Scott Girard: While campaign season looks slightly different in a social distancing world, the Madison School Board races have continued this spring. The ballot for the April 7 election includes two contested races and one uncontested seat. The five candidates participated in a virtual forum hosted by Simpson Street Free Press earlier this week. Much more on … Continue reading 2020 Madison School Board Election notes and links
Scott Girard: “People win elections by hitting pavement, just historically. That was one of my biggest things, before the pandemic,” she said. “I wanted to gain the knowledge, or get more insight and talk to more people regarding my platform so that if I win the election that I kind of have that knowledge already.” … Continue reading An update won the 2020 Madison School Board Election
Scott Girard: “Teachers are ready to do this work, but for whatever reason there’s a barrier set up in front of them,” Ball said. “A goal is to have no gap. I know we can do it in this community.” School Board candidate Ball wants to ‘get out of the way of people doing their … Continue reading 2020 Madison School Board Candidate Forum – 100 Black Men
I’ve posted a candidate summary, here.
Logan Wroge: Three candidates for an open Madison School Board seat aligned on several issues facing the school district while offering their own solutions to other topics during a forum Tuesday. The trio seeking the board’s Seat 6 — Karen Ball, Christina Gomez Schmidt and Maia Pearson — spoke of rebuilding trust between the community … Continue reading Commentary on a 2020 Madison School Board Candidate appearance
Scott Girard: During a board retreat Saturday to discuss strategies for both a capital and an operating referendum in April, board members generally agreed they wanted to vote in March — before board member Kate Toews’ term is over and a new board member takes her place. Toews is not running for re-election to Seat 6 … Continue reading 2020 Madison Tax & Spending Increase Referendum Planning: School Board Rhetoric
Scott Girard: When he initially filed papers to run, Strong said he considers school safety and racial disparities in discipline and achievement to be the top issues facing MMSD. “We have to make sure that our schools are safe and that they’re safe learning environments for our kids to learn and for our teachers to … Continue reading 2020 Madison school board election: Candidate “suspends campaign”
Scott Girard: For the past seven months, Strong has been a program associate with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Strong said in an interview Thursday he considers school safety and racial disparities in discipline and achievement to be the top issues facing MMSD. “We have to make sure that our schools are safe … Continue reading Commentary on 2020 Madison School Board Election Candidates
Scott Girard: The Madison School Board seat left open by incumbent Kate Toews choosing not to run for re-election has a candidate. Maia Pearson, a Madison native who has three children in Madison schools, will run for Seat 6. She filed her declaration of candidacy and campaign registration statement with the city clerk Monday and … Continue reading Maia Pearson becomes first newcomer to announce 2020 Madison School Board campaign
Jon Hilsenrath: Student debt has become a heavier burden for households, and since 2007 it has tripled to $1.5 trillion, with large exposures among young individuals, according to Fed data. “We were talking about, when this is over, we want to downsize, maybe move into a townhome, being way more conservative in terms of major … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending & 2020 Referendum Climate: Mountains of Debt
Scott Girard: Staff began working on the new curriculum adoption last year, following a 2018 needs assessment that showed a “need for materials K-5 that have a structured phonics component, are standards aligned and are more culturally and linguistically responsive, historically accurate and inclusive,” according to Monday’s presentation. The steps since have included forming focus … Continue reading Madison School Board offers feedback on K-5 literacy plan
Scott Girard: The referenda, as discussed earlier in March by the board, would ask voters to approve $317 million in capital expenses and $33 million for operating costs, phased in over four years. The capital referendum would fund renovations for the four comprehensive high schools, help the district build a new elementary school on the … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison School Board’s Reyes expects ‘robust conversations’ on referenda in April
Logan Wroge: With the new coronavirus pandemic disrupting the school year, Madison seniors in the class of 2020 may be able to graduate with fewer credits and might not have to take a civics exam required to get a high school diploma. Madison School District staff briefed the School Board on Monday about a proposal … Continue reading Madison School District proposes reducing credits seniors need to graduate, waiving civics exam
Annysa Johnson: As part of its plan, MPS intends to provide grade-level content aligned to state standards that students and families can access online. But the work will be voluntary and not used as part of the students’ grades. While many teachers likely will continue to interact with students online, they will not be required to … Continue reading Digital learning in the Milwaukee Public Schools
Wisconsin State Journal: With a pandemic closing schools, protesters disrupting board meetings and a new superintendent starting June 1, the Madison School District needs stability and experience. That’s what Christina Gomez Schmidt, seeking Seat 6, and Wayne Strong, running for Seat 7, will provide on the Madison School Board. The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board … Continue reading Christina Gomez Schmidt and Wayne Strong for Madison School Board
Scott Girard: Those with questions about the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Behavior Education Plan have a chance to get them answered Tuesday. District staff will hold a session from 6-7:30 p.m. to discuss, “What is the BEP? How does it work? What should I know?” at the Goodman South Public Library, 2222 S. Park St. Speakers at … Continue reading The Taxpayer Supported Madison School District offers info session on Behavior Education Plan Tuesday
Logan Wroge: Increasing the amount staff pay for premiums would see teachers paying 6% of a HMO family plan — up from 3% — to about $44 more a month. Certain hourly employees, such as special education assistants, would pay 2.5% of an HMO family plan instead of 1.25%, or $8.53 more per month. Scott … Continue reading Madison School Board leans toward deductibles instead of switching health insurers
Logan Wroge: The Madison School Board signaled support Monday for a $317 million facilities referendum and a $33 million operating referendum, setting up the board to finalize the ballot questions later this month for the November election. With several options on the table, board members expressed broad support for a slightly larger facilities referendum that … Continue reading Madison School Board eyes $317M facilities referendum, $33M operating referendum
Theresa Harrington: The Oakland School District is prepared to cut its workforce by up to 100 workers starting July 1 and may consider eliminating its police force in the future. Both issues came before the school board on Wednesday night, ensuring that the district is likely to face months of turmoil as it cuts $18.8 … Continue reading Oakland school board votes $18.8 million in cuts, up to 100 layoffs
Scott Girard: The Madison School Board will discuss the potential November referenda and proposed employee health insurance changes Monday. The Operations Work Group meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Doyle Administration Building, 545 W. Dayton St., is likely the last opportunity for board members to ask for broad changes ahead of anticipated votes … Continue reading Employee health insurance, referenda discussions on Madison School Board agenda Monday
Vinson Cunningham: A little more than half a century ago, New York City attempted an experiment in a handful of its public schools. In the thirteen years since Brown v. Board of Education, the city’s public schools had become more segregated. Many black parents decided that hope for their children rested in self-determination rather than … Continue reading Prep for Prep and the Fault Lines in New York’s Schools
James Vaznis: By many measures, the Boston schools are in crisis. Graduation rates dropped last year, while the gap between Black and white students earning diplomas more than doubled. The state last fall ordered the school district to ramp up improvement efforts at nearly three dozen low-performing schools. A Globe review revealed that fewer than … Continue reading K-12 Governance, Spending and Student Learning: As audit looms, Boston schools brace for more bad news
Henry Sanders: This week, Henry welcomes Madison School Board president Gloria Reyes to talk about growing up on the North Side, hiring a new superintendent, the changing role of police in schools and more. Meanwhile: Outsourcing Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School District Governance (while spending more, for less). 2013: What will be different, this time? 2019: Jennifer … Continue reading An interview with Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes
Kyle Stokes: Independent expenditure groups are spending at record-setting levels on next month’s Los Angeles Unified School Board primary — which you could’ve probably guessed from all the ads filling your mailboxes. And an unusual number of those mailers ask LAUSD voters to vote against a candidate, rather than for one. So far this year, charter school proponents have spent … Continue reading Those Nasty LAUSD School Board Campaign Ads: What’s Fact? What’s Opinion?
David Blaska: The school lesson plan is chaos “[We] talk about race as if it was every race but whiteness. How can we support you, elevate your work around actually talking about white culture in our schools and how teachers can start doing this work of, like, unlearning whiteness.” — Madison school board member … Continue reading ‘Unlearning whiteness’ in the Madison schools
Billy Binion: This isn’t the first time that AOC has inadvertently made the case for school choice. At an October rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), she shared that her family left the Bronx for a house in Westchester county, so that she could attend a higher-quality school. “My family made a really … Continue reading Civics & K-12 Opportunity: AOC Admits She Got Her Goddaughter Into a Bronx Charter School
David Blaska: Today’s blog excerpts Kaleem Caire’s social media thread in the wake of his letter, co-signed by other local black leaders, expressing disappointment that Matthew Gutierrez of Texas was chosen as new superintendent of Madison WI schools over their preferred candidate, Taylor Eric Thomas of Georgia. Caire expresses frustration over the virulent Progressive Dane/Madison Teachers … Continue reading Is this the best Madison’s (taxpayer supported) public schools can do?
Scott Girard: A $35,000 contract not initially up for discussion at the Madison School Board meeting Monday night ended up the most hotly debated topic among board members. The contract with the city of Madison provides for up to $35,000 paid to the Madison Police Department in 2020 for officers to provide security, safety and crowd control … Continue reading $35K contract for police at school events turns into heated debate, protests Monday
Jon Levine: Good for me, but not for thee. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez managed to get her goddaughter into a Bronx charter school, according to a Facebook Live video she recorded in 2017 — before she was a public figure. “This area’s like a lot of where my family is from,” AOC says as she strolls … Continue reading The AOC Tapes: Rep says she got goddaughter into Bronx charter school
Darrel Burnette II: Across the nation, hundreds of school districts are trapped in a death spiral of declining enrollment that forces dramatic budget cuts which then trigger more student departures. State officials, who have the power to merge or dissolve districts to create more financially stable systems, are often reluctant to interfere in a process … Continue reading Endless Accountability Mulligans for Taxpayer Supported K-12 School Districts
David Blaska: In a school district that is 18% black, 57% of students suspended from school the first semester of the current school year (2019-20) were African-American. White students, 43% of the student body, accounted for 11% of out-of-school suspensions. To school board member Ali Muldrow, the data showed more about school staff than about … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District’s teacher climate
Jenny Peek: It’s been a difficult year for the Madison school district. A barrage of high-profile incidents has taken over the narrative of what it’s like in Madison’s schools, from the use of racist language, to a teacher being arrested for attempting to produce child pornography, to issues of safety at a district middle school. The district is … Continue reading School board candidates reflect on school climate ahead of primary
Logan Wroge: “I appreciate the cuts in central office because I want more people in the classroom,” said board member Nicki Vander Meulen. Ruppel said the proposed reduction of school staff, which would be about 35 positions across a district that employs 4,000 people, is in response to expected short-term drops in enrollment due to … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School District 2020 Referendum & Spending Plans
David Blaska: Board of education president Gloria Reyes demands “the conversation around school discipline needs to be centered on race,” according to the WI State Journal. Those who counter that school discipline needs to be centered on behavior will be asked to leave the conversation. Maybe the answer is pick out some white kids and toss them … Continue reading Notes and links on the Madison School District’s academic and safety climate
Scott Girard: The contract runs from June 1 to May 31 of the following year. The agreement would allow Gutiérrez 25 vacation days each year, 10 holidays off and up to 13 personal illness days. It will provide up to $8,500 for moving expenses as Gutiérrez and his family move from Seguin, Texas, and cover … Continue reading New Madison Schools superintendent’s $250K+ contract up for vote Monday
David Blaska: A crusader has stuck his out out of the foxhole to take on the political correctness that is destroying Madison’s public schools. We introduced him to you Blaska Policy Werkers two weeks ago. He is Peter Anderson, an environmental activist. Peter has put up a website called “Durable Justice.” Bookmark it. (We’ll wait. Got it?) Anderson … Continue reading Madison schools’ happy talk Cheat(ham)s black kids
At the Pence rally. A lot of people here with yellow sashes in support of school vouchers. Many nonwhite. — Rocknrolli OneAndOnly (@RocknRocknrolli) January 28, 2020 .@vp mentions @GovEvers‘s absence and a bill to be reintroduced today by @RepBrostoff to phase out school vouchers in Wisconsin: “I know the governor can’t be here with us … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on the Wisconsin School Choice Event
Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty: On the first day of National School Choice Week, a new study (here) estimates how further growth of Wisconsin’s parental choice programs could result in $3.2 billion in new economic benefits to Wisconsin over the next two decades. Ripple Effect, authored by Will Flanders, PhD, builds upon a recent study which documented … Continue reading Study: $3.2B in Economic Benefits with the growth of school choice
Logan Wroge: West High School student was arrested Tuesday after he brought a loaded handgun to the Near West Side school, Madison police said. Tyrese T. Williams, 18, was arrested on a tentative felony charge of possession of a firearm in a school zone, Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said. West High’s school resource officer … Continue reading Madison West High School student found with loaded handgun in school, police say
David Blaska: Wanted: More Milton McPikes, fewer guilt mongers Obsessed with identity politics, Madison school board member Ali Muldrow posts on social media an article headlined: “The discomfort of white adults should never take priority over the success of our black and brown students.” “I didn’t come here to teach those kinds of kids.” As harmful … Continue reading Why are Madison middle school principals leaving?
Bob Dohr: Three of the seven members of the Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board, including the president and vice president, have resigned following the state’s denial of the district’s dissolution attempt. School board president Scott Hoff, vice president Tara Bollmann and clerk Carrie Ollis announced their resignations at the Jan. 14 board meeting, effective at the … Continue reading Nearly half of the Palmyra-Eagle school board quits following the ruling that the district won’t dissolve
Scott Girard: “My background is very much anchored on supporting all students,” Thomas said. “That’s sort of why I wake up every morning. The notion that all students are able to achieve at a high level, I truly not only believe it, but I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it. I know it’s possible.” He will … Continue reading 2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Eric Thomas stresses success for ‘all students’ in Madison School District is key
Hannah Adley: Twelve New Jersey schools will begin piloting a new LGBTQ-focused curriculum this month, the first wave of a requirement that will soon be mandated across the state. The pilot sites to be announced by the state Tuesday – including schools in Hackensack, Morristown, Newark and Asbury Park – are intended to be proving grounds … Continue reading LGBTQ history lessons will soon be mandatory in NJ classrooms; 12 schools to pilot program
Documents from the January 11, 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School Board retreat: Administration slides (pdf) Hanover Research Consulting Summary (PDF) Hanover Research: duckduckgo www Illinois (!) Association of School Boards referendum summary (pdf) Much more on the planned 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School District referendum, here. 2019: Madison increased property taxes by 7.2%.
Chris Rickert: Groups of Dane County Board members have since 2014 been meeting privately and without any public notice to discuss government business — a practice that echoes private caucus meetings the liberal-dominated board has conducted in years past. Meetings between the board’s leadership and leaders of some of its key committees, first reported by … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Dane County Board joins the Madison School Board in ignoring open meeting laws
Scott Girard: For the past seven months, Strong has been a program associate with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Strong said in an interview Thursday he considers school safety and racial disparities in discipline and achievement to be the top issues facing MMSD. “We have to make sure that our schools are safe … Continue reading Madison School Board races starting to emerge as filing deadline approaches
Laura Waters: On New Year’s Eve The Nation published an analysis by Jennifer Berkshire called “The Democrats’ School Choice Problem.” Her piece is instructive because it illustrates a strategy commonly employed by those who regard themselves as warriors against craven privatizing shysters intent on expanding charter schools and/or voucher programs. This is how it works: … Continue reading Four Corrections to a Context And Fact-Free Article Called “The Democrats’ School Choice Problem.”
Scott Girard: The finalists are: •Matthew Gutierrez, the superintendent of the Seguin Independent School District in Seguin, Texas. He is a former interim and deputy superintendent in the Little Elm Independent School District and received his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Texas Tech, according to the district’s announcement. •Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, an assistant professor of … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School Board’s Superintendent Search Finalists
Scott Girard: A team of reviewers for the school’s charter found it “fails to meet expectations” in seven criteria, “meets expectations” in 29 and “exceeds expectations” in two. The fails to meet expectations criteria include being below the enrollment required by the current contract, 120. This year the school has 97 students enrolled. In the … Continue reading Commentary on a Madison style (non independent) charter school: Badger Rock
Scott Girard: School Board members adopted a “leadership profile” based on that feedback earlier this month. BWP reported the input indicated the community wants a visionary team-builder with experience with diverse populations and an understanding of the district’s commitment to high levels of academic achievement for all students. An educator’s background, student-centered, dedicated, sincere and honest person … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Search
Logan Wroge: The plan didn’t become publicly available until Friday afternoon, when the meeting agenda was posted online. Does the analysis include space in other facilities? The District expanded some of its least diverse schools (Van Hise and Hamilton) several years ago, when space was available in other nearby schools. The Madison school district is … Continue reading Commentary on Madison Schools’ Quietly spending taxpayer’s $4M
Annysa Johnson: Providing Milwaukee Public Schools students with a top-of-the-line education could cost as much as $640 million more a year in operating costs alone, more than doubling local property tax bills, district officials and their financial advisers told members of MPS’ referendum task force. The figure appeared to shock at least some members of the … Continue reading Property taxes would spike under Milwaukee Schools’ referendum scenarios
Scott Girard: An anonymous Madison School District resident is suing the district over its refusal to provide records in response to 26 requests made over a three-and-a-half month period earlier this year. The John Doe is being represented by attorney Tom Kamenick, the president and founder of the Wisconsin Transparency Project. The lawsuit filed Nov. 14 … Continue reading Transparency in Madison’s $500M+ Taxpayer Supported K-12 School District: Open Records Suppression edition
Scott Girard: The full report was not made available to the public Monday night, but was expected to be posted Tuesday afternoon. Board members voted to accept a leadership profile that will be used to help develop interview questions and screen candidates with a 6 to 1 vote, with Nicki Vander Meulen voting against, having … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District 2020 Superintendent Search
Logan Wroge: If a new operating referendum is passed, the School Board could then permanently raise property taxes over the next four school years, potentially using all $36 million of authority. In 2016, voters passed a $26 million operating referendum, which similarly was phased in over four years, ending in 2019-20. Over the four years, … Continue reading Commentary on a planned 2020 Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 School referendum
Logan Wroge: “The challenges of the district are actually not completely known because of a lack of transparency in how the district is doing with respect to several critical and urgent matters,” Chan Stroman, a West Side resident and education advocate said, adding she wants to see honesty and competence in the next leader of … Continue reading “36 people” on madison’s 2020 superinteNdent search
Scott Girard: There will be a police officer in each of the Madison Metropolitan School District’s four comprehensive public high schools until at least January 2021. The first deadline for the school district to notify the Madison Police Department that it wanted to remove one of the school resource officers, which could have been effective … Continue reading Four school resource officers will remain in Madison high schools through 2020
David Blaska: “Mainstream education is an oppressive institution,” says one supporter If I read this right, Madison police will continue to provide security and positive role models in Madison’s four main public high schools for two more school years. That is because the Madison Board of Education is not considering evicting the school resource officer … Continue reading Notes and links: Police and the Taxpayer supported Madison School District
Negassi Tesfamichael: The Madison School Board is slated to support a resolution on Monday calling for legislation requiring school districts across Wisconsin to stop using Native American mascots. The resolution, which was started by the Wausau School District, would affect the approximately 31 school districts in the state that currently use a Native American mascot, … Continue reading Madison School District aiming to join resolution calling for retirement of Native AmericAn mascots across Wisconsin By Negassi Tesfamichael
Logan Wroge: The temporarily six-person School Board is scheduled to decide Monday who will join the body for a nine-month stint. During that time, the board will hire a permanent superintendent and work on a potentially large November 2020 facilities referendum. Those interested in the appointment have until 4 p.m. Friday to apply for the … Continue reading Commentary on temporary madison school board memBer appoIntment, replacing Mary Burke
Logan Wroge: The topic of an operating referendum came out of discussion on a potential 2020 facilities referendum, which could be as high as $280 million. “I love talking about the facilities referendum, it’s exciting, it’s new stuff,” Carusi said. “But without that operating-to-exceed referendum, we’re looking at a lot of difficult cuts and choices.” … Continue reading Madison School Board floats Tax & Spending INCREASE via another operating referendum
Negassi Tesfamichael: Some observers said the unique vacancy is a chance for a newcomer to serve. “I would really love to see another black mother on the School Board,” said Sabrina Madison, the founder of the Progress Center for Black Women. “Especially a mom who has been advocating for her kid recently around some of … Continue reading Positioning and Promotion: A Vacant Taxpayer Supported Madison School Board Seat
Negassi Tesfamichael: “Given that Mary will not be attending any future meetings, I do feel a sense of urgency in getting this filled,” Reyes said. “I don’t want to move forward through some of the important discussions and decisions we’ll have to make … so i think it is going to be imperative that we … Continue reading Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School Board’s GoVernance Plans: Replacement member and SuperintendenT search
Negassi Tesfamichael: A familiar face will serve at the helm of the Madison Metropolitan School District for the upcoming school year. The Madison School Board on Friday named Jane Belmore, a retired MMSD teacher and administrator, to serve as the interim superintendent. Belmore will take over once current Superintendent Jen Cheatham steps down at the … Continue reading Madison School District taps Jane Belmore (again) to serve as interim superintendent
Negassi Tesfamichael: Under a newly proposed contract between the city and the Madison Metropolitan School District, MMSD has the ability to move away from having an officer in each of the city’s four high schools starting in the 2020-21 school year. Under the new language in the contract, MMSD would have until Sept. 15 to … Continue reading Commentary on madison high school “resource officers”
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction approved 11 awards totaling more than $7 million in federal funds to plan, open, or expand charter schools in the state. The department received 21 grant applications, requesting a total of $13.9 million. “Charter schools are one way for educators to innovate and engage … Continue reading $800,000 fedeRal taxpayer planning Funds for another independent madison charter school
Logan Wroge: The board also approved a three-year partnership renewal with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County for the college preparation program AVID/TOPS. The program is meant to prepare students for post-secondary education, particularly low-income and minority students or students who would be the first in their family to go to college. AVID/TOPS … Continue reading Commentary on Avid/Tops in the Madison Schools
Logan Wroge: If voters were to approve a $150 million referendum, the owner of a $300,000 house — near the median-value home in the district of $294,833 — could have their property taxes increase by $93 annually, according to district estimates. A larger referendum of $280 million is estimated to raise property taxes on a … Continue reading Commentary on a proposed 2020 Madison K-12 Tax & Spending Increase Referendum
Naegassi Tesfamichael: The School Board will also soon be the public face of a facilities referendum that MMSD is eyeing for the November 2020 election. The proposed facilities upgrades currently focus on East, La Follette, West and East high schools, which have an average age of 75 years old and have been identified as having … Continue reading Spending, achievement, taxes and Madison’s school climate
Curiously, this document is NOT shared as part of the Madison School Board public documents. Chan Stroman obtained the April 4, 2019 70 page package via an open records request (!). The April 4, 2019 document contains a number of interesting links and shares, including a summary of Governor Ever’s (Former long time Wisconsin DPI … Continue reading Weekly Update Shared to Madison School Board Members
Kaleem Caire, via a kind email: Madison, WI – One City Schools Founder and CEO Kaleem Caire — with support from One City parents, Board of Directors, and partners — is pleased to announce that One City’s plan to establish One City Expeditionary Elementary School in South Madison has been approved. Last Friday, One City … Continue reading One City to Establish Elementary School in South Madison
Michael McGough: The district now has one month to file a revised budget for 2018-19 to replace the $555 million budget it had submitted, as announced during the district’s Thursday night board meeting. In an Aug. 22 budget report letter addressed to district Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, county Superintendent David Gordon said the district will meet … Continue reading Sacramento School District Spending and Budget Commentary
Tawnell Hobbs: Chicago Public School students who want to graduate will have to show proof that they have a plan after high school—such as providing an offer letter for a job or acceptance into college or military service, under a plan expected to be approved next month. The initiative, pitched by former U.S. Education Secretary … Continue reading Is High School Meaningful?
For Milwaukee schools to experience widespread improvement, fundamental changes must be made from top to bottom, Hess and Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj write in “Roadmap for Education Reform in Wisconsin,” one of the project’s essays.
The eight other essays focus on:
- New schools and innovative delivery
- Rigorous quality control measures
- Opportunities for creating a recovery school district
- A comprehensive approach to talent management
- Human capital strategy
- Efficient management of financial capital
- Robust research and development efforts
- Effective governance and central management
Among the findings: Schools must be laboratories of innovation, not implementers of rigid rules and regulations; and they must do a better job of empowering their teachers to maximize their impact on students.
One reason decades of MPS “reform” have fallen short is that underlying systems, regulations, policies and practices have been difficult to eliminate or change – until now. At the end of June, for the first time in almost 50 years, the Milwaukee Public Schools will no longer be subject to collectively bargained union contracts. New powers given to the MPS school board, the approved statewide No Child Left Behind Waiver, and the significant market-share of non-traditional options puts Milwaukee in a unique position to enact positive change.
“Education leaders in city schools – traditional as well as choice and charter schools – have an opportunity here,” said Lightbourn. “But the ultimate power shaping the condition of Milwaukee schools is in the hands of the public that needs to hear a more persuasive case for both systemic and very specific change. This volume of research can help accomplish that.”
Read individual Pathway chapters here:
More, from Erin Richards: MPS needs more non-union charter schools, other reforms, report says
Attached is a spreadsheet listing questions received from BOE members to date and some of our responses. Over the course of the next two months, we will continue to collect your questions and respond at both Operational Support and Regular Board meetings.
The draft budget included several new positions for the Board’s consideration. After refining and prioritizing with staff and vetting with principals, we are only asking for approval of two essential positions at this point. The position changes represent a savings of just over $2 million from the draft budget.
As we prepare for next year, we must keep our efforts and resources focused on providing supports to schools to improve instruction. We must also be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars by reducing the impact of our budget.
To get to these recommendations, we conducted a rigorous examination of positions funded in the draft budget to decide what we believe is absolutely necessary right now. Much of the work we need to do next year is about improving the systems and structures for how we serve students, not adding additional resources. It will be critical going forward that we narrow our focus to the strategies that we know work, implement them well and sustain the focus over time.
So far, we have only considered the position decisions that we need the Board to approve. Over the next two months, we will continue to work through the draft budget in order to reduce the tax impact and align with our efforts for next year. Also, we have only reviewed positions based on the draft budget. Next year, we plan to engage in a more thorough, zero-based budgeting process.
Position Additions from Draft Budget that are No Longer Recommended
There are several positions included in the draft budget that we are no longer recommending at this point. In looking at specific positions, we considered our ability to carry out necessary work through more efficient systems and in some cases, the need to pause and re-consider our approach.
With that in mind, we are no longer recommending going forward with the following position additions that were included in the draft budget. Because these were new positions in the draft budget, they do not have staff in them currently and do not require any layoffs.
Mental Health Coordinator: Through redistribution of work in student services, we will be able to provide support to implementation of the Mental Health Task Force’s work.
Safety Coordinator: We will continue to coordinate efforts across the organization to ensure safety.
Perhaps a positive sign “we must keep our efforts and resources focused on providing supports to schools to improve instruction”. Reading is surely job one, as the District’s long term disastrous reading scores illustrate.
March, 2013 Madison Schools’ financial reports (PDF).
Related: Status Quo Costs More: Madison Schools’ Administration Floats a 7.38% Property Tax Increase; Dane County Incomes down 4.1%…. District Received $11.8M Redistributed State Tax Dollar Increase last year. Spending up 6.3% over the past 16 months.
Commentary on Madison School Board Member Ed Hughes’ Teacher Salary Increase Words.
Nicole Perez spends her school days at a local high school here, but when the 17-year-old senior steps into English class she is dipping her toes into college.
Ms. Perez is one of a growing number of students taking community-college courses at their high schools. These “dual-enrollment” classes are a low- or no-cost way for students to gain college credits, helping smooth their way to a college degree.
“It’s a little more work, but I actually like that,” said Ms. Perez, who hopes the credits will save her time and money next year, when she plans to attend a four-year university.
The growing cost of college, rising student debt and a weak economy have prompted a rethinking of the role of community colleges. In 2009, President Barack Obama made community colleges a big part of his plan to return the U.S. to its perch as the nation with the most higher-education degrees per capita by 2020.
The Madison School District 2.2MB PDF. The document proposes an 8.8% increase in this winter’s property taxes.
Another document references the Administration’s proposed use of increased State of Wisconsin tax dollars, despite growth in the Badger State’s deficit.
Finally, the document includes a statement on “fund equity”, or the District’s reserves (39,163,174.09 on June 30, 2010):
Statement on Fund Equity
In 1993 when the revenue cap law was enacted, the District budgeted funding to continue to increase the District’s equity (fund balance) at the same proportion as the budget increase. The actual budget was constructed based on worst case assumptions for many of the non-controllable expenses. Using worst case budget assumptions allowed some room for unexpected increased expenditures above those projected without causing the expenditures to exceed revenues. Before the enactment of revenue caps this approach did not affect the District’s ability to cpntinue to provide programming at the same levels as before. This was very sound budget practice and placed the District in an outstanding fiscal position.
After the revenue cap was enacted and until 1998 the District continued the same budgeting strategy. During these early years, continuing the increase in equity and using worse case budget assumptions was possible. It did not jeopardize the District’s instructional programs because sufficient budget reductions were possible through increased operating efficiencies.
In 1998 it became clear that to continue to budget using the same assumptions would necessitate even larger budget cuts to programs than would be necessary if a more narrow approach to budgeting was used. The effect of using a realistic but best case set of budget assumptions for non-controllable expenses was to delay making reductions of critical District educational support programs for several years. However, it also placed the District in a position to have expenditures exceed revenues if the assumptions proved to be inaccurate and the projections were exceeded.
The District’s SUbstantial equity made this approach possible without endangering the District’s excellent fiscal position. The viability of the strategy has been borne out by our Aa1 bond rating from Moody’s Rating Service and the continued excellence of our educational program.
As indicated in the annual audited financial report provided each year to the Board of Education, the District’s expenditures exceeded revenue during the fiscal years 2002 through 2006. Our desire is always to balance the revenues and expenditures on a yearly basis. However, the excess expenses over revenues in those five years resulted solely from specific budgeted expenditures and revenues not meeting assumptions and projections used at the time of budget preparation. We did not add expenditures or staff. The district maintained its fiscal health. The equity was used as it was intended – to maintain the District’s quality through difficult financial times.
We reached the point where the district’s equity position could no longer support the aggressive approach. We rnanaged the 2008-09 and 2009-10 budget more aggressively, which resulted in an increase in equity. We also prepared the 2010-11 budget more conservatively, which will result in a positive affect to the District’s equity at the end of this year.
Donna Williams Director of Budget, Planning & Accounting Services
Much more on the 2010-2011 budget here.
About 600 people attended Monday’s rescheduled Grand Rapids Board of Education meeting, with nearly 50 registering days in advance to question the board about proposed changes, including a controversial shift to online instruction at the city’s high schools.
But Wes Viersen said he came to answer the board’s questions about online classes. The Creston High School senior considers himself an expert in online courses, having completed 14 this year — a feat he said he could verify with the transcript in his pocket.
“Overall, the quality of E2020 is horrible,” Viersen told the board. “I completed courses, but I did not get an adequate education.”
Frequently asked questions about Grand Rapids proposed High School Curriculum changes.
The middle school years, when nothing seems more important or more impossible than fitting in, are rough for nearly everyone. But they are particularly brutal for preteens such as Will Gilbertsen, whose mild autism makes him stand out.
Less than two months into sixth grade at Arlington County’s Kenmore Middle School this fall, the freckle-faced 11-year-old with a passion for skateboarding had gained a reputation for racewalking through the halls between classes. “That’s so I can’t hear the teasing,” he told his mother.
As the number of children with autism has ballooned nationwide, so has the population of children who, like Will, are capable of grade-level academics but bewildered by the social code that governs every interaction from the classroom to the cafeteria. Not so profoundly disabled that they belong in a self-contained classroom but lacking the social and emotional skills they need to negotiate school on their own, they often spend the bulk of their day in mainstream classes supported with a suite of special education services including life-skills groups and one-on-one aides.
President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will visit Madison’s Wright Middle School Wednesday, November 4, 2009, purportedly to give an education speech. The visit may also be related to the 2010 Wisconsin Governor’s race. The Democrat party currently (as of 11/1/2009) has no major announced candidate. Wednesday’s event may include a formal candidacy announcement by Milwaukee Mayor, and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett. UPDATE: Alexander Russo writes that the visit is indeed about Barrett and possible legislation to give the Milwaukee Mayor control of the schools.
Wright Principal Nancy Evans will surely attend. Former Principal Ed Holmes may attend as well. Holmes, currently Principal at West High has presided over a number of controversial iniatives, including the “Small Learning Community” implementation and several curriculum reduction initiatives (more here).
I’m certain that a number of local politicians will not miss the opportunity to be seen with the President. Retiring Democrat Governor Jim Doyle, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk (Falk has run for Governor and Attorney General in the past) and Madison School Superintendent Dan Nerad are likely to be part of the event. Senator Russ Feingold’s seat is on the fall, 2010 ballot so I would not be surprised to see him at Wright Middle School as well.
Madison’s Charter Intransigence
Madison, still, has only two charter schools for its 24,295 students: Wright and Nuestro Mundo.
Wright resulted from the “Madison Middle School 2000” initiative. The District website has some background on Wright’s beginnings, but, as if on queue with respect to Charter schools, most of the links are broken (for comparison, here is a link to Houston’s Charter School Page). Local biotech behemoth Promega offered free land for Madison Middle School 2000 [PDF version of the District’s Promega Partnership webpage]. Unfortunately, this was turned down by the District, which built the current South Side Madison facility several years ago (some School Board members argued that the District needed to fulfill a community promise to build a school in the present location). Promega’s kind offer was taken up by Eagle School. [2001 Draft Wright Charter 60K PDF]
Wright & Neustro Mundo Background
Wright Middle School Searches:
Madison Middle School 2000 Searches:
“Nuestro Mundo, Inc. is a non-profit organization that was established in response to the commitment of its founders to provide educational, cultural and social opportunities for Madison’s ever-expanding Latino community.” The dual immersion school lives because the community and several School Board members overcame District Administration opposition. Former Madison School Board member Ruth Robarts commented in 2005:
The Madison Board of Education rarely rejects the recommendations of Superintendent Rainwater. I recall only two times that we have explicitly rejected his views. One was the vote to authorize Nuestro Mundo Community School as a charter school. The other was when we gave the go-ahead for a new Wexford Ridge Community Center on the campus of Memorial High School.
Here’s how things happen when the superintendent opposes the Board’s proposed action.
The local school District Administration (and Teacher’s Union) intransigence on charter schools is illustrated by the death of two recent community charter initiatives: The Studio School and a proposed Nuestro Mundo Middle School.
About the Madison Public Schools
Those interested in a quick look at the state of Madison’s public schools should review Superintendent Dan Nerad’s proposed District performance measures. This document presents a wide variety of metrics on the District’s current performance, from advanced course “participation” to the percentage of students earning a “C” in all courses and suspension rates, among others.
Education Hot Topics
Finally, I hope President Obama mentions a number of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent hot topics, including:
- Lift caps on charter schools.
- End mediocre School of Education teacher training [The University of Wisconsin School of Education Grade Distribution Reports can be found here.]
- Trace test scores to Education Schools
This wonderful opportunity for Wright’s students will, perhaps be most interesting for the ramifications it may have on the adults in attendance. Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman recent Rotary speech alluded to school district’s conflicting emphasis on “adult employment” vs education.
Wisconsin State Test Score Comparisons: Madison Middle Schools:
- City of Madison Demographics
- Madison Police Calls – reported by the MPD
Wisconsin teachers couldn’t be fired over test scores.
- Should the President and his entourage have time for a meal, I recommend Himal Chuli, Campus Biryani or Curry in the Box
- Local Media Sites
One of the most interesting things I’ve observed in my years of local school interaction is the extensive amount of pedagogical and content development that taxpayers fund within the Madison School District. I’ve always found this unusual, given the proximity of the University of Wisconsin, MATC and Edgewood College, among other, nearby Institutions of Higher Education.
The recent Math Task Force, a process set in motion by several school board elections, has succeeded in bringing more attention to the District’s math curriculum. Math rigor has long been a simmering issue, as evidenced by this April, 2004 letter from West High School Math Teachers to Isthmus:
Moreover, parents of future West High students should take notice: As you read this, our department is under pressure from the administration and the math coordinator’s office to phase out our “accelerated” course offerings beginning next year. Rather than addressing the problems of equity and closing the gap by identifying minority math talent earlier, and fostering minority participation in the accelerated programs, our administration wants to take the cheaper way out by forcing all kids into a one-size-fits-all curriculum.
It seems the administration and our school board have re-defined “success” as merely producing “fewer failures.” Astonishingly, excellence in student achievement is visited by some school district administrators with apathy at best, and with contempt at worst. But, while raising low achievers is a laudable goal, it is woefully short-sighted and, ironically, racist in the most insidious way. Somehow, limiting opportunities for excellence has become the definition of providing equity! Could there be a greater insult to the minority community?
The fact the Madison’s Teaching & Learning Department did not get what they want tonight is significant, perhaps the first time this has ever happened with respect to Math. I appreciate and am proud of the Madison School Board’s willingness to consider and discuss these important issues. Each Board member offered comments on this matter including: Lucy Mathiak, who pointed out that it would be far less expensive to simply take courses at the UW-Madison (about 1000 for three credits plus books) than spend $150K annually in Teaching & Learning. Marj Passman noted that the Math Task Force report emphasized content knowledge improvement and that is where the focus should be while Maya Cole noted that teacher participation is voluntary. Voluntary participation is a problem, as we’ve seen with the deployment of an online grading and scheduling system for teachers, students and parents.
Much more on math here, including a 2006 Forum (audio / video).
Several years ago, the late Ted Widerski introduced himself at an event. He mentioned that he learned something every week from this site and the weekly eNewsletter. I was (and am) surprised at Ted’s comments. I asked if the MMSD had an internal “Knowledge Network”, like www.schoolinfosystem.org, but oriented around curriculum for teachers? “No”.
It would seem that, given the tremendous local and online resources available today, Teaching & Learning’s sole reason for existence should be to organize and communicate information and opportunities for our teaching staff via the web, email, sms, videoconference, blogs, newsletters and the like. There is certainly no need to spend money on curriculum creation.
“Men more frequently require to be reminded than informed.”
Listen to tonight’s nearly 50 minute Madison School Board math discussion via this 22MB mp3 audio file.
Monday evening’s Madison School Board meeting will discuss a proposal to increase math teacher training and add staff to the Teaching & Learning Department. 215K PDF.
Interestingly, the latest document includes these words:
MMSD Teaching & Learning Staff and local Institute of Higher Education (IHE) Faculty work collaboratively to design a two-year professional development program aimed at deepening the mathematical content knowledge of MMSD middle school mathematics…
It is unusual to not mention the University of Wisconsin School of Education in these documents…. The UW-Madison School of Education has had a significant role in many Madison School District curriculum initiatives.
- Math Task Force
- Math Forum
- Madison West High School Math Teacher letter to Isthmus.
- Watch last Monday’s school board discussion of the local math program here.
Dear Editor: My ten years on the Madison School Board have convinced me that the board’s highest priorities must be new ideas and new community partnerships. Maya Cole gets my vote for Seat 5 because innovation is her top priority and she has the energy to bring the community together to plan for the future. … Continue reading Ruth Robarts: Cole is just what the School Board needs
Sheboygan School Board Approves Seven (7) Charter Schools DPI Charter School Grant Info Webcast on Friday, March 23, at 10:00am Beloit Considers Project-Based Charter School Environment-Focused Charter School Meetings at Stevens Point (March 30), Madison (May 2) and Oshkosh (May 10) Portage Charter School & Aldo Leopold Green Lake Charters Course for School Coulee Montessori … Continue reading Sheboygan Oks 7 Charter Schools — DPI grants info webcast on Friday
Johnny Winston, Jr. provided a summary of the board’s June 19th discussion of board and committee goals. I found two of the board’s priorities particularly noteworthy. One priority under Performance and Achievement reads: Math and Literacy and Curriculum • Review the appropriateness of the goal of completion of algebra and geometry in high school in … Continue reading Board and committee goals – 2006
A 2006 budget staffing discussion to come before the School Board tonight is about changes to administrative positions for next school year outlined in a memo to the School Board from the Superintendent. (Download memo on administrative changes for 2006-2007). The Superintendent is intending to save money through the elimination of several positions via resignations … Continue reading Will the MMSD School Board Majority Appear to Let Administrators Preserve Jobs – Their Own?
East High Enrollment Area parents sent the following letters regarding the search for a new Principal: Madison School Board Members 2 Page PDF with signatures Superintendent Art Rainwater 3 Page PDF with signatures
Barb Schrank collected video & audio clips from last nights Madison School District Board of Education Meeting: Don Hunt: Retired West High School Art Teacher Fine Arts Statement [MP3 1.4MB] [Quicktime Video] [Transcripts: html | PDF] Barb Schrank Fine Arts Presentation [MP3 1.6MB] [Quicktime Video] [Transcripts: html | PDF] Mariel Wozniak Fine Arts Presentation [MP3 … Continue reading September 20, 2004 MMSD Board of Education Meeting Audio/Video Clips
Michael J. Petrilli and Pedro Enamorado It’s often noted by individuals of a certain age that “I could never get into my alma mater if I were applying today.” The conventional wisdom is that it’s now much harder to be accepted into highly selective colleges and universities than it was a generation ago. But is … Continue reading Yes, It Really Is Harder to Get into Highly Selective Colleges Today
No bid contracting by our taxpayer supported Madison School District: a $30,000 no-bid contract to “Burns/Van Fleet” for 25 days of services to help in the new superintendent transition. (The superintendent search contract to BWP Associates was $32,000 plus expenses.) The Mike Hertting memo on the item touts this outfit as having “over 50 years … Continue reading Madison’s No-Bid $30,000 Contract to Burns/Van Fleet (?)
On January 21, 2020, I sent this email to email@example.com Hi: I hope that you are well. I write to make an open records request for a list of invitees and participants in last week’s “community leader and stakeholder” meetings with the (Superintendent) candidates. Thank you and best wishes, Jim Hearing nothing, I wrote on … Continue reading Open Records Response: “Community Leader & Stakeholder” meeting with Madison Superintendent Candidates
Karin Chenoweth: In the words of the report, Montgomery County’s curriculum does “not include the necessary components to adequately address foundational skills.” If you’re not immersed in these issues, you might not recognize just how scathing this language is. Montgomery County fails to do what just about all cognitive scientists and most reading researchers agree … Continue reading As long as Montgomery County fails to teach children to read, it will have gaps
The Madison School District’s much discussed “Behavior Education Plan” seems worth a deeper dive. A Tuesday evening District presentation [slides / survey: 1.1MB PDF] – mostly a discussion – offers a substantive lens into our increasingly challenged K-12 system. Approximately 25 people attended this event, including some district employees. 2020 Madison School Board Candidates Chris … Continue reading Madison Behavior Education Plan Meeting
Steven Elbow: The problem, some say, is that disparities impact a population that has little political or economic clout. And white people, who control the levers of commerce and government, address only pieces of an interconnected web of issues that include child development, education, economics and criminal justice. Brandi Grayson co-founded Young, Gifted and Black … Continue reading “The achievement rate has gotten worse. The failure rate of kids has gotten worse. We would keep thinking that we were solving the problem, the United Way and all of these organizations jump on it, but it doesn’t change a thing.”
University of California Academic Senate: In July 2018, President Napolitano wrote to 2017-18 Academic Senate Chair Shane White asking the Academic Senate to examine the current use of standardized testing for admission to the University of California (UC or the University); review the testing principles developed in 2002′ by the Board of Admissions and Relations … Continue reading Standardized Testing Task Force Report
Molly Beck: A Madison teacher charged with trying to create child pornography was allowed to travel home from an out-of-state trip with students who found hidden cameras in their hotel bathrooms and the victims’ parents haven’t been told why. Madison School District officials won’t say whether they knew about the discovery of the cameras before David … Continue reading Madison teacher accused of secretly filming students on trip allowed to travel home with victims
Jon Gabriel: This week, reporters revealed that the state Department of Education released the personal information of nearly 7,000 families who use Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Worse still, they sent it to Save Our Schools, staunch opponents of the program and educational choice in general. ESAs enable parents, mostly those who have children with special needs, to … Continue reading Arizona’s education chief may not like vouchers, but she must follow the law
Dillon Rosenblat: The Arizona Department of Education likely violated federal student privacy laws when it released a spreadsheet that inadvertently named every parent with an Empowerment Scholarship Account in the state. The spreadsheet then fell into the hands of a group that opposes expansion of the program. The Yellow Sheet Report, a sister publication of … Continue reading Arizona Education Department blunder puts ESA parent names in hands of group that opposes expansion of voucher program
Bryan Caplan: Suppose you strongly desire to drastically increase the amount of education that people consume. What should you do? The obvious answer: Make education completely free of charge – and have the government pay the the entire cost. I say this obvious answer is obviously right. As I explain in The Case Against Education, I favor extreme educational … Continue reading Profligacy for Austerity?
Kelly Meyerhofer: The tuition freeze has been in place for in-state undergraduates at four-year campuses since 2013 and in 12 of the past 14 years at the two-year campuses. The state budget passed last summer requires tuition remain frozen through the 2020-21 school year. “We’re exploring a process, and I probably won’t be here in … Continue reading UW Regents eyeing tuition increase in next budget biennium, System president says