When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

Marc Eisen:

Lake Wobegon has nothing on the UW-Madison School of Education. All of the children in Garrison Keillor’s fictional Minnesota town are “above average.” Well, in the School of Education they’re all A students.
The 1,400 or so kids in the teacher-training department soared to a dizzying 3.91 grade point average on a four-point scale in the spring 2009 semester.
This was par for the course, so to speak. The eight departments in Education (see below) had an aggregate 3.69 grade point average, next to Pharmacy the highest among the UW’s schools. Scrolling through the Registrar’s online grade records is a discombobulating experience, if you hold to an old-school belief that average kids get C’s and only the really high performers score A’s.
Much like a modern-day middle school honors assembly, everybody’s a winner at the UW School of Education. In its Department of Curriculum and Instruction (that’s the teacher-training program), 96% of the undergraduates who received letter grades collected A’s and a handful of A/B’s. No fluke, another survey taken 12 years ago found almost exactly the same percentage.
A host of questions are prompted by the appearance of such brilliance. Can all these apprentice teachers really be that smart? Is there no difference in their abilities? Why do the grades of education majors far outstrip the grades of students in the physical sciences and mathematics? (Take a look at the chart below.)

The UW-Madison School of Education has no small amount of influence on the Madison School District.

Commentary on legacy taxpayer supported K-12 Governance outcomes

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

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

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

Why Does The NEA Want Kids To Learn Butthole-Licking?

Rod Dreher: I apologize for being gross, but it’s necessary. You have to be shocked into recognizing the moral horror of what a part of the nation’s largest teacher’s union is doing. It is unspeakable, but we have to speak about it. The most effective work that the irreplaceable Christopher Rufo does is simply to … Continue reading Why Does The NEA Want Kids To Learn Butthole-Licking?

School Choice Politics and elected officials who attended private school

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

Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

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

Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

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

Taxpayer Funded Wisconsin DPI Preschool Gender Documents

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

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

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

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

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

Schoolchildren Are Not ‘Mere Creatures of the State’

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

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

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

Did Woke Madison help murder Beth Potter and Robin Carre?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notes on taxpayer supported Madison High School Construction projects

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

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

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

Mandates, School Closures and Student Academic Outcomes: Virginia Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salary increase discussions in the Madison School District

Scott Girard: Jones’ questions included specific suggestions for using available funding for further increasing the salary schedule instead of what’s currently planned, including new positions like the Village Builders initiative, and cutting district and administrative staff positions that were “difficult to fill for the 2021-22 school year.” District leaders have continually blamed a challenging state budget that … Continue reading Salary increase discussions in the Madison School District

“In the last school year Madison police were called 640 times to Madison’s four high schools”

Dave Cieslewicz: That’s an average of about 3.5 times a day or almost once per day to each school. According to a story in this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal the breakdown is 220 calls to East, 158 to La Follette, 170 to Memorial and 92 to West. In addition to the raw numbers there were … Continue reading “In the last school year Madison police were called 640 times to Madison’s four high schools”

Notes on teacher compensation amidst Madison K-12 tax & spending growth

Elizabeth Beyer: The Madison School Board voted 6-1 in June to adopt the district’s $561.3 million preliminary budget for next school year, which included the 3% base wage increase. Negotiations began in May with MTI requesting the 4.7% increase — the annual inflationary amount and the maximum allowed in bargaining under state law. The district … Continue reading Notes on teacher compensation amidst Madison K-12 tax & spending growth

Universal school choice would help all Wisconsin families

Shannon Whitworth: Nowhere can you see self-proclaimed “progressives” more in opposition to progress than on the issue of school choice in the state of Wisconsin. Over 30 years ago, Wisconsin created the first school choice program in the nation, liberating thousands of families from failing public schools and giving many children, particularly those in our … Continue reading Universal school choice would help all Wisconsin families

Notes on Wisconsin Governor Evers’ 2022 K-12 Education Campaign Advertisement

MacIver: Claim 1: Tony Evers has Taken Wisconsin Schools into the Top 10 in the U.S. The ad repeats a brag Evers has been making for months.  The top 10 ranking issued by US News, shows Wisconsin’s rank improved 10 places since the 2018 list.  Evers has been taking credit for the improvement although the … Continue reading Notes on Wisconsin Governor Evers’ 2022 K-12 Education Campaign Advertisement

a comprehensive argument that education cannot close academic gaps

Freddie deBoer: We can express the static nature of relative educational outcomes quantitatively, in a variety of ways. The simplest is to observe that by far the most consistently effective predictor of future academic performance is prior performance. This paper summarizes the reality simply: The present study shows that individual differences in educational achievement are highly stable … Continue reading a comprehensive argument that education cannot close academic gaps

Notes on reduced confidence in taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Colin Carroll: That is exactly right. And you can see that more clearly when Rufo’s correct quote is put into full context. “To get universal school choice, you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust. I think that the public schools have done a remarkable job at doing just that, specifically, … Continue reading Notes on reduced confidence in taxpayer supported K-12 schools

“and may reward the party that focuses more on fundamental instruction than ideological warfare”

Jonathan Allen: “But then you want to turn to areas that are more important” such as funding and fundamental instruction. That explains the two-step thrust-and-parry messaging American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten will outline Thursday morning during her union’s convention in Boston. The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement … Continue reading “and may reward the party that focuses more on fundamental instruction than ideological warfare”

“Labor Unions reduce product quality”

Alex Tabarrok: A very nice paper in Management Science by Kini, Shen, Shenoy and Subramanian finds that labor unions reduce product quality. Two strengths of the paper. First, the authors have relatively objective measures of product quality from thousands of product recalls mandated by the FDA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway … Continue reading “Labor Unions reduce product quality”

A look at staff growth amidst enrollment decline in the taxpayer supported Madison K-12 schools

Scott Girard: Despite enrollment dropping over the past five years districtwide, especially during the pandemic, the full-time equivalent (or FTE) staff positions dedicated to those areas have not dropped at the same rate. In student services, for example, the 2017-18 school year featured 105.78 students per staff member in positions including psychologist, social worker, nurse … Continue reading A look at staff growth amidst enrollment decline in the taxpayer supported Madison K-12 schools

Commentary on school of education effectiveness and k-12 diversity choices vs monoculture

Ann Althouse: But what’s really bothering Strauss isn’t the outrage of insulting education departments. It’s Hillsdale’s participation in charter schools around the country. There’s the “Hillsdale K-12 curriculum that is centered on Western civilization and designed to help ‘students acquire a mature love for America.’” Valerie Strauss: At the reception last week, held at a … Continue reading Commentary on school of education effectiveness and k-12 diversity choices vs monoculture

Ongoing costs of k-12 lockdowns

“Places with low-performing schools kept them shut for longer than others in their regions. Closures were often long in places where teachers’ unions were especially powerful, such as Mexico and parts of the US.” https://t.co/krCiBZd82p — Alexander (@alexanderrusso) July 9, 2022 The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at … Continue reading Ongoing costs of k-12 lockdowns

Governments are ignoring the lockdown effect on education

The Economist Then the pandemic struck and hundreds of millions of pupils were locked out of school. At first, when it was not yet known whether children were vulnerable to covid-19 or were likely to spread the virus to older people, school closures were a prudent precaution. But in many places they continued long after … Continue reading Governments are ignoring the lockdown effect on education

We can’t solve problems if our children can’t read

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

Civics: “rule making” vs legislation

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

High schooler designs new ‘I Voted’ stickers for Madison elections

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

Notes on renaming Madison’s Jefferson Middle School

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

Ongoing Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school spending growth: 2022-2023 budget (amidst declining enrollment)

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)

Notes on Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 spending plans 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

Boston slams new state schools plan as moving sides ‘further apart’ as receivership looms

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

Governance: Cashiered Navy Officers (consequences! No Mulligans?)

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?)

Ongoing spending increase discussions in the taxpayer supported Madison Schools (bricks & mortar vs people?), amidst declining enrollment

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

An interview with Madison’s Cherokee Middle School Principle – and recent Secondary Principal of the Year award winner

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

“Expert” idiocy on teaching kids to read

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

“anti-meritocratic, oriented away from standardized tests, gifted and talented programs and test-in elite schools”

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”

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.

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.

Commentary on Madison’s behavior education plan

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

Taxpayer supported Wisconsin DPI and free speech

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

New ‘discoveries’ of the harm caused by school closures are as disingenuous and politically motivated as the original policies themselves

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

“no significant relationship between mask mandates and case rates”

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”

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

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”

“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”

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”

“Essentially, that meant kids were not being taught to read at all”

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”

Parental Rights vs Taxpayer Supported Organs

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

K-12 tax & spending climate: Madison spending growth amidst declining enrollment

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

“The fact that she was disconnected from that research is evidence of the problem.” Madison….

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….

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.

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.

Advocating transparency in the origins of COVID 19

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

The excellence gap and underrepresentation at America’s most selective universities

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

Race and the Taxpayer Funded Madison School District

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

$pending more for less: K-12 budgets grow amidst declining enrollment

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

“Low state capacity”: spending more for less

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

Spending more on facilities amidst enrollment decline and long term, disastrous reading results

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

Restoring pandemic losses will require major changes in schools and classrooms, superintendents say

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

“We found that districts that spent more weeks in remote instruction lost more ground than districts that returned to in-person instruction sooner,”

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,”

‘The Vindication of The Great Barrington Three’ Panel Transcript: LLS London Meeting Feb 2022

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

Howard Fuller on the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce k-12 diversity

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

Public health has fragmented trust: The problem is not rogue online misinformation; it is errors from CDC, NIAID, and the White House

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

“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”

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”

“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.”

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.”

Commentary on the 2022 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Candidates, K-12 Education and prospects

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

Declining student count vs Growing $pending

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

“At least 2.4 million students in the United States have participated in Reading Recovery”. Madison?

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?

Mandates and closed schools: yet another experiment on our children

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

Notes on renaming Madison’s Jefferson Middle School amidst our long term, disastrous reading results

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

“First, many states began to emphasize school accountability starting in the 1990s”

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”

The Countless Failures of Big Bureaucracy

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

The price of lockdown mandates: “The value to in-person learning was larger for districts with larger populations of Black students”

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”

Taxpayer Supported Madison School District plans to spend $543M+ during 2022-2023; about $21k/student

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

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 system spends $5.6M on literacy curriculum

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

Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s “asynchronous learning” scheme

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

Notes on politics and the achievement gap

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

Madison’s literacy disaster, continued: reading recovery’s negative impact on children

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