2019 Madison School Board Election Result Commentary

David Blaska: I met many people throughout the city (and reconnected with sister Jane). Gratified at the many educators, teaching support staff, and mainstream Democrats who said they voted for me. Another shout-out to liberal downtown Madison blogger Greg Humphrey. That took courage. We started a long overdue conversation in this community. That will continue. […]

2019 Madison School Board election Commentary

Seat 3: Caire vs. Carusi Logan Wroge: “There’s no one in the history of Madison schools that has my professional record,” he said. Carusi has reviewed budgets and policies during 12 years of attending School Board meetings and has actively served in parent leadership roles, which puts her in a “unique position of someone who’s […]

2019 Madison School Board Election: Seat 5 Q&A from the WiSJ

Logan Wroge: What is the most pressing issue facing the Madison School District and how would you address it? Mertz: Trust and accountability. Providing our students with the education they deserve requires repairing the collapses of trust within our schools, and between our families and our schools. We need to exercise respect for one another, […]

K-12 Governance Diversity: the 2019 Madison School Board Election, Parental Choice and our long term, disastrous reading results

Chris Rickert: Endorsements in this month’s School Board primary from the influential Madison teachers union include one for a candidate who sends her two children to the kind of charter school strongly opposed by the union. Madison Teachers Inc. this week endorsed Ali Muldrow over David Blaska, Laila Borokhim and Albert Bryan for Seat 4; […]

Madison Teachers Union and the 2019 school board election: Commentary, Spending and Academic Results

Chris Rickert: The questionnaire also includes several questions about teachers’ ability to have a say in their compensation and working conditions, and asks whether the candidates “support the reinstatement of collective bargaining rights for all public employees (currently prohibited by Act 10)?” Act 10 is the controversial 2011 law passed by Republicans that stripped most […]

What to expect from the 2019 Madison School Board

Christina Gomez Schmidt: With the spring election over, what should we as a community now expect of the Madison School Board? Its role is to provide consistent leadership and direction that results in every student receiving the best education possible. Genuine collaboration is needed among these seven people to tackle the complex problems in our […]

2019 Candidate Q&A: Madison School Board, Seat 4

Chris Rickert: What is the most pressing issue facing the Madison School District and how would you address it? Blaska: The overly bureaucratic Behavior Education Plan is both symptom and cause. After four years and $15 million, suspensions have declined 15 percent but “behavior incidents” have nearly doubled and the racial disparity remains unmoved. Worse, […]

Commentary on a 2019 Madison School Board Candidate Forum

David Blaska: The occasion was a school board candidate forum. An organization named GRUMPS sponsored it. It stands for GRandparents United for Madison Public Schools. Its major domos are former school board members Nan Brien, Anne Arnesen, Barbara Arnold, Arlene Silviera, and Carol Carstensen. We also encountered former board guys Bill Keyes, Bill Clingan, and […]

Substitute reading for potholes: local elections

Rod Dreher: Stout-hearted Steve McClellan, running for supervisor of Holmes County, Miss., is my new favorite politician. “Holes in the road!” is 2019’s “the rent is too damn high!” In this update, McClellan, who is now wearing a bandanna over his eyes, condemns the injustice of the New Orleans Saints being robbed of their victory […]

Cris Carusi announces run for Madison School Board 2019

Negassi Tesfamichael: Carusi, who has been a district parent for more than a decade and was an active parent-teacher organization member, will seek to unseat incumbent School Board member Dean Loumos, who currently holds Seat 3. Carusi ran in the 2017 primary for Seat 6, which opened up after current mayoral candidate Michael Flores decided […]

Ananda Mirilli is running for Madison School Board (2019)

Negassi Tesfamichael:
 A second candidate has announced that she will run for a seat on the Madison School Board this spring.
Ananda Mirilli, who first ran for School Board in 2013, filed paperwork with the city clerk’s office Wednesday announcing she will run for Seat 5, which is currently held by TJ Mertz.
Mirilli finished third in […]

FOIA, Blogshine Sunday & Madison School Board Election

Freeculture.org sponsored blogshine Sunday, a day when news organizations run stories and editorials in support of public access to government information. The internet has substantially improved citizen’s ability to see who is funding elected officials directly and indirectly. The Madison City Clerk conveniently posts campaign finance information on their website. I took a quick look […]

Who will teach the parents?

David Blaska: Just catching up with events in the Mad Madison school district, this time at Leopold elementary school. Thanks to Dylan Brogan of Isthmus, one of the finest reporters in town, we learn only this week of an incident four weeks ago, well before the Spring school board election. Children lie about what happened […]

Civics: Donald Trump’s rhetoric is breathtakingly authoritarian, but so far he’s done less than his predecessors to expand executive power.

Gene Healy: Standing on the Shoulders of Tyrants Donald Trump’s rhetoric is breathtakingly authoritarian, but so far he’s done less than his predecessors to expand executive power. Gene Healy from the May 2019 issue – view article in the Digital Edition “I have the absolute right to PARDON myself,” President Donald Trump announced via Twitter […]

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Politics, Deficits and Money Printing

Larry Summers: There is widespread frustration with the performance of the economy. Traditional policy approaches are not delivering hoped-for results. A relatively unpopular president is loathed to an unusual extent by a frustrated opposition party that lost the previous presidential election while running a pillar of its establishment. And altered economic conditions have led to […]

Madison school board’s chickens are roosting

David Blaska: Tony Gallli, dean of the Madison’s broadcast journalists at WKOW-TV27, asked our favorite candidate for Madison School Board Seat #4: Any concerns over using a live feed into the MMSD auditorium Monday evening to satisfy the Open Meetings requirement, as the school board met in a room closed to the public? Blaska answered: […]

Wisconsin Governor Evers seeks to freeze voucher school enrollment and suspend charter school expansion

Molly Beck: He said in the Milwaukee program especially, enrollment freezes in private voucher schools would disproportionately affect children of color living in low-income households. “Most of our families don’t have the kind of income where they would have realistic choices,” he said at the time. Under Evers’ proposal, voucher schools also would be banned […]

What is the role of the school board?

Donna Vukelich-Selva, via a kind email: So, back to Madison. What is the role of the school board? What should it be? School board members must have a vision, a critical eye and a willingness to question the status quo. While some may call this “adversarial” (the same perspective that scolds an Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and […]

Civics: You Can’t Be A Good Judge If You’re A Christian

Joy Pullman: With six weeks left until election day in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race, several far-left organizations are using media outlets to amplify a smear campaign against a judge based on his Christianity. Brian Hagedorn, a current Wisconsin Court of Appeals judge and former Scott Walker legal counsel, is being publicly trashed for being on […]

Madison School Board Forum Seat #5

Simpson Street Free Press: Simpson Street Free Press hosted an MMSD School Board Forum for Seat #5 on Feb. 16, 2019. Candidates fielded questions from MMSD students and parents. Voting for the primary races is on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. You can find out where your voting poll is by visiting https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/FindMyPol…. Thank you to […]

India Proposes Chinese-Style Internet Censorship

Vindu Goel: India’s government has proposed giving itself vast new powers to suppress internet content, igniting a heated battle with global technology giants and prompting comparisons to censorship in China. Under the proposed rules, Indian officials could demand that Facebook, Google, Twitter, TikTok and others remove posts or videos that they deem libelous, invasive of […]

Commentary and Data on Madison’s High School Graduation Data

Simpson Street Free Press: Today, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released high school graduation data for the 2017-2018 academic year. Madison Metropolitan School District’s 4-year grad rates declined for both black and white students — to 65.6% and 87.8%, respectively. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, district officials “are pleased with the trajectory of […]

Madison’s current public school system is broken

Amos Roe, 2019 Madison School Board Candidate: I have been teaching children ages 7-18 for about 35 years. Based on this experience, I think that the MMSD has lost its mind. MMSD currently promotes an aggressive victimization mentality toward children of color. I think this serves as cover for its institutional hostility to opening up […]

Meet the ‘crazy’ moms saying one of Pa.’s top-rated school districts can’t teach reading

Avi Wolfman-Arent: The small parent rebellion forming in one of Pennsylvania’s wealthiest school districts began at a Starbucks in suburban Chester County. Over coffee, three moms — Kate Mayer, Jamie Lynch, and Wendy Brooks — swapped stories about how their kids struggled to read as they moved through the Tredyffrin/Easttown school district, located about 30 […]

Advocating status quo, non diverse K-12 Madison Schools Governance

Negassi Tesfamichael: MTI cited Carusi’s opposition to voucher and independent charter schools in its endorsement. “Carusi is opposed to vouchers and independent charter schools and strongly believes that we need to continuously work to improve our public schools, rather than support alternatives,” MTI’s endorsement said. Caire’s One City Schools, which expanded from One City Early […]

UW rejects application for independent Madison charter school

Chris Rickert: According to emails released to the State Journal under the state’s open records law, Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham on Sept. 10 asked her chief of staff, Ricardo Jara, and other front-office officials whether Arbor was “worth trying to stop? Or change somehow? If so, how?” Cheatham expressed the district’s opposition to the school in […]

“One issue state officials say they have detected as they monitor the effectiveness of the READ Act is that not all teachers are up to date on how best to teach reading.”

Christopher Osher: But districts are free to use their READ Act per-pupil funds on whatever curriculum they want, even on interventions researchers have found ineffective. “Typically, as with any education policy, we’re only given so much authority on what we can tell districts to do and what we monitor for,” Colsman said in an interview […]

deja vu: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results

Laurie Frost and Heff Henriques: Children who are not proficient readers by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school. Additionally, two-thirds of them will end up in prison or on welfare. Though these dismal trajectories are well known, Madison School District’s reading scores for minority students remain unconscionably low and […]

Effects of range restriction and criterion contamination on differential validity of the SAT by race/ethnicity and sex.

Dahlke, Jeffrey A. Sackett, Paul R. Kuncel, Nathan R.: We illustrate the effects of range restriction and a form of criterion contamination (individual differences in course-taking patterns) on the validity of SAT scores for predicting college academic performance. College data facilitate exploration of differential validity’s determinants because they (a) permit the use multivariate range-restriction corrections […]

“Folks, we have a huge reading crisis”

Alan Borsuk: 20 percent. That is roughly the percentage of Milwaukee students, both in public and private schools, who were rated proficient or advanced in reading in tests in spring 2018 — and it’s about the same figure as every year for many years. Folks, we have a huge reading crisis. There may be more […]

Gubernatorial Candidate Tony Evers Proposal: Spend 12.3% (10%?) more taxpayer funds on Wisconsin K-12 school districts; while killing substantive reading improvement efforts.

Jessie Opoien: Evers, a Democrat, is asking for $1.4 billion in additional funds for the state’s K-12 schools in the 2019-21 budget. The $15.4 billion request, submitted by Evers on Monday, comes less than two months before Walker and Evers will meet on the ballot — and Evers’ budget letter includes a swipe at the […]

Gubernatorial Candidate Tony Evers Proposal: Spend 12.3% more taxpayer funds on Wisconsin K-12 school districts; while killing substantive reading improvement efforts.

Kelly Meyerhofer: Walker proposed $13.7 billion in total state support for public schools for the 2017-19 biennium. That includes about $2.2 billion in property tax credits that are counted as K-12 funding, but don’t go directly into the classroom. Walker’s campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger touched on the record amount in a Saturday statement: “Scott Walker […]

Jane Jacobs on Transportation, Government Monopolies

The use of “gravy train” to describe public investment will resonate with those readers familiar with Toronto’s disgraced former mayor Rob Ford. Indeed, the general tone of Jacob’s piece – questioning the wisdom of public management of transportation – is more reminiscent of writing from the political right than the political left. As demonstrated frequently […]

Madison Schools 2016 Property Tax Increase Referendum – Let’s Compare: Madison and Middleton Property Taxes

The Madison School District is considering another property tax increase referendum for the upcoming November election. We’ve long spent more than most districts (“plenty of resources”), despite challenging academic outcomes. I thought it might be useful to revisit the choices homeowners and parents make. I’ve compared two properties, one in Middleton (2015 assessment: $257,500.00) and […]