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.

Covid data on open vs closed K-12 schools

Key finding: “aggregate COVID-19 incidence among general population in counties where K–12 schools offer in-person education (401.2 per 100,000) was similar to that in counties offering only virtual/online ed (418.2 per 100,000).” Cc: @DeAngelisCorey https://t.co/q2cGnLorCV — Lindsey Burke (@lindseymburke) January 14, 2021 Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes … Continue reading Covid data on open vs closed K-12 schools

The Rise and Fall of Facts

Colin Dickey: In his 1964 Harper’s Magazine article on fact-checking, “There Are 00 Trees in Russia,” Otto Friedrich related the story of an unnamed magazine correspondent who had been assigned a profile of Egyptian president Mohamed Naguib. As was custom, he wrote his story leaving out the “zips”—facts to be filled in later—including noting that … Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Facts

CDC study finds COVID-19 outbreaks aren’t fueled by in-person classes

Jessie Hellmann: A new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that in-person classes at K-12 schools do not appear to lead to increases in COVID-19 when compared with areas that have online-only learning. The CDC study noted that in the week beginning Dec. 6, coronavirus cases among the general population … Continue reading CDC study finds COVID-19 outbreaks aren’t fueled by in-person classes

“The choice is ours”: Panel discusses COVID-19 and schools

Scott Girard: Most children are better-served by in-person education, Navsaria said, with benefits coming from “just being around other people,” but there is a “balance” to strike with the health of the community. Pointing to guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, Navsaria said it’s good to operate with a goal of being in-person, but … Continue reading “The choice is ours”: Panel discusses COVID-19 and schools

Survey: UW-Madison undergrads favor government limits on offensive and ‘hate’ speech

Chris Rickert: “Overall the responses (the survey) elicits do indeed raise genuine concerns that are consistent with the rise of cancel culture in America and higher education more generally,” said UW-Madison political science professor emeritus Donald Downs, who was not involved in the survey. Matthew Mitnick, chair of UW-Madison student government, Associated Students of Madison, … Continue reading Survey: UW-Madison undergrads favor government limits on offensive and ‘hate’ speech

Commentary on The Wisconsin DPI candidate Nomination Process

Elizabeth Beyer: “I think it is becoming a little too precise to say that adding one title in an otherwise completely perfect document should be sufficient to overcome the nomination,” she said. Hendricks-Williams has worked in Gov. Tony Evers’ Milwaukee office and as an assistant director of teacher education at the state Department of Public … Continue reading Commentary on The Wisconsin DPI candidate Nomination Process

When the Great Equalizer Shuts Down: Schools, Peers, and Parents in Pandemic Times

Francesco Agostinelli: What are the effects of school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic on children’s education? Online education is an imperfect substitute for in-person learning, particularly for children from low-income families. Peer effects also change: schools allow children from different socio-economic backgrounds to mix together, and this effect is lost when schools are closed. Another … Continue reading When the Great Equalizer Shuts Down: Schools, Peers, and Parents in Pandemic Times

Mary Ann Nicholson K-12 School Positions

Mary Ann Nicholson is running for Dane County Executive. She recently published her K-12 positions: Further, my heart goes out to students and parents/guardians throughout Dane County this week. From those in MMSD learning they won’t have the option of going back in-person for third quarter to those receiving news from medical advisory task forces/School … Continue reading Mary Ann Nicholson K-12 School Positions

Commentary on Madison’s Closed K-12 Schools

Elizabeth Beyer: A number of the staff respondents expressed concerns for their safety in regard to class size, ventilation and PPE, lack of district evidence that a safe return is plausible, the high number of COVID-19 cases in Dane County and a lack of detailed policies and procedures for returning. “Our numbers in Dane County … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s Closed K-12 Schools

Thompson Center calls UW student’s free speech attitudes ‘troubling’

Yvonne Kim: The nonpartisan Thompson Center published a report Thursday characterizing University of Wisconsin-Madison students’ views on free speech as “troubling” and recommended increased First Amendment education on college campuses. The Thompson Center, named after former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson, and the UW Survey Center surveyed 530 undergraduate students, primarily between the ages of 18 … Continue reading Thompson Center calls UW student’s free speech attitudes ‘troubling’

Madison’s well funded K-12 schools remain closed; online only

Not a surprise, but the Facebook comments on @MMSDschools‘ post about the decision to remain virtual are hotly divided between people supporting the decision and others saying the decision is a failure: https://t.co/MnD2Q3W3qj — Scott Girard (@sgirard9) January 8, 2021 Commentary one and two. Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as … Continue reading Madison’s well funded K-12 schools remain closed; online only

Doctors’ group says open schools, with proper COVID-19 measures

UPI: A prominent U.S. doctors’ group reaffirmed its recommendation this week that having kids physically in school should be the goal, while also outlining safety protocols needed to allow schools to be open. In its COVID-19 guidance for safe schools, the American Academy of Pediatrics listed measures communities need to address. These include controlling the … Continue reading Doctors’ group says open schools, with proper COVID-19 measures

Wisconsin schools saved money by closing, unclear where savings went

Benjamin Yount: Wisconsin schools saved about $40 million by not being open last spring, but a new report says no one is sure where the money went.  The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty looked at the data included in the coronavirus report issued by the state’s Department of Public Instruction last month.  “The report … Continue reading Wisconsin schools saved money by closing, unclear where savings went

Charter schools deliver extraordinary results, but their political support among Democrats has collapsed. What will Biden do?

Jonathan Chait: In the dozen years since Barack Obama undertook the most dramatic education reform in half a century — prodding local governments to measure how they serve their poorest students and to create alternatives, especially charter schools, for those who lack decent neighborhood options — two unexpected things have happened. The first is that … Continue reading Charter schools deliver extraordinary results, but their political support among Democrats has collapsed. What will Biden do?

40% of Chicago teachers and staff didn’t report to schools as ordered, district says

Nader Issa and Stefano Esposito: About 40% of Chicago Public Schools teachers and staff who were expected to report to schools Monday for the first time during the pandemic didn’t show up for in-person work, officials said Tuesday, accusing the Chicago Teachers Union of pressuring its members to defy the district’s orders. In all, about … Continue reading 40% of Chicago teachers and staff didn’t report to schools as ordered, district says

‘Bizarre, disorganized’: Wisconsin behind most of Midwest on COVID-19 vaccinations; some health care workers say they’re in the dark

Molly Beck, Mary Spicuzza and Bob Dohr: Wisconsin lags nearly all of its Midwest counterparts in getting its health care workers and first responders vaccinated against COVID-19 and has received fewer doses than other states of its size.  The state is 10th lowest out of 12 states in the Midwest in getting a first dose of the vaccine … Continue reading ‘Bizarre, disorganized’: Wisconsin behind most of Midwest on COVID-19 vaccinations; some health care workers say they’re in the dark

How D.C. and its teachers, with shifting plans and demands, failed to reopen schools

Perry Stein and Laura Meckler: Hours before the mayor was to make an announcement, she said she needed more time. The city spent the next five months trying to bring students and teachers back to classrooms. A combination of mismanagement by the mayor and her aides and intransigence from the District’s teachers union combined to … Continue reading How D.C. and its teachers, with shifting plans and demands, failed to reopen schools

Commentary on Teacher Unions vs Students/Parents

Deanna Fisher: In the battle of local juridictions versus teachers’ unions over school reopening, the unions are glorying in their upper hand while the students sit at home. After years and years of catering to the teachers’ unions, the bureaucracy that is purportedly in charge lacks the spine to force the issue. The teachers’ union, … Continue reading Commentary on Teacher Unions vs Students/Parents

Closer look at fall enrollment shows decrease in public schools, increase in charter schools

Matthew Cash: A recent study completed by Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty shows school districts across the state saw a dramatic decline in fall enrollment as educators navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Fall enrollment numbers collected in October shows districts saw an average of 2.67% decline in enrollment. For districts that started the school year … Continue reading Closer look at fall enrollment shows decrease in public schools, increase in charter schools

Looking Back On A Year Of Mass Homeschooling

Kerry McDonald: In March, I published an article here about the world’s homeschooling moment, noting that hundreds of millions of students worldwide were suddenly displaced from their classrooms and learning at home due to the Covid-19 response. At its peak, that number reached nearly 1.3 billion children learning at home, with varying degrees of remote … Continue reading Looking Back On A Year Of Mass Homeschooling

Chicago Teachers Union board member facing criticism for vacationing in Caribbean while pushing remote learning

Ben Bradley: A Chicago Teachers Union leader is facing criticism for vacationing in the Caribbean while at the same time claiming it’s unsafe for teachers to return to the classroom. Sarah Chambers is on the union’s executive board and is an area vice president. As recently as Thursday, she tweeted to rally special education teachers not … Continue reading Chicago Teachers Union board member facing criticism for vacationing in Caribbean while pushing remote learning

Madison Teachers Union opposes return to classroom; district says little about child care program

Chris Rickert: Public Health in August issued an order barring schools in Dane County from holding in-person classes for all but grades kindergarten through second grade, but the Supreme Court blocked it from taking effect and many private and religious schools in the county have been open to in-person learning since the start of the … Continue reading Madison Teachers Union opposes return to classroom; district says little about child care program

2020: the year the elites failed upwards

Jacob Siegel: For a year filled with fear and uncertainty, as plague collided with the final eruptions of the Trump era, the political lessons of 2020 are uncannily clear. Elite institutional authority is everywhere collapsing in a bonfire of self-immolation even as elite institutions become ever more powerful. What ties the impeachment drama that began … Continue reading 2020: the year the elites failed upwards

Executive Order on Expanding Educational Opportunity Through School Choice

Whitehouse.gov The prolonged deprivation of in-person learning opportunities has produced undeniably dire consequences for the children of this country.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that school attendance is negatively correlated with a child’s risk of depression and various types of abuse.  States have seen substantial declines in reports of child maltreatment … Continue reading Executive Order on Expanding Educational Opportunity Through School Choice

Public health bodies may be talking at us, but they’re actually talking to each other

Megan McArdle: If you watch the YouTube video of the now-infamous November meeting of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, you’ll hear Chairman José Romero thank everyone for a “robust discussion.” Shortly thereafter, the committee unanimously agreed that essential workers should get vaccinated ahead of the elderly, even though they’d been told this would … Continue reading Public health bodies may be talking at us, but they’re actually talking to each other

Twin Cities schools glad to reopen, but small towns bristle at rules

Josh Verges: New state guidance that will enable Minnesota’s youngest learners to head back to school next month is getting cheers from urban districts, jeers from rural schools and a mixed response from teachers. Within hours of Gov. Tim Walz’s announcement Wednesday that elementary schools soon can operate at full capacity, even as coronavirus case … Continue reading Twin Cities schools glad to reopen, but small towns bristle at rules

Closing classrooms may cost school districts thousands of students for years to come

Will Flanders & Ben DeGrow: In the spring, many families were willing to give schools the benefit of the doubt as they adjusted to distance-learning programs, but it looks like time has run out on that goodwill. Part of the frustration is tied to students’ learning losses in key subjects such as math. Even more significant, … Continue reading Closing classrooms may cost school districts thousands of students for years to come

It’s hard to see how Milwaukee Public Schools benefits from hostility toward its own charter schools

Alan Borsuk: As a second, less tangible factor, some of the charter schools get very good academic results. For example, Milwaukee Excellence Charter School, one of the schools receiving a reduced renewal Dec. 17, had the highest score of any Milwaukee school on the statewide school report card in 2018. In 2019, it had the second highest score in MPS. (This year, there were no report … Continue reading It’s hard to see how Milwaukee Public Schools benefits from hostility toward its own charter schools

Schools Rethink Covid Rules. ‘We’re Over-Quarantining Kids Like Crazy.’

Robbie Whelan: Superintendent Jonathan Cooper this summer helped write a fall reopening plan for his southwestern Ohio school district with a rule based on the state’s policy: Any student potentially exposed to Covid-19 in Mason City Schools had to quarantine for two weeks, no exceptions. This fall, he began rethinking it. A growing body of … Continue reading Schools Rethink Covid Rules. ‘We’re Over-Quarantining Kids Like Crazy.’

Two Madison Parents: Why reopen MMSD schools now, and at what cost?

Sarah & Ben Jedd: On March 15, when the Madison Metropolitan School District shuttered buildings and sent students home, Dane County had eight cases of COVID-19. On Dec. 17, when MMSD superintendent Carlton Jenkins hosted a forum via Zoom to discuss reopening our schools, the county had over 3,000 positive cases this month alone. Nevertheless, … Continue reading Two Madison Parents: Why reopen MMSD schools now, and at what cost?

Hans Christian Heg kept the joy of Christmas alive

Wisconsin State Journal: If you’re lonely or sad this Christmas because the pandemic has kept you from gathering with loved ones, let Hans Christian Heg cheer you up. Heg was the Wisconsin abolitionist and Civil War hero whose statue was toppled on the state Capitol grounds last June in Madison. Rioters didn’t seem to know … Continue reading Hans Christian Heg kept the joy of Christmas alive

2021 K-12 Adult School Climate….

Wow! NPR tonight. Teachers justifying why it’s better for schools to be closed. “Kids are resilient. Parents tell me their kids are falling behind but they have to understand they are falling behind in arbitrary developmental goals we’ve set”. 🤔 — Victoria Fox (@drvictoriafox) December 23, 2020 Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public … Continue reading 2021 K-12 Adult School Climate….

Affluent Families Ditch Public Schools, Widening U.S. Inequality

Nic Querolo and Leslie Patton: One is thriving after switching from online public school to in-person private education. The other is struggling, stuck in her virtual classroom. The lives of these two girls, Ella Pierick and Afiya Harris, encapsulate the growing divide in U.S. education as more affluent parents flee public schools. In Connecticut, enrollment fell 3%. Colorado reported … Continue reading Affluent Families Ditch Public Schools, Widening U.S. Inequality

Middleton-Cross Plains School Board votes to return grades K-4 to in-person classes with blended model

Elizabeth Beyer: The Middleton-Cross Plains School Board voted unanimously Monday to return grades K-4 to in-person instruction with a blended learning model in February. The board will revisit a vote to bring back students in older grades during their Feb. 8 meeting after they’ve had the opportunity to observe virus mitigation measures in school buildings. … Continue reading Middleton-Cross Plains School Board votes to return grades K-4 to in-person classes with blended model

Middleton, Verona parents plan Monday protests in favor of in-person learning

Stephen Cohn: Parents at Verona High School and in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District are planning separate protests Monday in favor of returning to in-person learning next semester. A peaceful protest to reopen schools for in-person learning has been scheduled by the Bring Kids Back Verona Area Schools Facebook page. Organizers said they plan … Continue reading Middleton, Verona parents plan Monday protests in favor of in-person learning

School Choice Talent Show

Don’t miss @NBFCorp, @HFSCWisconsin, @SchoolChoiceWI, @SchoolChoiceNow, @WILawLiberty‘s School Choice Talent Show! Help us celebrate 2021’s National School Choice Week by joining our talent show contest. Submit before the end of the year. Learn more here: https://t.co/KTyhbNodHr pic.twitter.com/WBlMRXBewq — No Better Friend Corp. (@NBFCorp) December 17, 2020 Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to … Continue reading School Choice Talent Show

Direct Instruction may not be rocket science but it is effective

Kevin Donnelly: Teachers should be teachers, not facilitators, when it comes to educating schoolchildren. NOEL Pearson may not be an educationalist by training but when it comes to his advocacy of Direct Instruction and knowledge about what best works in the classroom, he outshines most academics in teacher training institutes and universities. Since the late … Continue reading Direct Instruction may not be rocket science but it is effective

California teachers unions mobilize against Democratic school reopening bill

Mackenzie Mays: California teachers unions are demanding that the Legislature maintain pandemic restrictions on school reopenings and have begun mobilizing against a Democratic bill introduced last week that could force schools to reopen in March. In separate letters to legislative leaders, the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers urge lawmakers to avoid … Continue reading California teachers unions mobilize against Democratic school reopening bill

State superintendent agrees students are being “robbed” of their education; lawmakers can help by providing every student $3,000 in direct assistance

Liv Finne: As reported in The Seattle Times, State Superintendent Reykdal said Washington’s children are receiving a “sh-tty” education right now. This highest education official in Washington state is openly acknowledging that kids are feeling “robbed” of the education we have promised them. The legislature needs to step in and help families with direct educational assistance. … Continue reading State superintendent agrees students are being “robbed” of their education; lawmakers can help by providing every student $3,000 in direct assistance

School Choice: Better Than Prozac

Wall Street Journal: Teachers unions have pushed to shut down schools during the pandemic no matter the clear harm to children, just as they oppose charters and vouchers. Now comes a timely study suggesting school choice improves student mental health. Several studies have found that school choice reduces arrests and that private-school students experience less … Continue reading School Choice: Better Than Prozac

Commentary on Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: “Madison’s status quo tends to be very entrenched.”

Scott Girard: “The problem was we could not get the teachers to commit to the coaching.” Since their small success, not much has changed in the district’s overall results for teaching young students how to read. Ladson-Billings called the ongoing struggles “frustrating,” citing an inability to distinguish between what’s important and what’s a priority in … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: “Madison’s status quo tends to be very entrenched.”

Study finds Wisconsin school districts that went virtual saw larger enrollment drop

Scott Girard: The biggest exception to the enrollment decline in the public school sector were districts with an established virtual charter school option, the study found. Those districts saw an enrollment increase of approximately 4.5%, the study found. “Districts that have these schools that have some experience with conducting virtual education was appealing to some … Continue reading Study finds Wisconsin school districts that went virtual saw larger enrollment drop

Chicago Schools Hiring People to Supervise Kids in Class While Teachers Work Remotely

Nader Issa: Half of the jobs, which pay $15 an hour, include supervising students in classrooms where teachers are remote, monitoring social distancing and masking and conducting health screenings. Chicago Public Schools is looking to hire 2,000 new employees to take on pandemic-related duties and fill in gaps in staffing once schools return in-person in … Continue reading Chicago Schools Hiring People to Supervise Kids in Class While Teachers Work Remotely

A Task force on Madison’s Long term, Disastrous Reading Results

.@MMSDschools and @UWMadEducation announce a 14-member early literacy task force focused on analyzing approaches to teaching reading “toward the goals of improving reading outcomes and reducing achievement gaps.” More details at a 1 p.m. press availability. Members: pic.twitter.com/mPDoVmDrTF — Scott Girard (@sgirard9) December 14, 2020 Yet, deja vu all around Madison’s long term, disastrous reading … Continue reading A Task force on Madison’s Long term, Disastrous Reading Results

Americans’ Mental Health Ratings Sink to New Low

Megan Brenan: • 34% say their mental health is excellent, down from 43% in 2019 • Democrats, frequent churchgoers show least mental health change • Reports of physical health stable, slightly more positive than mental health Americans’ latest assessment of their mental health is worse than it has been at any point in the last … Continue reading Americans’ Mental Health Ratings Sink to New Low

Commentary on the Closed Taxpayer Supported Madison K-12 Schools

Bill Minser, Regis Miller and more: I found last Sunday’s State Journal editorial, “Fauci sends a message to schools,” disingenuous and dangerous. Schools should have opened in September. Commentary. 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 … Continue reading Commentary on the Closed Taxpayer Supported Madison K-12 Schools

National Teachers Union Chief Says She Didn’t Mean to Call Kids “Chronically Tarded” and “Medically Annoying”

Laura Moser: So begins this apology from Lily Eskelsen García—the president of the National Education Association—for remarks that outraged disabilities advocates and special-needs parents. In a lively speech at a Campaign for America’s Future gala in October, where she was accepting a Progressive Champion Award (just wait, because that detail is about to seem funny), Eskelsen García … Continue reading National Teachers Union Chief Says She Didn’t Mean to Call Kids “Chronically Tarded” and “Medically Annoying”

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 system releases “metrics” for reopening, new website detailing process

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District launched a website Wednesday to keep families updated on reopening plans as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, including metrics that will be used to determine if and when schools will open for in-person instruction. MMSD is expected to announce its plan for the third quarter, which begins Jan. 25, by Jan. … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 system releases “metrics” for reopening, new website detailing process

Madison Schools Announce Plans to Embrace the Science of Reading

Joseph Da Costa: Madison school officials plan significant changes in reading and literacy instruction. District administrators presented the proposed changes to school board members at a recent Board of Education meeting and signaled a shift toward phonics and the science of reading. MMSD’s Chief of Elementary Schools, Carletta Stanford, acknowledged, “We know that what we’ve … Continue reading Madison Schools Announce Plans to Embrace the Science of Reading

Virginia schools plan gradual reopening as evidence of online learning gap piles up

Hannah Natanson: More evidence emerged this week that online school is taking its worst academic toll on Virginia’s most vulnerable students, as superintendents in the state — facing mounting pressure to reopen schools — took tentative steps toward in-person instruction. Loudoun County Public Schools went the furthest, welcoming back more than 7,300 elementary school students this … Continue reading Virginia schools plan gradual reopening as evidence of online learning gap piles up

Michigan Catholic high schools sue state over in-person learning ban

John Wisely: Three Catholic high schools are suing the state in federal court, saying Michigan’s most recent order banning in-person learning violates their First Amendment right to practice their faith. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director Robert Gordon on Monday extended by 12 days a previous order banning in-person learning at high schools, colleges … Continue reading Michigan Catholic high schools sue state over in-person learning ban

Wisconsin Parents Sue City For Closing Down Schools

Hank Berrien: A group of Wisconsin parents, along with School Choice Wisconsin, is suing the city of Racine after the city closed its schools, defying a Wisconsin Supreme Court restraining order preventing the city from closing the schools. The sequence of events preceding the lawsuit included Dottie-Kay Bowersox, the City of Racine Public Health Administrator, … Continue reading Wisconsin Parents Sue City For Closing Down Schools

The Bias Fallacy: It’s the achievement gap, not systemic racism, that explains demographic disparities in education and employment.

Heather MacDonald: The United States is being torn apart by an idea: that racism defines America. The death of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer in late May 2020 catapulted this claim into national prominence; riots and the desecration of national symbols followed. Now, activists and their media allies are marshaling … Continue reading The Bias Fallacy: It’s the achievement gap, not systemic racism, that explains demographic disparities in education and employment.

Dr. Anthony Fauci sends a message to Wisconsin school governance

Wisconsin State Journal: The nation’s top infectious disease expert just urged schools to reopen. We hope school officials in Madison and across Wisconsin were listening — those who have kept most of their students at home for online learning during the pandemic. School officials should be ready to open for the second semester in late … Continue reading Dr. Anthony Fauci sends a message to Wisconsin school governance

Chicago Teachers Union: ‘The Push To Reopen Schools Is Rooted in Sexism, Racism, and Misogyny’

Robby Soave: The Chicago Teachers Union, which represents more than 28,000 educators in the nation’s third largest city, tweeted on Sunday: “The push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny.” That was the entire tweet; the union provided no additional comment or clarifying statement. There was no acknowledgment that many people who … Continue reading Chicago Teachers Union: ‘The Push To Reopen Schools Is Rooted in Sexism, Racism, and Misogyny’

Civics: The Biden-led political restoration is an elite project. It offers nothing to the working class.

Joel Kotkin: Yet the era of global kumbaya, ended by Trump, is not likely to return. It has become painfully obvious that ‘free trade’, as carried out by our own companies, benefited the already affluent at the expense of most people. As the liberal New Statesman has put it succinctly, ‘the era of peak globalisation … Continue reading Civics: The Biden-led political restoration is an elite project. It offers nothing to the working class.

MTI head says district ‘interfered with the union’ in wage negotiation, files complaint

Scott Girard: Madison Teachers Inc. filed its second grievance against the Madison Metropolitan School District this year on Wednesday. The complaint filed with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) comes after the district sent out a Nov. 30 communication stating “the MMSD Board of Education, MTI and the trades have ratified the agreement to increase … Continue reading MTI head says district ‘interfered with the union’ in wage negotiation, files complaint

Madison mulls safety plans for police-free schools, including student-led oversight panel

Elizabeth Beyer: Under Freedom Inc.’s proposal the committee would have complete decision-making power over school safety and accountability policies within the district; oversee all district investigations of student, parent or family member complaints against school staff; and establish a process to protect students against retaliation after filing a complaint, among other measures. Freedom Inc. is … Continue reading Madison mulls safety plans for police-free schools, including student-led oversight panel

The Tragedy of Black Education Is New

Walter Williams: Several years ago, Project Baltimore began an investigation of Baltimore’s school system. What it found was an utter disgrace. In 19 of Baltimore’s 39 high schools, out of 3,804 students, only 14 of them, or less than 1%, were proficient in math. In 13 of Baltimore’s high schools, not a single student scored proficient in math. In … Continue reading The Tragedy of Black Education Is New

School chaos is why you should teach your kids the truth about politicians

Karol Markowicz: “Why is my school closed, Mommy?” asks the sweet fictional child who has stopped going to school for no apparent reason. “I haaaaaaaaate Zoom,” screams the real child rolling on the floor, while his teacher repeatedly asks little Sally to mute herself and little Billy to put his shirt back on. In-person school … Continue reading School chaos is why you should teach your kids the truth about politicians

How DeVos May Have Started a Counterrevolution in Education

Jack Schneider and Jennifer C. Berkshire: Together, led by federal policy elites, Republicans and Democrats espoused the logic of markets in the public sphere, expanding school choice through publicly funded charter schools. Competition, both sides agreed, would strengthen schools. And the introduction of charters, this contingent believed, would empower parents as consumers by even further … Continue reading How DeVos May Have Started a Counterrevolution in Education

The reading wars are over – and phonics has won

Sarah Mitchell: Of all the debates in education, none are quite as absurd as the reading wars. On the one hand there are those who advocate for a phonics-based approach to reading instruction in the early years – making sure children understand sound-letter relationships so they can read words accurately without guessing from the context … Continue reading The reading wars are over – and phonics has won

Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes Will Not Seek Re-election

Gloria Reyes: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 1, 2020 Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes Will Not Seek Re-election Statement by Gloria Reyes I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election to the Madison School Board. This has been a difficult decision. I’ve made it after much consideration, consultation with my family, and as … Continue reading Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes Will Not Seek Re-election

Federal Data Reveals No Relationship Between Spending and Academic Outcomes in Wisconsin Schools

Will Flanders: Flying under the radar amidst the continuing pandemic is the news that the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) finally released school-level spending data for Wisconsin’s public schools. Required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), DPI appears to have dragged its feet as long as possible before providing this information to families … Continue reading Federal Data Reveals No Relationship Between Spending and Academic Outcomes in Wisconsin Schools

Racine still enforcing school closures under Safer Racine ordinance, despite Supreme Court pausing similar order

Adam Rogan: The City of Racine is still banning schools from having students and teachers in their buildings within city limits through Jan. 15, despite a Wisconsin Supreme Court decision last week that put the local order closing schools on pause. The legal reason the city is citing for continuing to enforce school closures is … Continue reading Racine still enforcing school closures under Safer Racine ordinance, despite Supreme Court pausing similar order

195 Million Chinese Students Are In School. Why Aren’t Our Kids?

Evita Duffy: Right now in China, 195 million students K-12 are learning in-person in Chinese public schools. Meanwhile, millions of American public school students are learning in a failed remote system that can’t even keep track of thousands of students who haven’t shown up for class all year.   In 2018, 15-year-olds in dozens of countries … Continue reading 195 Million Chinese Students Are In School. Why Aren’t Our Kids?

K-12 Governance Rhetoric & Reality

A 0.28% covid positive test rate in New York City schools during the last six weeks—a 𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘩 of the 3% rate in the city in general. It would’ve been so reasonable and right (and politically painless!) for ⁦@NYCMayor⁩ to keep the schools open. Crazy. pic.twitter.com/MXGsvQzSCI — Kurt Andersen (@KBAndersen) November 29, 2020 Related: Catholic schools will … Continue reading K-12 Governance Rhetoric & Reality

Estimation of US Children’s Educational Attainment and Years of Life Lost Associated With Primary School Closures During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, Wil Van Cleve, MD, MPH2; Frederick J. Zimmerman, PhD3: Question  Based on the current understanding of the associations between school disruption and decreased educational attainment and between decreased educational attainment and lower life expectancy, is it possible to estimate the association between school closure during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and decreased life expectancy of publicly … Continue reading Estimation of US Children’s Educational Attainment and Years of Life Lost Associated With Primary School Closures During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

One of the most powerful ways to close the racial gap in academic performance: Black boys need to see more Black men reading

James E. Causey: He read in the hallway. Over his lunch hour. After school. He did it first as assistant principal at John Early Magnet School and then in the same role at East Nashville Magnet High School. Curious, students would approach him. “What are you reading?” they’d ask. “Must be a good book.” Pratt … Continue reading One of the most powerful ways to close the racial gap in academic performance: Black boys need to see more Black men reading

Failing grades spike in Virginia’s largest school system as online learning gap emerges nationwide

Hannah Natanson: A report on student grades from one of the nation’s largest school districts offers some of the first concrete evidence that online learning is forcing a striking drop in students’ academic performance, and that the most vulnerable students — children with disabilities and English-language learners — are suffering the most. Fairfax County Public … Continue reading Failing grades spike in Virginia’s largest school system as online learning gap emerges nationwide

Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19, by Age and Race and Ethnicity

CDC.gov: What is already known about this topic? As of October 15, 216,025 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported in the United States; however, this might underestimate the total impact of the pandemic on mortality. What is added by this report? Overall, an estimated 299,028 excess deaths occurred from late January through October 3, 2020, … Continue reading Excess Deaths Associated with COVID-19, by Age and Race and Ethnicity

‘I’ll leave the city for my kids to get educated’

Joanne Jacobs: Several parents noted that many private schools are teaching in person. City-funded preschool programs are operating if they’re in private schools, but closed if they’re in district buildings. If the chaos and incompetence drives middle-class families out of the city or into private schools and students who remain have learned little but knock-knock … Continue reading ‘I’ll leave the city for my kids to get educated’

Wisconsin high court must rule on Racine’s power overreach

Racine Journal Times: It’s one thing when an individual school district, such as Racine or Kenosha Unified, decide that they are going to go virtual. It’s another thing for the Racine health department to step in and rule that all schools, including private schools, in its jurisdiction must also shut their doors. Yet that is … Continue reading Wisconsin high court must rule on Racine’s power overreach

Madison Schools’ Safety and Security Ad Hoc Committee November Meeting Documents

Administration slides: 1) Call to order 2) Approval of minutes dated Nov. 5, 2020 3) Review Charge Statement/Purpose & Timeline 4) Update of responses to questions & comments 5) What we heard from last meeting? a) Successful Implementation of RJ Practices & MMSD- Critical Response Teams 6) Partnering with Law Enforcement- Flow and Guidance 7) … Continue reading Madison Schools’ Safety and Security Ad Hoc Committee November Meeting Documents

‘Mr Biden, the COVID task force said it’s safe for children to be back in class,’

“An emphasis on adult employment” Asked Biden if he will encourage teacher unions to cooperate to get kids back in school because the COVID task force said it is safe to be in the classroom. He didn’t answer. “Why are you the only guy that always shouts out questions?” he said. pic.twitter.com/x2DsG5Fmgo — Bo Erickson … Continue reading ‘Mr Biden, the COVID task force said it’s safe for children to be back in class,’

Charter-school networks are outperforming traditional public schools

The Economist: NEW YORK CITY’S schools may be closing, but the pupils at Success Academies, a network of charter schools which has placed all of its 20,000 pupils in remote learning, will still be wearing their uniform (vivid, pumpkin-orange shirts with navy trousers) every day of the week. Unlike traditional public schools in the city, … Continue reading Charter-school networks are outperforming traditional public schools

Parents Are Watching Like Never Before. ‘Trust Us’ Isn’t Enough

Sonja Brookins Santelises: Since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered schools across the country, district leaders and educators have worked to navigate the challenges of this “new normal” in education. And nowhere have the challenges been steeper than in districts like the one I lead in Baltimore. Like other districts already battling historic and systematic … Continue reading Parents Are Watching Like Never Before. ‘Trust Us’ Isn’t Enough

The kids aren’t alright: How Generation Covid is losing out

Federica Cocco: When Mary Finnegan, 27, and her sister Meg, 22, left their Brooklyn apartment to return to their parents’ home in March, they took enough clothes to last two weeks. Their stay stretched into months. “It was like a return to homeschooling: no boys, no play dates, nowhere to go, except home and the … Continue reading The kids aren’t alright: How Generation Covid is losing out

“Try as best as possible to keep the schools open…”

From Dr. Anthony Fauci today: “Try as best as possible to keep the schools open…” @GovInslee #waleg @lauriejinkins2 https://t.co/zUmp12Cww3 — Beth Sigall (@btsigall) November 17, 2020 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 … Continue reading “Try as best as possible to keep the schools open…”

“Schools Should Be the Last Things We Close, Not the First/Why do we keep asking children to bear the brunt of a lockdown?”

Aaron Carroll: Cases have definitely been more common in school-age children this fall. But when schools do the right things, those infections are not transmitted in the classroom. They’re occurring, for the most part, when children go to parties, when they have sleepovers and when they’re playing sports inside and unmasked…. The playbook for keeping … Continue reading “Schools Should Be the Last Things We Close, Not the First/Why do we keep asking children to bear the brunt of a lockdown?”

Projecting the Potential Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on Academic Achievement

Megan Kuhfeld: As the COVID-19 pandemic upended the 2019–2020 school year, education systems scrambled to meet the needs of students and families with little available data on how school closures may impact learning. In this study, we produced a series of projections of COVID-19-related learning loss based on (a) estimates from absenteeism literature and (b) … Continue reading Projecting the Potential Impact of COVID-19 School Closures on Academic Achievement