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 … Continue reading Candidate Quotes from Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Pageant

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 … Continue reading Madison 2020 Superintendent Pageant: Eric Thomas appearance notes

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 … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Search

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 … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District 2020 Superintendent Search

“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 … Continue reading “36 people” on madison’s 2020 superinteNdent search

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

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 … Continue reading 2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard

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

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

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 … Continue reading Madison K-12 Spending up 19% from 2014-2020

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

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

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

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 … Continue reading Commentary on a 2020 Madison School Board Candidate appearance

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

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 … Continue reading A competitive Wisconsin DPI superintendent election in 2021?

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 … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School Board’s Superintendent Search Finalists

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

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

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 … Continue reading The fallen state of experts: How can governments learn from their expert failings?

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 … Continue reading Madison School Board May Retreat

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, … Continue reading Resisting Open Records Requests at the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Waiting for Congress to Bail Out Schools Is a Risky Game of Chicken. Time for Districts to Come Up With Plan B — and for States to Help

Marguerite Rosa: School system leaders and Congress are engaged in what could be seen as a game of chicken. Superintendents from 62 big urban districts signed a Council of the Great City Schools letter to congressional leaders saying schools need a $200 billion federal bailout to avert a “catastrophe” with “profound” consequences for the nation. … Continue reading Waiting for Congress to Bail Out Schools Is a Risky Game of Chicken. Time for Districts to Come Up With Plan B — and for States to Help

Madison School District prepping for multiple fall scenarios, including online-only learning

Kelly Meyerhofer: Students in the Madison School District may not return to their schoolroom desks in the fall. That’s one of several scenarios district officials are preparing for in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which led Gov. Tony Evers to shutter schools through the end of the current school year. Among the possibilities for fall … Continue reading Madison School District prepping for multiple fall scenarios, including online-only learning

Madison high school students to be graded on pass/no pass; 3,000 students without internet (expensive K-12 system built for a long gone era)

Logan Wroge: Madison high school students will receive “pass” or “no pass” grades for the second semester as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts traditional schooling, while more than 10% of Madison students lack internet access needed to take part in virtual learning, district officials said Wednesday. With the aim of not penalizing students for circumstances out … Continue reading Madison high school students to be graded on pass/no pass; 3,000 students without internet (expensive K-12 system built for a long gone era)

Christina Gomez Schmidt wins close Madison School Board contest; Nicki Vander Meulen reelected

Logan Wroge: As a member of the School Board, Gomez Schmidt, 48, is looking to prioritize the selection of a new, research-based reading curriculum for elementary students, building trust in the district with families, improving accountability and transparency, and effectively managing the budget. The 32-year-old Pearson had made finding ways to expand 4-year-old kindergarten to … Continue reading Christina Gomez Schmidt wins close Madison School Board contest; Nicki Vander Meulen reelected

How NYC moved the country’s largest school district online during the coronavirus pandemic

Lauren Feiner: On March 6, New York City high school principal Matt Willie was already preparing for the worst. After watching a news report that said the city’s Department of Education was preparing to close public schools amid the coronavirus crisis, Willie texted his assistant principal: “Prepare for the apocalypse.” Willie said his school, University … Continue reading How NYC moved the country’s largest school district online during the coronavirus pandemic

Madison School District looks to make virtual learning flexible, no ‘harm’ to grades amid COVID-19 pandemic

Logan Wroge: Madison students will have flexibility in their virtual school day schedule, teachers will hold remote office hours, and assessments during online learning will not “harm” a students’ grades. After three weeks out of class following an order for all Wisconsin schools to close to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the Madison … Continue reading Madison School District looks to make virtual learning flexible, no ‘harm’ to grades amid COVID-19 pandemic

Madison’s Virtual Learning Website is Live

Madison School District: We are committed to providing robust learning experiences for our students of MMSD during this time of school closure. Our instructional leaders are working to provide a virtual learning experience for our students that incorporates family engagement, limited screen time, and student overall health and emotional wellness. We recognize the impact that … Continue reading Madison’s Virtual Learning Website is Live

LA Schools Go Online, but Seattle and others Say No

Danny Westneat: So Los Angeles announced an “unprecedented commitment” of $100 million in emergency funding to get all students who need them both devices and internet access for continuing their educations online this year. Compare to what school leaders have been saying here. Seattle Public Schools “won’t transition to online learning,” Superintendent Denise Juneau tweeted last week. “2 things … Continue reading LA Schools Go Online, but Seattle and others Say No

Madison teacher’s accidental text to parent: ‘I want to slap them through the phone!’

Chris Rickert: According to a police report released Wednesday to the State Journal under the state’s public records law, the parent, Tyeisha Ivy, considered the text a threat and reported it to police because she wanted it documented. Ringelstetter was not arrested, and no charges were filed in the case. Ivy told police that with … Continue reading Madison teacher’s accidental text to parent: ‘I want to slap them through the phone!’

Christina Gomez Schmidt and Wayne Strong for Madison School Board

Wisconsin State Journal: With a pandemic closing schools, protesters disrupting board meetings and a new superintendent starting June 1, the Madison School District needs stability and experience. That’s what Christina Gomez Schmidt, seeking Seat 6, and Wayne Strong, running for Seat 7, will provide on the Madison School Board. The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board … Continue reading Christina Gomez Schmidt and Wayne Strong for Madison School Board

Madison schools use social media to keep students connected during COVID-19 break

Scott Girard:: Others are offering read-a-longs, bedtime stories and daily mindfulness practice videos. The district has offered enrichment materials online, but so far not mandated virtual learning. An email to families sent Wednesday night stated that virtual learning would begin in early- or mid-April if schools are still closed at that time. “It is taking … Continue reading Madison schools use social media to keep students connected during COVID-19 break

Madison’s No-Bid $30,000 Contract to Burns/Van Fleet (?)

No bid contracting by our taxpayer supported Madison School District: a $30,000 no-bid contract to “Burns/Van Fleet” for 25 days of services to help in the new superintendent transition. (The superintendent search contract to BWP Associates was $32,000 plus expenses.) The Mike Hertting memo on the item touts this outfit as having “over 50 years … Continue reading Madison’s No-Bid $30,000 Contract to Burns/Van Fleet (?)

As long as Montgomery County fails to teach children to read, it will have gaps

Karin Chenoweth: In the words of the report, Montgomery County’s curriculum does “not include the necessary components to adequately address foundational skills.” If you’re not immersed in these issues, you might not recognize just how scathing this language is. Montgomery County fails to do what just about all cognitive scientists and most reading researchers agree … Continue reading As long as Montgomery County fails to teach children to read, it will have gaps

The Taxpayer Supported Madison School District offers info session on Behavior Education Plan Tuesday

Scott Girard: Those with questions about the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Behavior Education Plan have a chance to get them answered Tuesday. District staff will hold a session from 6-7:30 p.m. to discuss, “What is the BEP? How does it work? What should I know?” at the Goodman South Public Library, 2222 S. Park St. Speakers at … Continue reading The Taxpayer Supported Madison School District offers info session on Behavior Education Plan Tuesday

Oakland school board votes $18.8 million in cuts, up to 100 layoffs

Theresa Harrington: The Oakland School District is prepared to cut its workforce by up to 100 workers starting July 1 and may consider eliminating its police force in the future. Both issues came before the school board on Wednesday night, ensuring that the district is likely to face months of turmoil as it cuts $18.8 … Continue reading Oakland school board votes $18.8 million in cuts, up to 100 layoffs

“The achievement rate has gotten worse. The failure rate of kids has gotten worse. We would keep thinking that we were solving the problem, the United Way and all of these organizations jump on it, but it doesn’t change a thing.”

Steven Elbow: The problem, some say, is that disparities impact a population that has little political or economic clout. And white people, who control the levers of commerce and government, address only pieces of an interconnected web of issues that include child development, education, economics and criminal justice. Brandi Grayson co-founded Young, Gifted and Black … Continue reading “The achievement rate has gotten worse. The failure rate of kids has gotten worse. We would keep thinking that we were solving the problem, the United Way and all of these organizations jump on it, but it doesn’t change a thing.”

K-12 Governance, Spending and Student Learning: As audit looms, Boston schools brace for more bad news

James Vaznis: By many measures, the Boston schools are in crisis. Graduation rates dropped last year, while the gap between Black and white students earning diplomas more than doubled. The state last fall ordered the school district to ramp up improvement efforts at nearly three dozen low-performing schools. A Globe review revealed that fewer than … Continue reading K-12 Governance, Spending and Student Learning: As audit looms, Boston schools brace for more bad news

An interview with Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes

Henry Sanders: This week, Henry welcomes Madison School Board president Gloria Reyes to talk about growing up on the North Side, hiring a new superintendent, the changing role of police in schools and more. Meanwhile: Outsourcing Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School District Governance (while spending more, for less). 2013: What will be different, this time? 2019: Jennifer … Continue reading An interview with Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes

Is this the best Madison’s (taxpayer supported) public schools can do?

David Blaska: Today’s blog excerpts Kaleem Caire’s social media thread in the wake of his letter, co-signed by other local black leaders, expressing disappointment that Matthew Gutierrez of Texas was chosen as new superintendent of Madison WI schools over their preferred candidate, Taylor Eric Thomas of Georgia. Caire expresses frustration over the virulent Progressive Dane/Madison Teachers … Continue reading Is this the best Madison’s (taxpayer supported) public schools can do?

“I don’t think that actually stating they’re supporting these policies actually means that anything will change” (DPI Teacher Mulligans continue)

Logan Wroge: “I don’t think that actually stating they’re supporting these policies actually means that anything will change,” said Mark Seidenberg, a UW-Madison psychology professor. “I don’t take their statement as anything more than an attempt to defuse some of the controversy and some of the criticism that’s being directed their way.” While there’s broad … Continue reading “I don’t think that actually stating they’re supporting these policies actually means that anything will change” (DPI Teacher Mulligans continue)

School board candidates reflect on school climate ahead of primary

Jenny Peek: It’s been a difficult year for the Madison school district. A barrage of high-profile incidents has taken over the narrative of what it’s like in Madison’s schools, from the use of racist language, to a teacher being arrested for attempting to produce child pornography, to issues of safety at a district middle school. The district is … Continue reading School board candidates reflect on school climate ahead of primary

Gov. Tony Evers calls on lawmakers to take up $250 million plan to bolster K-12 education

Briana Reilly: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is calling on lawmakers to use $250 million in newly projected surplus dollars to bolster K-12 funding through school-based mental health services and special education aid in districts across the state. The former state schools superintendent, who signed an executive order Thursday ordering a legislative special session to act on the sweeping … Continue reading Gov. Tony Evers calls on lawmakers to take up $250 million plan to bolster K-12 education

Nine Area School Buildings Earn Commendable Or Better Rating On 2019 ESSA Report Card (a missing topic around Madison)

Nathan Konz: Last week, the Iowa Department of Education released the 2019 school ratings with nine of our area school buildings earning a “commendable” or better score. Each public school receives a score out of 100 based on standards laid out in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). South Central Calhoun High School was the … Continue reading Nine Area School Buildings Earn Commendable Or Better Rating On 2019 ESSA Report Card (a missing topic around Madison)

Phonics Gains Traction As State Education Authority Takes Stand On Reading Instruction

Elizabeth Dohms: Late last month, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction took a stand on a long-debated method of teaching reading to students, ruling that phonics has a place in literacy education after all. An approach that teaches students how written language represents spoken words, phonics got its endorsement from state schools Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor during the 2020 Wisconsin … Continue reading Phonics Gains Traction As State Education Authority Takes Stand On Reading Instruction

Notes and links on the Madison School District’s academic and safety climate

David Blaska: Board of education president Gloria Reyes demands “the conversation around school discipline needs to be centered on race,” according to the WI State Journal. Those who counter that school discipline needs to be centered on behavior will be asked to leave the conversation. Maybe the answer is pick out some white kids and toss them … Continue reading Notes and links on the Madison School District’s academic and safety climate

Public Schools Are Teaching The 1619 Project in Class, Despite Concerns From Historians

Robby Soave: The 1619 Project—The New York Times Magazine’s much vaunted series of essays about the introduction of African slavery to the Americas—will now be taught in K-12 schools around the country. School districts in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Buffalo, New York, have decided to update their history curricula to include the material, which posits … Continue reading Public Schools Are Teaching The 1619 Project in Class, Despite Concerns From Historians

Madison schools’ happy talk Cheat(ham)s black kids

David Blaska: A crusader has stuck his out out of the foxhole to take on the political correctness that is destroying Madison’s public schools. We introduced him to you Blaska Policy Werkers two weeks ago. He is Peter Anderson, an environmental activist.  Peter has put up a website called “Durable Justice.” Bookmark it. (We’ll wait. Got it?) Anderson … Continue reading Madison schools’ happy talk Cheat(ham)s black kids

Guilty white teacher defends Madison school chaos

David Blaska: This trenchant observation drew a response from one Stan Endiliver, who (contrary to his intention) betrays why virtue-signaling progressives like himself are piping at-risk kids to disaster by playing the victim fife. MMSD teacher here; relax 1. If you are a parent of a student in MMSD, you have nothing to fear.[Blaska: as … Continue reading Guilty white teacher defends Madison school chaos

Study: Newark’s large charter school networks give students a big boost. Other charters, not so much.

Patrick Wall: Newark’s largest charter school networks give students a big bump in their test scores, while other charter schools are far less effective at boosting scores, a new study finds. Students who enrolled at schools run by the city’s two largest charter operators — KIPP and Uncommon Schools — saw large and lasting gains … Continue reading Study: Newark’s large charter school networks give students a big boost. Other charters, not so much.

“Madison teachers say ‘society is murdering black & brown people”

David Blaska: We are a group of educators planning a Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Madison as part of the National BLM Week of Action February 3-7, 2020. The Black Lives Matter movement recognizes the impact of mass incarceration, poverty, non-affordable housing, income disparity, homophobia, unfair immigration laws and policies, gender inequality, and poor access … Continue reading “Madison teachers say ‘society is murdering black & brown people”

No safe space for reformers at Madison’s Jefferson middle school? “One can create the greatest safe space on earth here in Madison but when they go out in the world you are killing these children, they won’t be able to function out in the world which lacks such safe spaces.”

David Blaska: “Teachers are very very afraid.” — former teacher* Parents are mobilizing for a showdown at Madison’s Jefferson middle school, which they describe as ruled by virtue-signaling administrators and out-of-control students. The flash point was on December 3 when a 13-year-old boy shot a girl with a BB gun outside from a bus window. The student … Continue reading No safe space for reformers at Madison’s Jefferson middle school? “One can create the greatest safe space on earth here in Madison but when they go out in the world you are killing these children, they won’t be able to function out in the world which lacks such safe spaces.”

Schools without discipline will fail

Peter Anderson: Jennifer Cheatham’s tenure, to a not-insignificant extent, became increasingly defined by her efforts to deflect vocal pressure from Freedom Inc., by how those efforts affected her determination to convince opinion leaders of her commitment to racial justice, and by her inability to actually reduce the black achievement gap. To reinvigorate her bona fides, she caved in … Continue reading Schools without discipline will fail

Commentary on a Madison style (non independent) charter school: Badger Rock

Scott Girard: A team of reviewers for the school’s charter found it “fails to meet expectations” in seven criteria, “meets expectations” in 29 and “exceeds expectations” in two. The fails to meet expectations criteria include being below the enrollment required by the current contract, 120. This year the school has 97 students enrolled. In the … Continue reading Commentary on a Madison style (non independent) charter school: Badger Rock

Commentary on temporary madison school board memBer appoIntment, replacing Mary Burke

Logan Wroge: The temporarily six-person School Board is scheduled to decide Monday who will join the body for a nine-month stint. During that time, the board will hire a permanent superintendent and work on a potentially large November 2020 facilities referendum. Those interested in the appointment have until 4 p.m. Friday to apply for the … Continue reading Commentary on temporary madison school board memBer appoIntment, replacing Mary Burke

Positioning and Promotion: A Vacant Taxpayer Supported Madison School Board Seat

Negassi Tesfamichael: Some observers said the unique vacancy is a chance for a newcomer to serve. “I would really love to see another black mother on the School Board,” said Sabrina Madison, the founder of the Progress Center for Black Women. “Especially a mom who has been advocating for her kid recently around some of … Continue reading Positioning and Promotion: A Vacant Taxpayer Supported Madison School Board Seat

$800,000 fedeRal taxpayer planning Funds for another independent madison charter school

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction approved 11 awards totaling more than $7 million in federal funds to plan, open, or expand charter schools in the state. The department received 21 grant applications, requesting a total of $13.9 million. “Charter schools are one way for educators to innovate and engage … Continue reading $800,000 fedeRal taxpayer planning Funds for another independent madison charter school

Commentary on Avid/Tops in the Madison Schools

Logan Wroge: The board also approved a three-year partnership renewal with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County for the college preparation program AVID/TOPS. The program is meant to prepare students for post-secondary education, particularly low-income and minority students or students who would be the first in their family to go to college. AVID/TOPS … Continue reading Commentary on Avid/Tops in the Madison Schools

Sacramento School District Spending and Budget Commentary

Michael McGough: The district now has one month to file a revised budget for 2018-19 to replace the $555 million budget it had submitted, as announced during the district’s Thursday night board meeting. In an Aug. 22 budget report letter addressed to district Superintendent Jorge Aguilar, county Superintendent David Gordon said the district will meet … Continue reading Sacramento School District Spending and Budget Commentary

Stakes for “high-stakes” tests are actually pretty low

LILLIAN MONGEAU, EMMANUEL FELTON and SARAH BUTRYMOWICZ Of the 21 states that plan to use the tests as part of teacher evaluations in the future, many have already specified that the score will count for only a percentage of the evaluation. For example, Wyoming plans to use test scores as 20 percent of teacher evaluations … Continue reading Stakes for “high-stakes” tests are actually pretty low

Status Quo Governance: 9 months after development deal, Malcolm X Academy remains empty

Erin Richards: Remember last fall when the Common Council and Milwaukee Public Schools approved plans to turn the vacant Malcolm X Academy into a renovated school, low-income apartments and commercial space? Critics at the time said it was a poorly conceived rush job designed to prevent a competing private school, St. Marcus Lutheran School, from … Continue reading Status Quo Governance: 9 months after development deal, Malcolm X Academy remains empty

Madison Schools Graduation Rate Update for Class of 2012

Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham (PDF):

his report presents high school graduation rates for the Madison Metropolitan School District. For additional information on graduation rates, see the Appendix.
For this report, we focus on a cohort of students expected to graduate at the end of the 2011-12 school year. For additional context and to track changes over time, we provide a three-year history for some measures. This report uses publicly available data from Wisconsin’s Information Network for Successful Schools (WINSS). Additional data is available
through http://winss.dpi.wi.gov/. Key findings include the following:
1. Overall graduation rates improved almost one percent from 2011 to 2012, from 73.7% to 74.6%.
2. African American and Hispanic students have improved their graduation rates by five percent and almost seven percent over the last three years.
3. Graduation rates for students with Limited English Proficiency have improved about four percent over the last three years.
4. MMSD high schools have similar graduation rates, ranging between 74.7% and 82.8%.

Madison Schools’ Budget Updates: Board Questions, Spending Through 3.31.2013, Staffing Plan Changes



Steve Hartley, Madison Schools Chief of Staff:

Attached is a spreadsheet listing questions received from BOE members to date and some of our responses. Over the course of the next two months, we will continue to collect your questions and respond at both Operational Support and Regular Board meetings.

Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham (PDF):

The draft budget included several new positions for the Board’s consideration. After refining and prioritizing with staff and vetting with principals, we are only asking for approval of two essential positions at this point. The position changes represent a savings of just over $2 million from the draft budget.
As we prepare for next year, we must keep our efforts and resources focused on providing supports to schools to improve instruction. We must also be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars by reducing the impact of our budget.
To get to these recommendations, we conducted a rigorous examination of positions funded in the draft budget to decide what we believe is absolutely necessary right now. Much of the work we need to do next year is about improving the systems and structures for how we serve students, not adding additional resources. It will be critical going forward that we narrow our focus to the strategies that we know work, implement them well and sustain the focus over time.
So far, we have only considered the position decisions that we need the Board to approve. Over the next two months, we will continue to work through the draft budget in order to reduce the tax impact and align with our efforts for next year. Also, we have only reviewed positions based on the draft budget. Next year, we plan to engage in a more thorough, zero-based budgeting process.
Position Additions from Draft Budget that are No Longer Recommended
There are several positions included in the draft budget that we are no longer recommending at this point. In looking at specific positions, we considered our ability to carry out necessary work through more efficient systems and in some cases, the need to pause and re-consider our approach.
With that in mind, we are no longer recommending going forward with the following position additions that were included in the draft budget. Because these were new positions in the draft budget, they do not have staff in them currently and do not require any layoffs.
Mental Health Coordinator: Through redistribution of work in student services, we will be able to provide support to implementation of the Mental Health Task Force’s work.
Safety Coordinator: We will continue to coordinate efforts across the organization to ensure safety.

Perhaps a positive sign “we must keep our efforts and resources focused on providing supports to schools to improve instruction”. Reading is surely job one, as the District’s long term disastrous reading scores illustrate.

March, 2013 Madison Schools’ financial reports (PDF).
Related: Status Quo Costs More: Madison Schools’ Administration Floats a 7.38% Property Tax Increase; Dane County Incomes down 4.1%…. District Received $11.8M Redistributed State Tax Dollar Increase last year. Spending up 6.3% over the past 16 months.
Commentary on Madison School Board Member Ed Hughes’ Teacher Salary Increase Words.

Create a (Washington) state Department of Education that reports to the governor

Outgoing Washington Governor Chris Gregoire:

WASHINGTON’S education agencies are too often focused on the adults, not the children. Among my biggest goals as governor has been to change that, to return the focus to students in a seamless education system from early learning through college, and to provide accountability for that outcome.
It is our moral responsibility to get it right, and now it’s also our legal one with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling on the constitutional mandate for K-12 basic education funding. In the budget I proposed for 2013-2015, I asked the Legislature to make a sizable down payment on that obligation. That starts with $1 billion for the next two years and grows to $3.4 billion a biennium in six years.

Similar sentiments have been raised in Wisconsin vis a vis the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Superintendent.

A dagger aimed at the heart of public education

Rob Glass:

Editor’s note:
The following is excerpted from “an urgent call to action” the superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Schools dispatched to parents and residents in his public school district this week.)
A package of bills designed to corporatize and dismantle public education is being hastily pushed through this current lame-duck legislative session. If we do not take immediate action, I believe great damage will be done to public education, including our school system.
We have just three weeks to take action before it’s too late. The bills are:
House Bill 6004 and Senate Bill 1358: Would expand a separate and statewide school district (the Education Achievement Authority) overseen by a governor-appointed chancellor and functioning outside the authority of the State Board of Education or state school superintendent. These schools are exempt from the same laws and quality measures of community-governed public schools. The EAA can seize unused school buildings (built and financed by local taxpayers) and force sale or lease to charter, nonpublic or EAA schools.

Bloomfield Hills’ 2013 budget is $82,233,213 for 6,772 students, or $12,143/student. Madison plans to spend $15,132/student during the 2012-2013 school year.

The status quo in education is not acceptable

Hoppy Kercheval:

It’s understandable that friends and admirers of former state school superintendent Jorea Marple are upset with her firing.
Marple spent a lifetime in public education in West Virginia, and she built strong relationships.
The board did not help its case by potentially running afoul of the state’s open meetings law when it dismissed Marple two weeks ago.
On Thursday, the board held a special meeting, allowed Marple supporters to vent, and then cured any legal question with a do-over of Marple’s firing.
Her dismissal is apparently a result of a clash of ideas between Marple, school board president Wade Linger, and others on the board over how to respond to the independent audit of the school system released nearly a year ago.

Declining funding degrading quality

Katie Douglass:

In overwhelming numbers, Minnesota superintendents say the state education funding formula is broken and without changes education quality will diminish, according to Minnesota 2020’s latest survey of school administrators.
Download full report (pdf)
View online at Scribd
“To maintain a high level of academic achievement in a time of shrinking state funding, school districts have cut around the edges, but after nearly a decade of underfunding and recent delayed state payments, it’s getting difficult to keep cuts out of classrooms,” superintendents report in the survey sent to them at the end of the 2010-11 school year.

Real reform is the only way to improve Rochester schools



Peter Murphy:

In his recent “State of our Schools” presentation, the Rochester schools Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard showed that three years into his tenure, Rochester’s schools have had slow, but measureable progress in elementary and middle school achievement levels, fewer suspensions and more students graduating high school.
Still, Rochester continues to struggle with many challenges common for large urban communities in the state and throughout the country – challenges that will take much longer than three years to significantly improve.
While Rochester’s school superintendents come and go, one district fixture remains: Adam Urbanski, the long-time head of the Rochester Teachers Association. He recently wrote in this newspaper that Rochester schools are “worse off” in the last three years, a period which happens to coincide with the Brizard’s tenure.

Rochester, NY 2011 State of the Schools PDF Presentation and Scorecard Strategy Map. Rochester’s 2010-2011 budget is $694,515,866 for 32,000 students. $21,703.62 per student. View Rochester’s 2010-2011 budget presentation document here.
Related: The 2011 State of the Madison School District reports $379,058,945 in planned 2010-2011 spending for 24,471 students. Madison’s per student spending this year is $15,490.13.

Oregon Governor Proposes in State K-12 Tax Dollars

Paris Achen:

Fears of having to make millions of dollars in budget cuts at Oregon school districts were fueled Tuesday when Gov. John Kitzhaber proposed a K-12 education allocation of $5.56 billion for the next biennium.
Local school district officials said the amount would be insufficient to support existing services at schools, and they continued to hold out hope that the Legislature would augment that number.
One-time federal stimulus funds in this biennium helped to postpone some of the cuts districts now face, and education lobbyists are urging the Legislature to backfill what’s lost in stimulus funds, so that total K-12 funding would reach $5.8 billion for the biennium.
“We were expecting this,” said Ashland schools Superintendent Juli Di Chiro. “We are hoping the Legislature will see differently. At the minimum, we need level funding.”
The Medford School District, with 12,300 students, expects cuts of $13.5 million to $14 million from its $90 million budget, under the governor’s budget proposal.

Madison 4K Funding Options

Superintendent Daniel A. Nerad

It has been requested of Administration to put together possible scenarios for funding four year old kindergarten (4-k) through the use of Education Jobs Bill funding, Equity Reserves, Property Taxes, and any other sources of funding.
What you will find below are three distinct scenarios looking at how we may fund 4-k over the first 4 years. The focus is on the first 4 years, because the original projections put together by administration and subsequently by PMA through the forecasting model looked at the program beginning in the 2010-11 school year as year one, so we consequently only have projections going through the 2014-15 school year.
These projections will be updated as part of our work with the 5 year budget model ad hoc committee of the Board in the coming months.
All of the following scenarios we believe to be very conservative in terms of the number of students to be enrolled, and especially on projections for funding from the State of Wisconsin. These original projections from earlier this year, assumed MMSD would be losing 15% funding from the State of Wisconsin for the 2010-11, 2011-12, and 2012-13 budget years. As we have seen recently, we have lost less than the maximum state law allows (2010-11 reduction of approximately 8.4%). The funding scenarios are as follows:

Much more on Madison’s planned 4K program here.

New York’s School Climate

Buffalo News:

They agree on the need for more charter schools and see a property tax cap as an important tool to rein in school spending.
They part ways on consolidating school districts and differ greatly on how to reform public education.
Yes, Andrew M. Cuomo and Carl P. Paladino disagree as much as they agree, but, in the eyes of educators, what’s more important is the candidates’ lack of attention to education as a campaign issue.
“It doesn’t seem a priority for either candidate,” said Grand Island Superintendent Robert W. Christmann, who also heads the State Council of School Superintendents. “It seems to be getting short shrift.”

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate & Local Property Tax Increase Rhetoric

Walter Alarkon:

President Barack Obama’s budget will lead to deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, the CBO estimated Friday.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said President Barack Obama’s budget would lead to annual deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion for the next decade.
The estimates are for larger deficits than the budget shortfalls expected by the White House.
Annual deficits under Obama’s budget plan would be about $976 billion from 2011 through 2020, according to a CBO analysis of Obama’s plan released Friday.

Susan Troller:

Madison school ‘budget gap’ really a tax gap
Try “tax gap” or “revenue problem.” These are terms that Superintendent Dan Nerad — who is slated to offer his budget recommendations to the School Board on March 8 — and other school district players are starting to use to describe the financial troubles the district is facing.
What’s commonly been defined as the district’s budget gap in the past — the difference between the cost to continue existing programs and salaries and what the district is allowed to tax under state revenue caps — is actually $1.2 million. That’s the amount the district would still have to cut if the board were willing to tax to the maximum amount allowed under the state revenue limits. (And in past years, Madison and almost every other district in the state have taxed to the limit.) But if you add in the drop in revenue from the state — about $17 million for the 2010-2011 budget — the gap grows to $18.2 million.
It’s fair to ask then, what makes up the other $11.6 million that the administration calls the $29.8 million 2010-2011 budget gap? In a rather unorthodox manner, Nerad and company are including two other figures: $4 million in levying authority the district was granted through the 2008 referendum and $7.6 million in levying authority within the revenue limit formula.
Confused? You’re not alone. It’s got many folks scratching their heads. But the bottom line is this: Although the district has the authority to raise property taxes up to $312 on an average $250,000 home, it’s unlikely the board would want to reap that amount of revenue ($11.6 million) from increased taxes. Large property tax hikes — never popular — are particularly painful in the current economy.

The Madison School District has yet to release consistent total spending numbers for the current 2009/2010 budget or a total budget number for 2010-2011. Continuing to look at and emphasize in terms of public relations, only one part of the puzzle: property taxes seems ill advised.
The Madison School District Administration has posted 2010-2011 “Budget Gap” notes and links here, largely related to the property tax, again. only one part of the picture. For reference, here’s a link to the now defunct 2007-2008 Citizen’s Budget.
Doug Erickson has more:

Madison school administrators laid out a grim list of possible cuts big and small Friday that School Board members can use as a starting point to solve a nearly $30 million hole in next year’s budget.
The options range from the politically painless — restructuring debt, cutting postage costs — to the always explosive teacher layoffs and school closings.
But the school-closing option, which would close Lake View, Lindbergh and Mendota elementary schools on the city’s North Side as part of a consolidation plan, already appears to be a nonstarter. A majority of board members said they won’t go there.
“It’s dead in the water for me,” said Lucy Mathiak, board vice president.
President Arlene Silveira said the option is not on the table for her, either. Ditto for board members Marj Passman and Maya Cole, who said she immediately crossed out the option with a red pen.
Board members could decide to raise taxes enough to cover almost all of the $30 million, or they could opt to not raise taxes at all and cut $30 million. Neither option is considered palatable to board members or most residents, so some combination of the two is expected.

Notes and Links: President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan Visit Madison’s Wright Middle School (one of two Charter Schools in Madison).


Background

President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan will visit Madison’s Wright Middle School Wednesday, November 4, 2009, purportedly to give an education speech. The visit may also be related to the 2010 Wisconsin Governor’s race. The Democrat party currently (as of 11/1/2009) has no major announced candidate. Wednesday’s event may include a formal candidacy announcement by Milwaukee Mayor, and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett. UPDATE: Alexander Russo writes that the visit is indeed about Barrett and possible legislation to give the Milwaukee Mayor control of the schools.

Possible Participants:

Wright Principal Nancy Evans will surely attend. Former Principal Ed Holmes may attend as well. Holmes, currently Principal at West High has presided over a number of controversial iniatives, including the “Small Learning Community” implementation and several curriculum reduction initiatives (more here).
I’m certain that a number of local politicians will not miss the opportunity to be seen with the President. Retiring Democrat Governor Jim Doyle, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk (Falk has run for Governor and Attorney General in the past) and Madison School Superintendent Dan Nerad are likely to be part of the event. Senator Russ Feingold’s seat is on the fall, 2010 ballot so I would not be surprised to see him at Wright Middle School as well.

Madison’s Charter Intransigence

Madison, still, has only two charter schools for its 24,295 students: Wright and Nuestro Mundo.
Wright resulted from the “Madison Middle School 2000” initiative. The District website has some background on Wright’s beginnings, but, as if on queue with respect to Charter schools, most of the links are broken (for comparison, here is a link to Houston’s Charter School Page). Local biotech behemoth Promega offered free land for Madison Middle School 2000 [PDF version of the District’s Promega Partnership webpage]. Unfortunately, this was turned down by the District, which built the current South Side Madison facility several years ago (some School Board members argued that the District needed to fulfill a community promise to build a school in the present location). Promega’s kind offer was taken up by Eagle School. [2001 Draft Wright Charter 60K PDF]

Wright & Neustro Mundo Background

Wright Middle School Searches:

Bing / Clusty / Google / Google News / Yahoo

Madison Middle School 2000 Searches:

Bing / Clusty / Google / Google News / Yahoo

Nuestro Mundo, Inc. is a non-profit organization that was established in response to the commitment of its founders to provide educational, cultural and social opportunities for Madison’s ever-expanding Latino community.” The dual immersion school lives because the community and several School Board members overcame District Administration opposition. Former Madison School Board member Ruth Robarts commented in 2005:

The Madison Board of Education rarely rejects the recommendations of Superintendent Rainwater. I recall only two times that we have explicitly rejected his views. One was the vote to authorize Nuestro Mundo Community School as a charter school. The other was when we gave the go-ahead for a new Wexford Ridge Community Center on the campus of Memorial High School.

Here’s how things happen when the superintendent opposes the Board’s proposed action.

Nuestro Mundo:

Bing / Clusty / Google / Google News / Yahoo

The local school District Administration (and Teacher’s Union) intransigence on charter schools is illustrated by the death of two recent community charter initiatives: The Studio School and a proposed Nuestro Mundo Middle School.

About the Madison Public Schools

Those interested in a quick look at the state of Madison’s public schools should review Superintendent Dan Nerad’s proposed District performance measures. This document presents a wide variety of metrics on the District’s current performance, from advanced course “participation” to the percentage of students earning a “C” in all courses and suspension rates, among others.

Education Hot Topics

Finally, I hope President Obama mentions a number of Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s recent hot topics, including:

This wonderful opportunity for Wright’s students will, perhaps be most interesting for the ramifications it may have on the adults in attendance. Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman recent Rotary speech alluded to school district’s conflicting emphasis on “adult employment” vs education.

Wisconsin State Test Score Comparisons: Madison Middle Schools:

WKCE Madison Middle School Comparison: Wright / Cherokee / Hamilton / Jefferson / O’Keefe / Sennett / Sherman / Spring Harbor / Whitehorse

About Madison:

UPDATE: How Do Students at Wright Compare to Their Peers at Other MMSD Middle Schools?

Should High Schools Bar Average Students From Rigorous College-Level Courses and Tests?

Jay Matthews:

Fifteen years ago, when I discovered that many good high schools prevented average students from taking demanding courses, I thought it was a fluke, a mistake that would soon be rectified.
I had spent much time inside schools that did the opposite. They worked hard to persuade students to take challenging classes and tests, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Cambridge, so students would be ready for the shock of their first semester at college, which most average students attend. The results were good. Why didn’t all schools do that?
I still don’t have a satisfactory answer. It always comes up this time of year because of my annual rankings of public high schools for Newsweek, which is based on schools’ efforts to challenge average kids as measured by participation in AP, IB and Cambridge tests.
Many school superintendents and principals who run schools that restrict access to those college-level courses and tests have disappointing results on the Newsweek list. Some of them object to my methodology. It is clear from my conversations with them that they are smart and compassionate people.

Don’t fund Small Learning Community grant sought by MMSD

August 20, 2007 Gregory Dennis U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3W243 FB6 Washington, DC 20202-6200 Dear Mr. Dennis, As a long-time advocate for academic excellence in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD, Madison, Wisconsin), I urge the Department of Education to reject the MMSD’s recent application for a Small Learning Centers … Continue reading Don’t fund Small Learning Community grant sought by MMSD

Wisconsin Charter School News

Appleton’s Odyssey – Magellan Charter School captures state MathCounts championship Environment-Focused Charter School Meetings at Stevens Point (March 30), Madison (May 2) and Oshkosh (May 10) Appleton Superintendent & WCSA President TOM SCULLEN Honored Lake Country Academy Wants Charter School Status Portage Charter School & Aldo Leopold Green Lake Charters Course for School Coulee Montessori … Continue reading Wisconsin Charter School News

Acting White

Donna Ford, Ph.D., and Gilman Whiting, Ph.D., both of Vanderbilt University, are two leading African American education scholars who have dedicated their professional lives to the issue of minority achievement. Professor Ford is a nationally recognized expert in gifted education, multicultural education, and the recruitment and retention of diverse students in gifted education. Professor Whiting … Continue reading Acting White

Will the MMSD School Board Majority Appear to Let Administrators Preserve Jobs – Their Own?

A 2006 budget staffing discussion to come before the School Board tonight is about changes to administrative positions for next school year outlined in a memo to the School Board from the Superintendent. (Download memo on administrative changes for 2006-2007). The Superintendent is intending to save money through the elimination of several positions via resignations … Continue reading Will the MMSD School Board Majority Appear to Let Administrators Preserve Jobs – Their Own?

Stossel: How the Lack of School Choice Cheats Our Kids Out of A Good Education

John Stossel: And while many people say, “We need to spend more money on our schools,” there actually isn’t a link between spending and student achievement. Jay Greene, author of “Education Myths,” points out that “If money were the solution, the problem would already be solved … We’ve doubled per pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, … Continue reading Stossel: How the Lack of School Choice Cheats Our Kids Out of A Good Education

Solution to MMSD Budget Mystery #4: Body Count or 1-2-3 FTE

Congratulations to Roger Price, MMSD assistant superintendent, for completing the table with the FTE (full time equivalent) positions for 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, i.e., last year compared to this year. If you open the Excel file, you’ll see some potentially surprising figures. Unlike the reports, total FTEs for this school year compared to 2004-2005 did not … Continue reading Solution to MMSD Budget Mystery #4: Body Count or 1-2-3 FTE