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 Ko
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
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
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
Lauren Fitzpatrick & Nader Issa: Some CTU members have grumbled on Facebook about how their dues — a flat $55.85 per pay period — are being spent directly on political candidates. For example, the union put $215,000 into Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s failed campaign for mayor. The CTU also shifted $56,000 from its … Continue reading Chicago Teachers Union Inc.: How the clout-heavy labor group spends its money
Howard Blume: The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday agreed to pay more than $25 million to settle lawsuits over alleged sexual misconduct. Some cases were related to well-known incidents of abuse at Telfair and De La Torre elementary schools, for which teachers went to jail. Others never led to convictions. The larger settlements … Continue reading L.A. Unified pays $25 million to settle sexual misconduct cases
Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District could continue its expansion of the Community Schools program as soon as the 2021-22 school year. School Board members will receive an update on the program, which offers expanded services at four schools to help serve as a “hub” to their surrounding community, at a Monday Instruction Work … Continue reading Expanding Taxpayer Supported Programs amidst long term, disastrous reading results
Ron Vetterkind: The Policy Forum report found just eight of the state’s 421 school districts account for more than a third of the $224 million increase in levies this year. Five of those districts with the largest dollar increases in taxes are the Madison, Sun Prairie, Middleton-Cross Plains, DeForest and Verona school districts. Wisconsin policy … Continue reading Madison increases property taxes by 7.2%, despite tolerating long term, disastrous reading results
David Blaska: Julie Marburger was a school teacher at Cedar Creek, Texas, a suburb of Austin. She posted this on social media (H/T Greg L.) shortly before the end of the 2019-2020 school year: I left work early today after an incident with a parent left me unable emotionally to continue for the day. I … Continue reading Teachers and Low Expecations
Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email AB 110, creating a Wisconsin guidebook on dyslexia and related conditions, passed the Assembly earlier this year and passed, with an amendment, the Senate Education Committee at the end of the summer. However, the bill has not yet been brought to the Senate floor for a vote. Meanwhile, … Continue reading Pending Reading Legislation
Logan Wroge: In addition to a higher base wage, the district has said that, on the average, employees will receive another 2% salary increase this year based on a salary schedule that awards experience and education. But MTI has said about 1,000 employees, including some of the lowest paid, won’t receive more money through the … Continue reading COMMENTARY on Madison k-12 teacher compensatioN: 2 + 2.44 + benefits
Abigail Hess: According to the College Board’s 2018 Trends in College Pricing Report, from 1988 to 2018, tuition prices tripled at public four-year schools and doubled at public two-year and private non-profit four-year schools. But tuition rates and published sticker prices are not entirely indicative of the cost of college today. During the 2018-2019 school … Continue reading It costs over $69,000 a year to go to Cornell—but this is how much students actually pay
Logan Wroge: Wiese said the district has an annual maintenance budget of about $5.4 million for 4.5 million square feet of space. The high schools alone have deferred maintenance needs of $154 million, according to a study completed in 2017. In 2015, district voters overwhelmingly passed a $41 million facilities referendum targeting improvements in 16 … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: a planned Madison tax increase for bricks and mortar? Will space utilization and attendance boundaries be addressed first? 1% spent on maintenance
Roland Li: Teacher salaries range from $46,750 per year to $83,724 per year, according to school district data, which the union said is the lowest rate in Alameda County. The school district spends an additional $13,487 per teacher annually to provide full health benefits for educators and their families. The pay is for 186 days … Continue reading Oakland Teachers Plan to Strike
It is unfortunate two recent articles on the upcoming Madison School District tax & spending increase referendum lack data, such as: Total Spending for the current budget ($449,482,373.22 more) – about $18,000/student. Chicago spends about $14,336/student, Boston $20,707 and Long Beach $12,671/student. Historic Spending Changes (spending increases every year) Academic Outcomes vs. Spending Comparison with … Continue reading Commentary (seems to lack data…) on Madison’s K-12 Tax & Spending Increase Referendum
A new report urges state lawmakers to proceed with plans to introduce the Smarter Balanced exam as a replacement for the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, saying it remains the only viable option for the 2014-15 school year.
Michigan education officials released the 23-page report Monday outlining options for a new state assessment tool to be used as early as next year to test K-12 students under Common Core state standards. State schools administered the MEAP for what is supposed to be the last time this fall.
The report, requested by lawmakers in late October after they removed a funding block for implementation of Common Core, examines 12 test options in the marketplace.
The report provides summaries on the cost of each test, scoring and reporting methods, test security transparency and overall design.
Of the 12 options, only Smarter Balanced and two other tests were aligned to Common Core, a more rigorous set of standards adopted by the State Board of Education in 2010 for math and English. The other exams aligned to the standards are Measured Progress and PARCC.
Between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012, the Urban League of Greater Madison stood on the firm shoulders of its founders – Leslie Fishel, Jr., Sydney Forbes, Isobel Clark and Frank Morrison – and demonstrated exceptional courage and foresight by launching a well-orchestrated campaign to raise the community’s consciousness about an embarrassing and unconscionable racial achievement gap that is leaving hundreds of Black, Latino and Asian children behind each year. We also informed the community about the acceleration of middle class families moving their children out of Madison’s public schools, either through relocation or utilizing the state’s inter-district public school choice program. Between 1989 and 2012, the student population in Madison schools grew from 24% non-white to 55% non-white. We also began an aggressive campaign to enlist the support of businesses, education institutions, community partners and resource providers to expand workforce development and career training opportunities for unemployed and underemployed adults in Dane County, and address diversity and inclusion opportunities among them.
The public should consider our 2013-14 Strategic Plan to be Phase II of the League’s efforts to provide courageous and transformational leadership to ensure thousands more children, adults and families succeed in our schools, colleges, workplaces, neighborhoods and communities. In 2020, the Urban League of Greater Madison would like local citizens and the national media to report that Madison, Wisconsin has indeed become “Best [place] in the Midwest for Everyone to Live, Learn and Work”. Early returns on the investment made thus far indicate that our vision can become a reality.
This Strategic Plan covers a 24-month period, from January 1, 2013 through December 31, 2014. We believe shorter time-windows enable us to keep the organization focused on achieving a reasonable number of high impact goals, and with the appropriate sense of urgency necessary to produce the results it seeks and the community needs. As our nation has demonstrated extraordinary courage and overcome extraordinary challenges in years past, we will do so again.
In October of last year, the education advocacy group ConnCAN published a report called “The Roadmap to Closing the Gap” in Connecticut. This report says that the state must close its large achievement gaps by 2020 – that is, within eight years – and they use to data to argue that this goal is “both possible and achievable.”
There is value in compiling data and disaggregating them by district and school. And ConnCAN, to its credit, doesn’t use this analysis as a blatant vehicle to showcase its entire policy agenda, as advocacy organizations often do. But I am compelled to comment on this report, mostly as a springboard to a larger point about expectations.
However, first things first – a couple of very quick points about the analysis. There are 60-70 pages of district-by-district data in this report, all of it portrayed as a “roadmap” to closing Connecticut’s achievement gap. But it doesn’t measure gaps and won’t close them.
ConnCAN simply calculates, for 30 individual towns/districts, how many individual students (per grade, per year) would be required to improve in order for these systems to achieve 80 percent at grade level on state tests and 90 percent graduation, as well as the annual percentage point increase needed to get to an average SAT score of 1550. The first two targets correspond roughly to the proficiency and graduation rates among white students, while the third is the “college ready” benchmark score for the SAT.
The following is excerpted from “an urgent call to action” the superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Schools dispatched to parents and residents in his public school district this week.)
A package of bills designed to corporatize and dismantle public education is being hastily pushed through this current lame-duck legislative session. If we do not take immediate action, I believe great damage will be done to public education, including our school system.
We have just three weeks to take action before it’s too late. The bills are:
House Bill 6004 and Senate Bill 1358: Would expand a separate and statewide school district (the Education Achievement Authority) overseen by a governor-appointed chancellor and functioning outside the authority of the State Board of Education or state school superintendent. These schools are exempt from the same laws and quality measures of community-governed public schools. The EAA can seize unused school buildings (built and financed by local taxpayers) and force sale or lease to charter, nonpublic or EAA schools.
It’s understandable that friends and admirers of former state school superintendent Jorea Marple are upset with her firing.
Marple spent a lifetime in public education in West Virginia, and she built strong relationships.
The board did not help its case by potentially running afoul of the state’s open meetings law when it dismissed Marple two weeks ago.
On Thursday, the board held a special meeting, allowed Marple supporters to vent, and then cured any legal question with a do-over of Marple’s firing.
Her dismissal is apparently a result of a clash of ideas between Marple, school board president Wade Linger, and others on the board over how to respond to the independent audit of the school system released nearly a year ago.
The Phoenix program began serving students in the fall of 2010-11. The Phoenix program was housed in the Doyle Administration Building
During this school year the program served
35 middle school students and
33 high school students
28 middle school students progressed through the Phoenix program and returned to an MMSD educational environment
24 high school students progressed through the Phoenix program and returned to an MMSD educational environment
7 middle students were expelled from the Phoenix program due to behavioral issues 9 high students were expelled from the Phoenix program due to behavioral issues
The first year the curriculum consisted of on-line academics supported by additional resource material.
Each quarter a student could receive up to a .25 credit in Community Service, Career Planning, English, Writing, Math, Physical Education, Science, Social Studies
The program’s partnership with community FACE and district PBST staff allowed the students to participate in social emotional skill development forty-five hours per week.
Much more on the “Phoenix Program”, here.
P.S. This Madison School District document includes a header that I’ve not seen before: “Innovative Education”. I also noticed that the District (or someone) placed a billboard on the Beltline marketing Cherokee Middle School’s Arts education.
More high school seniors are taking Advanced Placement courses in Minnesota and scoring higher on the tests, but the state’s rankings are still below national averages.
According to new data from the College Board, more than 15,000 Minnesota high school seniors took an AP course last year, and nearly 10,000 of them scored at least a three on an AP test. A score of three to five usually allows students to gain college credit for that class.
Students have other options to take advanced coursework in Minnesota schools, including throughout the International Baccalaureate program. Tuesday’s report was confined to the AP program.
It has been requested of Administration to put together possible scenarios for funding four year old kindergarten (4-k) through the use of Education Jobs Bill funding, Equity Reserves, Property Taxes, and any other sources of funding.
What you will find below are three distinct scenarios looking at how we may fund 4-k over the first 4 years. The focus is on the first 4 years, because the original projections put together by administration and subsequently by PMA through the forecasting model looked at the program beginning in the 2010-11 school year as year one, so we consequently only have projections going through the 2014-15 school year.
These projections will be updated as part of our work with the 5 year budget model ad hoc committee of the Board in the coming months.
All of the following scenarios we believe to be very conservative in terms of the number of students to be enrolled, and especially on projections for funding from the State of Wisconsin. These original projections from earlier this year, assumed MMSD would be losing 15% funding from the State of Wisconsin for the 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 budget years. As we have seen recently, we have lost less than the maximum state law allows (2010-11 reduction of approximately 8.4%). The funding scenarios are as follows:
Much more on Madison’s planned 4K program here.
President Barack Obama’s budget will lead to deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, the CBO estimated Friday.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said President Barack Obama’s budget would lead to annual deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion for the next decade.
The estimates are for larger deficits than the budget shortfalls expected by the White House.
Annual deficits under Obama’s budget plan would be about $976 billion from 2011 through 2020, according to a CBO analysis of Obama’s plan released Friday.
Madison school ‘budget gap’ really a tax gap
Try “tax gap” or “revenue problem.” These are terms that Superintendent Dan Nerad — who is slated to offer his budget recommendations to the School Board on March 8 — and other school district players are starting to use to describe the financial troubles the district is facing.
What’s commonly been defined as the district’s budget gap in the past — the difference between the cost to continue existing programs and salaries and what the district is allowed to tax under state revenue caps — is actually $1.2 million. That’s the amount the district would still have to cut if the board were willing to tax to the maximum amount allowed under the state revenue limits. (And in past years, Madison and almost every other district in the state have taxed to the limit.) But if you add in the drop in revenue from the state — about $17 million for the 2010-2011 budget — the gap grows to $18.2 million.
It’s fair to ask then, what makes up the other $11.6 million that the administration calls the $29.8 million 2010-2011 budget gap? In a rather unorthodox manner, Nerad and company are including two other figures: $4 million in levying authority the district was granted through the 2008 referendum and $7.6 million in levying authority within the revenue limit formula.
Confused? You’re not alone. It’s got many folks scratching their heads. But the bottom line is this: Although the district has the authority to raise property taxes up to $312 on an average $250,000 home, it’s unlikely the board would want to reap that amount of revenue ($11.6 million) from increased taxes. Large property tax hikes — never popular — are particularly painful in the current economy.
The Madison School District has yet to release consistent total spending numbers for the current 2009/2010 budget or a total budget number for 2010-2011. Continuing to look at and emphasize in terms of public relations, only one part of the puzzle: property taxes seems ill advised.
The Madison School District Administration has posted 2010-2011 “Budget Gap” notes and links here, largely related to the property tax, again. only one part of the picture. For reference, here’s a link to the now defunct 2007-2008 Citizen’s Budget.
Doug Erickson has more:
Madison school administrators laid out a grim list of possible cuts big and small Friday that School Board members can use as a starting point to solve a nearly $30 million hole in next year’s budget.
The options range from the politically painless — restructuring debt, cutting postage costs — to the always explosive teacher layoffs and school closings.
But the school-closing option, which would close Lake View, Lindbergh and Mendota elementary schools on the city’s North Side as part of a consolidation plan, already appears to be a nonstarter. A majority of board members said they won’t go there.
“It’s dead in the water for me,” said Lucy Mathiak, board vice president.
President Arlene Silveira said the option is not on the table for her, either. Ditto for board members Marj Passman and Maya Cole, who said she immediately crossed out the option with a red pen.
Board members could decide to raise taxes enough to cover almost all of the $30 million, or they could opt to not raise taxes at all and cut $30 million. Neither option is considered palatable to board members or most residents, so some combination of the two is expected.
In an e-mail to the Board of Education, Roger Price admitted a serious error in the budget documents given to the board only three days ago: I incorrectly classified some professional positions as administrators and some supervisory positions as clerical. Price attached a corrected Excel table to show the FTEs in the revised “balanced budget.” … Continue reading STRANGER THAN EVER!!!!
Congratulations to Roger Price, MMSD assistant superintendent, for completing the table with the FTE (full time equivalent) positions for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, i.e., last year compared to this year. If you open the Excel file, you’ll see some potentially surprising figures. Unlike the reports, total FTEs for this school year compared to 2004-2005 did not … Continue reading Solution to MMSD Budget Mystery #4: Body Count or 1-2-3 FTE