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Candidate Quotes from Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Pageant



Scott Girard:

Behavior Education Plan

Vanden Wyngaard: “Just like in previous districts I have been in, it appears we have a perception issue in the community.”

Gutiérrez: “What I’ve seen is a rather comprehensive plan. I think it may be a little overwhelming for folks. How can we simplify that to be user-friendly, easy to read, easy to follow?”

Thomas: “There’s a group of teachers who are not excited and at the same time there’s a group of kids who are not excited about it, so I’m not exactly sure how we got there. We have to create structures and strategies to build relationships.”

Charter schools

Vanden Wyngaard: “I expect us to partner with charters. I would partner with any other group so why wouldn’t I do that as well? Parents made a decision on where their child could best learn. Our job is to make sure the children of Madison can be successful.”

Gutiérrez: “There are circumstances when public schools partner with a charter system to serve students. Those are very unique circumstances. I believe that we’ve got to continue to find a way to meet the needs of our students in the public school system. It’s just part of our democratic society.”

Thomas: “I’m an advocate of traditional schools. And I’m an advocate of ensuring that every school is of high-quality.”

No budget or reading discussion?

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Notes and links on previous Superintendent searches.

2013; 2019 Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.




Madison 2020 Superintendent Pageant: Eric Thomas appearance notes



Logan Wroge:

“We have a district that is successful for a group of kids. We have a different district that’s not being successful for a group of kids,” he said of the Madison School District. “That means our organization is uniquely and excellently designed to get the results that we’re presently getting. If we keep doing what we are doing … I can’t imagine why anybody thinks we’re going to get different results.”

Thomas, who goes by his middle name, Eric, said he would not just seek “buy-in” from teachers on programs or initiatives, but rather “co-create” with them changes to improve the district.

If chosen from the pool of three finalists for superintendent, it would be Thomas’ first position leading a school district.

In front of a few dozen people in the theater at La Follette High School, Thomas addressed questions submitted by those in the audience or watching a live-stream of the meeting.

More on Eric Thomas.

Certain events may be streamed (and archived), here.

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

Notes and links on previous Superintendent searches.

2013; 2019 Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.




Commentary on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Search



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 were also desired, according to the BWP report.

BWP’s Debra Hill told the board Nov. 11 the district would need to make itself stand out in the “small pool” of candidates who would fit the profile, especially to find someone who has experience in a district of Madison’s size or larger.

“Lots of districts are looking for the same people,” Hill said. “The competition is much higher at this particular point.”

Notes and links on previous Madison Superintendent searches.

The Madison school district is planning a substantial tax and spending increase referendum in 2020. Perhaps these funds might support those requirements?

Despite spending far more than most K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.




Commentary on the Madison School District 2020 Superintendent Search



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 requested more time to read the full report before making that choice.

The profile includes qualities like seeking a visionary team-builder who has experience with diverse populations and an understanding of MMSD’s commitment to high levels of academic achievement for all students. Other parts of the profile included a background as an educator, student-centered and personal qualities like confidence, dedication, sincerity, honesty and organization.

Hill said the district needs to make itself stand out to the “small pool” of candidates who fit the profile and have experience in a district at least as large as Madison.

“Lots of districts are looking for the same people,” Hill said. “The competition is much higher at this particular point.”

Notes and links on previous taxpayer supported Madison School district Superintendent searches.




“36 people” on madison’s 2020 superinteNdent search



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 the state’s second-largest school district.

The input session was facilitated by BWP and Associates — an Illinois-based, education-focused search firm contracted by the School Board to help solicit feedback, advertise the position and vet candidates, among other responsibilities.

A second community input session is planned for 7 p.m. Wednesday at La Follette High School, and a survey on the superintendent position is available online until Nov. 5.

While in town Tuesday and Wednesday, representatives of BWP also had a marathon of meetings planned with elected officials, community groups, advocacy organizations, business leaders and others.

Among those scheduled to meet with the BWP consultants are black student unions, social justice advocacy organization Freedom Inc., the heads of American Family Insurance and Exact Sciences Corp., school principals, Disability Rights Wisconsin and Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne.

Debra Hill, a managing director for BWP, said throughout nearly 20 meetings held Tuesday, a theme of trust was already emerging.

Related: “The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

Former Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham; what will be different, this time?




Commentary on Two 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School District Superintendent Candidates



Scott Girard:

Madison School Board president Gloria Reyes said in the release the district is “very fortunate to have an impressive pool of highly qualified candidates participate in this process.”

“With a focus on how candidates aligned with the Leadership Profile, the Board was able to select two phenomenal finalists, both with deep roots in education and instruction, and today we are excited to introduce them to our community,” Reyes said.

MMSD had 26,842 students in the 2019-20 school year, with demographics of 41.7% white, 22.3% Hispanic, 17.8% Black, 8.5% Asian, 9.3% Two or more and less than 1% each of Pacific Isle and American Indian, according to state data.

In its earlier search, the district had three finalists. In addition to Gutierrez, Georgia education official Eric Thomas and College of Saint Rose professor Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard also visited the district for an interview and public Q and A. Consultant BWP and Associates conducted both searches.

Jane Belmore has served as the interim superintendent since last August, when Jennifer Cheatham left for a position at Harvard after six years in MMSD

Logan Wroge:

The finalists, Carol Kelley and Carlton Jenkins, will proceed with interviews next week.

Jenkins is in his fifth year as superintendent of the Robbinsdale School District in New Hope, Minnesota. He’s held educational leadership positions — including chief academic officer, principal, assistant principal and health teacher — in Michigan, Ohio, Beloit and Madison, and received his PhD from UW-Madison.

Kelley, an educator with 25 years of experience, is also in her fifth year as superintendent of Oak Park Elementary School District 97 in Illinois, the district said in an announcement. She also served for three years as superintendent of Branch Township School District in New Jersey and has a background as an elementary and middle school principal and a classroom teacher.

In these challenging times, our local businesses need your support. Find out how to get food, goods, services and more from those remaining open.

Kelley holds a doctorate of education from the University of Pennsylvania, the district said.

In addition to the next round of interviews, Jenkins and Kelley will participate in online engagement sessions with district staff and students during a “Virtual Day in the District.” The sessions will include an opportunity to ask questions of the candidates and provide feedback.

Notes and links on the 2020 Superintendent pageant, round 2.

2011: A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

2005: Gangs & School Violence audio / video.




2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Eric Thomas stresses success for ‘all students’ in Madison School District is key



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 be the third and final candidate for the Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent position to visit for his Day in the District. Thomas will be here Thursday to meet community members, interview with the School Board and hold a public session from 6-7:30 p.m. at La Follette High School, 702 Pflaum Road.

Various news reports have listed him as a finalist for multiple superintendent positions in recent years, as well as being among 51 applicants for the superintendent position in Hillsborough County Schools in Tampa, Florida. An Atlanta Journal Constitution article says there has been “long running tension between (Thomas’) office and that of state school Superintendent Richard Woods, who has always wanted control” over the turnaround program Thomas leads.

Thomas began his career as a high school social studies teacher in Cincinnati in 1994, and after four years moved into a district coordinator position for a program supporting “overaged” eighth graders (those older than their peers) until 2002. He then moved to the nearby Middletown City School District to be an administrator at an alternative high school.

More on Eric Thomas.

Certain events may be streamed (and archived), here.

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

Notes and links on previous Superintendent searches.

2013; 2019 Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.




2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard



Logan Wroge:

She also highlighted the importance of having teachers know the cognitive process of how children learn to read to improve literacy outcomes.

When asked about school-based police officers, a divisive topic in the Madison School District, Vanden Wyngaard said she doesn’t have a problem with police being in schools but thinks they should only be involved if a felony-level crime is suspected.

She also spoke to giving teachers the ability to “fail forward” when they make mistakes, allowing them to learn and adjust.

To increase the number of teachers of color, Vanden Wyngaard said the district can try to recruit directly from historically black colleges, expand a district program that encourages minority students to become teachers and change the culture of the district to be more welcoming for teachers of color.

People can provide online feedback for each candidate until 8 a.m. Friday. For Vanden Wyngaard, the website is: mmsd.org/wyngaard.

More on Vanden Wyngaard

Certain events may be streamed (and archived), here.

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

Notes and links on previous Superintendent searches.

2013; 2019 Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.




2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Gutiérrez hopes to be ‘uniter’ for Madison School District



Scott Girard:

Are we able to be laser focused on a number of a initiatives?” Gutiérrez said. “When you really do the research, the most highly successful systems have just three or four initiatives that they’re focused on, and you can do them really well.”

He also brings recent experience with one of the likely immediate roles he would take on, having seen Seguin voters approve a bond referendum last spring. He said he learned the importance of “proactive” communication throughout a referendum process, especially given the “conservative community” that had “a large amount of distrust in the school district” a few years before the successful referendum.

“To be able to have a referendum pass with those challenges I believe is pretty huge and something I’m very proud of,” he said. “When you can really take a proactive approach to community, a transparent approach to communication, really put yourself out there to meet with people, meet with different groups, you can certainly accomplish that goal.”

More on Matthew Gutiérrez

Certain events may be streamed (and archived), here.

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

Notes and links on previous Superintendent searches.

2013; 2019 Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.




2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Vanden Wyngaard wants to focus on social justice, equity in MMSD if selected



Scott Girard:

She noted successes while she was in Albany, mentioning the graduation rate, increased attendance rate and lower disproportionality in its special education programming among them, and said maintaining the programs that helped lead to those was part of the resignation decision.

“I work from a philosophy of students first, and I always will ask the question, regardless of what the subject is, what impact will this have on student success?” she said. “When those philosophical differences started to emerge, I knew that in order for all of those programs to stay in place, in order for all of that work to be continued and in order for me to make sure my students were still successful, I had to not continue.”

‘I truly love the work’

She said her three years and four months in the Albany job showed her how much she enjoyed a position with “the ability to try and influence people, to try to help people, to gather the resources to build the networks.”

“I truly love the work,” she said. “Social justice is my passion and my calling and how I live my life. That role provided me the opportunity to do that work. For me, it showed me who I was and it showed me what impact I could have on the community at large.”

She said, while acknowledging she hopes to hear more during her visit here, that her initial impression is Madison needs to tackle trust and transparency, communication, parental involvement opportunities and “obviously equity.”

“Equity for me means that the students and the staff have what they need in order for them to be successful,” she said.

More on Vanden Wyngaard

Certain events may be streamed (and archived), here.

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

Notes and links on previous Superintendent searches.

2013; 2019 Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.




Commentary on Madison’s Latest K-12 Superintendent



“Mildred & Hands”:

He certainly has his work cut out for him. Gothard is being thrust into a likely $600 million referendum campaign this fall that won’t be easy to pass. Inflation and soaring housing costs have soured many voters on tax hikes. Advocates will need to show taxpayers in a clear and specific way what they are getting for their money. How will outcomes for children improve?

The district must retrain elementary teachers in reading instruction that emphasizes phonics. State officials have mandated the strategy, based on research showing better results. But they aren’t giving Gothard’s district additional resources for the considerable effort (?).

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




New Trier School District set to produce next $8 million superintendent pensioner 



By: Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

New Trier Township HS District 203’s Superintendent Paul Sally is set to retire next year and he can count on lifetime pension benefits of nearly $8 million. When he does retire, he’ll join the ranks of the Teachers Retirement System’s top pensioners.

We’ve written for years that Illinois’ pension systems are out-of-whack with what taxpayers can afford. It’s a two-class system where those in government get guaranteed lifetime pensions and other protected benefits while those in the private sector, who get no such guarantees and protections, are forced to pay for them. 

But it’s the superintendent pensions that help bring attention to just how problematic public pensions are. Sally has done nothing wrong, of course. He’s simply benefitting from the system that’s been put in place by lawmakers. The true blame falls on the politicians who created the pension system, those who continuously sweetened benefits over the decades, and today’s lawmakers who refuse reforms.

With no reforms expected in the near term, all we can do is highlight the results of Illinois’ two-class system.

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Commentary.




“the future gets reinvented daily, in terms of the way the world is working right now.” – Madison’s incoming Superintendent



Cris Cruz and Leila Fletcher

He shared his concerns about trying to create a one-size-fits-all solution for access to advanced learning and literacy instruction across schools and districts.

“We know that if we do the same in all school districts, that we’re going to continue to have students who aren’t accessing it and being successful the way that others are,” said Dr. Gothard. “I’m very concerned that if not done well and done with an equity mindset, that we could just be perpetuating gaps, opportunity gaps, [and] access to learning.”

He also said there will be a focus on the structure for reading instruction. He wants to make sure every student has “time every day for a dose of a very individualized science-of-reading-based learning experience, where they can be monitored, day in, day out.”

Rather than prioritizing a district-wide routine, Gothard stressed the importance of flexibility to “truly meet the needs of students.” He explained the role of community engagement in raising awareness about reading and the traits that make a reader successful.

“I believe we can activate our community just by sharing with them, this is what it means to decode words. This is what phonemic awareness is. This is why fluency is important,” he said. This will allow the community to support the district’s efforts in improving reading instruction and will also help the community keep him accountable. “If I want to be accountable for something as a superintendent, reading, I’m in. Hold me accountable for reading. But we must do it together.”

When more Madison students are proficient in reading, access to advanced learning opportunities will be an even more pressing matter. In past years, MMSD has grappled with whether to abolish traditional honors classes in favor of embedded honors options. When, however, the district got pushback from parents and the community, the plan was temporarily scrapped.

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The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Commentary on Madison’s latest K-12 Superintendent



Abbey Machtig

In his first news conference in Madison since being named the public schools’ new superintendent, Joe Gothard vowed to be an engaged leader and said he wasn’t afraid to make changes.

“I think that we’ve got to be very deliberate. I think we’ve got to be very open with our community around where our challenges are, report frequently about progress that we’re making and not be afraid at all to say, ‘You know what, we’re not making a mark here; we need to make a change here,'” he said.

Gothard shared his top priorities for the district with administrators and Madison School Board members during a news conference Thursday at Thoreau Elementary School on Madison’s Near West Side. Gothard, who is the outgoing superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota, has been in Madison since Monday visiting schools and meeting staff.

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The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Another new Madison k-12 Superintendent



Kayla Huynh

In his new role, Gothard will oversee the second largest school district in Wisconsin, which serves over 26,000 students in 52 schools and has a nearly $600 million annual budget. He’ll take over at a challenging time, with COVID-19 federal funding set to expire and the board determining the 2024-25 budget.

Gothard will also be responsible for carrying out Wisconsin’s Act 20, a law that is set to make sweeping changes across the state in how schools teach 4-year-old kindergarten through third grade students how to read. The act requires districts to shift to a “science of reading” approach that emphasizes the use of phonics. 

Using pandemic funds, Gothard created a similar program in 2021 at St. Paul Public Schools in an effort to improve the district’s lagging reading scores. The program pairs struggling students with educators who specialize in science-based reading instruction. 

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Abbey Machtig:

He spent two years as an assistant superintendent of secondary schools in Madison and was a semifinalist in the Madison School District’s search for a new superintendent in 2013, with the board ultimately hiring Jennifer Cheatham.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on 3 taxpayer supported Madison k-12 Superintendent candidates



Abbey Machtig:

The community will be able to hear from the three finalists for Madison School District superintendent in a series of public interviews this week.

Yvonne Stokes, Mohammed Choudhury and Joe Gothard will be interviewed in person by two panels on Tuesday. The public can watch the interviews through a livestream. The livestream can be found via go.madison.com/finalists. The district said one panel will be made up of students and the other will be made up of parents and caregivers. Public feedback is welcome.

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More:

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More:

Choudhury did not respond to an interview request from the Cap Times. He told the Post, however, that he had “inherited a dysfunctional department with a workforce accustomed to inefficiency — and that his detractors are unwilling to embrace the change he is determined to bring to Maryland.”

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Yet:

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Madison has long spent far more than most taxpayer supported k-12 systems, now at least 22 to 29k per student, depending on the district numbers used.

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on the most recent group of taxpayer supported Madison K-12 Superintendent candidates… Achievement?



Abbey Machtig:

The candidates will be interviewed again Wednesday, but those discussions will not be livestreamed, recorded or open to the public. The interviews will involve teachers, district leaders, students and selected community members.

Eric Murphy:

Choudhury is one of three finalists for superintendent in Madison, along with Joe Gothard, the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools and a former Madison principal, and Yvonne Stokes, a former superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Indiana. Stokes also resigned under pressure from conservative school board members who took issue with her diversity and inclusion efforts as superintendent. All three will be interviewed by various panels Feb. 6-7. 

When asked for comment on the allegations against Choudhury by Cornelius and others, school district leaders said they were happy with their final three options for superintendent. “Our board has done exhaustive work in selecting our finalists, and we remain confident with the process and the selection of our finalists,” the district said in an unsigned email to Isthmus sent by communications staffer Ellie Herman. 

The email pointed to a previous statement from school board president Nichelle Nichols: “We are extremely pleased with the pool of candidates for this position. They each reflect the diverse needs of our community and the competencies that we agreed upon in November. Our three finalists have exceeded our expectations, and we’re excited for the community to meet them….”

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Superintendent Candidate Notes



Dave Cieslewicz:

Notice what’s missing? There’s nothing in there about a track record of actually improving, you know, education. Nothing about a record of improving test scores.

That’s concerning because MMSD’s record in that regard is not good. This morning the New York Times ran a story that allowed readers to check on how their district was performing with regard to math test scores. Here’s the chart for Madison:

We have been below the national average for at least seven years while Wisconsin as a state performs above the average. We came close in 2019 and then dipped again during COVID. Our recovery since then has been anemic, running below both the national and state average.

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Madison school district Superintendent finalists’ history: One resigned, one fired



Kayla Huynh:

The Madison Metropolitan School District has named two former education administrators and one current administrator as finalists to be the next superintendent.

Two of the finalists left their former jobs after facing criticism for their performance.

The finalists are Mohammed Choudhury, the former state superintendent of schools at the Maryland Department of Education; Joe Gothard, a Madison native who is superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota; and Yvonne Stokes, the former superintendent at Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Indiana. 

The Madison School Board began interviews with candidates in closed meetings last month and selected the three candidates from nearly 60 applicants, according to district officials. 

The finalists will participate in a final round of in-person interviews next week with the board as well as over 100 nominated community members and staff who were selected through a lottery process. 

On Feb. 6, two of the interviews will be recorded and live-streamed online, including one interview with a student panel from noon to 1:30 p.m. and another with parents and caregivers from 6:30 p.m. to 8:55 p.m. 

The board expects to select MMSD’s next leader in late February, replacing former Superintendent Carlton Jenkins, who retired last summer after three years at the helm. Formerly retired educator Lisa Kvistad is serving as interim superintendent for the current school year.

——-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




“Board, Superintendent ruined Madison’s fine public schools”



James Lister:

The Madison School Board needs to take a hard look at the lessons of the last 10 years. The general functioning and the overall management of the school district have been poor and unprofessional. If you call the central offices, you seldom get ahold of a person or get a call back.

Teachers are mistreated and disrespected by students and administrators. No wonder so many quit the profession or retire as soon as possible. Disruptive students ruin lessons and intimidate classmates based on the erroneous theory that we are helping disruptive students by leaving them in the classroom when they are highly agitated. They have very low consequences for poor behavior.

The School Boards that hired the last two superintendents are responsible are taking an excellent district and driving it into the ground by hiring poor superintendents.

No, we should not return to the 1950s and ’60s when classes were in rows and students never spoke. Yet we must reinstate self-discipline and respect for all people in our schools where hard work and learning are cherished. Parents must be responsible for the behavior of their children and support teachers.

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Commentary on another Madison K-12 Superintendent Search // Priorities



Dave Cieslewicz:

I’m not at all surprised. 

The executive search group chosen to help find the next Madison schools superintendent reflects the biases of our current school board. The very first statement you see in the About section of the website of Alma Advisory Group out of Chicago is that it is, “is a woman-of-color-led consulting services organization.”

Imagine if you opened a website and read, “we are a straight-white-man-led consulting organization.” (In fact, there isn’t a single white guy on Alma’s team. So much for diversity.) And that identity focus is everywhere on their site. The profile of their CEO, Monica Santana Rosen, starts by stating that she is a “black Latina,” again as if her racial and gender identity is the most important thing about her.

When you start with identity you’re likely to end there as well. Alma ran the search process for a new superintendent in Denver and it proudly reports that, “The finalist candidates in this search included two men of color and one woman.” That’s it. There’s nothing in Alma’s write-up about it’s own work that has anything to say about the qualifications of the candidates they found or their accomplishments or their performance since being hired. What is important to Alma is the race and gender of the candidates.

David Blaska:

Not improving declining test scores. Not addressing the exodus of students in Wisconsin’s fastest-growing city. Not keeping schools safe from fist fights between rival sets of kids and their parents. Not arresting spiraling tax increases or reducing spending to avoid a projected $30 million budget deficit. Not being more transparent instead of a place where accountability goes to die. Not ending the preoccupation with diversity, equity, and inclusion in place of actual education. Especially not that! No, just the opposite!

Scott Girard:

Each session included a brief presentation from the consultant followed by attendees breaking into smaller groups to answer questions covering their top priorities for improvement, things about MMSD they’d want the new superintendent to champion and protect, and what skills will be most important for a superintendent to find success.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




9 Citizens at a Madison School District Superintendent Search “roundtable”



David Blaska:

Once every blue moon, the Head Groundskeeper does what he says he is going to do. Posing as average citizen “David Blaska,” he sat in with eight other citizens at one of three roundtables coordinated 10-04-23 by the headhunters hired by the Madison public school district to find yet another a new superintendent.

Monica Santana Rosen, head priestess of the Chicago-based Alma Advisory Group, moderated Blaska’s table. Must say, she was equanimous — especially when one self-righteous scold tried to censor Blaska’s comment that our schools should quit with the diversity, equity & inclusion scam and teach, instead, the one skill essential to all learning: self-discipline. Too many kids are not learning it at home. Our schools teach grievance and victimhood, instead. And bad manners, judging by that table mate.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Commentary on yet another Madison k-12 Superintendent Search



Scott Girard:

Community members can now weigh in on the type of leader they’d like as the next Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent.

The district’s website now includes a “leadership profile” survey that will help the Madison School Board and its consultant on the search, Alma Advisory Group, develop a job description for the position when it’s posted this fall. Alma will also hold focus groups in early October with staff and “other stakeholders.”

The 14-question survey, open until early October, asks respondents to rate on a 1-5 scale the importance of various listed priorities for a superintendent and skills required for someone in the position.

Priorities listed on the survey include developing leaders, maintaining district financial health, closing the achievement gap, meeting student social and emotional needs, preparing students for college or careers, supporting staff, improving academic performance and ensuring student safety.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




“We also had to support teachers to actually use those because that is a lift” – interim Madison Superintendent



Abby Machtig;

How do you plan to address the achievement gaps between students in Madison schools, specifically around literacy?

We put brand new, high-quality standards-aligned materials in every single teacher’s classroom. We also had to support teachers to actually use those because that is a lift. … Do we always get it right the first time? No. But the good news is we can fix it, we can go back, we can learn, we can try again. We got some federal funding related to COVID and used much of that one-time money to make these initial investments in these materials. We didn’t always have that opportunity.

There is an explicit focus on literacy, and it’s not just literacy in the classroom, it’s also how we communicate about that to families. Families always want to be able to help their child read regardless of age. So that is not something that is done in isolation just in the classroom, it is about literacy in the community as well.

How do you plan to address declining student enrollment across the district? Going along with that, what is your plan for attracting and retaining teachers to the district amid a systemic teacher shortage?

I believe that our Board of Education has made a historic investment in our staff with the 8% cost-of-living increase. So, I believe that speaks volumes to our ability to retain and attract high-quality staff. It is a fact we are declining in enrollment. I think that there are some choices that we have to make around budget and ways of working over the coming year that we will do together.

Scott Girard.

Legislation and Reading: the Wisconsin Experience 2004 –

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on the 2023-2024 Madison Superintendent Search



Scott Girard:

Madison School board members indicated interest in the longer of two search timelines presented to them Monday by consultant Alma Advisory Group. Alma CEO Monica Santana Rosen spoke to the board at a meeting for the first time since board members chose the firmfrom a field of three finalists to lead the search process, paying $95,000 for Alma’s services.

Monday’s presentation included two potential timelines for the search, a result of Superintendent Carlton Jenkins announcing his retirement in early February.

The timeline that a majority of board members indicated support for during discussion includes community input in the fall, with planning done over the summer. That will have a final candidate chosen in March 2024, with the person likely to take over the role in summer 2024.

“This is a process you should do if you’re feeling that a longer timeframe may give you better stakeholder engagement, if you’re feeling that your current interim is able to stay through the end of the school year and can support any sort of stability and strengthening of the organization, potentially readying the organization for your next leader,” Rosen told the board.

The board selected retired longtime MMSD educator Lisa Kvistad as the interim last month. Board member Ali Muldrow said that choice helped her comfort level with the longer timeline.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Wisconsin DPI Superintendent’s priorities: Waukesha School District Letter



DRAKE BENTLEY:

In her letter, Underly stated, “Whether you realize it or not, you are, under the guise of protection, causing undue harm to students and staff. However, this damage is reversible. It is paramount that you change course now.”

Underly requested that the administration reverse the policy to “foster inclusive environments,” saying the controversial issues policy is “eliminating conversation on topics that you have in the past deemed controversial.”

Reversing the policy “will send a clear message to the residents of Waukesha and all of Wisconsin about the high priority you place on ensuring a well-rounded education for your students that reflect the pluralistic nature of our society,” Underly wrote.

Last week, the administration placed first-grade dual-language teacher Melissa Tempel on administrative leave after she spoke out about the district’s decision to ban “Rainbowland.”

Underly addressed Tempel’s leave in her letter by citing the text from the controversial issue policy. She said the district needs to re-evaluate its decision to place Tempel on leave and should recognize that “‘acknowledging the rights of (the district’s) professional staff members as citizens in a democratic society’ is, in fact, in the best interests of the School District of Waukesha.”

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




Madison School District Superintendent Jenkins a finalist for Tennessee district superintendent job



Scott Girard:

Two months after announcing his retirement, outgoing Madison Superintendent Carlton Jenkins has been named a finalist for the top job in a Tennessee school district.

Chalkbeat Tennessee, an education news website, reported Saturday that Jenkins is among three finalists to be the next Memphis-Shelby County Schools superintendent. The School Board there, however, was not happy with the list of three finalists selected by a search firm, including Jenkins.

“After a public meeting that at times turned tense, the board announced it would pause plans to interview finalists for the position until it receives the names of all 34 applicants,” Chalkbeat reported, adding that board members questioned the process rather than the credentials of any specific candidates during their Saturday meeting.

Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




A thin chat with taxpayer supported Wisconsin DPI Superintendent JilL Underly



Scott Girard:

It’s been a challenging few years for K-12 education, both locally and nationally. Wisconsin State Superintendent Jill Underly is nonetheless “optimistic” about what’s ahead for the field.

“I think people are coming together, realizing that if we want to improve the lives of all Wisconsinites and especially the kids who are going to be the future leaders of the state, we need to all come together to solve these problems,” Underly said, as she reflected on 2022. “I see that reflected in a budget, I see it reflected in the referendums that our communities have passed, I see it in the policies that our stakeholders are proposing.

“I’m really, really optimistic about it in the long run.”

Notes and links on Jill Underly.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister Keeps Covid Records Secret



Ray Carter:

In July 2020, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister unveiled a school COVID plan so restrictive it would have mandated closure of all schools across an 1,834-square-mile county when as few as four active COVID cases were identified.

The State Board of Education declined Hofmeister’s request to implement that plan as a mandate, but thanks to state health records Oklahomans can still know what would have happened if her plan had been adopted as a mandate and maintained. State data shows that schools in every county in Oklahoma would have been mandated or pressured to cease in-person instruction for more than half of the 76-week period from Sept. 24, 2020, to March 1, 2022.

What Oklahomans do not know is how Hofmeister’s plan was developed and why she chose such low thresholds to impose school closures that are now linked with severe learning loss.

For nearly a year, Hofmeister’s office has not responded to an open-records request for her email communications regarding COVID. Hofmeister’s refusal to provide transparency contrasts with the actions of at least one other statewide officeholder who publicly released thousands of emails and hours of recordings related to state-government COVID response.

Instead, Hofmeister’s inaction mirrors the approach taken by former officeholders criticized by a state open-records organization.

One national expert on government transparency said delayed responses to open-records requests are often a red flag.

“People in government, when they don’t want to talk about what they’ve been doing, generally speaking there is a reason why they don’t want to talk with you about it,” said Mark Tapscott, an award-winning journalist who was admitted to the National Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame in 2006 and continues to cover Congress for The Epoch Times. “And it’s probably not something they want to see published in the media. That’s a good rule of thumb.”




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



Paul Hill & Kate Destler:

The solutions will require new modes of spending, performance measurement, and school oversight, as well as much greater flexibility in teacher hiring, training, and work. Superintendents and school-board leaders can’t make these changes all by themselves. They’ll need serious help and new thinking from governors, state legislators, the federal government, and philanthropy.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




Commentary from the Wisconsin DPI Superintendent



Jonah Beleckis:

They’re going to have to get away from the notion that we’re using this money to reward schools that were open for in-person instruction. Maybe we can use that $77 million for after-school programming, for tutoring, for learning loss. That’s what we need to do.

Notes and links on Jill Underly.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Rhetoric, amidst long term, disastrous reading results



Rory Linnane:

Though the position is technically nonpartisan, Underly’s campaign was heavily funded by the Democratic Party in a race that saw unprecedented spending. Her campaign spent seven times that of her opponent, former Brown Deer Schools Superintendent Deborah Kerr.

The only action Underly announced Thursday was the creation of a literacy task force to research and advise educators on effective strategies for teaching reading, an issue that has been contentious enough to be called the “reading wars.”

Curiously, Underly campaigned on eliminating Wisconsin’s one teacher content knowledge requirement: elementary reading (Foundations of Reading).

This, amidst our long term disastrous reading results.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.




Commentary on the 2021 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Superintendent election



Scott Girard:

[I have received 3 text messages and a door knock from a paid lit drop person, for one of the candidates. Guess?]

13-1 Special interest $pending for Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Candidate Jill Underly, running against Deborah Kerr.

In that same forum, Kerr outlined a plan to decentralize the Department of Public Instruction by creating offices around the state and making it a “customer service” instead of “regulatory” agency. She also questioned Underly’s support beyond unions.

“I am beholden to kids and families and educators, in that order,” she said. “My opponent is beholden to teachers’ unions.”

Kerr’s campaign has seen controversy since immediately after finishing second in the primary. The day after the primary, she deleted her Twitter account after sending a tweet in response to a post asking people generally to recall the first time they were called the N-word.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.




Wisconsin Superintendent candidate Jill Underly accused of ‘hypocrisy’ for sending her children to private school



Daniel Bice:

No one has been a bigger promoter of public schools during the race for state school superintendent than Jill Underly. 

That was, no doubt, a large part of the reason that Underly, the Pecatonica school superintendent, has won the endorsement of state and local teachers unions.

But back when it was her decision to send her two children to school when she lived in Madison, Underly went private. 

Her campaign has confirmed that she chose to send her kids to St. James Catholic School in Madison during the 2013-’14 and 2014-’15 terms rather than Leopold Elementary, the low-performing neighborhood school in Fitchburg. 

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.




Candidates for Wisconsin state school superintendent clash on leadership, vouchers



WISN:

“I am pro-kid. I do not support taking away a parent’s right to choose where their kid goes to school,” Kerr said. “The state superintendent cannot change these laws. So look at the Legislature. Does anyone really think the current legislature is going to massively roll back these policies? No. But I’m going to continue to be an advocate and equity champion for all kids.”

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




Top Contributors to the Candidates for Wisconsin School Superintendent



Wisconsin Democracy Campaign:

Seven candidates who want to be the state’s next top school chief in the upcoming spring elections collectively raised more than $200,000 last year.

The seven candidates will face off in the Feb. 16 primary. The top two finishers will vie for a four-year term as state school superintendent in the April 6 elections. The winner succeeds Carolyn Stanford Taylor, who is not running for election. Taylor was appointed state school superintendent in 2019 to fill out of the term of Tony Evers after he became governor.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the candidates and their 2020 fundraising:

Deborah Kerr, a retired Brown Deer School District superintendent, accepted $68,460 and had about $50,140 in her campaign account as of Dec. 31.

Sheila Briggs, an assistant state school superintendent, raised about $53,300 and had about $44,345 in her campaign coffers at year’s end.

Jill Underly, Pecatonica Area School District superintendent, raised about $38,330 and had about $20,525 in her campaign account as of Dec. 31.

Troy Gunderson, retired West Salem School District superintendent, raised $20,505 and had $13,240 in his campaign coffers on Dec. 31.

Shandowlyon Hendricks-Williams, director of Gov. Tony Evers’ Milwaukee office, raised about $18,320 and had about $7,840 in her campaign account at year’s end.

Joe Fenrick, a Fond du Lac High School science teacher, raised about $8,600 and had about $8,575 in his campaign account on Dec. 31.

Steve Krull, principal of the Garland Elementary School in Milwaukee, raised about $3,460 and had about $2,450 in his campaign account as of Dec. 31.

Here are the contributors who gave $1,000 or more to the candidates in 2020, according to a preliminary review of their campaign finance reports. The employers of these contributors were identified by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign because state law no longer requires candidates to identify the employers of their large donors:

Kerr

Ted Kellner, of Mequon, retired founder of Fiduciary Management, and his wife, Mary, $5,000,

Gary and Janet Henseler, of Racine, owners of Accounting & Business Services, Inc., $5,000,

Michael Perrone, of Antioch, Ill., president of The Deli Source, and his wife, Karen, $5,000,

Cristal Bemont, of Redwood City, Calif., chief executive officer of Talend, about $1,900,

Patrick English, of Wauwatosa, chairman of Fiduciary Management, about $1,400,

Michael Kass, Brown Deer police chief, $1,000,

Kathy Wilson, an optometrist in Ringwood, Ill., $1,000,

The campaign committee of GOP State Sen. Alberta Darling, of River Hills, $1,000,

In addition to the contributions, Kerr loaned her campaign $21,000.

Briggs

Lillian Lowery, of Yardley, Penn., $1,000,

Katie Rainey, of Madison, a Department of Public Instruction director, $1,000,

Pamela Arp, of DeForest, retired, $1,000,

James Dahlberg, of Madison, University of Wisconsin emeritus professor of biochemistry, $1,000,

Anupam Mishra, Hillsborough, Calif., a director at Aspire Public Schools, $1,000,

Bonnie Dykman, of Monona, retired Madison public school teacher, $1,000.

In addition to the contributions, Briggs made about $3,000 in in-kind contributions and loans to her campaign.

Underly

Jill Gaskell, of Blanchardville, a Pecatonica school board member, $1,200,

Charles Semko, of Munster, Ind., $1,000,

Jeff Semko, a Crown Point, Ind. attorney, $1,000,

Kaye Gilbertson, of Barneveld, owner of J&R Underground, $1,000.

In addition to the contributions, Underly made loans and in-kind contributions to her campaign totaling about $11,200.

Gunderson

Del Gunderson, of Colfax, a retired accountant, $5,000,

Jill Gunderson, of West Salem, a retired teacher, $4,000,

Trevor Gunderson, a St. Paul, Minn. attorney, $1,500,

Cheryl Gunderson, a Minneapolis, Minn. paralegal, $1,000,

William Hubbard, of Monroe, a retired teacher, $1,000.

In addition to the contributions, Troy Gunderson made $2,480 in in-kind contributions to his campaign.

Hendricks-Williams

Doris Reaves, of Milwaukee, retired, $1,000.

In addition to the contribution, Hendricks-Williams contributed $10,000 to her campaign.

Fenrick

Fenrick made loans and contributions to his campaign totaling about $7,600.

Krull

Pamela Gustafson, Milwaukee public school teacher, $1,000.

More, here.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results




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



Liv Finne:

As reported in The Seattle Times, State Superintendent Reykdal said Washington’s children are receiving a “sh-tty” education right now. This highest education official in Washington state is openly acknowledging that kids are feeling “robbed” of the education we have promised them. The legislature needs to step in and help families with direct educational assistance.

Districts across the state have withdrawn education services from Washington’s families. According to the state superintendent’s office, only five percent of students live in districts where more than 75 percent of their students receive in-person instruction. Most district officials are providing only remote learning, and have shut down the child care services they provided families before the pandemic. To keep food on the table, many working families have been forced to pay for expensive child care.

Let’s review some specifics. In Seattle the average monthly cost of child care is $1,680. A family with two children is paying $3,360 a month for child care. I recently spoke to the father of two girls in the public schools. He and his wife are essential workers. They have been paying child care since the school shut down in March. His savings are being depleted, and his future, and that of his children, are in jeopardy.     

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Unions, political affiliation more predictive of virtual learning decision than COVID cases. The report.

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.




Public School Superintendent Who Warned Pod-Based Learning ‘Causes Inequities’ Is Sending His Own Kid to Private School



Robby Soave:

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) Superintendent Gregory Hutchings has always been proud to call himself a parent of two children who attend public school. Until recently, his website and Twitter biography both made reference to his children’s enrollment in ACPS.

But now, Hutchings has pulled one of his kids from ACPS—which remains all-virtual, to the frustration of many parents—and instead enrolled the child in a private Catholic high school currently following a hybrid model: some distance learning, and some in-person education.

“I can confirm that our family made a decision to change my daughter’s school this school year,” said Hutchings in a statement to Theogony, the student newspaper of ACPS’s T.C. Williams High School, which first broke the news. “Decisions like these are very personal family decisions and are not taken lightly. This in no way impacts my absolute lifelong, commitment to public education, to which I remain as personally dedicated as ever.”

The superintendent’s office confirmed the statement in an email to Reason.




After a turbulent search process, MMSD’s first Black superintendent takes charge



Benjamin Farrell:

On July 10, after another, much shorter search, MMSD settled on UW-Madison alumnus and former associate principal of Madison Memorial High School Dr. Carlton Jenkins to be the district’s first Black superintendent. Since his time at Madison Memorial, Jenkinshas held high-ranking positions in school districts in New Hope, Minnesota; Beloit, Wisconsin; and Atlanta, Georgia. Madisonians, especially the signatories of the open letter to MMSD, were extremely relieved to have someone they saw as competent and experienced in the role. 

“I’m just happy someone’s working,” said Marcus Allen, Rev. of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and co-author of the Madison365 op-ed. “First and foremost I’m a parent, and someone needs to be in that job, especially right now. And I’m very happy it’s Mr. Jenkins.”

In his first press conference, Jenkins repeatedly referenced the strength of community as a means to get through the coming semester, which was slated to begin online.

“We will not put at risk any student, any staff or any parent, any community person coming into our schools,” Jenkins said.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




A summary of community feedback (website) on Madison’s recent Superintendent candidates



Scott Girard:

Records released by the Madison Metropolitan School District show feedback from staff and community members included plenty of praise and criticism for the two finalists for the district’s superintendent position this summer.

Both Carlton Jenkins and Carol Kelley received positive feedback from many who filled out the forms, which asked respondents to answer two questions for each: strengths and areas of growth.

“I was not expecting much from a candidate that would be applying at this point in the year — but I really do feel as if Madison has found our next superintendent,” one person wrote about Jenkins.

That respondent was correct, as Jenkins, at the time the superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools in Minnesota, was ultimately chosen and began Aug. 4. Kelley remains the superintendent of the Oak Park Elementary School District 97 outside Chicago.

Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes

Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, based on this comparison of 2017 sales.

Fall 2020 Administration Referendum slides.

(Note: “Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a fall 2019 referendum presentation.)

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [July, 2020]

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21
1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21
2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +15.9% +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
4. Total expenditures per pupil: +17.8% +19.0%(increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 202
6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020
Sources:
1. DPI WISEdash for 2014-15 enrollment; district budget book for projected 2020-21 enrollment
2. & 3.: District budget books
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/data/)

– via a kind reader (July 9, 2020 update).

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




New Madison Superintendent Adds an elementary administrator



Logan Wroge:

“I have to address that because if you look at the data on the elementary level, we need to focus on literacy, we need to focus on numeracy, we need to focus on our special ed, our (English-language learners),” Jenkins said in the interview.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




Hard Questions: An interview with Madison Superintendent Carlton Jenkins



via Simpson Street Free Press

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




New taxpayer supported Madison K-12 superintendent to prioritize students’ mental, emotional health



Scott Girard:

The new Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent stressed the importance of community buy-in during his introductory press conferenceWednesday.

Carlton Jenkins, hired in early July, began in the role Aug. 4. He said he will focus on improving reading abilities, improving student mental health and rebuilding trust during his first year on the job, stressing the importance of conversations with the community.

“I’m not saying that we’re going to agree on everything,” Jenkins said. But “we’re not going to shy away from having tough conversations.”

Amid the ongoing pandemic, the former Memorial High School associate principal said social and emotional learning for students will be especially important, and the “community’s going to be big during this first year” in supporting students’ needs.

The board hired Jenkins over the other finalist, Carol Kelley of Oak Park School District 97 in Illinois, in its second search of the school year. Its choice from the first search, Matthew Gutierrez, rescinded his acceptance and chose to remain in his Texas school district to help it recover from the pandemic.

Logan Wroge:

A self-described “data geek,” Jenkins said he enjoys using the little bit of free time he has reading, spending time in the mountains and playing with his grandson.

“I would like to say thank you to the Madison community for demonstrating trust in myself to lead this wonderful staff as we continue on our journey and try to build on the momentum that has already started here,” Jenkins said.

New school year

As a top priority, Jenkins said Madison needs to “unapologetically” look at ways to improve reading outcomes in a district with wide racial achievement gaps; 9% of Black students scored proficient or higher in reading on a state exam in 2018-19 compared with 57% of white students.

Costs continue to grow for local, state and federal taxpayers in the K-12 space, as well:

Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes:

Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, based on this comparison of 2017 sales.

Fall 2020 Administration Referendum slides.

(Note: “Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a fall 2019 referendum presentation.)

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [July, 2020]

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21
1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21
2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +15.9% +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
4. Total expenditures per pupil: +17.8% +19.0%(increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 202
6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020
Sources:
1. DPI WISEdash for 2014-15 enrollment; district budget book for projected 2020-21 enrollment
2. & 3.: District budget books
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/data/)

– via a kind reader (July 9, 2020 update).

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




Read the Letter GOP Legislators Sent to Superintendents Pressuring Them to Reopen Schools



Upnorthnews:

A still unknown number of school superintendents across Wisconsin are receiving a letter from top Assembly Republicans –the people who control the purse strings to state education funds – strongly urging them to consider reopening their schools rather than opting for virtual learning this fall, according to a copy of the letter obtained by UpNorthNews.

The letter is being criticized as a power grab and a potential risk to educators’ and students’ health.

Dated July 29, the letter is signed by 47 of the Assembly’s 63 Republican members, including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester; Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna; and Assistant Majority Leader Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma.

In it they say the state is “minimally obligated” to provide a sound education to state students and ask the superintendents “to consider opening your doors this fall to provide every student with an in-class experience.”




Madison Superintendent hire Carlton Jenkins tells Black leaders he’s ‘ready to go to work’



Logan Wroge:

Former School Board member James Howard, who also served as president, said the district’s No. 1 challenge is the low reading outcomes for Black children, where only 9% of scored proficient on a state assessment.

“Before our kids can succeed academically … we have to do something about our reading scores,” Howard said.

Jenkins said if the “collective wisdom” of the community, the district and the university can’t change the outcomes for students of color “then I think we have to blame ourselves,” adding accountability starts with him.

“This is one time we don’t have a honeymoon period. We got to get to work,” he said.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




“We know best”: Madison School Board approves superintendent contract before it becomes public



Logan Wroge:

The Madison School Board approved a contract Monday to hire a Minnesota school administrator as the next superintendent before releasing details of the agreement to the public.

That’s a change from how the board handled the hiring process for its first choice for superintendent — who later backed out of the job — in February. This time, the contract with Carlton Jenkins, superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools in suburban Minneapolis, was not made public before the board unanimously approved the agreement during a special board meeting.

Jenkins, who is in his fifth year leading the Robbinsdale schools, will make $272,000 annually. The two-year contract will automatically renew for a third year unless the board chooses otherwise. Jenkins, 54, will be Madison’s first Black superintendent. He first day on the job will be Aug. 4.

District spokesman Tim LeMonds said in an email Jenkins is “not an official employee of the district until the contract is voted on,” adding Madison is “one of very few districts that publicly posts contracts.”

LeMonds also said the district is “not required to make a contract public until it is ratified by the board.” The contract was emailed to reporters soon after the vote.

A contract with Seguin, Texas, superintendent Matthew Gutierrez was publicly available before the board voted on Feb. 3 to approve that agreement.

Scott Girard:

The pay is more than what was agreed upon with Matthew Gutierrez, who was hired in an earlier search this year but rescinded his acceptance amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Gutierrez would have been paid $250,000.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




Carlton Jenkins is named Madison’s next K-12 Superintendent



Scott Girard:

Carlton Jenkins said moving to work in the Madison Metropolitan School District would be like “going home.”

One of two finalists to become the district’s next superintendent, Jenkins was an associate principal at Memorial High School in 1993 and earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Throughout the day Tuesday, the Robbinsdale School District superintendent spoke with students and staff via video, interviewed with the School Board and participated in a community Q and A session on Facebook Live.

“You will have a superintendent, if you select me, that comes here unapologetically knowing and loving Madison,” Jenkins said. “I am a Badger through and through.”

The School Board announced Jenkins and Oak Park Elementary School District 97 superintendent Carol Kelley as finalists last Thursday. After both interview this week, the board will deliberate in closed session Thursday.

Those who have thoughts on the choice can submit comments on the district’s website by 11 a.m. Thursday. To leave comments on Jenkins, visit mmsd.org/jenkins. Kelley’s community Q and A will be 7:15 p.m. Wednesday night.

The district’s timeline for a hire outlines a potential August start date.

Logan Wroge:

Carlton Jenkins will become the next superintendent of the Madison School District, returning to the city where he started his administrative career in education more than 25 years ago.

The Madison School Board announced Friday it chose Jenkins, superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools in suburban Minneapolis, as the permanent leader of the Madison School District. He will be the first Black superintendent of Madison.

He starts the job Aug. 4.

In a second search to fill the superintendent vacancy after the initial pick fell through this spring, the board opted to go with Jenkins, 54, over the other finalist Carol Kelley, a superintendent of the Oak Park Elementary School District 97 in Illinois.

“I speak for everyone on the Board when I say that we are very excited to share this news with our community,” Board President Gloria Reyes said in a statement.

Jenkins received a Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy analysis from UW-Madison in 2009 and a master’s degree in educational administration from the university in 1993.

Related:

2013 – 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration




Madison K-12 Spending up 19% from 2014-2020



MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [May, 2020]

1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21
2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
4. Total expenditures per pupil: +19.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 2020
6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020

Sources:
1. DPI WISEdash for 2014-15 enrollment; district budget book for projected 2020-21 enrollment
2. & 3.: District budget books
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/data/)
6. Moody’s (https://www.moodys.com/)

Much more on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s spending, here.

Notes and links on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent search.

2013-2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.




Madison Superintendent Search Rhetoric



The Capital Times:

The decision by Matthew Gutiérrez to back out after his selection as the next superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District confirmed that he was not the right choice for this district at this time.

Now, the school board must make a better choice. That is unlikely to happen if the board conducts a national search and selects a superintendent who is looking to climb a “career ladder” from one district to the next.

The union that represents teachers and school employees, Madison Teachers Inc., makes a good point when is says that the board should focus on local candidates.

Scott Girard:

Gutierrez was one of three finalists, all of whom were people of color and all of whom were from out of state. The other two finalists were both black, and some black community leaders criticized the Gutierrez hire in a February letter, suggesting the district needed a black leader. Menéndez Coller is a member of the Latino Consortium for Action, which replied with its own letter in support of Gutierrez and asking the community to give him a chance.

“I want a Superintendent that understands equity and understands how to roll out specific initiatives that will allow Black kids, Hmong kids, Latino kids, kids of color move forward,” Menéndez Coller wrote in her email Monday.

Mirilli said the public discussion around the letters got her thinking about the challenges any new superintendent would face in Madison, but specifically one of color. She said that while it’s important to her and others to have a leader who has a different “personal experience” than has been represented in MMSD’s leadership in the past, it’s just as important for that person to “understand that they will have some blind spots.”

Related: Jennifer Cheatham (2013-2019) and the Madison Experience.

Notes, links and commentary on Madison’s planned 2020 tax and spending increase referendum plans.

“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”.

Madison has long spent far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts.

2019: WHY ARE MADISON’S STUDENTS STRUGGLING TO READ?




Sacramento City Schools Superintendent Aguilar Takes a Big Pay Increase While Schools Closed



Katy Grimes:

In March 2019, California Globe reported Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and seven other administrators spent more than $35,000 to attend a six-day conference at the Harvard Business School, while the district teetered on the verge of insolvency, and under the threat of state takeover as it struggled with a $35 million budget gap.

Flash forward one year and SCUSD is still faltering; the district threatened to pink slip teachers right before the March 3 Primary Election. This is likely how the school district managed to convince voters within the Sacramento school district to vote to authorize the district to sell $750 million of bonds to improve schools’ facilities.

While this infusion of funding may stave off the bleeding for now, the Sacramento City Teachers Association just reported, “Superintendent Aguilar has taken a significant pay increase after stating last year that he would not accept a salary increase while the District had significant financial issues.”

In a March 25 email sent to union members titled, “SCUSD to Present Its Draft Plan for Distance Learning Tomorrow (Thursday)District Refuses to Pay Day-to-Day Subs, as the Superintendent Takes His Pay Increase,” the union questions district priorities.

Notably, the district is refusing “to pay short-term, day-to-day substitutes as required by Governor Newsom’s March 13 Executive Order,” during the shutdown of schools over the coronavirus crisis, which SCTA says is “saving the District $44,000 per day or more than $800,000 per month. We asked the District what it intended to spend the money on and received no response.”

Former Madison School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham is the new director of Harvard’s “Public Education Leadership Project”.

The article referenced this $32,000 course [PDF]




Open Records Response: “Community Leader & Stakeholder” meeting with Madison Superintendent Candidates



On January 21, 2020, I sent this email to board@madison.k12.wi.us

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 February 13, 2020:

Has my open records request gone missing?

School Board member Cris Carusi emailed me, twice that day, kindly following up on this request.

I received an email on February 18, 2020 from Barbara Osborn that my “request has been shared with our legal department”.

I received this response from Sherrice M Perry on March 13, 2020:

Dear Mr. James Zellmer,

Please accept this email as the Madison Metropolitan School District’s (the “District”) response to your public records request for “a list of invitees and participants in last week’s ‘community leader and stakeholder’ meetings with the candidates.” Attached below are the records that are most responsive to your request.

With regard to the requested records, the District redacted portions of the attached records consistent with the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA; 34 CFR 99.3 et seq.) and Wis. Stat. § 118.125(1)(d). The requested records contain “personally identifiable information.” Pursuant to FERPA, “personally identifiable information” is defined as “information requested by a person who the educational agency or institution reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the record relates” or “information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student that would allow a reasonable person in the school community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty.” (34 CFR 99 3). According to these definitions, the District determined that the redacted documents contain information regarding very small populations (e.g. one or two students) from a distinct group or affiliation and thus, a “reasonable person in the school community” could identify the students who were referenced in the record. Nonetheless, by providing you the record with only limited redactions, the District is in full compliance with Wis. Stat. 19.36(6).

Please note: The denials, in the form of the redacted material referenced above, are subject to review in an action for mandamus under Wis. Stat. 19.37(1), or by application to the local district attorney or Attorney General. See Wis. Stat. 19.35(4)(b).

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the District’s Public Information Officer, Timothy LeMonds, at (608) 663-1903.

PDF Attachment.

Much more on the 2019 Madison School District Superintendent Search, here.

2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before:

On November 7, Superintendent Art Rainwater made his annual report to the Board of Education on progress toward meeting the district’s student achievement goal in reading. As he did last fall, the superintendent made some interesting claims about the district’s success in closing the academic achievement gap “based on race”. 

According to Mr. Rainwater, the place to look for evidence of a closing achievement gap is the comparison of the percentage of African American third graders who score at the lowest level of performance on statewide tests and the percentage of other racial groups scoring at that level. He says that, after accounting for income differences, there is no gap associated with race at the lowest level of achievement in reading. He made the same claim last year, telling the Wisconsin State Journal on September 24, 2004, “for those kids for whom an ability to read would prevent them from being successful, we’ve reduced that percentage very substantially, and basically, for all practical purposes, closed the gap”. Last Monday, he stated that the gap between percentages scoring at the lowest level “is the original gap” that the board set out to close.

Unfortunately, that is not the achievement gap that the board aimed to close. 

2006: “They’re all Rich White Kids, and they’ll do just fine, NOT!”

2009: An emphasis on adult employment.

2013: What will be different, this time?

Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, 2015:

Shortly after the office was proposed, Cheatham said non-district-authorized charter schools have “no consistent record of improving education for children, but they do drain resources from public schools, without any control in our local community or school board.”

Rather than invest in what we know works in education, this proposal puts resources in strategies with mixed results at the expense of our public school students,” she said in May 2015

2011: A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter school.


The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, lead by Governor Elect, Tony Evers, has waived Massachusetts’ style elementary teacher content knowledge requirements for thousands of teachers. 

Compare Madison, WI high school graduation rates and academic achievement data.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.




Ohio graduates won’t have to be “proficient” in math or English, under state superintendent’s plan



Patrick O’Donnell:

High school students won’t have to be “proficient” in either math or English to graduate, under minimum required test scores proposed by State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria.

They will just need to know enough to do the most basic of jobs.

New high school graduation requirements passed this summer require most students to show “competency” in math and English through scores on Ohio’s Algebra I and English II tests to qualify for a diploma. The new requirements start with the class 2023, this year’s high school freshmen.

“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.




Commentary on a 2020 Madison School Board Candidate appearance



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 and the Madison School District, identified areas they would cut in a funding shortage, and made their pitches before the Feb. 18 primary.

Ball, director of academic success at Edgewood College, said she wants to ensure an effective transition for the new superintendent and prepare the community for two potential referendums this fall.

Gomez Schmidt, director of enrichment for Galin Education, a college preparation and admissions assistance company, said her focuses include increasing transparency and ensuring schools are safe for students and teachers.

Pearson, a revenue agent for the state Department of Revenue, said some of her priorities would be finding ways to expand 4-year-old kindergarten to full-day and strengthening partnerships with businesses.

The top two vote-getters in the February primary will compete in the April 7 election for Seat 6, which is being vacated by incumbent Kate Toews. The term is three years.

Candidates were asked what they would do to fix a lack of transparency from the district some people perceive and how they would go about rebuilding the community’s trust.

Gomez Schmidt talked about making sure the board has enough time and information to analyze important decisions so it is not rushed. She also said information about new proposals should be given to the public in a more timely manner.

Pearson cited the recent community forums with the superintendent finalists as good examples of the board being transparent.

She also said groups like the district’s Black Excellence Coalition, which is largely made up of community members, are good outlets for people to share their thoughts.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Meanwhile, Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 district continues to plan for a substantial tax & spending increase referendum this fall.




New Madison Schools superintendent’s $250K+ contract up for vote Monday



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 “reasonable temporary living expenses” up to Nov. 1, 2020.

Gutiérrez was announced last Friday as the School Board’s choice among its three finalists for the open superintendent position, currently filled by interim Jane Belmore.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Notes and links on previous Superintendent searches.

2013; 2019 Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.

Meanwhile, Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 district continues to plan for a substantial tax & spending increase referendum this fall.




A competitive Wisconsin DPI superintendent election in 2021?



The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction:

State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor announced her decision today not to run in the 2021 election for state superintendent of public instruction. Gov. Tony Evers appointed Stanford Taylor to the office in January 2019, and her term ends July 2021.

“I am honored to have been appointed by Governor Evers to lead the Department of Public Instruction and will always be grateful to the governor for the trust he placed in naming me as his successor,” Stanford Taylor said. “I promised Governor Evers I would commit to completing the 2 1/2 years left in his term as state superintendent and to continue the work we had started together at the DPI, and I will maintain that commitment while I serve this office.”

Stanford Taylor says she is making her decision public at this time so others interested in being the state’s chief education officer and leading the department will have sufficient time to organize their campaigns. The state superintendent says she hopes her successor will continue to maintain a focus on educational equity and ensure all of Wisconsin’s students graduate college and career ready.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, long lead by our new Governor, Tony Evers, has granted thousands of mulligans to elementary reading teachers unable to pass the Foundations of Reading content knowledge examination (based on Massachusetts MTEL).




Commentary on the Madison School Board’s Superintendent Search Finalists



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 educational leadership at the College of St. Rose in Albany, New York. She previously was the superintendent in the City School District of Albany and earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Kent State University.

George Eric Thomas, deputy superintendent and chief turnaround officer for the Georgia State Board of Education. He previously was an administrator with the University of Virginia and in Cincinnati Public Schools, earning his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Concordia University.

“During this process, the Board was very fortunate to have an incredibly diverse and impressive pool of candidates participate, making this a very difficult decision,” School Board president Gloria Reyes said in a news release. “With a focus on how candidates aligned with the Leadership Profile, the Board was able to select three phenomenal finalists, all with deep roots in education and instruction, and today we are excited to introduce them to our community.”

The candidates will each visit Madison next month for a tour of the district and finish their day here with a public meeting from 6-7:30 p.m. The board is expected to make a hire in February, with the new leader starting on or before July 1.

A survey designed by consultant BWP and Associates this fall helped develop a “leadership profile” desired in the next superintendent based on community responses.

Top qualities reflected in the survey included someone who has experience with diverse populations, understands MMSD’s commitment to high levels of academic achievement for all students and is a visionary team builder. Respondents also indicated personal qualities like confidence, dedication, sincerity, honesty, organization and a background as an educator were important.

The district had hoped to announce the finalists on Monday of this week, but delayed the announcement at the last minute. MMSD spokesman Tim LeMonds wrote in an email Monday it was to give more time for reviewing candidates, though he clarified there would not be a board meeting.

“Due to MMSD being fortunate enough to have an extremely strong pool of highly qualified candidates, the MMSD board faces a very difficult decision on what candidates to move forward to the next stage in the process,” LeMonds wrote. “As a result, the board decided it was in their best interest to add additional time for candidate review, and has set a new decision deadline for this Thursday, after the holiday break.”

Logan Wroge:

To help in the search process, the School Board hired an Illinois-based consultant. BWP and Associates conducted a community engagement and feedback process this fall, advertised the position, screened candidates and recommended semifinalists for the job.

The semifinalists were interviewed by the School Board last week during closed session meetings.

In the fall, BWP held 35 meetings with different groups and organizations, politicians, and community leaders to solicit feedback on the search. An online survey also received more than 1,400 responses.

Among the attributes sought in the next superintendent were being an excellent communicator, having a strong commitment to racial equity, and having experience as a classroom teacher, according to a report from BWP based on the feedback.

In all, 31 people applied for the superintendent position. During the last hiring process, 65 candidates were screened before the board chose Cheatham in 2013.

Notes and links on previous Madison Superintendent search experiences.

The taxpayer supported Madison School Board’s practices appear to conflict with Wisconsin open meeting notice requirements.

Madison taxpayers spend far more than most K-12 school districts. Yet, we have long tolerated disastrousreading results.

Madison K-12 administrators are planning a substantial tax & spending increase referendum for 2020.

Commentary

Madison School District projects loss of 1,100 students over next five years, yet 2020 referendum planning continues.

Madison School Board approves purchase of $4 million building for special ed programs

2013: What will be different, this time? 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience




Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School Board’s GoVernance Plans: Replacement member and SuperintendenT search



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 move through the process pretty rapidly. We can still do a really transparent process and move quickly through it.”

Under board policy, a vacant seat must be filled by appointment within 60 days of a resignation.

Public notice will be posted in the Wisconsin State Journal from July 12 to July 19. Applicants’ submissions will be publicly available on July 19 before the board votes to appoint a new member on July 22.

“I feel like this timeline is really tight,” board member Cris Carusi said, noting the quick turnaround between applications being due and a vote on the candidate three days later. “This feels way too compressed to make a good decision and I would argue for stretching it out even another week.”

Though there was no vote on the timeline, Reyes said that if the board feels it needs more time to review applications it could explore that option later in the month.

Anyone 18 years or older who resides in the Madison School District can apply to be considered by submitting a letter of interest to the district detailing what qualities they can bring to the School Board, a statement on three issues the district faces and how the prospective board member would address them.

Several elections are on the horizon for the seat over the next two years. Though Burke’s term would have lasted until 2021, whoever is appointed would have to decide by late December if they will run in the April 2020 election to finish out the last year of Burke’s term. Terms on the Madison School Board are three years, but whoever is appointed to Seat 2 must run to complete the one-year term before being able to run for a full three years.

Logan Wroge:

Board member Kate Toews said it “would be very beneficial” having an applicant with experience in referendums or hiring a superintendent.

The last time the School Board appointed someone to fill a vacancy was in 1997 when Nancy Mistele resigned because she was moving out of the School District. Sixteen people applied to replace her.

David Blaska, a former Dane County Board member who lost his School Board race this year to Ali Muldrow, said Monday that he will apply to fill the empty seat after saying Friday he would not.

The conservative blogger said he has “no hope of being named.”

“Still, one must fight the good fight,” he said.

Of the other two candidates who ran in the April election and lost, TJ Mertz said he is not interested in applying and Kaleem Caire said Friday he had not had enough time to make a decision. An attempt to reach Caire Monday night was not successful.

Related:

Mary Burke

2013 – 2019: What will be different, this time?

Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results




Madison School District taps Jane Belmore (again) to serve as interim superintendent



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 end of August. Belmore will serve in the interim role until the board appoints a permanent superintendent, which she said will likely be in June 2020.

“I’m excited to be back,” Belmore said in an interview Friday. “As I’ve watched from afar, I think there’s a really strong leadership team here. They’ve got a great new strategic plan and framework that they’re working from. And I really just wanted to come in and be able to support the teachers and principals as they move forward and support the board as they start the process of searching for a new superintendent.”

Notes and links on Madison Superintendent searches

Jane Belmore notes and links




Public, students speak out against Grand Rapids schools’ online education, superintendent scales back plan



Kym Reinstadler:

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 fallen state of experts: How can governments learn from their expert failings?



Roger Koppl:

If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you’re not paying attention to the experts. Epidemiologists tell us that if we do not hide in our houses with the door securely locked, hundreds of thousands will surely perish. Economists tell us that if we do not return immediately to work, civilisation will collapse. Good luck figuring out which expert has the better advice. Is it any wonder a harried Michael Gove blurted out (1:02-1:15), “I think the people in this country have had enough of experts from organisations with acronyms saying they know what is best and getting it consistently wrong.”

Expert fear-mongering did not begin with the pandemic or Project Fear. In 1922, John Maynard Keynes warned that “squalor follows” if we do not make the economist “king.” Daniel Defoe complained of the “calculators” and “quack-conjurers” whose fear-mongering “kept up their trade” in London’s plague year of 1665. He shrewdly observed, “And had the people not been kept in fright about that, the wizards would presently have been rendered useless, and their craft had been at an end.”

Defoe complained of quacks and wizards, whereas today’s epidemiologists and economists have rigorous scientific training, mathematical models, advanced statistics, and careful evidence all going for them. True. But today’s scientists are still people. And that means they respond to incentives just like everyone else. The issue is not lying and cheating. Sure, some modern experts are quack-conjurers who lie and cheat. Let’s not mistake a white lab coat for a golden halo. But that’s not the main thing. Even when the experts are trying to be sober, scientific, and scrupulously neutral, they will feel certain pressures.

Think if it were you. You’re an epidemiologist and the prime minister calls to ask you how many will die if we don’t have a lockdown. What do you tell him?  You can’t just look up the number. The pandemic is only now taking off and your knowledge of it is correspondingly sketchy. It’s hard to say. Every number is a guess. If you give the prime minister a low number, there will be no lockdown. What if he accepts your low number and we have no lockdown?  Maybe everything will be fine. But maybe there will be many more deaths than you predicted. You will get blamed. People will shame you as a bad scientist.  And, because you are a good and decent person, you will feel guilty. Blame, shame, and guilt. This is a bad outcome.

If you give him a high number, there will be lockdown. No one will ever be able to say that your estimate was too high, because your estimate assumed no lockdown. Even if a lot of people die during the lockdown you can say, “See? Think how much worse it would have been without the lockdown.” Thus, if you give the prime minister a high number, you will get credit for saving lives. You will be able to take pride in your sterling reputation as a scientist. And you won’t have to feel guilty about lost lives. Praise, pride, and innocence. This is a good outcome. The logic of the situation is clear. You have every incentive to predict doom and gloom if no lockdown is ordered.

It may be that the famous epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who, until recently, was an important member of SAGE, has felt such pressures in his career. At one point in the pandemic he told a columnist for the New York Timesthat 1.1 million deaths was the “best case” for the US.  In 2001 he blasted as “unjustifiably optimistic” a study suggesting that mad cow disease deaths “may peak at 100 cases per year in Britain and kill no more than a few thousand people in coming decades.” Rejecting this relatively optimistic view, he said deaths are in the long-term likely to be much higher at something only slightly less than 136,000.  The true number as of June 2014 seems to have been 177.  In 2005, he was alarmed by bird flu (H5N1). “Around 40 million people died in 1918 Spanish flu outbreak,” he told the Guardian. “There are six times more people on the planet now so you could scale it up to around 200 million people probably.” That’s a lot more than the World Health Organisation’s estimate for cumulative worldwide deaths, 2003-2020 of, ahem, 455.

Notes and links on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent search.

2013-2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.




Madison School Board May Retreat



Madison School Board:

Meeting Objectives

● Understand Applicable Legal Statutes that pertain to School Boards

● Develop a planned strategy to successfully transition to a new leadership paradigm with the MMSD

school board, superintendent, administration/staff, parents/guardians, and community creating a dynamic school community team.

Legal notice and zoom link.

Notes and links on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent search.

2013-2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.




Resisting Open Records Requests at the taxpayer supported Madison School District



Scott Girard:

The Cap Times submitted an open records request the morning of Jan. 17, the deadline for residents to submit feedback through an online form, asking for “any and all public feedback on the Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent finalists, submitted online or via forms at the public forums, as of 8 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17.”

In late February, the district initially denied the request entirely, citing concerns about privacy and limiting people’s willingness to participate in future public input opportunities. The Cap Times said it was going to run a story about the denial and asked for comment, and the decision was reversed. The records took nearly two more months to deliver as staff redacted names and emails from the forms and then the pandemic delayed that work.

Notes and links on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent search.

2013-2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison experience.

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.




Notes on redistributed state taxpayer funds and the madison School District’s budget



Abbey Machtig:

State aid payments are influenced by factors like enrollment, district spending and local property values. Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services Bob Soldern told the Wisconsin State Journal via email the district had been planning to receive about $50 million in state support.

Nichols said she doesn’t think the additional money from the state dramatically changes the district’s financial situation.

“I don’t think for the long haul in terms of the future forecasting of our budget … there will be a huge shift,” she said.

Statewide, the general aid paid to school districts for 2024-25 totals $5.6 billion, according to DPI. Nearly 70% of districts are estimated to receive more general aid from the state, while about 30% are estimated to receive less. Eight districts are estimated to have no change in aid.

DPI is anticipating “greater than usual volatility” in the estimates due to inaccuracies and delays in financial reporting from Milwaukee Public Schools.

The state aid amounts will be finalized in October.

——-

John Jagler:

Dear Milwaukee media. Stop saying MPS is going to “lose” $81 million this year. Or that aid will be cut. It makes it seem like the district is a victim. Instead try: MPS received $81 million more than it should have because of incompetence and is now being held accountable.

Corrinne Hess:

Quinton Klabon, research director with the conservative Institute for Reforming Government, said solving the budget gap will be painful. 

“No cut will be invisible, so every curriculum purchase, every contract, and every staffing decision must justify itself going forward,” Klabon said. “How MPS handles these summer months will determine whether students get the education and services they deserve. Rebuilding trust with parents begins now.”

State aid is the largest form of state support for Wisconsin public schools

DPI calculates general school aids through a formula that uses property values in the district, enrollment and district spending.

The current estimates are based on the 2023-25 biennial budget and pupil count and budget data reported by school districts to the DPI. 

Due to previously reported delays in financial data reporting by Milwaukee Public Schools, the DPI anticipates greater than usual volatility in these estimates.

“Figures used in this estimate may change by a greater than usual amount for the certification of general school aids,” according to a DPI press release. “The department therefore encourages caution when utilizing this estimate.”

Statewide, estimated general school aids for 2024-25 total $5.58 billion, a 4.2 percent increase from 2023-24. 

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Madison’s K-12 Governance: recent calendar activity



With the arrival of our latest K-12 Superintendent, I thought readers might have interest in recent calendar activity. On 4 June, 2024, I made a public records request of the taxpayer funded Madison School District:

“digital copy of Superintendent Joe Gothard’s calendar from his first meetings (April?) through 4 June, 2024.

In addition, I write to request the same for Nichelle Nichols, Board President from 1 January 2024 to 4 June, 2024.

Digital screenshots of these requests in png or jpg format are fine.”

I received the response today. Nichelle Nichols and Joe Gothard.

Superintendent Gothard’s May to June weekly calendar screens:

——

2013: What will be different, this time? 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on Madison K-12 Governance and outcomes



David Blaska

Contrast that with a public school system here in Madison in which so-called safety monitors try to prevent police from removing pistol-packing pupils from the hallways of La Follette high school in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion. (Read & Weep!) 

In the spirit of transparency, our new superintendent of schools gave an interview to our favorite local morning newspaper in which he manages to talk much and say little. Asked about Jennifer Cheatham’s Behavior Education Plan, however, Joe Gothard acknowledges:

“People would like to support a complete upheaval and change… but I haven’t been directed by the board and I certainly haven’t heard it as a priority.”

Blaska’s Bottom Line #1And you won’t hear it as a priority if you’re a new hire who reports to the likes of school board members Ali Muldrow, Savion Castro, and their allies at Progressive Dane and Freedom Inc.! 

Blaska’s Bonus Bottom Line: As we told Dave Zweifel of The Capital Times in the last thrilling episode, not exposing students to Woke ideology is a feature, not a bug.

——

More:

My old boss at The Capital TimesDave Zweifel kvetches that “the school choice program is no longer limited to that altruistic approach championed by Thompson in 1990,” that being limiting participation to the poorest of the poor. Dave, you were opposed to Tommy’s altruistic approach even in 1990! BTW: The program is still income-limited.

Another supposed fly in the ointment, Dave sez, is that voucher schools can prevent students from being exposed (Dave’s word) or subjected (Blaska’s word) to Woke ideology. That’s a feature, not a bug, Dave. He writes:

Since the days of Thomas Jefferson, America provided public education to its citizens. 

Still does, thanks to the voucher program! No mention of Milwaukee’s scandalous public schools, which do NOT provide public education to its citizens.

——

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on planned Madison tax & $pending increase 2024 Referendum(s)



Abbey Machtig:

Past spending decisions combined with current revenue estimates leave the district with an estimated $40 million shortfall, Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services Bob Soldner told the Wisconsin State Journal.

District could renovate, build new schools

The district appears to be leaning toward building several new schools with potential referendum dollars rather than renovating existing buildings.

Leadership says many aging school buildings require substantial aesthetic, electrical and mechanical changes the district can’t afford without a referendum. The money would also go toward making schools more energy efficient and accessible.

“Under revenue limits, you just don’t have any other options on the facilities,” Soldner said Monday. “If you have a need, you have to seek voter approval.”

District administration is recommending that Sennett Middle School and Cherokee Heights Middle School be replaced with new buildings. The same goes for several combined schools that share the same location: Shabazz City High and Sherman Middle; Black Hawk Middle and Gompers Elementary; Toki Middle and Orchard Ridge Elementary.

That new construction would cost an estimated $443 million.

——

“city would spend about $431.4 million but raise only about $409.4 million in revenue”:

Of the $26 million in new spending expected for next year, most of it — $14.5 million — will go toward staff salaries and benefits. Last year, the city raised pay by 3% for unionized employees like police and fire department staff. General city employees got a 6% raise.

Of the $14.5 million for staff, $2.97 million will cover rising health insurance costs alone.

On the revenue side, the $4 million in new cash the city will bring in next year comes from increasing the property tax levy to the extent allowed without a referendum, which would generate about $12.6 million. Another $6 million will come from interest earnings and $1 million from increased ambulance fees.

Those increases are offset by one-time funding the city used to balance its 2024 budget, which came from the city’s rainy day fund, federal stimulus support and tax incremental financing money.

As the city’s budget options come into sharper focus, it remains unclear how, if at all, the city will use $16 million added to the rainy day fund thanks to higher-than-expected income from the city’s investments.

—-

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




“to audit the effectiveness of teaching and instruction of our kids in classrooms across the district.” (!)



Molly Beck, Rory Linnane And Kelly Meyerhofer

The review proposed by Evers would be funded through federal dollars allocated for MPS but yet used or funding leftover from previously awarded contracts, according to the governor.

The audits would produce “a comprehensive review and evaluation of the district’s systems, processes, and procedures to identify areas for improvement,” and “a comprehensive review and analysis of instructional practices, methodologies, and policies, which may include, for example, reviews of school and classroom learning environments, professional development policies and practices, curriculum implementation, and leadership, among other areas.”

“Parents and families, taxpayers, and the greater community rightfully have questions, and each and everyone of those questions deserves honest and transparent answers,” Evers said. “For any meaningful conversation about possible solutions to happen, the first step is to fully identify the extent of the problems. The audits I’m proposing today must be done to drive those future conversations.”

——

DPI Superintendent Underly: “I support Eliminating the Foundations of Reading (FORT)” Teacher Test

Wisconsin’s low bar WKCE expedition. (DPI)

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

The New England Primer.

——

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Wisconsin DPI and learning to read….



Will Flanders:

The person put in charge of implementing the Science of Reading in Wisconsin apparently wrote positively about Lucy Calkins.

More.

Quinton Klabon:

GENUINE QUESTION: She was the 2017 president of the Wisconsin State Reading Association, which lobbied against Act 20 in 2023!

Many know her, so can someone explain?

DPI Superintendent Underly: “I support Eliminating the Foundations of Reading (FORT)” Teacher Test

Wisconsin’s low bar WKCE expedition. (DPI)

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

———

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




The empire strikes back on “sold a story”



Quinton Klabon

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, former Lesley University education professor/Matt Damon’s mom from that 1 Reason video: “I could barely stand [Sold A Story]…full of false information, misconceptions, and distortions of 3-cueing. She didn’t even understand it.”



More from Dr. Tim Slekar: Mary Kate McCoy:
We’re concerned about equity in education. You will never achieve equity by spending the few resources that you have, money, on tests. Tests don’t produce equity. They just show you that you have inequities. RF: Magic wand, testing is gone. We take the resources from that, put it in your control and do what with it to address these problems? TS: The first thing is to make sure that every kid coming to school has access to the best children’s literature available. Nothing is a better predictor of being able to learn to read when you get to school as having books in the house. So not one more dime under my leadership goes to testing companies. We’ve literally spent across the entire United States, some economists say, probably $1 trillion in tests and data systems. I guarantee you that half of that money could have been spent on reducing issues — so books, food for kids, adequate after school care and adequate health care. Then whatever is leftover goes back to the classroom for teachers, who as the teachers of those kids know what those kids need. And please not one more dime on professional development, sponsored usually by one of the testing companies that comes in and tries to tell the teachers they don’t know what they’re doing, do it our way and this will fix everything.
Advocating for the 2024 Milwaukee School District tax & spending increase referendum.

2017:
I strongly support the elimination of any high stakes standardized test as a gatekeeper to the teaching profession. That means PRAXIS, Core, and FoRT (Foundations of Reading Test). Each of these imposed gates has been detrimental to actually preparing the teachers our children deserve.
more in 2017:
Is there a way to avoid that horrible Foundations of Reading Test? Yes.
2020 Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Teacher Content Knowledge Test results.

Note that thousands of tests were waived by then Wisconsin DPI Superintendent and now Governor Tony Evers. Mulligans.

——

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-


Mississippi students and educators have closed the gap and reached the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.



Julia James:

This growth can be attributed to several factors, but chief among them is a 2013 state law that created a more robust infrastructure around helping children learn to read and holding them back at the end of third grade if they didn’t hit a certain benchmark.

But this national test also measures students again in eighth grade. The gap between the national average and Mississippi’s eighth-grade reading score has gotten smaller over the last decade, but it hasn’t closed at the rate of fourth-grade reading. 

State leaders are paying attention. 

“Some of our challenge points are eighth-grade reading,” Interim State Superintendent Ray Morgigno said when presenting an annual report at the Jan. 18 State Board of Education meeting.

Morgigno then pointed to the pilot programs underway around the state to expand Mississippi’s fourth-grade reading strategies up to the middle school level. One is being operated by the Mississippi Department of Education in conjunction with a regional arm of the U.S. Department of Education. 

Literacy momentum stalls in Wisconsin (DPI): Why would Wisconsin’s state leaders promote the use of curriculum that meets “minimal level” criteria, instead of elevating the highest-quality

——-

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on the Milwaukee K-12 Tax and $pending increase referendum



Rory Linnane:

At the same time, the biggest reason funding for MPS has dropped, the report says, is that MPS doesn’t have as many students as it used to. That’s partly because there are fewer children in the city, and partly because of the growth of non-MPS schools, like independent charter schools and private schools that get tax-funded vouchers. When students leave MPS, the funding goes with them.

Mark Lisheron:

Add to that the district’s almost total lack of accounting for the $87 million referendum voters approved in 2020, with the final $3 million payout this year. Or the $772 million the district received from three COVID “emergency” bills, $506 million of that from the American Rescue Plan Act, which will allow the district to spend federal dollars through 2026.

“It’s like they looked at it and said ‘Let’s just shoot for the moon’ with this referendum, Andrekopoulos told the Badger Institute. “At some point, don’t you have to say ’No’?”




Notes on North Carolina school Governance



Gary Robertson:

While the state superintendent is head of the Department of Public Instruction, statewide school policy is left to the State Board of Education, for which the governor makes the most appointments.

Truitt, whose committee outspent Morrow, was Gov. Pat McCrory’s education adviser and chancellor of Western Governors University in North Carolina.

While the election “did not go the way I had hoped, I’m deeply proud of what we accomplished and I am gratified by the support of educators, parents, school and legislative leaders and so many others from across the state,” Truitt wrote on Facebook on Wednesday. Her term ends at the end of the year. 

Morrow participated in the march on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, to protest Joe Biden as the 2020 presidential winner, but she said she left the area when ordered by authorities and didn’t enter the building, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.




The (big) void in Madison’s k-12 Governance



Years ago, a former Madison Superintendent lamented the lack of business community substantive engagement in our well funded k-12 system.

Has anything changed?

2024 brings another year of uncontested Madison School board elections.

Madison has another new SuperintendentJoe Gothard– due to start soon.

Meanwhile:

A scorecard.

More on Madison’s well funded K-12 system.

Accountability? A Milwaukee business leader says that it is time to vote no on their tax and $pending increase referendum. Madison business leaders: radio silence.

——

Politics and the taxpayer funded DPI.

Wisconsin DPI Reading Curriculum Evaluation list

——-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




“Which gives us pause. We need educators who aren’t cookie cutter. Because what they’re doing ain’t workin”



David Blaska:

Public school bureaucrats talk in a code all their own. According to Abbey Machtig’s excellent account in the Wisconsin State Journal, Gothard promises courses in “critical ethnic studies.” Sounds like emulating higher education’s various grievance studies, which is what got us into this mess in the first place. Teaching victimhood excuses and perpetuates failure.

Gothard is quoted to say instruction must be “culturally relevant… and adaptive in an equitable way … through their lived experiences … to unpack trauma that student have experienced.” Buzz buzz.

A previous State Journal education reporter assured her readers that Madison public schools do not teach critical race theory. Ms. Machtig, perhaps breaking with the received progressive canon, chooses to quote a parent whom, The Werkes believes, is representative:

—-

Kayla Huynh

The Madison Metropolitan School District’s newly hired superintendent will be paid nearly $300,000 a year plus moving expenses, travel allowances and 87 sick days including unused time off from a decade ago.

The School Board unanimously approved the two-year agreement with Joe Gothard in a Monday evening meeting with no discussion. 

——

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Literacy momentum stalls in Wisconsin (DPI): Why would Wisconsin’s state leaders promote the use of curriculum that meets “minimal level” criteria, instead of elevating the highest-quality



Karen Vaites:

All eyes have been on Wisconsin, where politics threaten to stall promising curriculum improvement efforts. 

The Badger State’s Act 20 literacy bill was one of the bright spots in a flourishing national legislative phase. The bill had a refreshing focus on all aspects of literacy, and recognized the importance of curriculum in fostering change. Act 20 called for the convening of an expert Early Literacy Curriculum Council (ELCC) to identify a set of recommended ELA curricula; only these programs would be eligible for state subsidy.

The ELCC – which includes a high-performing superintendent, practitioners immersed in reading research, and dyslexia advocates whose children suffered under previous DPI choices – has real stakes in Act 20’s success. And the stakes are high: Wisconsin has the largest gap in reading outcomes for Black vs white students of any state. 

Last week, the nine-member ELCC submitted its recommendations: four curricula widely praised for their quality (Bookworms, Core Knowledge, EL Education, and Wit & Wisdom). Literacy leaders cheered the selections. Personally, I consider it the best state list we’ve seen.

Just two days later, Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) issued a statement asking the Joint Finance Committee to approve a rather different list of 11 options… the list of curricula that earn “all-green” ratings on EdReports. Conspicuously omitted from DPI’s list: Bookworms, a curriculum with the most persuasive studies showing that it improves reading outcomes – but which earned a widely-questioned yellow review on EdReports.

The average quality of the DPI list was markedly lower than the ELCC list, something that even DPI acknowledged. Laura Adams of the DPI told CESAs,“The two different lists represent two different perspectives. The Council’s list represents a judgment of quality, while DPI’s list represents a floor of those materials that meet the requirements, even at a minimal level.”

——-

Jill Underly didn’t attend the meetings, so she missed these conversations. Frankly, her absence from ELCC meetings speaks volumes. If DPI felt urgency about children’s reading success, or even about the review timelines, one would have expected Underly to make time for ELCC meetings. Underly’s late-breaking objections have not sat well with close watchers of the process.

—-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Wisconsin DPI vs learning to read



Jenny Warner:

Last week, Wisconsin’s expert Early Literacy Curriculum Council recommended the highest-quality list we have seen from any state.

Then @WisconsinDPI tried to overrule them, for no sound reason.

More.

The nine-member Early Literacy Curriculum Council reviewed and recommended four curriculums. The council includes six members chosen by the Republican majority leaders of the state legislature, and three chosen by state Superintendent Jill Underly. 

In addition to the Early Literacy Council’s review, the DPI conducted its own review, which diverged in part from the council. It rejected one of the council’s recommendations (Bookworms Reading & Writing for K-3), and added others that the council hadn’t rated. 

DPI is recommending the following programs:

American Reading Company K-3 (ARC
Core, 2017)

Being a Reader (K-2nd, 2021; 3rd, 2023) & Being a Writer (K-3rd., 2014) with Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics & Sight Words (SIPPS,

2020) (Center for the Collaborative Classroom)

Benchmark Education Advance (Benchmark Education Company, 2022)

Core Knowledge Language Arts K-3 (CKLA,
Amplify Education, 2022)

EL Education K-3 Language Arts (Open up
Resources, 2017)

EL Education K-3 (Imagine Learning LLC,
2019)

Into Reading, National V2 (Houghton
Mifflin Harcourt, 2020)

myView Literacy Elem. Reading Curriculum (Savvas Learning Company, 2025)

Open Court (McGraw Hill, 2023)

Wit and Wisdom (Great Minds, 2020) with PK-3 Reading Curriculum (Really Great Reading)

Wonders (McGraw Hill, 2023)

The Joint Committee on Finance has 14 working days to schedule a meeting to review the proposed curriculum recommendations. The committee will then make any changes and approve the list. If it does not notify the DPI that it’s scheduled a meeting, the department can adopt the recommendations as is.

——

Unsurprising, unfortunately. “an emphasis on adult employment”.

——

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




“We have made things happen for children.”



AJ Bayatpour

As MPS (Milwaukee Public Schools) asks taxpayers for $252 million in April, I asked Supt. Keith Posley about national testing data (NAEP) that show Milwaukee 4th graders have been scoring worse than the average big city district for more than a decade.

—-

and:

For reference, 10 points is about the equivalent for one year’s worth of learning. In 2022, Milwaukee was 20 points lower than the average big city district in 4th grade reading and math results. The gap has worsened over the last decade:

——

Plus:

When the media reports that spending in MPS has “fallen far behind inflation,” they are cherry-picking one year of data to make the claim: pre-Great Recession. Real $ over time has largely kept up with inflation, and districts saved billions with Act 10.

More:

This is an interesting outtake from @CBS58’s Milwaukee Public Schools referendum story!

In contrast, here is Miami’s former superintendent in 2015, post-recession, in the midst of making Miami America’s best big district, closing gaps, spending $7,500 less per child than MPS.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Madison’s taxpayer funded K-12 systems’s lack of transparency



Abigail Leavins:

Monica Santana Rosen, the CEO of the Alma Advisory Group, which consulted on the superintendent search, explained why the board thought it was important to provide a platform for students, in particular, to ask questions of the candidates, but she did not answer why additional panels were not made available to the public.

“In the end, we felt it was better to prioritize the conversations that were going to bring the best information to the broader community,” Rosen said. “We really wanted to hear what the students had to ask the candidate and how each of them were going to respond.”

“Ultimately,” she added, “the board prioritizes students and parents as those who really are the closest and have a lot at stake in giving them the opportunity to have that platform and share it with the rest of the community.”

In late January, the district announced three finalists for superintendent: Mohammed Choudhury, the former state superintendent of the Maryland State Department of Education; Joe Gothard, the superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools and a former Madison principal; and Yvonne Stokes, a former superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Indiana. On Feb. 6 the district hosted two interview panels; one led by students and another by parents and caretakers. These were livestreamed but neither the public nor media could attend in person. The interview panels held on Feb. 7 were not livestreamed or open to the public or media at all.

$pending is always a challenge, given the moving numbers.

Mr. Rickert mentions current school year spending of $591,000,000 for 25,581 students or $23,103 per student.

——-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Madison school district finalists: Two had resigned under criticism



Kayla Huynh:

The Madison Metropolitan School District has named two former education administrators and one current administrator as finalists to be the next superintendent.

Two of the finalists left their former jobs after facing criticism for their performance.

The finalists are Mohammed Choudhury, the former state superintendent of schools at the Maryland Department of Education; Joe Gothard, a Madison native who is superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota; and Yvonne Stokes, the former superintendent at Hamilton Southeastern Schools in Indiana. 

The Madison School Board began interviews with candidates in closed meetings last month and selected the three candidates from nearly 60 applicants, according to district officials.

——

David Blaska:

——-

Dave Cieslewicz:

There’s some process left, with three or four sets of interviews ahead, and the board isn’t expected to make a decision until the end of February. At least on paper, Gothard is clearly the strongest candidate while Choudhury seems like a guy you’d want to stay away from. But I would give the edge to Stokes. I’m not sure this board will be able to resist the chance to hire the first Black woman superintendent.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Evers criticizes lawsuit seeking to end the Milwaukee voucher program



Molly Beck:

Gov. Tony Evers says he opposes abolishing the state’s oldest school voucher program through a lawsuit filed by some of the governor’s strongest supporters.

Evers, a former state superintendent and public school educator, said eliminating the taxpayer-funded voucher system in Milwaukee could have “traumatic” effects on the nearly 30,000 students who attend more than 100 private schools with the subsidies.

“It wasn’t just created yesterday. It was created decades ago, and I think ending it in such a way is going to be traumatic to a whole bunch of families and kids,” Evers said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel.

“It’s not that I think I’m a huge supporter of the vouchers but I also understand that uprooting the lives of a whole bunch of kids is not the way to address it. I’m not sure what the way to address it is right now, but just saying ‘Boom — it’s over,’ that’s going to be a problem.”

Evers also said it would likely be difficult for Milwaukee Public Schools to absorb tens of thousands of students quickly.

—-

More.

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Looking ahead to 2024 and the taxpayer funded Madison School District



Abbey Machtig:

The Madison School Board is scheduled to hire a new superintendent by February or March. The board began interviewing candidates in closed meetings this month and will continue into January. The board is expected to announce two or three finalists and hold open interviews where the public can participate.

The new superintendent will eventually replace Lisa Kvistad, a longtime district educator who has been serving as interim superintendent since June. She was selected to replace Jenkins earlier this year.

This time around, the board is looking for a superintendent familiar with Madison who can “lead large-scale change” and has a track record of improving outcomes for students of color, according to a job profile drafted and approved in October.

School Board elections also will take place on April 2. Incumbents Maia Pearson and Savion Castro have announced their reelection campaigns. Board members serve in staggered, three-year terms.

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Commentary on Wisconsin’s K-12 System



Mackenzie Krumme

In her 2023 State of Education Address, the head of the Department of Public Instruction said schools are undergoing significant change. We speak with Superintendent Jill Underly on issues facing Wisconsin’s schools in the past year and look ahead to 2024.

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




History (revisionist…?), Governance and Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results



David Blaska:

Here in Madison, the proponents of one-size-fits-all government monopoly schooling are rewriting history to cover their misdeeds. The occasion was the recent passing of barely remembered Daniel Nerad, superintendent of Madison public schools between 2008 and 2012.  

Capital Times publisher Paul Fanlund marvels that the same problems that beset Nerad a dozen years ago plague the city’s public schools today — those being a yawning racial achievement gap and disparate disciplinary problems. Indeed, the numbers have not budged. Only 8% of the district’s black students can read and write at grade, compared to 64% of white students. 

Back in 2011, nationally renowned education reformer Kaleem Caire offered Madison an escape hatch — a charter school called Madison Prep that would hold longer school days on an almost year-round calendar and suffer no race-shaming excuses. But the school board sent him packing.

Today, former school board president Ed Hughes, incredibly, blames Scott Walker’s Act 10 for supposedly tying the district’s hands because, Fanlund quotes Hughes to say:

“The district could not as a practical matter alter the collective bargaining agreement with the teachers union.” 

We’re still paying for MTI’s self interest

—-

2011: On the 5-2 Madison School Board No (Cole, Hughes, Moss, Passman, Silveira) Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School Vote (Howard, Mathiak voted Yes)

——

Meanwhile, decades go by….

——

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Democratic operative Sachin Chheda gets sweet new gig with Wisconsin DPI for $138,000 a year



Daniel Bice:

Back in 2021, Democratic operative Sachin Chheda played a major role in helping Jill Underly get elected state school superintendent.

Now Underly appears to be returning the favor.

Underly announced Monday that she is hiring Chheda to a $138,000-per-year job at the Department of Public Instruction, which Underly oversees. Chheda started his new job on Monday as executive director of the Office of the State Superintendent.

Thomas McCarthy, who previously held that job, has been promoted to deputy superintendent. Officials said the money for Chheda’s job came from vacancies in the agency.

Chheda, 49, has spent the last 30 years mostly working in politics, for nonprofits and on campaigns.

In an interview, Chheda emphasized his work in organizational management and change for a variety of clients. Asked about his educational experience, Chheda said he worked for former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, ran two state superintendent races and cofounded the I Love My Public Schools project, which opposed funding cuts by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Chheda has never been a teacher or school administrator.

———

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on taxpayer funded Madison K-12 Governance



David Blaska

For all practical purposes, Jennifer Cheatham remains the superintendent of Madison WI public schools. She left four years ago for Harvard University (where 32 student groups announced their support for Hamas terrorism). Her mission: clone more ultra-Woke school chiefs like herself. (“Areas of expertise: diversity, equity, and inclusion.”) 

Matters not that teachers hate it, Cheatham’s race-forward Behavior Education Plan continues to undermine Madison classrooms. 

To replace whoever succeeded Cheatham as superintendent, the Madison school board contracted with a head-hunting boutique that boasts of its diversity. Don’t worry Madison progressives — it employs not a single cisgendered white male! (Discussed that here.)

2013: What will be different, this time? 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on Lawfare, taxpayer k-12 $pending and the Minocqua Brewing Company



Quinton Qlabon

I feel like when Minocqua Brewing Company turns in homework, it should not have factual errors in it.

Anticlimactic.

Locally, Madison spends > $25k per student.

Corrine Hess:

Wisconsin’s choice program serves over 52,000 students and plays a vital role in Wisconsin’s education system,” Esenberg said in a statement. “Unfortunately, far-left interest groups are uniting behind a Super PAC, to take education options away from low- and middle-income kids and families across the state.”

State Superintendent Jill Underly released a statement, saying she welcomes any opportunity that would strengthen public education.  

“Education represents an incredible opportunity to learn, grow, and strengthen our state, but public education represents even more than that. Public education is a constitutional right,” Underly’s statement said. “Wisconsin needs to fulfill its responsibility to effectively, equitably, and robustly fund our public education system. I welcome any opportunity to move Wisconsin in that direction.” 

The lawsuit is being funded by the Minocqua Brewing Company’s SuperPAC, which Bangstad has used since 2021 to fund liberal political causes.

The group has purchased billboard ads attacking Republican politicians and marketed beers named after Democratic politicians including an Evers Ale for Gov. Tony Evers and Tammy Shandy for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin.   

Bangstad first announced his efforts to end Wisconsin’s private school voucher system in August on social media.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes, Politics and our long term, disastrous reading results; Madison + State



Quinton Klabon:

1 year and $1 BILLION in federal relief later, it’s still tragic.

•6,000 fewer kids on college track
•101,000 kids below grade level
•Green Bay, Janesville stuck at pandemic low
•Milwaukee Black kids not catching up

Scott Girard:

In the Madison Metropolitan School District, proficiency rates in both subjects are well above the state for white students, but below the state for Black students.

Among the district’s white students, 64.3% scored either proficient or advanced in English language arts; among its Black students, it was just 8%, nearly the same as the 7.9% the year before.

In math, MMSD saw 60.7% of its white students test in the top two categories and 5.7% of its Black students do the same.

Institute for Reforming Government Senior Research Director Quinton Klabon said in a news release on the results that the state took a positive step forward with recent reading legislation, but was critical of how schools have spent their COVID-19 relief funding in recent years. Additional changes beyond the reading legislation will be required to make “Wisconsin’s schools our premier attraction for families once again,” he said.

“Wisconsin is quickly becoming a state where disadvantaged students do not succeed,” Klabon said.

More.

Corrinne Hess

Wisconsin continues to have the largest achievement gap between Black and white students

Fewer than 40 percent of Wisconsin students were proficient in reading and math during the 2022-23 school year. Standardized test scores were better than the previous two years but are still not back to pre-pandemic levels.

Results of the Forward Exam, a statewide test taken by Wisconsin’s 3rd through 8th graders, the PreACT Secure test given in grades 9 and 10 and the ACT given in grade 11 showed 38.9 percent of children were proficient in reading and 37.4 percent were proficient in math last year. 

When taken alone, the Forward Exam showed Wisconsin students were 39 percent proficient reading and 41 percent proficient in math. 

That’s up from a low of just over 33 percent proficiency in both reading and math during the height of the pandemic during the 2020-21 school year.  

Prior to the pandemic in the 2018-19 school year, 41 percent of Wisconsin students scored proficient in reading and 43.4 percent in math.

State Superintendent Jill Underly said she’s proud of this year’s test results and the increased participation rate of nearly 95 percent of students being tested.  

“I am also tired of politicians claiming that our children aren’t learning because they aren’t reaching a proficiency score,” Underly said in a statement. “Instead of using test scores as a cudgel, we should all take the time to learn what a high bar proficiency on this test represents, because the truth is that our proficiency cut scores are very high in comparison to every other state in the country.”

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




Notes on K-12 $pending and Governance: Wisconsin Edition



David Blaska:

Jill Underly is Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction. The position is elected for four years on the Spring non-partisan ballot along with city alders and circuit court judges. We are one of only 12 states to elect them.

One of Jill Underly’s predecessors was Tony Evers, now governor of Wisconsin. A Democrat. If there has been a conservative superintendent of public instruction in Wisconsin, it was long ago. Nonetheless, Jill Underly claims the position is non-partisan. She was endorsed by the teachers union, which gives all its campaign donations to Democrats. (Underly was good for $18,000.)

Thursday 09-21-23, Supt. Jill Underly gave her State of Education speech in the capitol. It was Woke boilerplate. The state’s chief school marm portrayed Wisconsin public schools as impoverished, even after the Republican legislature boosted education spending by $1.2 Billion dollars. Democrats wanted twice that. It’s never enough. Supt. Underly defended the Woke agenda.

Our children’s communities – their classrooms – are also some of the most inclusive and equitable places in our state. … Affirming the lives of our black, Indigenous, and students of color matter is not political. It is a statement of fact.

— Jill Underly, State of Education
What does that even mean? How is a life “affirmed”? Ms. Underly’s prepared remarks used the word “diversity” (or some form thereof) 10 times, “equity” 4 times, “inclusion” 2. At the other end of the scale: “Discipline” 0, “responsibility” 0, and “achievement” 0.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.

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




$pending more for fewer students: Madison



Dave Cieslewicz:

Despite being the fastest growing large community in Wisconsin the Madison public school system is losing students. Last year the district lost almost 900 students. Why?

In a story in Isthmus last week long-time school board member Nicki Vander Meulen mused on the causes for the loss of market share to private schools and neighboring districts. She offered three theories: Madison has older facilities, larger schools are off-putting to parents, especially after COVID, and some schools in other districts are just closer to students’ homes.

Those are all plausible answers, but none of them are slam dunks and both Vander Meulen and the Isthmus reporter avoided the elephant in the classroom.

Let’s start with Vander Meulen’s theories.

It’s true that some Madison school buildings are going on a century old. But a couple of years ago voters approved a massive building referendum. All the high schools are getting big makeovers, most of the other schools are getting some upgrades and a brand spanking new elementary school has just opened. Those projects are either done or well underway and the results are visible and positive. If the building age argument ever had much juice it’s being squeezed out as we speak.

The size of the student population issue also could be real. But the decline started before COVID. Madison’s numbers are 7% lower since 2013 in a city that has grown at a steady clip of about 1.1% a year.

and

Abbey Machtig:

The board also discussed on Monday potential changes to the way budget amendments are suggested and reviewed. The board is preparing to vote on the final version of the district’s 2023-24 budget next month, after approving a preliminary version in June.

The changes would make it so board members need to submit a request to the district’s deputy superintendent in order to make an amendment to the budget. These requests would need to be received five business days before the board meets.

Soldner said the request would also need to acknowledge the financial effect of a proposed change. He cited the recent pay increases for teaching staff and custodians as an example, which he said collectively cost the district an additional $30 million in ongoing expenses.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results 

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment”