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
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
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
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
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
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 “
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”
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
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
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
Luca Dellana: The fact that (almost) all degrees have the same duration regardless of the complexity of the underlying field is the best evidence that education has been built around the universities’ needs, not the students’.
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
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
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
Andrew Rotherham: School districts around the country are getting ready for the 2017 school year, which for many starts in just a few weeks. Officials are thinking about transporting students to school, what they’ll feed them, health services for them, sports teams and schedules, and all the other things we call on school districts to … Continue reading Adult Employment And School District Mission
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
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
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.
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….
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.
“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).
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.
Kaleem Caire: I have grave concern for our children in Dane County and Wisconsin. We face no greater long-term crisis in America than the widespread underperformance, diminishing motivation and poor preparation of children and young people in our nation’s K-12 schools, and the rapidly declining number of educators available to teach our children. Student performance … Continue reading We can’t solve problems if our children can’t read
Mario Loyola and Eric Groten The EPA’s attempt to impose such a scheme on states was particularly bold because Congress had just declined to enact a similar scheme. After the 2008 election, Democrats introduced the Waxman-Markey bill, a sweeping cap-and-trade scheme to reduce carbon emissions dramatically. Even with Democratic supermajorities in both houses, Congress failed … Continue reading Civics: “rule making” vs legislation
Scott Girard Katina Maclin won’t be able to vote this fall, but her ideas will be present at every polling place in the city of Madison. The high school junior, who recently moved from Sun Prairie to Glendale, designed two new voting-themed stickers for voters to consider grabbing after filling out their ballot. “It speaks to how … Continue reading High schooler designs new ‘I Voted’ stickers for Madison elections
Scott Girard: The effort to consider a new name for Madison’s Jefferson Middle School is on pause until October, following low attendance by members of the ad hoc committee appointed for the effort. The School Board appointed the committee in March after Jefferson principal Sue Abplanalp made a renaming request to the board Feb. 28. … Continue reading Notes on renaming Madison’s Jefferson Middle School
Elizabeth Beyer: An average home valued at $376,765 could see a property tax increase of up to $106, meaning the school portion of the tax bill would be roughly $3,926 in December, compared with $3,820 this past year. The district’s total property tax levy would increase 2.77% over the previous year, to roughly $366.8 million. … Continue reading Ongoing Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school spending growth: 2022-2023 budget (amidst declining enrollment)
Scott Girard: While there is a large influx of federal COVID-19 relief funding, officials have expressed hesitancy at using that one-time money for ongoing operational costs like salaries. “You’re going to hear no argument from us that our teachers and our staff deserve better,” LeMonds said at one of MTI’s rallies in May. “The fiscal … Continue reading Notes on Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 spending plans amidst declining enrollment
David Blaska: A political adversary once described the Head Groundskeeperhereabouts as the only survivor of a heart donor operation. Even so, the prothesis replacing the original equipment does bleed for the kids stealing cars in Madison. They are victims, alright. Victims of critical race theory. This past Monday 06-20-22, four kids under age 15 hot … Continue reading More notes on Wayne Strong
Sean Phillip Cotter: Boston Public Schools, which has narrowed its ostensibly nationwide superintendent search down to one current and one recent former BPS administrator, is beset on all sides by poor student outcomes, yawning socioeconomic achievement gaps, reports of increased violence in and around school buildings, declining enrollment and snarled student transportation strategies. The commissioner … Continue reading Boston slams new state schools plan as moving sides ‘further apart’ as receivership looms
Jeff Schogol: The Navy believes it is worth publicly disclosing whenever admirals in particular have been disciplined for misconduct in order to maintain the public’s trust and confidence in the Department of the Navy’s integrity, Mommsen said. Generally, that standard also applies in cases when allegations of misconduct against commanding officers, executive officers, and senior … Continue reading Governance: Cashiered Navy Officers (consequences! No Mulligans?)
Scott Girard: Board president Ali Muldrow, who has a conflict of interest in discussing teacher salaries as her husband is a teacher, commented only on the hourly workers’ pay rate Monday, but indicated she strongly supports an increase. “I’m really deeply vested in our ability to substantially shift how we’re compensating hourly wage workers,” Muldrow … Continue reading Ongoing spending increase discussions in the taxpayer supported Madison Schools (bricks & mortar vs people?), amidst declining enrollment
Scott Girard: One of the biggest things was how we co-created our equity vision. That was a huge piece of it, having our families, our students and our staff really lean in, look at our data, both numerical (and) looking at our interviews with our families, especially families who have not been included in school … Continue reading An interview with Madison’s Cherokee Middle School Principle – and recent Secondary Principal of the Year award winner
Robert Pondiscio: Calkins’s work mostly disregards this fundamental insight, focusing students’ attention in the mirror instead of out the window. For low-income kids who are less likely to grow up in language-rich homes and don’t have the same opportunities for enrichment as affluent kids, the opportunity costs of Calkins’s “philosophy” are incalculable. Endless hours of class time … Continue reading “Expert” idiocy on teaching kids to read
Ruy Teixeira: Finally, there is perhaps the key issue for many Asian voters: education. It is difficult to overestimate how important education is to Asian voters, who see it as the key tool for upward mobility—a tool that even the poorest Asian parents can take advantage of. But Democrats have become increasingly associated with an … Continue reading “anti-meritocratic, oriented away from standardized tests, gifted and talented programs and test-in elite schools”
Benjamin Yount: “As proficiency has plummeted under his tenure, Governor Evers is forced to point to outdated data to back up his claims that he has been an effective leader on education,” Will Flanders with the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty told The Center Square. Flanders added that Gov. Evers’ approach to public schools … Continue reading Mulligans ignored: The U.S. News and World Report rankings don’t consider any of the scores or metrics from Wisconsin’s public schools since then.
Scott Girard: Simkin suggested one example is in the student use of cell phones in classrooms, something teachers have expressed concerns about this school year. The BEP already prohibits the use of unauthorized, non-educationally required devices that disrupt learning, but Simkin said that teachers “don’t have what they need to implement this and it’s greatly … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s behavior education plan
MD Kittle: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has long been a haven of leftist thought and policy. Increasingly, the agency has become politically weaponized in the pursuit of its woke diversity, equity and inclusion agenda. Most recently, DPI launched an investigation into a Milwaukee Public Schools counselor whose alleged crime is that she spoke passionately in … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Wisconsin DPI and free speech
Chris Rickert: LeMonds said the base rate for summer school staff is $28 per hour, or 12% higher than in previous years. But the relief money last year allowed the district to pay $40 an hour. The district’s teachers’ union, Madison Teachers Inc., had not responded to requests for comment. Wednesday’s district email said “chronic … Continue reading Summer School update in Madison
Alex Gutentag: The collapse of educational pathways and structures has had a particularly brutal effect on the poorest students, who can least afford to have their schooling disrupted. High-poverty schools had the lowest levels of in-person instruction, causing low-income students to fall even further behind their more affluent peers. The entirely foreseeable ways in which bad COVID-19 … Continue reading New ‘discoveries’ of the harm caused by school closures are as disingenuous and politically motivated as the original policies themselves
Ambarish Chandra and Tracy Beth Høeg Our study replicates a highly cited CDC study showing a negative association between school mask mandates and pediatric SARS-CoV-2 cases. We then extend the study using a larger sample of districts and a longer time interval, employing almost six times as much data as the original study. We examine … Continue reading “no significant relationship between mask mandates and case rates”
Russel Blaylock: The federal Care Act encouraged this humandisaster by offering all US hospitals up to 39,000dollars for each ICU patient they put on respirators. despite the fact that early on it was obvious that the respirators were a major cause of death among these unsuspecting, trusting patients. In addition, the hospitals received 12,000 dollars … Continue reading Civics: “Covid Truth…“
Chris Rickert: After failing to get a waiver from the state’s minimum instructional hours requirement, the Madison School District has devised a plan for the last week of this school year that will allow students getting Cs or better at its four main high schools to forgo getting that minimum amount of instruction. The district … Continue reading Mulligans all around
Will Flanders: Here are the biggest findings: Students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program continue to outperform their public-school peers. Proficiency rates in private choice schools were 4.6% higher in English/Language Arts (ELA) and 4.5% higher in math on average than proficiency rates in traditional public schools in Milwaukee. Charter school students in Milwaukee continue … Continue reading “Little evidence was found that more spending affects student performance”
Rachel Cohen: There were early signs that this narrative didn’t explain the full story. If allegiance to former President Donald Trump (in schools that opened) or teacher unions (in those that stayed closed) were all that mattered, why did support for reopening schools also drop among Republican voters over the summer? And what about the conflicting recommendations coming from … Continue reading “Early analyses indicated that Covid-19 health factors had virtually nothing to do with reopening decisions, and partisan politics could explain nearly all the variation”
Ronald Kessler: Essentially, that meant kids were not being taught to read at all. Whole language proponents even said that when children guessed wrong, they should not be corrected. “It is unpleasant to be corrected,” Paul Jennings, an Australian whole language enthusiast, said. “It has to be fun, fun, fun.” But reading, like devising algebraic … Continue reading “Essentially, that meant kids were not being taught to read at all”
Eugene Volokh: The claims arise out of “UPMC’s purported disclosure of their confidential medical information to [child protection authorities] for the purpose of targeting them with highly intrusive, humiliating and coercive child abuse investigations starting before taking their newborn babies home from UPMC’s hospitals shortly after childbirth.” Scott Girard: At issue is an April 2018 … Continue reading Parental Rights vs Taxpayer Supported Organs
Elizabeth Beyer: Jones told the board that 67 staff members are leaving this year, but the district is only hiring 10 new staff. Prior to the meeting, Jones noted that school districts of all sizes across Wisconsin are offering base wage increases to their teachers that are near or at 4.7% to keep in line … Continue reading K-12 tax & spending climate: Madison spending growth amidst declining enrollment
Dana Goldstein: How Professor Calkins ended up influencing tens of millions of children is, in one sense, the story of education in America. Unlike many developed countries, the United States lacks a national curriculum or teacher-training standards. Local policies change constantly, as governors, school boards, mayors and superintendents flow in and out of jobs. Amid … Continue reading “The fact that she was disconnected from that research is evidence of the problem.” Madison….
Hannah Natanson and Laura Vozzella “We are not serving all of Virginia’s children and we must,” Youngkin said at a news conference in Richmond, where he and his education team presented the report. “We want to be the best in education. We should be the best in education. And the data that is compiled and … Continue reading The report further critiques what it calls school districts’ lack of transparency regarding declining student performance — and it laments parents’ “eroding” confidence in the state’s public schools.
Neil Harrison and Jeffrey Sachs: This lack of an independent and transparent US-based scientific investigation has had four highly adverse consequences. First, public trust in the ability of US scientific institutions to govern the activities of US science in a responsible manner has been shaken. Second, the investigation of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 has become … Continue reading Advocating transparency in the origins of COVID 19
Michael J. Petrilli The connection between the excellence gap and affirmative action should be obvious. College administrators would not have to twist themselves into knots to find ways to admit more Black, Hispanic, and low-income students into highly selective institutions were it not for the pervasiveness of the excellence gap. Consider: In 2015–16, the most … Continue reading The excellence gap and underrepresentation at America’s most selective universities
David Blaska: If you doubt that the Woke Wobblies have taken over Madison’s public schools, we submit the following: School board president Ali Muldrow and immediate past member Ananda Mirilli are accusing Ismael Ozanne, a black man, of racism most foul. They want him to resign (!!!) because police arrested Freedom Inc. spokesperson Jessica Williams … Continue reading Race and the Taxpayer Funded Madison School District
By Shawn Hubler All together, America’s public schools have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020, according to a recently published national survey. State enrollment figures show no sign of a rebound to the previous national levels any time soon. A broad decline was already underway in the nation’s public school system as rates of birth … Continue reading $pending more for less: K-12 budgets grow amidst declining enrollment
Helen Dale America’s dysfunctional airports are instances of widespread low state capacity. And this is bigger than airports. Low state capacity can only be used to describe a country when it is true of multiple big-ticket items, not just one. State capacity is a term drawn from economic history and development economics. It refers to a government’s … Continue reading “Low state capacity”: spending more for less
Scott Girard: Officials outlined a total of $28 million in additional costs to the School Board Monday night. Of that, $11 million is related to high inflation, $9 million is for additional mechanical and electrical work and $8 million for additional environmental projects. MMSD chief financial officer Ross MacPherson said those costs are likely to be … Continue reading Spending more on facilities amidst enrollment decline and long term, disastrous reading results
Paul Hill & Kate Destler: The solutions will require new modes of spending, performance measurement, and school oversight, as well as much greater flexibility in teacher hiring, training, and work. Superintendents and school-board leaders can’t make these changes all by themselves. They’ll need serious help and new thinking from governors, state legislators, the federal government, … Continue reading Restoring pandemic losses will require major changes in schools and classrooms, superintendents say
Jonathan Chait: Over the last decade, evidence has grown increasingly strong that public charter schools create better educational outcomes, especially for low-income, minority students in cities. The question hovering over the Biden administration has been whether it will encourage and work to improve charter schools, as the Obama administration did, or instead try to smother them, as teachers unions … Continue reading The Education Department chooses teachers unions over poor kids.
Johannes Schmidt: A new study has found that although “high-poverty schools” suffered large losses in achievement by switching to remote learning during the coronavirus lockdowns, districts that remained largely in-person lost relatively little ground. The report, titled “The consequences of remote and hybrid instruction during the pandemic,” was published by a team of researchers from the Center … Continue reading “We found that districts that spent more weeks in remote instruction lost more ground than districts that returned to in-person instruction sooner,”
Beth Hawkins: As four-fifths of the district’s federal COVID recovery funds are taken up by the new teacher contract and to keep educators on the payroll despite dramatic enrollment losses, Graff’s successor will have to find a bare-bones solution to dire learning losses. In some populations, more than 90% of children are now behind, but … Continue reading Minneapolis Teacher Strike Lasted 3 Weeks. The Fallout Will Be Felt for Years
Link: But what else can you achieve with a lockdown? The supposition of the non-Zero COVID crowd was that you could suppress infection. You can’t: there’s only a few things you can do with any kind of intervention. You can either get rid of the pathogen – unrealistic – or you can try and suppress it. But if you suppress it for a particular period of time, it’s going to come … Continue reading ‘The Vindication of The Great Barrington Three’ Panel Transcript: LLS London Meeting Feb 2022
Dr Howard Fuller: Let me cite some of the specific concerns I have: First, the proposed rule to demand that charter schools partner with a local district is obviously aimed at ending their independence and forcing them under the control of the traditional public school system. Charters should be free to determine whether partnering with … Continue reading Howard Fuller on the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce k-12 diversity
William Jacobson: The federal bureaucracy is being weaponized against parent concerned about the racialization and sexualization of K-12 education, particularly in the younger grades. Merrick Garland, dancing to the tune of the National School Board Association, portrayed parents protesting as domestic threats, and organized law enforcement at every level to coordinate strategies against them. I wrote at … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Government disinformation versus parents
Admiral Cloudberg: On the 23rd of February 2019, a Boeing 767 transporting cargo for Amazon suddenly dived into Trinity Bay while on approach to Houston, Texas, killing all three people on board. From the putrid estuary, investigators pulled the jet’s two black boxes, which together revealed the perplexing story of the last moments of Atlas … Continue reading A note on high expectations
Vinay Prasad Building trust in institutions is vital to their success, but as we enter the third year of the pandemic, public health still seems hellbent on destroying itself. In recent weeks, we have seen flip flops on major policy proposal: a vaccine passport for domestic air-travel and authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages … Continue reading Public health has fragmented trust: The problem is not rogue online misinformation; it is errors from CDC, NIAID, and the White House
Antonio: Perspectives on reality of course vary according to the ideals and institutions involved. It doesn’t matter to the French what the Anglo-Saxons think of Napoleon. The events of the Napoleonic era have been conformed to the ideals and institutions of French republicanism in a way that frankly seems strange to me (as an honorary … Continue reading “FDR told us that Pearl Harbor was “a day of infamy,” not an episode in which the US Navy was caught with its pants down”
Scott Girard: Districts have varied in their approach to pandemic health and safety measures, with some making decisions at the School Board level and others leaving it to administrators. With a few exceptions, the Madison School Board has mostly left it to administrators, including on the mask mandate. Christina Gomez Schmidt, the School Board member … Continue reading “The fact that everybody else is doing something different, I think that’s OK,” Wald said. “It doesn’t trouble me so much. I think we’re doing the right thing.”
Libby Sobic: Gov. Tony Evers’s recent vetoes put him at a historic rate of total vetoes compared to previous governors. Of the more than 100 vetoes he executed a week ago Friday, about a quarter were related to education. In many veto messages, the governor cited his previous role as state schools superintendent. Yet his … Continue reading Commentary on the 2022 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Candidates, K-12 Education and prospects
Mike Antonucci: We have heard a lot about educator shortages recently, but over the past few weeks the media have sounded the alarm over a different shortage: students. The Associated Press, Washington Post, Chalkbeat, Politico and The 74 are national outlets that highlighted steep declines in K-12 public school student enrollment and the dangers of layoffs and deep budget cuts when federal … Continue reading Declining student count vs Growing $pending
Emily Hanford & Christopher Peak: The fact that students who participated in Reading Recovery did worse in later grades than similar students who did not get the program surprised May. [study] “Was Reading Recovery harmful? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that,” he said. “But what we do know is that the kids … Continue reading “At least 2.4 million students in the United States have participated in Reading Recovery”. Madison?
David Leonhardt Across much of the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast, school buildings stayed closed and classes remained online for months. These differences created a huge experiment, testing how well remote learning worked during the pandemic. Academic researchers have since been studying the subject, and they have come to a consistent conclusion: Remote learning was … Continue reading Mandates and closed schools: yet another experiment on our children
Scott Girard The Madison Metropolitan School District received 42 proposals for names for Thomas Jefferson Middle School on the city’s west side as officials consider a renaming. Four suggest keeping it as “Thomas Jefferson Middle School” and another would make it simply “Jefferson Middle School,” though the submission makes it clear the author wants it to still … Continue reading Notes on renaming Madison’s Jefferson Middle School amidst our long term, disastrous reading results
David Leonhardt: Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and other states more rigorously measured student learning and pushed struggling schools to adopt approaches that were working elsewhere. The accountability movement went national in the 2000s, through laws signed by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The timing of the test-score increases is consistent with this story, as … Continue reading “First, many states began to emphasize school accountability starting in the 1990s”
Donald Devine: Ludwig von Mises’ Yale University Press classic Bureaucracy explains in a relatively few pages the difference between public and private-sector bureaucratic management. The private sector can measure what is going on in large hierarchies of bureaucracy below its CEO simply by asking whether each unit is making a profit. The public sector has no equivalent measuring … Continue reading The Countless Failures of Big Bureaucracy
Rebecca Jack, Claire Halloran, James Okun and Emily Oster: We estimate the impact of district-level schooling mode (in-person versus hybrid or virtual learning) in the 2020-21 school year on students’ pass rates on standardized tests in Grades 3–8 across 11 states. Pass rates declined from 2019 to 2021: an average decline of 12.8 percentage points … Continue reading The price of lockdown mandates: “The value to in-person learning was larger for districts with larger populations of Black students”
Elizabeth Beyer: The district is receiving $70.6 million over the course of three payments. The district’s first installment, ESSER I, was approximately $9.2 million and had been exhausted by the end of the 2020-21 school year. Currently, $39.8 million of the second two installments, ESSER II and III, are written into the 2022-23 preliminary budget. … Continue reading Taxpayer Supported Madison School District plans to spend $543M+ during 2022-2023; about $21k/student
Scott Girard: In MMSD, 34.9% of students in grades 3-8 scored “proficient” or “advanced” on the statewide Forward Exam in 2018-19, the most recent year the exam was given with a high percentage of students participating. The results were worse for every non-white group of students other than Asians, who had the same percentage as … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 system spends $5.6M on literacy curriculum
Scott Girard: In a statement last week, Madison Teachers Inc. put the blame on DPI for the last-minute change from the district. “DPI should understand that to us who have to actually implement this additional work, this move signals the prioritization of compliance above compassion,” MTI president Michael Jones wrote. Jones wrote that the other … Continue reading Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s “asynchronous learning” scheme
Daniel Lennington and Will Flanders Last week, Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly put out a press releasebroadly outlining her plans to address Wisconsin’s racial achievement gap. While it is perhaps a positive to finally see the superintendent addressing the failings of Wisconsin’s public schools, this release offers a disturbing window into the way … Continue reading Notes on politics and the achievement gap
Emily Hanford and Christopher Peak The new, federally funded study found that children who received Reading Recovery had scores on state reading tests in third and fourth grade that were below the test scores of similar children who did not receive Reading Recovery. “It’s not what we expected, and it’s concerning,” said lead author Henry May, director … Continue reading Madison’s literacy disaster, continued: reading recovery’s negative impact on children
Libby Sobic: Gov. Tony Evers’s recent vetoes put him at a historic rate of total vetoes compared to previous governors. Of the more than 100 vetoes he executed a week ago Friday, about a quarter were related to education. In many veto messages, the governor cited his previous role as state schools superintendent. Yet his … Continue reading Wisconsin Gov Evers’ Mulligans run their course?
Scott Girard “There is a lot of evidence that the state of Wisconsin has the most extreme gaps in opportunity and outcomes based on race and that within Wisconsin, MMSD is often ranked among the worst or the worst in some of these indicators,” MMSD director of research Brianne Monahan said. Jackson said the process … Continue reading Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison school district “equity audit”
Paul Fanlund: That said, his indictment of liberals in college towns echoes something Gloria Ladson-Billings, a renowned UW-Madison professor emerita, told me for a column last year about liberals and race. “Everyone is for the most part self-interested,” she said. “You can only go so far before people start seeing it as an erosion of something they … Continue reading Mission vs organization, redux; Madison’s disastrous reading Results
Glenn Elmers: Science has always introduced doubt regarding long-held verities. But now the authority of science, rather than the scientific method, is used to create confusion about things that had once been considered obvious and indisputable. There have always, for instance, been rare individuals who did not precisely fit into the categories of either man … Continue reading “Instead, we seem to know less”
Balaji Srinivasan: Why a new school? Confidence in public schools is at historic lows. Parents want a change. And people can sense that the Prussian education system, the model for American schooling, just isn’t working anymore. Perhaps fifty years ago you might well pull the same lever every day on an assembly line, but today you hit a different key … Continue reading “A full Replacement for K-12”
Scott Girard: Lessons and coursework will be available through Seesaw and Google Classroom, with paper copies also available. “Each school will send families follow-up communication with additional details about asynchronous learning time,” the email states. The district has chosen to use asynchronous learning as its solution. According to an email sent to families Wednesday, K-12 … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 make up “asynchronous” time
Elizabeth Beyer: “That was my first-ever protest,” he said. “It was remarkable to see people outside of Door 1, outside of the Castle (what students call the Collegiate-Gothic style façade that faces East Washington Avenue) all together coming as one. We actually made change from it.” The protests were organized in response to what students … Continue reading “I would say Madison schools were definitely a place where you could be yourself more, and you’re able to explore more,” he said.”
In the last 12 months, WI conservatives had massive ed reform bills vetoed by @GovEvers that would have completely transformed WI K-12 education into a national leader for putting kids and parents first. Here’s a list of some of the K12 bills @GovEvers vetoed: — CJ Szafir (@CJSzafir) April 18, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and Dane … Continue reading A summary of k-12 reform bills vetoed by Wisconsin Governor Evers
Elizabeth Beyer: In Natasha Sullivan’s AP English class at La Follette High School, students are assigned books by prominent Black authors alongside works like Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” At Memorial High School, English teacher Maureen Mead aims to help her English language learners develop their language skills instead of penalizing them if they enter … Continue reading Curricular Commentary
Associated Press: Several businesses and residents have filed suit in state court in Pennsylvania seeking to overturn Philadelphia’s renewed indoor mask mandate scheduled to be enforced beginning Monday in an effort to halt a surge in Covid-19 infections. The lawsuit, filed in Commonwealth Court on Saturday, said Philadelphia lacks the authority to impose such a mandate. Philadelphia … Continue reading Lawsuit seeks to overturn renewed Philadelphia mask mandate
Dahlia Bazzaz: was under the warehouse lights at Costco, about a year ago, when Aida Herrera first noticed something had shifted in her daughter, Sofia, who was lingering by the book table. Neither she nor Sofia’s dad are big readers, Herrera said, and she’d never seen her youngest tackle a chapter book as large as … Continue reading Notes on “the science of reading” curriculum
Collin Binkley: Early results of data gathering by some of the country’s biggest school districts confirm what many had feared: Groups of students that already faced learning gaps before the pandemic, including Black and Hispanic students and those from low-income families, appear to be behind in even greater numbers now. In Fairfax County, tests given … Continue reading “Some teachers say they’re doing great, others say they can do better.”
Elizabeth Beyer and Emily Hamer: Most other Dane County school districts shifted their masking protocol to strongly recommend, as opposed to require, face coverings while in school buildings on March 1, when the Public Health Madison and Dane County emergency masking order expired. The decision by the city-county health department to lift the mask order … Continue reading Ongoing Mask Mandate in our taxpayer supported K-12 schools (1 of 2 statewide)
Molly Beck: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Friday vetoed legislation that would have dramatically overhauled education in Wisconsin by making all children eligible to receive a taxpayer-funded private school voucher, regardless of their household income. Parents would have been able to sue school districts for violations of a new “parental bill of rights” under another bill Evers … Continue reading Wisconsin Governor Evers Friday Afternoon K-12 Vetoes: parents vs the taxpayer supported system
Typical clinic day now includes a 2-year-old who only has 5 words, an 8-year-old with new-onset obesity, and a preschool-age child with no social skills from being home bound. A disastrous avalanche of child health probs of our own making—not “from the pandemic.” @AmerAcadPeds — elizabeth bennett (@ebennett74) April 13, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and Dane … Continue reading The price of Mandates, continued
Joanne Jacobs: At Ivywood Classical Academy in Plymouth, Michigan, fourth-graders are studying early and medieval African kingdoms, dynasties of China, Europe in the Middle Ages and the founding and spread of Islam. Hillsdale-affiliated schools teach the liberal arts, sciences and the “great works of literature, philosophy, politics, and art” and attempt to “lead students toward … Continue reading A classic education via charters (timely)
Phil Kerpen, Stephen Moore and Casey Mulligan: Almost exactly two years ago COVID-19 spread to the United States and our federal, state and local governments implemented strategies to mitigate the damage from this deadly virus. We now know from the responses across countries that the U.S. federal government (and most governments around the world) made … Continue reading A Final Report Card on the States’ Response to COVID-19
Michael Bender: Democrat Jennifer Loughran spent the pandemic’s early days sewing face masks for neighbors. Last month, as a newly elected school-board member, she voted to lift the district’s mask mandate. That came four months after she voted for the state’s Republican candidate for governor. After a monthslong political identity crisis, Ms. Loughran decided her opposition … Continue reading ‘So disillusioned”: Mandates, Parents, Students and K-12 Governance
John Fensterwald: The analysis, which looks at performance over time, shows that students fell behind each year incrementally even before the pandemic, starting in third grade when tests were first given. Progress completely stalled last year, when most students were in remote learning. Eighth graders overall scored at the same level that they did when … Continue reading Analysis finds average eighth graders may have skills indicative of fifth grade
Will Flanders: Obviously, these results have implications for Wisconsin’s upcoming fall elections. Both of the major candidates for governor on the Republican side, Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson, have expressed support for education reform — both on the public school side and in expansion of school choice. The current governor, Democrat Tony Evers, has rejected several pieces of … Continue reading Elections and taxpayer supported education
Jocelyn Gecker: “I don’t want to read about another teenager where there were warning signs and we looked the other way,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino, author of a bill that would require all California middle and high schools to train at least 75% of employees in behavioral health. “Teachers and school staff are on the … Continue reading Experts warned COVID would hurt students’ mental health. Now, teachers are living that reality
“CRT is not taught in schools.” West High School in Madison is teaching the basics of CRT once a month to their entire student body. Called “Regent Pride,” the slides explore the basic tenets of CRT. Multiple concerned parents have contacted me. Thread below: pic.twitter.com/qrsRTe65oU — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) April 8, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and … Continue reading Madison West high School Curriculum Practice Notes
Robby Soave: On March 16, Washington, D.C., became one of the very last major metropolitan areas in the country to finally end mask mandates for students. According to Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, kids who attend D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) no longer have to wear masks. That’s not always what happens in practice, of course. Earlier this … Continue reading “People’s irrational fears are taking over these policy decisions,” says one parent.