmikashfi (@nadaelmikashfi) August 16, 2021 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous … Continue reading Commentary K-12 Curricular Awareness & Transparency

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: So, Why Didn’t the 2009 Recovery Act Improve the Nation’s Highways and Bridges?

Bill Dupor: Although the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the Recovery Act) provided nearly $28 billion to state governments for improving U.S. highways, the highway system saw no significant improvement. For example, relative to the years before the act, the number of structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges was nearly unchanged, the number … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: So, Why Didn’t the 2009 Recovery Act Improve the Nation’s Highways and Bridges?

A new law allows students to graduate from high school without the ability to read, write, or do math.

Frederick Hess: Despite these numbers, some on the left have decided that the answer is not to insist that schools use the $190 billion in emergency federal COVID school aid to help students catch up and even excel, but to launch a nihilistic crusade in service to a warped mantra of “equity.” This is the same notion … Continue reading A new law allows students to graduate from high school without the ability to read, write, or do math.

Advocating teacher content knowledge requirements

National Council on teacher quality: The quality of the teacher workforce is especially important in the early grades, when teachers bear an extraordinary responsibility, building a solid foundation for students in both the knowledge and skills they will need to succeed in later grades, as well as in their future lives. The past year and … Continue reading Advocating teacher content knowledge requirements

84% Growth in Wisconsin Virtual School Enrollment

Alyssa Lyons: According to Wisconsin’s Policy Forum, virtual charter enrollment rose 84% in 2020-21. Here in Eau Claire that trend holds true.  Last year, while offering virtual school in addition to the district’s online COVID-19 cohort, the Eau Claire Virtual School had 40 students enrolled in grades four through 12. This year, now offering K-12, that number has … Continue reading 84% Growth in Wisconsin Virtual School Enrollment

Commentary on the ACLU and K-12 Curricular Transparency

Rick Eisenberg: These things — not “talking about race” or teaching American history in full — are why Americans object to CRT. Proposals to limit curriculum or teaching derived from CRT differ and are of varying merit, but the best of them seek to prohibit schools from advocating for or requiring students to assent to a … Continue reading Commentary on the ACLU and K-12 Curricular Transparency

COVID Cases Fell 40% in the UK After Restrictions Were Lifted

Jon Miltimore: Weeks later, however, we have an abundance of empirical evidence that show the prognosticators were once again wrong. Cases did not double or quadruple as Ferguson had predicted. Nor did cases “surge,” as many had warned. On the contrary, cases fell—a lot. Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes and … Continue reading COVID Cases Fell 40% in the UK After Restrictions Were Lifted

Baltimore High School Students Perform Math & Reading at Grade School Level

Chris Papst: “My son is really in desperate need of tutoring in math,” Gray told Project Baltimore. “And, how did my son pass if he didn’t know none of this math?” Now, Project Baltimore has obtained student assessment scores from just one class, in one high school, that show how widespread the problem appears to … Continue reading Baltimore High School Students Perform Math & Reading at Grade School Level

Rhode Island Teacher Union vs South Kingstown Mom; lawfare edition

William Jacobson: As someone who spent 22 years as a civil litigator prior to joining Cornell Law School, including 13 in Rhode Island, I understand well that lawsuits frequently do not turn out as the plaintiff intended, sometimes catastrophically so. I’m not making a prediction, but I am sounding a warning, that the lawsuit by … Continue reading Rhode Island Teacher Union vs South Kingstown Mom; lawfare edition

Gov. Kate Brown signed a law to allow Oregon students to graduate without proving they can write or do math. She doesn’t want to talk about it.

Hillary Borrud: For the next five years, an Oregon high school diploma will be no guarantee that the student who earned it can read, write or do math at a high school level. Gov. Kate Brown had demurred earlier this summer regarding whether she supported the plan passed by the Legislature to drop the requirement … Continue reading Gov. Kate Brown signed a law to allow Oregon students to graduate without proving they can write or do math. She doesn’t want to talk about it.

Amidst ongoing Madison taxpayer Supported K-12 spending growth, 59% Believe Increased Government Spending Leads to Inflation

Rasmussen: Fifty-nine percent (59%) of voters nationwide believe increased government spending leads to inflation. A Scott Rasmussen survey found that only 14% disagree and 27% are not sure. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Republicans see a connection between spending and inflation. Democrats, by a 45% to 21% margin, tend to agree. Among Independent voters, 45% believe … Continue reading Amidst ongoing Madison taxpayer Supported K-12 spending growth, 59% Believe Increased Government Spending Leads to Inflation