An Emphasis on adult employment

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

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

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

Mandates, adult employment and children’s mental health

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

“And emphasis on adult employment” – Wauwatosa edition

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment “

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

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

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

Money, Politics and Adult Employment/School Choice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adult employment and the Madison School Board’s self interest

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

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

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

Adult Employment and Empty Milwaukee Public Schools’ Buildings

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

Heavy Adult Employment Focus in the Milwaukee Public a Schools

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

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

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

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

Administrator Contracts – School Board Adds to Agenda

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

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

An Emphasis on Adult Employment



Andrew Coulson:

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

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

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

Janet Mertz:

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

Congress gave $1.49 billion in taxpayer and borrowed funds to Wisconsin schools. Are they investing wisely?

Quinton Klabon: The coronavirus pandemic was a 2-year catastrophe for children. Students suffered through virtual schooling, quarantined teachers, and emotional misery. Academic results, the lowest this century, still have not recovered. After sending $860 million to help Wisconsin public schools manage through spring 2021, Congress sent a final $1.49 billion to get students back on track. The goal? Do … Continue reading Congress gave $1.49 billion in taxpayer and borrowed funds to Wisconsin schools. Are they investing wisely?

“But I also think that if we just do more of the same, we’re going to get more of the same, which is mediocre test results and kids who can’t read. That’s dumb. So I want reform.”

Scott Girard and Jessie Opoien: The results, as Vos mentioned, have been poor. Reading and math scores on what’s known as the Nation’s Report Card dropped across the country last year, including in Wisconsin, where the gap in scores between Wisconsin’s Black and white students is the highest of any state, with only Washington, D.C. having … Continue reading “But I also think that if we just do more of the same, we’re going to get more of the same, which is mediocre test results and kids who can’t read. That’s dumb. So I want reform.”

Curious Legacy Media school “letter to the editor” policy

David Blaska: Blaska’s Bottom Line asks a bunch of questions: The Wisconsin State Journal refuses to publish Blaska’s letter asking Madison school officials whether, after eight years, is Restorative Justice working?Especially considering we have another school board election on the April 4 ballot. Editorial page editor Scott Milfred complained: “It was long …” [It was 245 words — exact … Continue reading Curious Legacy Media school “letter to the editor” policy

“While that’s still more than five substitutes per MMSD building, Lyne explained that not every substitute is equal as far as filling the daily needs”

Scott Girard: “A lot of these subs don’t work every day,” he said. “Or they will only work at certain schools or certain parts of town or certain grades; sometimes the retired teachers will only go back to their school or they’ll sub for their old colleagues.” In a worker-friendly job market over the past … Continue reading “While that’s still more than five substitutes per MMSD building, Lyne explained that not every substitute is equal as far as filling the daily needs”

Why Did Schools Stop Teaching Kids How To Read?

Zach Weissmueller and Nick Gillespie Public schools have failed to teach kids to read and write because they use approaches that aren’t based on proven techniques based on phonics. Many schools have been influenced by the work of Columbia University’s Lucy Calkins, who is the subject of a new podcast series from American Public Media, Sold … Continue reading Why Did Schools Stop Teaching Kids How To Read?

Sandburg Elementary students get free books, visit from local officials

Scott Girard: When the students found out about the plan on Wednesday, one teacher said, one of them asked if it was the “mayor of the United States” visiting. All of the officials proved popular, with students taking selfies and asking for autographs in their new books. “When we talk about partnering with the city … Continue reading Sandburg Elementary students get free books, visit from local officials

“Little evidence was found that more spending affects student performance”

Apples to Apples, Assessing Wisconsin’s State of Education: Once the demographics of students in the schools are taken into account, the level of per capita spending in a public school district has no statistical impact on student proficiency. The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially … Continue reading “Little evidence was found that more spending affects student performance”

The failure of “balanced literacy”

Christina Smallwood: In Reading in the Brain (2009)—which Hanford recommends on the Sold a Story website, writing, “I’ve never filled a book with so many sticky notes”—the cognitive neuroscientist Stanislas Dehaene identifies three stages of learning to read: the pictorial, where children memorize a few words as if they were pictures (these are likely to … Continue reading The failure of “balanced literacy”

Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison Summer School Staffing plans

Olivia Herken; The district doesn’t need to approve any new funds to provide this raise, and instead, the enrollment for summer school this year will be capped at 4,000 students to be able to hike pay within the already approved budget. The pay raise increases staffing costs from $2.8 million last year to $3.5 million. … Continue reading Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison Summer School Staffing plans

Madison Schools’ Safety Survey

Scott Girard: Surveys to help guide the Madison public schools’ Safety and Student Wellness Ad Hoc Committee have a long list of suggestions for the district. The responses illustrate the difficult and involved task in front of both the committee, which is nearing its completion after forming last March, and the Madison Metropolitan School District as … Continue reading Madison Schools’ Safety Survey

“In the survey, respondents highlighted that there were too many fights and and too much bullying, and unsafe environments throughout schools, all without much accountability”

Olivia Herken: This week the school district contended with more violent incidents. On Tuesday, a 14-year-old was stabbed in the chest in a park after an incident at a middle school parking lot earlier in the day, and on Wednesday, police were called to East High for a fight between students. Some survey respondents called … Continue reading “In the survey, respondents highlighted that there were too many fights and and too much bullying, and unsafe environments throughout schools, all without much accountability”

Notes on growth in charter and voucher schools amidst decline in traditional “government” schools (who spend far more)

Olivia Herken: Enrollment in Wisconsin’s traditional public schools has continued to decline since the start of the pandemic. There isn’t a single answer as to where students are going and why. A nationwide declining birth rate and changing trends in where families live are big contributors. But there’s clearly a growing appetite in Wisconsin for … Continue reading Notes on growth in charter and voucher schools amidst decline in traditional “government” schools (who spend far more)

Madison’s taxpayer supported discriminatory policies, now in litigation

“Prioritize Your African American Students” over all others: ⚡️New @WILawLiberty lawsuit against @MMSDschools for failing to turn over public records related to this policy below pic.twitter.com/iSGgLGQM9Z — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) January 17, 2023 2011: a majority of the taxpayer funded Madison School Board aborts the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School in a 5-2 vote. The data … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported discriminatory policies, now in litigation

Why is One City Charter School Facing Legacy Madison Media Blowback?

Kaleem Caire: Thank you CapTimes for printing my OpEd. Interestingly, in a conversation with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction yesterday, state officials told us that we are legally obligated to count our students who are enrolled and present on the day of the pupil count (tomorrow, Friday). This is state law. They also told … Continue reading Why is One City Charter School Facing Legacy Madison Media Blowback?

K-12 taxpayer $pending reporting: early growth trees vs Madison’s $597M forest edition

Scott Girard: UPDATE: In a letter to the editor submitted to the Cap Times after the article below was published, One City Schools founder and CEO Kaleem Caire wrote that the school would not count the ninth and 10th grade students who will be leaving for enrollment purposes. “This would be disingenuous, and we do … Continue reading K-12 taxpayer $pending reporting: early growth trees vs Madison’s $597M forest edition

Commentary on Taxpayer Funded K-12 Education: Madison’s $597.9M budget $23k/student! vs Tiny One City Charter School

Scott Girard: For the full 2022-23 school year, an independent charter school like One City receives $9,264 per student from the state that the student’s resident school district would otherwise receive. The state counts students twice each school year: the third Friday of September and the second Friday of January. If a student is enrolled … Continue reading Commentary on Taxpayer Funded K-12 Education: Madison’s $597.9M budget $23k/student! vs Tiny One City Charter School

Notes on taxpayer funded Madison East High School

Olivia Herken: After receiving a wave of conservative backlash, a student-organized drag show at Madison East High School has been postponed because of safety concerns. In addition to an “abundance” of supportive messages regarding the event, the Madison School District also has received “several messages that have raised a number of safety concerns for this … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer funded Madison East High School

K-12 Governance Spaghetti, amidst long term, disastrous reading results

Wow. The CDC gives direction to teachers, the unions give direction to teachers, the UN gives directions to teachers… So much direction from outside organizations- no wonder the kids aren’t learning to read. 🤷‍♀️ https://t.co/g4poAIR0NW — Moms for Liberty (@Moms4Liberty) January 6, 2023 The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement … Continue reading K-12 Governance Spaghetti, amidst long term, disastrous reading results

One City Schools shutting down ninth and 10th grades

Chris Rickert: Citing an exodus of core-class teachers, Madison charter school One City Schools told parents of about 60 students Thursday that it would shut down its first ninth- and 10th-grade classes after only one semester. The school’s vice president of external relations, Gail Wiseman, said the school lost five teachers since the beginning of … Continue reading One City Schools shutting down ninth and 10th grades

A Wisconsin K-12 Governance wish list

David Blaska: 1) Amend the Wisconsin Constitution to place the Department of Public Instruction in the governor’s appointive cabinet rather than as an elected office. Education should sit at the same table with the governor as transportation, natural resources, prisons, public health, and revenue. 2) Revise the criminal code to automatically charge custodial parents or guardians with a crime … Continue reading A Wisconsin K-12 Governance wish list

Notes on Madison’s ongoing k-12 tax and spending increases amidst declining enrollment

Dean Mosiman: For Madison residents in the Madison School District, the total tax bill for the average home assessed at $376,900 is going up about $262, or 3.64%, to $7,468. Last year’s increase of $124 was a 1.76% hike. In 2020, the bill rose 4.3%, or $293. Those sums reflect tax bills after the school … Continue reading Notes on Madison’s ongoing k-12 tax and spending increases amidst declining enrollment

In Memphis, the Phonics Movement Comes to High School: Literacy lessons are embedded in every academic class. Even in biology.

Sarah Mervosh: But recently, he said, he has made strides, in part because of an unusual and sweeping high school literacy curriculum in Memphis. The program focuses on expanding vocabulary and giving teenagers reading strategies — such as decoding words — that build upon fundamentals taught in elementary school. The curriculum is embedded not just … Continue reading In Memphis, the Phonics Movement Comes to High School: Literacy lessons are embedded in every academic class. Even in biology.

A thin chat with taxpayer supported Wisconsin DPI Superintendent JilL Underly

Scott Girard: It’s been a challenging few years for K-12 education, both locally and nationally. Wisconsin State Superintendent Jill Underly is nonetheless “optimistic” about what’s ahead for the field. “I think people are coming together, realizing that if we want to improve the lives of all Wisconsinites and especially the kids who are going to … Continue reading A thin chat with taxpayer supported Wisconsin DPI Superintendent JilL Underly

L.A. students’ grades are rising, but test scores are falling. Why the big disconnect?

Paloma Esquivel: Their situation is far from unique. After falling in the early semesters of the pandemic, by spring 2022 high school and middle school math and English grades in the Los Angeles Unified School District not only rebounded, but went up, according to an L.A. Times analysis. At the same time, math and English proficiency … Continue reading L.A. students’ grades are rising, but test scores are falling. Why the big disconnect?

Choice and competition have a positive effect on public-school performance.

Wall Street Journal: Several red states appear poised to adopt expansive school-choice policies this year, prompting the teachers unions and their allies to claim that the sky is falling, especially in rural areas. Corey DeAngelis is right to call out the Chicken Littles for their scaremongering (“The Little Red Schoolhouse Could Do With a Little Competition,” op-ed, … Continue reading Choice and competition have a positive effect on public-school performance.

$pending more for less: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction edition

Institute for reforming government 3. Department of Public Instruction: Since 2017, DPI has seen its biennial budget increase by over $2 billion, from $14.2 billion to $16.3 billion. This is despite serving 18,500 fewer students and overseeing disastrous drops in math scores and college enrollment beyond pandemic averages. The data clearly indicate that being able to … Continue reading $pending more for less: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction edition

2023 Madison School Board election, Christine Gomez-Schmidt bows out

Scott Girard: In her message to constituents, Gomez Schmidt listed a series of district accomplishments in her three years on the board, including navigating the pandemic, adopting new K-5 reading curriculums, investing in the “science of reading” and seeing the community approve a record referendum. “I am grateful that this experience has challenged me in … Continue reading 2023 Madison School Board election, Christine Gomez-Schmidt bows out

Notes on the teacher school district climate: Madison edition

Scott Girard: “We need impactful change in our handbook before May 15 or the mass exodus of staff will continue,” she said. “It’ll become impossible to staff our schools with qualified teachers and the staff that our students deserve.” MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds wrote in a statement Tuesday that the district “has hired more teacher … Continue reading Notes on the teacher school district climate: Madison edition

Madison School Board: “voted 4-3 to keep stand-alone honors classes for the time being”

Olivia Herken: Board members Gomez Schmidt, Ali Muldrow, Laura Simkin and Nicki Vander Meulen voted against eliminating stand-alone honors classes. Board members Nichelle Nichols, Maia Pearson and Savion Castro voted in favor of eliminating them. Stand-alone honors classes are meant to be more academically challenging. Students can also earn honors credit in some general classes … Continue reading Madison School Board: “voted 4-3 to keep stand-alone honors classes for the time being”

Madison school proposal to end standalone honors classes set for a vote

Dylan Brogan: The “time is now” to eliminate standalone honors classes in Madison high schools, according to Superintendent Carlton Jenkins. At a Dec. 5 school board meeting, Jenkins said a “racist attitude” underlies support for keeping separate classes that offer more rigorous coursework to students.  “We are no longer going to uphold what is considered … Continue reading Madison school proposal to end standalone honors classes set for a vote

Here’s what you should know about honors classes in the Madison School District

Olivia Herken: His stand-alone classes didn’t give him that much deeper of an understanding of a subject than earning honors did, Hernandez said. In his general Western civilization class, for example, he had to read an additional book to earn his honors credits, which allowed him to gain more knowledge than he normally would have. … Continue reading Here’s what you should know about honors classes in the Madison School District

Report: K-12 school property tax payments will rise statewide

Scott Girard: Those totals don’t include the Madison Metropolitan School District or Milwaukee Public Schools, both of which passed operational referendums in 2020 that continue to allow them to surpass the revenue limit. Both districts are among those that are increasing their total tax levies and contributing to the statewide rise, WPF notes. “Property tax levies increased … Continue reading Report: K-12 school property tax payments will rise statewide

Mission vs Organization: “The grand jury said the district was looking out for its own interests instead of the best interests of its students”

Landon Mion: Loudoun County Superintendent Scott Ziegler was fired by the school board Tuesday night in response to a grand jury report on the district’s handling of two sexual assaults committed by the same student. The Northern Virginia district drew national attention last year after a father accused it at a school board meeting of covering up … Continue reading Mission vs Organization: “The grand jury said the district was looking out for its own interests instead of the best interests of its students”

Declining Enrollment amidst ongoing Madison K-12 Tax & Spending Growth

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District can expect its recent enrollment losses to continue, according to new projections. The School Board discussed projections from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Applied Population Lab Monday during an Instruction Work Group meeting. The reason for the drop is a mix of declining birth rates and increasing rates of … Continue reading Declining Enrollment amidst ongoing Madison K-12 Tax & Spending Growth

Why is the taxpayer supported Madison School District losing students?

Dave Cieslewicz: There has been lots of news out of the Madison School District lately. I’d like to focus on three stories that are interrelated.  The first is the reinstatement of Sennett Middle School Principal Jeffrey Copeland. I’ve writtenabout that extensively, so I won’t go over the details here, but his return is a good thing. … Continue reading Why is the taxpayer supported Madison School District losing students?

Deja Vu: Advocating the Elimination of Honors Classes in the Taxpayer Supported Madison School District

Scott Girard: West math teacher Sigrid Murphy said that even more recently, in the 2020-21 school year, “30% of the students in geometry at West identified as white while 72% of the students in geometry honors identified as white.” The school’s overall enrollment that year was about 52% white students. “Within the (West) math department, … Continue reading Deja Vu: Advocating the Elimination of Honors Classes in the Taxpayer Supported Madison School District

Why problems with literacy instruction go beyond phonics

Natalie Wexler: In the debate over Emily Hanford’s podcast “Sold a Story,” two groups have been vocal: those who agree that teachers have been conned into believing most children learn to read without systematic phonics instruction; and those who, like the 58 educators who signed a letter to the editor of the Hechinger Report, respond that Hanford … Continue reading Why problems with literacy instruction go beyond phonics

Madison Sennett’s (restored) principal does not need re-education

David Blaska: Are we supposed to rejoice that the board of education 12-02-22 unfired the principal of Sennett middle school? How generous! What tender mercies! After three months of banishment and besmirched reputation, Principal Copeland must endure further punishment. • A letter of reprimand in his P file. • Docked three weeks pay. • And most humiliating of … Continue reading Madison Sennett’s (restored) principal does not need re-education

Madison school board reinstates Sennet Principal

Scott Girard: Copeland told the Wisconsin State Journal this week that his comments were not about the applicant’s country of origin or race. Instead, he said, they were focused on ensuring students had a teacher they could understand in front of them. He also suggested the comment about “just giving people damn jobs” was in reference to … Continue reading Madison school board reinstates Sennet Principal

Challenges to union control of local school governance were often successful.

Wall Street Journal: The parental revolt even spread to Minnesota despite opposition from teachers union. Denise Specht, the president of the teacher’s union Education Minnesota, claimed in September that its “political program has been successful between 80 and 90 percent of the time when our locals make endorsements in school board races and carry out an … Continue reading Challenges to union control of local school governance were often successful.

Dane County Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging taxpayer supported Madison Schools gender identity policy; appeal planned

Ed Treleven: Remington’s Nov. 23 decision does not directly address the merits of the policy but spends a great number of its 33 pages discussing what is considered legal standing, as expressed in recent state and federal court decisions. Ignoring Doe’s lack of standing, Remington wrote, would be ignoring his own “limited and modest role … Continue reading Dane County Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging taxpayer supported Madison Schools gender identity policy; appeal planned

‘No action’ on fired taxpayer supported Madison Sennett principal’s appeal yet

Scott Girard: The Madison School Board’s closed session meeting to discuss the appeal of fired principal Jeffrey Copeland Tuesday lasted just over 15 minutes without a decision. “I can’t explain that,” board member Nicki Vander Meulen said, leaving around 5:16 p.m. and declining further comment. Other board members who left shortly after also declined to comment and … Continue reading ‘No action’ on fired taxpayer supported Madison Sennett principal’s appeal yet

Ongoing Taxpayer supported K-12 lockdown student learning loss: “but since they were easy on us….”

Kelly Meyerhofer: For Maciejewski, a sophomore studying exercise physiology and pre-physical therapy at Concordia University Wisconsin, the adjustment to college after a year and a half of leniency in high school was harsh. Just days into her freshman year on the Mequon campus, she was already overwhelmed. So she headed to the school’s Academic Resource … Continue reading Ongoing Taxpayer supported K-12 lockdown student learning loss: “but since they were easy on us….”

Former Madison Sennett principal: ‘I was ousted, demoralized and set out to perish’

Olivia Herken: The principal of Sennett Middle School who was fired over comments that were construed by the Madison School District as bigoted toward a specific job candidate said he was expressing general concern about teacher qualifications in an era of staffing shortages. “This incident is clearly subjective rhetoric with no factualization,” Jeffrey Copeland told … Continue reading Former Madison Sennett principal: ‘I was ousted, demoralized and set out to perish’

Notes on the “illiteracy cult”; “Well-to-do people simply buy their way out of the problem, a trend scholars have tracked for decades”

Matthew Ladner: Emily Hanford’s podcast Sold a Story tells the disturbing tale of how schools have come to embrace patently absurd and ineffective methods for literacy instruction. I could summarize one such method, known as “three-cueing,” in one sentence: Teach children how to guess the meaning of a sentence rather than how to read it. (You can … Continue reading Notes on the “illiteracy cult”; “Well-to-do people simply buy their way out of the problem, a trend scholars have tracked for decades”

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

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

Taxpayer supported Madison School District’s open records non responses

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

Teacher union$ and $chool Board Governance: Californian edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wisconsin DPI veracity: 84% exceed expectations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madison K-12 Governance & School Safety

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

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

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

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

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

Commentary on status quo K-12 governance in Wisconsin

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

School climate: 2022 election edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell parents truth: Enough with the happy talk

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

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

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

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

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