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

Governor Evers: TO THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE:I am vetoing Senate Bill 454 in its entirety. The bill would mandate school boards and independent charter schools to assess the early literacy skill of pupils in four-year-old kindergarten to second grade using repeated screening assessments throughout the year and to create a personal reading plan … Continue reading Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

In support of Wisconsin AB446, urging Governor Evers signature

By Kadjata Bah, Josepha DaCosta and Moises Hernandez The Kohlenberg paper looks closely at school-to-prison pipelines and uses the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause to emphasize her case. She points out the Constitution “authorizes and mandates Congress to guarantee a meaningful floor of adequate functional literacy instruction nationwide.” During the past few years, federal courts have … Continue reading In support of Wisconsin AB446, urging Governor Evers signature

Wisconsin AB446 Vote and Representative Remarks

AB446 Legislative links and lobbying information. (League of Women voters is against!) Speakers, in order: 0.08: Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) voted No. 4:50: Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine) voted Yes. 6:30: Rep. Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) voted No. 11:40 Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) voted yes. 14:14 Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du lac) voted yes. 30.08: … Continue reading Wisconsin AB446 Vote and Representative Remarks

Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

mp3 audio Transcript (Machine Generated). Representative LaKeshia Myers. Related: Assembly bill AB446 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 … Continue reading Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)

October 21, 2021 11:00a.m. CST. Watch via Wisconsin Eye. Wisconsin AB 446; SIS links. The list of lobbying organizations (many taxpayer supported!) opposed to Roadmap to Reading Success is remarkable: Association of Wisconsin School Administrators League of Women Voters Wisconsin (!) Pearson NA (!) Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance WIRSA Wisconsin Association of School Boards Wisconsin … Continue reading Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)

Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Transcript (machine generated) mp3 audio Notes and links on AB446. Kelly Butler Barksdale Reading Institute bio. 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 … Continue reading Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Donna Hejtmanek Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

“1993: Wisconsin Students #3 in the Nation in Reading 2019: #27 If Mississippi can do it, we can do it”. 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 … Continue reading Donna Hejtmanek Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Advocating accountability for taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Molly Beck: Low-performing schools in Wisconsin would be forced to close under a plan to overhaul K-12 education put forward by Kevin Nicholson, a Republican who is expected to announce this week he is running for governor.   Nicholson, who was defeated in a Republican U.S. Senate primary in 2018 by former state Sen. Leah Vukmir … Continue reading Advocating accountability for taxpayer supported K-12 schools

“the referenced study made no mention of the education of its educators as a variable”

Noah Diekemper: It’s little wonder that the American Enterprise Institute’s education research fellow Max Eden has denounced college requirements for preschool teachers as “regressive,” declaring that there is “ no evidence to support this will help with student outcomes .” Why, then, are lawmakers considering a federal law that would fund preschool programs only if lead teachers … Continue reading “the referenced study made no mention of the education of its educators as a variable”

Abolishing grades on homework will hurt the neediest kids

Jay Matthews: Now some schools are experimenting with easing homework and grading as a way to be fair and coax students back into the learning process. I had assumed educators would quickly realize this was a formula for disaster. But I have learned such take-it-easy policies are being seriously considered in what I have considered … Continue reading Abolishing grades on homework will hurt the neediest kids

Read it and cheer: David Banks’ wise words about literacy instruction in NYC schools

Robert Pondisco: In some of his first public comments since being named New York City’s incoming schools chancellor, David Banks has drawn cheers from savvy education observers and literacy experts for remarks critical of “balanced literacy,” the city’s long-standing approach to teaching reading. “‘Balanced literacy’ has not worked for Black and Brown children. We’re going … Continue reading Read it and cheer: David Banks’ wise words about literacy instruction in NYC schools

Loudoun County paid at least $500,000 to be twice delivered suggestions about “social emotional learning.”

Matt Taibbi: In preparation for today’s forthcoming story, A Culture War in Four Acts: Loudoun County, Virginia. Part Two: ‘The Incident,’ TK News sent Freedom of Information requests to the county on several questions. Concerned with the issue of when the controversial “Equity Collaborative” was hired, we asked for “procurement or purchasing process documents, stakeholder emails and communique … Continue reading Loudoun County paid at least $500,000 to be twice delivered suggestions about “social emotional learning.”

What a Brazilian state can teach the world about education

The Economist: hen amaury gomes began teaching history in Sobral in the mid-1990s, its schools were a mess. The city of 200,000 people lies in Ceará, a baking-hot north-eastern state that has one of Brazil’s highest rates of poverty. When local officials ordered tests in 2001 they found that 40% of Sobral’s eight-year-olds could not … Continue reading What a Brazilian state can teach the world about education

Another attempt to address Wisconsin‘s long-term disastrous reading results: AB611

The Assembly Committee on Education is holding a public hearing today on AB611, relating to the licensure requirements for teachers in regard to reading readiness. Similar to AB446 — a literacy bill vetoed by the Gov. — this bill seeks to boost WI’s dismal literacy rates. pic.twitter.com/XLUL9NVXBD — MacIver Institute (@MacIverWisc) December 14, 2021 Wisconsin … Continue reading Another attempt to address Wisconsin‘s long-term disastrous reading results: AB611

America’s top scientists warn about the political erosion of education standards.

Wall Street Journal: The last few years have seen a proliferation of “open letters” by academics in politics and the humanities in favor of progressive causes. The hard sciences are different, and when mathematicians, physicists and engineers speak up to defend the integrity of their fields, Americans should pay attention. The latest example is a … Continue reading America’s top scientists warn about the political erosion of education standards.

Clarity about Fountas and Pinnell

Mark Seidenberg: Fountas and Pinnell have written a series of blog posts defending their popular curriculum, which is being criticized as based on discredited ideas about how children learn to read. (See Emily Hanford’s post here; EdReports evaluation here, many comments in the blogosphere.) The question is why school systems should continue to invest in the F&P curriculum and … Continue reading Clarity about Fountas and Pinnell

What do you think about how your children are learning to read? We want to talk with you.

Madeline Fox: Students in Wisconsin had two years of disrupted learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s heightened concerns about Wisconsin’s low reading scores on national assessments — only about 36 percent of Wisconsin fourth graders scored at or above proficient in reading on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress.  A bill to assess kids’ … Continue reading What do you think about how your children are learning to read? We want to talk with you.

Deeper Dive: Wisconsin K12 Schools’ Abysmal Proficiency Rates

Abbi Debelack: The latest data on testing and proficiency rates for Wisconsin’s children were recently released by the Department of Public Instruction and it is not pretty. Yet despite the alarmingly low test scores, there appears to be little to no outrage by the media and education establishment. Each year, Wisconsin students, in various grades, … Continue reading Deeper Dive: Wisconsin K12 Schools’ Abysmal Proficiency Rates

Peng Her Wisconsin Assembly Bill 446 Testimony

mp3 audio: PDF Transcript (Machine generated). Related: Some legislators attempt to address 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 … Continue reading Peng Her Wisconsin Assembly Bill 446 Testimony

China Is Engineering Genius Babies

Aleks Eror:

It’s not exactly news that China is setting itself up as a new global superpower, is it? While Western civilization chokes on its own gluttony like a latter-day Marlon Brando, China continues to buy up American debt and lock away the world’s natural resources. But now, not content to simply laugh and make jerk-off signs as they pass us on the geopolitical highway, they’ve also developed a state-endorsed genetic-engineering project.
At BGI Shenzhen, scientists have collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence. Apparently they’re not far from finding them, and when they do, embryo screening will allow parents to pick their brightest zygote and potentially bump up every generation’s intelligence by five to 15 IQ points. Within a couple of generations, competing with the Chinese on an intellectual level will be like challenging Lena Dunham to a getting-naked-on-TV contest.
Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist and lecturer at NYU, is one of the 2,000 braniacs who contributed their DNA. I spoke to him about what this creepy-ass program might mean for the future of Chinese kids.

Related: New data reveal scale of China abortions and Eugenics.
Many links here.
Technology Review:

In its scientific work, BGI often acts as the enabler of other people’s ideas. That is the case in a major project conceived by Steve Hsu, vice president for research at Michigan State University, to search for genes that influence intelligence. Under the guidance of Zhao Bowen, BGI is now sequencing the DNA of more than 2,000 people–mostly Americans–who have IQ scores of at least 160, or four standard deviations above the mean.
The DNA comes primarily from a collection of blood ­samples amassed by Robert Plomin, a psychologist at King’s College, London. The plan, to compare the genomes of geniuses and people of ordinary intelligence, is scientifically risky (it’s likely that thousands of genes are involved) and somewhat controversial. For those reasons it would be very hard to find the $15 or $20 million needed to carry out the project in the West. “Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t,” Plomin says. “But BGI is doing it basically for free.”
From Plomin’s perspective, BGI is so large that it appears to have more DNA sequencing capacity than it knows what to do with. It has “all those machines and people that have to be fed” with projects, he says. The IQ study isn’t the only mega-project under way. With a U.S. nonprofit, Autism Speaks, BGI is being paid to sequence the DNA of up to 10,000 people from families with autistic children. For researchers in Denmark, BGI is decoding the genomes of 3,000 obese people and 3,000 lean ones.

The End of Unions? What Michigan Governor Rick Snyder gets right and wrong about labor policy

Richard Epstein:

The age of big government is now upon us. The question is how to respond to this daunting reality. One possible approach is prudential acquiescence to the inevitable. Conservatives could work toward incremental reform within today’s political paradigm. The Hoover Institution’s own Peter Berkowitz offers this advice in his thoughtful column in the Wall Street Journal. Libertarians, in particular, must “absorb” the lesson that frontal assaults on New Deal-era policies are out. He writes:

[C]onservatives must redouble their efforts to reform sloppy and incompetent government and resist government’s inherent expansionist tendencies and progressivism’s reflexive leveling proclivities. But to undertake to dismantle or even substantially roll back the welfare and regulatory state reflects a distinctly unconservative refusal to ground political goals in political realities.
Conservatives can and should focus on restraining spending, reducing regulation, reforming the tax code, and generally reining in our sprawling federal government. But conservatives should retire misleading talk of small government. Instead, they should think and speak in terms of limited government.

I fear the downside of Berkowitz’s counsel of moderation. For starters, no one can police Berkowitz’s elusive line between “small” and “limited” government. At its core, Berkowitz’s wise counsel exposes the Achilles heel of all conservative thought, which can be found in the writings of such notables as David Brooks and the late Russell Kirk. Their desire to “conserve” the best of the status quo offers no normative explanation of which institutions and practices are worthy of intellectual respect and which are not. No one doubts that politics depends on the art of compromise. But compromise only works for politicians who know where they want to go and how to get there.

American Teaching Standards: Don’t know much about history

The Economist:

Many states emphasise abstract concepts rather than history itself. In Delaware, for example, pupils “will not be expected to recall any specific event or person in history”. Other states teach children about early American history only once, when they are 11. Yet other states show scars from the culture wars. A steady, leftward lean has been followed by a violent lurch to the right. Standards for Texas, passed last year, urge pupils to question the separation of church and state and “evaluate efforts by global organisations to undermine US sovereignty through the use of treaties”.
Some states fare better. South Carolina has set impressive standards–for example, urging teachers to explain that colonists did not protest against taxation simply because taxes were too high. Other states, Mr Finn argues, would do well to follow South Carolina’s example. “Twenty-first century skills” may help pupils become better workers; learning history makes them better citizens.

The Economist:

Many states emphasise abstract concepts rather than history itself. In Delaware, for example, pupils “will not be expected to recall any specific event or person in history”. Other states teach children about early American history only once, when they are 11. Yet other states show scars from the culture wars. A steady, leftward lean has been followed by a violent lurch to the right. Standards for Texas, passed last year, urge pupils to question the separation of church and state and “evaluate efforts by global organisations to undermine US sovereignty through the use of treaties”.
Some states fare better. South Carolina has set impressive standards–for example, urging teachers to explain that colonists did not protest against taxation simply because taxes were too high. Other states, Mr Finn argues, would do well to follow South Carolina’s example. “Twenty-first century skills” may help pupils become better workers; learning history makes them better citizens.

Related: The State of State U.S. History Standards 2011: Wisconsin = F.

SAT Prep on the Web: A) a Game; B) Online Chat; C) All of the Above

Katherine Boehret

This Saturday, high-school students around the country will sit for hours of silent testing that will determine some portion of their future: That’s right, it’s SAT time. For both parents and kids, the preparation for taking the standardized test is stressful and expensive, often involving hours of studying and several hundreds of dollars spent on classes, workbooks and tutors. And many kids will take these tests more than once.
So this week I tried a Web-based form of test prep called Grockit that aims to make studying for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE or LSAT less expensive and more enjoyable. Grockit.com offers lessons, group study and solo practice, and does a nice job of feeling fun and educational, which isn’t an easy combination to pull off.
A free portion of the site includes group study with a variety of questions and a limited number of solo test questions, which are customized to each student’s study needs. The $100 Premium subscription includes full access to the online platform with unlimited solo practice questions and personalized performance analytics that track a student’s progress. A new offering called Grockit TV (grockit.com/tv) offers free eight-week courses if students watch them streaming live twice a week. Otherwise, a course can be downloaded for $100 during the course or $150 afterward. Instructors hailing from the Princeton Review and Kaplan, among other places, teach test preparation for the GMAT business-school admissions test and SAT.

An undesirable inheritance
Children of illegal immigrants twice as likely as other kids to face poverty

N.C. Aizenman:

Eight-year-old Alex picked up a 75-cent can of fruit punch from one of the grocery store’s shelves and called excitedly to his mother in Spanish.
Maria, 38, gave her stocky third-grader a sympathetic smile. She’d already made Alex and his 3-year-old sister, Emelyn, walk 30 minutes under a broiling sun from their house in suburban Maryland to the Safeway, the closest place that accepts Emelyn’s federal milk and cereal vouchers. Then they’d trekked 20 minutes more to this cheaper Latino grocery so Maria, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who can’t afford a car and wouldn’t be eligible for a driver’s license anyway, could save $3.40 on chicken.
“At home, my son,” Maria said soothingly. “When we get home, you can drink some water.”

Education in the Arab world

The Economist:

One reason that too many Arabs are poor is rotten education
A RECENT issue of Science, the weekly journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was devoted to research into “Ardi” or Ardipithecus ramidus, a 4.4m-year-old hominid species whose discovery deepens the understanding of human evolution. These latest studies suggest, among other things, that rather than descending from a closely related species such as the chimpanzee, the hominid branch parted earlier than previously thought from the common ancestral tree.
In much of the Arab world, coverage of the research took a different spin. “American Scientists Debunk Darwin”, exclaimed the headline in al-Masry al-Youm, Egypt’s leading independent daily. “Ardi Refutes Darwin’s Theory”, chimed the website of al-Jazeera, the region’s most-watched television channel. Scores of comments from readers celebrated this news as a blow to Western materialism and a triumph for Islam. Two or three lonely readers wrote in to complain that the report had inaccurately presented the findings of the research.

Crusader for Syntactic Disambiguation Exprobrates Banks’ Labored Locutions

Sara Schaefer Munoz:

A few months ago, 71-year-old Chrissie Maher got a mailing from her bank titled “Personal and Private Banking — Keeping You Informed.” Baffled by its blizzard of terms such as “account facility limit,” Ms. Maher replied in simpler language.
“The leaflet needs much more thought if it is to be understood by your customers,” she said in a letter to Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. “As it stands, it should be renamed ‘Keeping You Confused.’ ”
After critiquing the pamphlet’s “tortuous and ambiguous sentences,” she redrafted it, changing terms like “maximum debit balance” to “the most that can be owed.”
RBS may have picked the wrong woman to target with financial mumbo jumbo. Ms. Maher is the founder of the Plain English Campaign, a 30-year-old group whose stated goal is to stem “the ever-growing tide of confusing and pompous language” that “takes away our democratic rights.”
Over the years, Ms. Maher and her group have battled police agencies, expansion planners at Heathrow Airport, and the “frequently bizarre language” of the European Union. (At issue: phrases such as “unlock clusters,” “subsidiarity” and “sector-specific benchmarking.”) She has blasted local government on the use of “worklessness” to refer to unemployment and once attacked the president of the U.K. Spelling Society over his claim that the apostrophe is “a waste of time.”

Contraband candy = Skittles suspension

AP:

Contraband candy has led to big trouble for an eighth-grade honors student in Connecticut.
Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate.
School spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo says the New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a district wide school wellness policy.
Michael’s suspension has been reduced from three days to one, but he has not been reinstated as class vice president.

Joanne has more.

A LITERATURE REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS
OF THE EFFECTS OF LOCKDOWNS ON
COVID-19 MORTALITY

Ambika Kandasamy, Jonas Herby, Lars Jonung, and Steve H. Hanke This systematic review and meta-analysis are designed to determine whether there is empirical evidence to support the belief that “lockdowns” reduce COVID-19 mortality. Lockdowns are defined as the imposition of at least one compulsory, non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI). NPIs are any government mandate that directly restrict … Continue reading A LITERATURE REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS
OF THE EFFECTS OF LOCKDOWNS ON
COVID-19 MORTALITY

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school policies in the spotlight: Marlon Anderson edition

Sean Cooper: he attempted to instruct the student that the word was offensive. In doing so, he used the slur himself, which was overheard by administrators who had recently installed a zero tolerance anti-racism policy that prompted them to immediately fire Anderson for the utterance. Students subsequently rallied to Anderson’s defense, walking out of class … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school policies in the spotlight: Marlon Anderson edition

A Covid Commission Americans Can Trust: The country has lost faith in experts, but a thorough review free from conflicts of interest could help.

Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya: The pandemic is on its way out, but how many Americans think the U.S. approach succeeded? More than 600,000 Americans died from Covid, and lockdowns have left extensive collateral damage. Trust in science has eroded, and the damage won’t be limited to epidemiology, virology and public health. Scientists in other … Continue reading A Covid Commission Americans Can Trust: The country has lost faith in experts, but a thorough review free from conflicts of interest could help.

Censorship and Teacher Union spending

Randi Weingarten’s union is buying a service to filter news for “misinformation” for millions of students. pic.twitter.com/mAhR9LCkWb — Corey A. DeAngelis (@DeAngelisCorey) January 25, 2022 What’s happening: The AFT teachers union is buying NewsGuard licenses for its 1.7 million teachers, who will then be able to share it with tens of millions students around the … Continue reading Censorship and Teacher Union spending

An Emphasis on adult employment

Given the academic and social challenges that students face, many local education agencies are planning to use #Covidrelief money to hire more staff members and beef up training, benefits and pay for those already on the payroll. https://t.co/UiT0INSU8N — FutureEd (@FutureEdGU) January 25, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health. The data clearly indicate that … Continue reading An Emphasis on adult employment

49 taxpayer supported Madison school district staff cashiered

Scott Girard: A Madison Metropolitan School District teacher plans to challenge what he considers unequal application of the district’s religious exemption to its staff COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Nathan Hataj, a technology and engineering teacher at La Follette High School, “didn’t think of it as an issue” when the School Board unanimously approved the staff vaccine mandate … Continue reading 49 taxpayer supported Madison school district staff cashiered

My students were taught to think of themselves as vectors of disease. This has fundamentally altered their understanding of themselves.

Stacey Lance: I am proud to be a teacher. I’ve worked in the Canadian public school system for the past 15 years, mostly at the high school level, teaching morals and ethics. I don’t claim to be a doctor or an expert in virology. There is a lot I don’t know. But I spend my … Continue reading My students were taught to think of themselves as vectors of disease. This has fundamentally altered their understanding of themselves.

A post mortem on the Chicago Teacher walk out that fizzled

Left Voice: Our union members were going in. Some people stopped responding to our chat after the first day. They needed their paycheck, or they didn’t want to ruffle feathers, whatever their reason, they turned their back on us. This was happening everywhere. Since this wasn’t an official strike, people did not see the problem … Continue reading A post mortem on the Chicago Teacher walk out that fizzled

School closures have been made with politics in mind — not science

Corey DeAngelis and Christos Makridis: The long-term closing of schools, and the harm it did to children nationwide, was a decision based not on health, but on politics — thanks to teachers unions and the Democratic politicians they fund. A study by researchers at Michigan State University found that when governors left it up to districts whether to have in-person … Continue reading School closures have been made with politics in mind — not science

almost half of education spending in the state goes for activities other than instruction, including nearly 23% on administrative costs.

Will Flanders, DPI itself has also contributed to this problem in a number of ways.  Nearly $150,000,000 of state education spending is retained at the state level for operations.  In addition, DPI has contributed and created the barriers for teachers to access the classroom. With barrier upon barrier to get licensed to teach, it is difficult to recruit and … Continue reading almost half of education spending in the state goes for activities other than instruction, including nearly 23% on administrative costs.

Volunteer opportunities in the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Scott Girard: Registration can be completed online through the district’s Volunteer Tracker program, which allows volunteers to select the schools where they’d like to volunteer and identify what roles they can volunteer for. In an interview last week, Jenkins suggested that the district needs individuals and local businesses to step up to help keep school buildings open, … Continue reading Volunteer opportunities in the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Martin Luther King on the Ethics of Resistance to State Authority

Ilya Somin: Georgetown philosophy Prof. Jason Brennan, himself the author of an important book on the morality of resistance to government power, has a useful summary of King’s views on these issues. As Brennan points out, King believed that disobedience to unjust laws is often entirely justified, even when the laws in question were enacted by democratic governments: Many … Continue reading Martin Luther King on the Ethics of Resistance to State Authority

School Closures Were a Catastrophic Error. Progressives Still Haven’t Reckoned With It.

Jonathan Chait: Within blue America, transparently irrational ideas like this were able to carry the day for a disturbingly long period of time. In recent days, Angie Schmitt and Rebecca Bodenheimer have both written essays recounting the disorienting and lonely experience they had watching their friends and putative political allies denounce them for supporting a return to in-person learning. … Continue reading School Closures Were a Catastrophic Error. Progressives Still Haven’t Reckoned With It.

Madison schools head says schools need ongoing community help to support students

Scott Girard: “This time, I’m going to the business community, to the churches and saying, ‘Hey, let’s start anticipating together, scenario planning, so if something happens, we can be a model for how you do it,’” he said. “Keep it rolling and keep safety first and then the rest of the stuff.” That “rest of … Continue reading Madison schools head says schools need ongoing community help to support students

Watch now: A charter school with all-day outdoor education in the middle of winter

Barry Adams: Almost all of the lessons at the Kickapoo Valley Forest School are held outdoors, even on days when the temperature plunges well below freezing. The nature-based curriculum is central for the 4K and kindergarten students and their teachers, who have had lunch outside all but four days since the first day of school … Continue reading Watch now: A charter school with all-day outdoor education in the middle of winter

‘The greatest casualty of the pandemic era is, without question, America’s public education system’

Jesse Kauffman: The greatest casualty of the pandemic era is, without question, America’s public education system. Shuttering public schools in the first panicked days of March 2020 was perhaps understandable. However, many schools—such as those my children attend in Ann Arbor, Michigan—failed to open the following year. Schools closed in defiance of any reasonable accounting … Continue reading ‘The greatest casualty of the pandemic era is, without question, America’s public education system’

Madison School District’s Early Literacy Task Force Report

104 Page PDF: The Early Literacy and Beyond Task Force was established in December 2020, charged with analyzing promising approaches to literacy education and making recommendations to Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and the teacher education programs at the University of Wisconsin -Madison School of Education (UW-SoE) to improve literacy outcomes and reduce gaps in … Continue reading Madison School District’s Early Literacy Task Force Report

Wisconsin Assembly Education Committee Meeting 12 January 2022 on DPI’s “K-12 Report Cards”

mp3 audio (about 3 hours – not the entire session): Machine generated transcript. School and District Report Cards and the recent changes made to those Report Cards Invited speakers include: School Choice Wisconsin Action (Jim Bender) Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (Thomas McCarthy) Stride, Inc. Siena Catholic Schools Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (Prepared … Continue reading Wisconsin Assembly Education Committee Meeting 12 January 2022 on DPI’s “K-12 Report Cards”

Ehud Qimron’s Powerful Letter to the Israeli Ministry of Health

Shared via brownstone: Two years late, you finally realize that a respiratory virus cannot be defeated and that any such attempt is doomed to fail. You do not admit it, because you have admitted almost no mistake in the last two years, but in retrospect it is clear that you have failed miserably in almost … Continue reading Ehud Qimron’s Powerful Letter to the Israeli Ministry of Health

Chicago Teachers Walkout Calls the Questions — What Does ‘Safe’ Mean, and Who Gets to Decide?

Mike Antonucci: The Chicago Teachers Union decided last week to cease in-person schooling until a variety of conditions were met. In response, Chicago Public Schools refused to allow teachers to log in for remote instruction and demanded they return to the classroom. After days of negotiations, the two sides reached a tentative agreement. In-person classes … Continue reading Chicago Teachers Walkout Calls the Questions — What Does ‘Safe’ Mean, and Who Gets to Decide?

Teachers’ unions have ignored encouraging findings from other countries, such as research suggesting that teachers in schools that had opened faced no greater risk of severe sickness than other professionals.

The Economist: Over the past two years America’s children have missed more time in the classroom than those in most of the rich world. School closures that began there in early 2020 dragged on until the summer of 2021. During that time the districts that stayed closed longest forced all or some of their children … Continue reading Teachers’ unions have ignored encouraging findings from other countries, such as research suggesting that teachers in schools that had opened faced no greater risk of severe sickness than other professionals.

Commentary on teacher union influence and closed taxpayer supported schools

Lindsey Burke and Corey DeAngelis: Imagine being a second grader in a major city right now. If you entered kindergarten during the 2019-20 school year, COVID-19 first closed your school in March, potentially offering “remote learning.” As you prepared to enter first grade the following fall, you were one of more than half of students … Continue reading Commentary on teacher union influence and closed taxpayer supported schools

After multiple lockdowns, three vaccines, and one bout of COVID, I want my life back.

Helen Lewis: I got my COVID-19 booster shot last week, on the first day I was eligible. My shot was delayed because I caught COVID in early December, an experience that was low-key grim: two days of shotgun sneezing, no taste or smell for a week, and a constant fatigue that didn’t abate until the … Continue reading After multiple lockdowns, three vaccines, and one bout of COVID, I want my life back.

Depressed attendance rates create challenges for teaching and learning; ‘there has never been anything like this’

Scott Calvert: Public-school attendance across the U.S. has dropped to unusually low levels, complicating efforts to keep schools open, as districts also contend with major staff shortages. Many students in kindergarten through 12th grade are out sick because of Covid-19 or are being kept home by anxious parents, as the Omicron variant surges, officials say. Remote learning often isn’t being … Continue reading Depressed attendance rates create challenges for teaching and learning; ‘there has never been anything like this’

Did any of these people tell the truth back when it could have saved the generation that comprises the world’s future? Nope.

Joy Pullman: Americans are starting to feel the increasing collateral damage from our unprecedented, ineffective, and ill-advised Covid lockdowns. It was known before March 2020 that lockdowns would cause lifelong and avoidable damage to billions, yet the world’s ruling classes who claim to have earned their place atop a “meritocracy” strenuously demanded such damage be inflicted especially on children and … Continue reading Did any of these people tell the truth back when it could have saved the generation that comprises the world’s future? Nope.

Notes on Madison area K – 12 taxpayer supported school attendance

Scott Girard: MMSD spokesman Tim LeMonds told the Cap Times in an email Tuesday the district’s attendance rate Monday was 80.6%. That’s below the average of more than 90% throughout the 2020-21 school year, according to attendance data received through an open records request. Other area school districts, which all returned from winter break as … Continue reading Notes on Madison area K – 12 taxpayer supported school attendance

The Great Barrington Declaration and closed schools;
Lockdowns failed to serve the collective good

Thomas Fazi and Toby Green: All of which has meant that, until the Observer’s interview with Mark Woolhouse, there has been painfully little critical analysis from the mainstream Left as to whether the raft of restrictive Covid measures we have seen over the past two years have indeed served the collective good — or saved lives … Continue reading The Great Barrington Declaration and closed schools;
Lockdowns failed to serve the collective good

Letter to Wisconsin Governor Evers on His Roadmap to Reading Success Veto

State Senator Kathy Bernier and State Representative Joel Kitchens: Literacy in Wisconsin is in crisis: 64% of Wisconsin 4th graders can’t read at grade level, with 34% failing to read at even the basic level. As co-chair of Governor Walker’s Read to Lead Task Force, you know that high quality universal literacy screening is the … Continue reading Letter to Wisconsin Governor Evers on His Roadmap to Reading Success Veto

COVID school policies set me adrift from my tribe.

Angie Schmitt: I kept hoping that someone in our all-Democratic political leadership would take a stand on behalf of Cleveland’s 37,000 public-school children or seem to care about what was happening. Weren’t Democrats supposed to stick up for low-income kids? Instead, our veteran Democratic mayor avoided remarking on the crisis facing the city’s public-school families. … Continue reading COVID school policies set me adrift from my tribe.

Commentary on Closed taxpayer supported Madison Schools (no achievement discussion)

Scott Mildred (and others) Our community didn’t let the district’s tardiness slide without a stern warning. That’s because missing in-person classes for the last week (with two days of online school) badly disrupted people’s lives, especially working parents who don’t have easy options for emergency child care. The district’s spokesman had told the State Journal on Dec. … Continue reading Commentary on Closed taxpayer supported Madison Schools (no achievement discussion)

Civics: Milwaukee votes on health policy while Dane County continues unelected administrative mandates

Corrinne Hess: At the urging of Milwaukee Public Schools and area restaurants, a Milwaukee Common Council committee moved forward an ordinance Friday for a city-wide mask mandate. Under the plan, a face covering would be required for anyone 3 years old and up inside a public building whenever the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus … Continue reading Civics: Milwaukee votes on health policy while Dane County continues unelected administrative mandates

Teacher Unions vs Parents and Children: political commentary

Dana Goldstein and Noam Scheiber: Few American cities have labor politics as fraught as Chicago’s, where the nation’s third-largest school system shut down this week after teachers’ union members refused to work in person, arguing that classrooms were unsafe amid the Omicron surge. But in a number of other places, the tenuous labor peace that … Continue reading Teacher Unions vs Parents and Children: political commentary

Parents sue to end illegal Chicago Teachers Union Strike

Liberty Justice Center: – A group of Chicago parents have filed a lawsuit against the Chicago Teachers Union, calling this week’s school closures an “illegal strike” and demanding that teachers return to school for in-person learning. The lawsuit was filed late Thursday by attorneys at the Liberty Justice Center, a national nonprofit law firm that … Continue reading Parents sue to end illegal Chicago Teachers Union Strike

Milwaukee Public Schools are staying virtual for now, and none of the reasons involve improving student education

Alan Borsuk: This all said, MPS is in a small club of school districts that have switched to all-virtual schooling during the current surge. The vast majority of American schools are staying in-person, even if it’s a struggle. One board member, Megan O’Halloran, suggested that schools that were reporting comparatively few COVID cases among teachers … Continue reading Milwaukee Public Schools are staying virtual for now, and none of the reasons involve improving student education

$5M in Grants to save Chicago Public School Children

STOP Award More than 340,000 Chicago Public School students have been forced to stay home by self-interests who dominate the Chicago Public School system. The failure of Chicago’s leadership to open school even after receiving more than $1.5 billion from the federal government in the past year to ensure they are always open safely to … Continue reading $5M in Grants to save Chicago Public School Children

Civics: Wisconsin Electoral Awareness

Someone just sent a picture of their child’s homework to me. Sorry @GovEvers 🤣💗 pic.twitter.com/Kf8iCOpbJu — Katie Rosenberg ✌ (@katierosenberg) January 7, 2022 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 … Continue reading Civics: Wisconsin Electoral Awareness

Notes on administrative mandates vs elected official votes: Dane County Edition

Allison Garfield: Authored by county Supervisor Jeff Weigand, who represents District 20 just east of Sun Prairie, the resolution has been before the city and county’s joint public health committee twice, once in September and once in December. Most recently, on Dec. 1, the resolution was indefinitely postponed in committee. But the resolution made its way before … Continue reading Notes on administrative mandates vs elected official votes: Dane County Edition

Private temporary classroom for taxpayer supported Madison k-12 students

Scott Girard: It was their temporary classroom for MMSD’s second day of virtual learning amid a delayed return from winter break. Madison offered up her organization’s space on the Capitol Square hours after the district’s Dec. 30 announcement that winter break would be extended through Wednesday, Jan. 6, with virtual learning to close out the … Continue reading Private temporary classroom for taxpayer supported Madison k-12 students

The human rights implications of long lockdown and the damaging impact on young people

Ellen Townsend: The rights and needs of young people have been ignored in this crisis and this is a national and global disaster in the making. The future of our youngsters has been sacrificed in order to protect adults which goes against the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (article 3) states: “In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social … Continue reading The human rights implications of long lockdown and the damaging impact on young people

Parents vs Teacher Unions on closed taxpayer supported K-12 Schools: Chicago edition

Guilia Heyward: The possibility of more online school for John Christie’s fourth-grade son, Ian, is enough to bring Mr. Christie to tears. Mr. Christie said his son, who has been diagnosed with autism, thrived with the schedule that in-person instruction gave him during the fall. But in earlier parts of the pandemic, when school was … Continue reading Parents vs Teacher Unions on closed taxpayer supported K-12 Schools: Chicago edition

Mapping closed taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Burbio Burbio’s tracker shows 5225 schools starting a period of disruption (not offering in-person learning) of one or more days during the week beginning January 2nd, 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 … Continue reading Mapping closed taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Commentary on statements to open Madison’s closed taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Scott Girard: That percentage is well below the unfilled percentages in the last months of 2021: 49.81% in October, 47.37% in November and 43.56% in December. In its press release Thursday, the district acknowledged that closures of schools or classrooms could still be coming this semester. Elizabeth Beyer: “We recognize this week has affected our … Continue reading Commentary on statements to open Madison’s closed taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Civics: commentary on the Dane County Madison Public Health mask mandate, that lacks elected an official vote

Allison Garfield and Natalie Yahr: The resolution seeks to dismiss the current emergency order — which was issued by Public Health Madison & Dane County on Dec. 20, 2021 and extends the mask mandate through Feb. 1, 2022 — until public input and “consent of the governed” had been achieved. The previous emergency order had … Continue reading Civics: commentary on the Dane County Madison Public Health mask mandate, that lacks elected an official vote

Reading proficiency rates rising in some Appalachian schools
Scientifically based teaching, Direct Instruction programs driving turnaround

Richard Innes: Results on both state and na.onal tests raise important ques.ons about the general lack of effec.veness of reading instruc.on in Kentucky’s public schools. Evidence from the federal Na.onal Assessment of Educa.onal Progress (NAEP) indicates that many Kentucky teachers struggle to provide effec.ve reading instruc.on.The dimensions of this problem are enormous. Impacts were examined … Continue reading Reading proficiency rates rising in some Appalachian schools
Scientifically based teaching, Direct Instruction programs driving turnaround

Changing our metrics to suit our narratives has caused confusion, frustrated the honest, and destroyed public trust, or The Graveyard of Common Knowledge

Matt Shapiro: This kind of pronouncement was meant to imply that vaccination rates were responsible for low rates of COVID at Harvard, not the fact that Harvard is in a region that was at a COVID nadir last September. Now that the region is having a COVID outbreak, Harvard has, despite mandatory vaccines (and mandatory … Continue reading Changing our metrics to suit our narratives has caused confusion, frustrated the honest, and destroyed public trust, or The Graveyard of Common Knowledge

Madison’s taxpayer supported closed schools: 2022 edition

Emily Hamer: Heinrich also said that “while it is challenging to determine exactly where transmission occurred,” her agency was not aware of any deaths from COVID-19 linked to in-person schooling in Dane County “but it appears that there have been a small number of hospitalizations that appear to be linked to in-school transmission.” Jenkins confirmed … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported closed schools: 2022 edition

Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported closed K-12 schools

Scott Girard: Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m., includes a public comment portion, a chance to summarize written public comments and an “update on safe return to school buildings for in-person learning.” The last item will be a discussion, but will not include a vote of any kind. Those interested in speaking during the meeting … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported closed K-12 schools

Milwaukee, Madison School Districts Refuse to Follow the Science

Brett Healy: Further proving that we have learned absolutely nothing from the last 22 months, both Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) announced plans to scrap students’ return to the classroom following Christmas break. Neither sounded particularly optimistic that this would be a temporary move. “While it is our goal … Continue reading Milwaukee, Madison School Districts Refuse to Follow the Science

‘This is a disaster.’: Severity of learning lost to the pandemic comes into focus

Jessica Calefati AMERICA, WE HAVE A PROBLEM — Results from a standardized test taken by elementary and middle school students earlier this school year paint a bleak picture of the harm the pandemic inflicted on their learning.  — Performance on the iReady test administered nationally by Curriculum Associates plummeted for all students compared to the last time it … Continue reading ‘This is a disaster.’: Severity of learning lost to the pandemic comes into focus

“An emphasis on adult employment”; Chicago Teachers Union 2022 edition

NEW: The Chicago Teachers Union says its planned vote tonight would see members refuse in-person work until Jan. 18 or until the city’s COVID-19 wave falls below the threshold Chicago Public Schools set last year, whichever happens first. — Nader Issa (@NaderDIssa) January 4, 2022 Maureen Kelleher: If ever there was a moment to ensure … Continue reading “An emphasis on adult employment”; Chicago Teachers Union 2022 edition

Taxpayer supported Chicago Teacher Union and closed schools

Alex Nester: Chicago teachers are preparing to strike over what they say are unsafe working conditions caused by a spike in coronavirus cases. The Chicago Teachers Union has scheduled a Tuesday vote to determine whether its 25,000 members will refuse to return to the classroom, WBEZ reported. On Sunday, more than 6,000 union members at a virtual … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Chicago Teacher Union and closed schools

Oster Study Finds Learning Loss Far Greater in Districts that Went Fully Remote

Kevin Mahnken: What are the consequences of closing virtually every American school and shifting to online education for months at a time? It’s a question that education experts have been asking since the emergence of COVID-19, and one whose answers are gradually becoming clearer. With federal sources reporting that 99 percent of students have now returned to … Continue reading Oster Study Finds Learning Loss Far Greater in Districts that Went Fully Remote

The long-term consequences of closed schools are profound

Will Flanders and Libby Sobic: In the latest chapter of the seemingly never-ending nightmare of school closures, Milwaukee Public Schools decided Sunday, Jan. 2 to return to virtual instruction for the first week of the spring semester, Jan. 3-7. This follows the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) making a similar decision to delay the start … Continue reading The long-term consequences of closed schools are profound

Notes on taxpayer supported Madison K-12 School District Crime and achievement governance

David Blaska: Neighbors here on the SW side are outraged that the so-called safety coordinator for our public schools blows off police trying to track down kids showing off their illegal firearms in a stolen car a block away from Madison East high school. Doesn’t return their phone calls. Refuses to share photographic evidence with … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported Madison K-12 School District Crime and achievement governance

Parents vs taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school district administration

Elizabeth Beyer: It’s a complaint echoed by parents across the district Monday, on a day most expected to see their children back at school, as they were elsewhere in Dane County (but not in the state’s largest district, Milwaukee, which also went back to online learning temporarily). Several parents said they didn’t object to the … Continue reading Parents vs taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school district administration

Commentary on the Democrat Party Education Axis

Matt Taibbi: However, much like the Hillary Clinton quote about “deplorables,” conventional wisdom after the “gaffe” soon hardened around the idea that what McAuliffe said wasn’t wrong at all. In fact, people like Hannah-Jones are now doubling down and applying to education the same formula that Democrats brought with disastrous results to a whole range … Continue reading Commentary on the Democrat Party Education Axis

“It’s a challenge to get back into a setting where you have strict deadlines again”

Scott Girard: Seventeen months passed between the closure of schools in March 2020 and Gordon Allen’s return to learning inside East High School. The Madison Metropolitan School District student senate president and East senior, who opted to finish the 2020-21 school year virtually rather than return via the district’s phased-in return to buildings, said this … Continue reading “It’s a challenge to get back into a setting where you have strict deadlines again”

Where Are Black Parents’ Voices on Critical Race Theory?

Kali Holloway: That would explain why CBS News last month posted a tweet that asked, “How young is too young to teach kids about race?” The network had blatantly overlooked the experiences of Black and other nonwhite kids, who mostly learn about racism through firsthand experiences at disturbingly young ages—never at a time of their … Continue reading Where Are Black Parents’ Voices on Critical Race Theory?

The Fallout From Remote Education: It’s a Fiasco for Kids, Families, and Democracy

Laura McKenna: Are we going to shutdown society and schools again? There is enormous pressure from the top to not close schools. That’s why the CDC has shifted its recommendations for dealing with positive people. Now, positive people only have to isolate for five days. Fauci says that positive people are really only contagious two … Continue reading The Fallout From Remote Education: It’s a Fiasco for Kids, Families, and Democracy

Taxpayer supported Madison School District once again closes schools

Here is the full press release announcement. Press conference tomorrow morning. https://t.co/BQWW4mAjyf pic.twitter.com/xi94AlnBe8 — Scott Girard (@sgirard9) December 30, 2021 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 … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Madison School District once again closes schools

Madison, Milwaukee school performance overrated by DPI

Libby Sobic and Will Flanders: Madison is ranked dead last when it comes to performance among disadvantaged students. Pre-pandemic, Madison’s overall student proficiency in English/Language Arts hovered around 35% while Milwaukee’s overall student proficiency was even worse at around 19%. Even after accounting for a huge number of students who opted out, proficiency rates plummeted … Continue reading Madison, Milwaukee school performance overrated by DPI