Achievement, Teacher Unions and “an emphasis on adult employment”

The ultimate nightmare scenario for teachers unions isn’t a case like Janus but large numbers of African-American parents rejecting them as legitimate and not viewing them as partners in a shared cause. And this is why the Warren affair is so important. — James Merriman (@JamesMerriman6) November 25, 2019 Item 10.11: $100,000 contract to WestEd … Continue reading Achievement, Teacher Unions and “an emphasis on adult employment”

An Emphasis on Adult Employment



Andrew Coulson:

This week, President Obama called for the hiring of 10,000 new teachers to beef up math and science achievement. Meanwhile, in America, Earth, Sol-System, public school employment has grown 10 times faster than enrollment for 40 years (see chart), while achievement at the end of high school has stagnated in math and declined in science (see other chart).
Either the president is badly misinformed about our education system or he thinks that promising to hire another 10,000 teachers union members is politically advantageous-in which case he would seem to be badly misinformed about the present political climate. Or he lives in an alternate universe in which Kirk and Spock have facial hair and government monopolies are efficient. It’s hard to say.

Related: Madison School District 2010-2011 Budget Update: $5,100,000 Fund Balance Increase since June, 2009; Property Taxes to Increase 9+%, and Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman:

“Beware of legacy practices (most of what we do every day is the maintenance of the status quo), @12:40 minutes into the talk – the very public institutions intended for student learning has become focused instead on adult employment. I say that as an employee. Adult practices and attitudes have become embedded in organizational culture governed by strict regulations and union contracts that dictate most of what occurs inside schools today. Any impetus to change direction or structure is met with swift and stiff resistance. It’s as if we are stuck in a time warp keeping a 19th century school model on life support in an attempt to meet 21st century demands.” Zimman went on to discuss the Wisconsin DPI’s vigorous enforcement of teacher licensing practices and provided some unfortunate math & science teacher examples (including the “impossibility” of meeting the demand for such teachers (about 14 minutes)). He further cited exploding teacher salary, benefit and retiree costs eating instructional dollars (“Similar to GM”; “worry” about the children given this situation).

Janet Mertz:

Thanks much for taking the time from your busy schedule to respond to our letter below. I am delighted to note your serious interest in the topic of how to obtain middle school teachers who are highly qualified to teach mathematics to the MMSD’s students so that all might succeed. We are all in agreement with the District’s laudable goal of having all students complete algebra I/geometry or integrated algebra I/geometry by the end of 10th grade. One essential component necessary for achieving this goal is having teachers who are highly competent to teach 6th- through 8th-grade mathematics to our students so they will be well prepared for high school-level mathematics when they arrive in high school.
The primary point on which we seem to disagree is how best to obtain such highly qualified middle school math teachers. It is my strong belief that the MMSD will never succeed in fully staffing all of our middle schools with excellent math teachers, especially in a timely manner, if the primary mechanism for doing so is to provide additional, voluntary math ed opportunities to the District’s K-8 generalists who are currently teaching mathematics in our middle schools. The District currently has a small number of math-certified middle school teachers. It undoubtedly has some additional K-8 generalists who already are or could readily become terrific middle school math teachers with a couple of hundred hours of additional math ed training. However, I sincerely doubt we could ever train dozens of additional K-8 generalists to the level of content knowledge necessary to be outstanding middle school math teachers so that ALL of our middle school students could be taught mathematics by such teachers.

MTI files complaint with state employment relations commission over budget cuts survey

Scott Girard: Madison Teachers Inc. has filed a complaintagainst the Madison Metropolitan School District related to a survey sent out to staff last week. The Prohibited Practice Complaint was filed Monday with the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission and seeks an immediate cease and desist of the survey and asks that the district be made to destroy … Continue reading MTI files complaint with state employment relations commission over budget cuts survey

Deja vu: 2008 – 2019 Credit for non MadIson School District Courses and Adult Employment

Logan Wroge: To help students make the transition to a higher-intensity setting, two Madison School District teachers spend time at Goodman South instructing courses with solely STEM Academy students and some with a mix of traditional college and high school students. “We thought it was really important to have high school teachers be part of … Continue reading Deja vu: 2008 – 2019 Credit for non MadIson School District Courses and Adult Employment

Adult Employment: Bay Area teachers hold sickout to support striking Oakland teachers

ABC 7: The Albany Teachers Association is currently in negotiations with its district. Their contract expires in the fall. They feel the real battle though is with the state and plan on addressing school funding with Governor Gavin Newsom. “Because the districts can do what they can do, but the state has a lot more … Continue reading Adult Employment: Bay Area teachers hold sickout to support striking Oakland teachers

“A Adult issues kept you out of the classroom where you belong”

Nate Bowling: That’s an injustice and there’s no way to spin that. There shouldn’t have been a strike. I found the last two weeks mind-numbingly frustrating because it was preventable. If the McCleary Settlement was done with transparency, rather than dead-of-night-last-second deal making, we wouldn’t be here. If a fair contract had been offered from … Continue reading “A Adult issues kept you out of the classroom where you belong”

Adult employment and the Madison School Board’s self interest

Chris Rickert: Like the rest of the board, both also voted to approve the 304-page employee handbook that replaced union contracts beginning in summer 2016. District legal counsel Dylan Pauly pointed to two board policies that include provisions related to managing conflicts of interest among board members. One says board members should “avoid conflicts of … Continue reading Adult employment and the Madison School Board’s self interest

“placing adult-centric politics over systemic school improvement”

Laura Waters: Plenty, according to members of the “Save Camden High School” cadre, who have rebranded themselves under the New Jersey Communities United banner and are planning a confrontation tonight at the Camden Board of Education meeting. Instead of following Sheriff Wilson’s example of placing children’s academic needs on top, this group has decided a … Continue reading “placing adult-centric politics over systemic school improvement”

Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science

Louisa Moats: The most fundamental responsibility of schools is teaching students to read. Because reading affects all other academic achievement and is associated with social, emotional, economic, and physical health, it has been the most researched aspect of human cognition. By the year 2000, after decades of multidisciplinary research, the scientific community had achieved broad … Continue reading Teaching Reading Is Rocket Science

Howard Fuller: On education, race and racism, and how we move forward as a country

Annysa Johnson: Howard Fuller announced this month that he is retiring from Marquette University, where he is a distinguished professor of education and founder and director of its Institute for the Transformation of Learning. At 79, Fuller has served in many roles in his lifetime: civil rights activist, educator and civil servant. He is a former superintendent of Milwaukee … Continue reading Howard Fuller: On education, race and racism, and how we move forward as a country

The Pandemic Has Reawakened the School Choice Movement

Libby Sobic: “This pandemic has reawakened this movement of school choice,” said Calvin Lee of American Federation for Children at a roundtable discussion on school choice in Waukesha, Wisconsin this week. While COVID-19 has not been easy for many families as they have tried to balance work and educating their children at home, it has offered many … Continue reading The Pandemic Has Reawakened the School Choice Movement

Madison School Board to vote on Police Presence, layoffs and budget

Scott Girard: If the vote goes as expected, the 2020-21 school year will be the first in more than two decades without a police officer stationed in each of the district’s comprehensive high schools. Employee Handbook changes Madison Teachers Inc. is organizing opposition to a set of proposed Employee Handbook changes that would change the … Continue reading Madison School Board to vote on Police Presence, layoffs and budget

Ex-CPS principal who tamed tough Fenger High explains why cops don’t belong in schools

Mark Brown: A school principal will always need a good working relationship with the local district commander, but police are asked to intervene in too many situations, Dozier believes. “We put too much on them,” she says. “It doesn’t necessarily warrant a police response.” The problem with getting police involved is that it sucks students … Continue reading Ex-CPS principal who tamed tough Fenger High explains why cops don’t belong in schools

Commentary on Two 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School District Superintendent Candidates

Scott Girard: Madison School Board president Gloria Reyes said in the release the district is “very fortunate to have an impressive pool of highly qualified candidates participate in this process.” “With a focus on how candidates aligned with the Leadership Profile, the Board was able to select two phenomenal finalists, both with deep roots in … Continue reading Commentary on Two 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School District Superintendent Candidates

2018 committee report could help guide upcoming Madison school resource officer decisions

Scott Girard: Most members who spoke with the Cap Times said they favored removing officers, but didn’t think doing so immediately would solve the problem at the heart of the issue: feeling safe at school. And some of the committee members wonder what happened to their months of work and why Reyes is calling for another subcommittee … Continue reading 2018 committee report could help guide upcoming Madison school resource officer decisions

Madison School Board will vote on police contract Monday

Scott Girard: The Madison School Board will vote Monday on continuing or ending early its contract with the Madison Police Department to have officers stationed in its four comprehensive high schools. Based on public statements from board members this spring and previous votes, it’s likely the board will vote to end the contract early, though … Continue reading Madison School Board will vote on police contract Monday

Wisconsin DPI 87 page “reopening schools” plan

Wisconsin DPI: Responding to COVID-19 is a tremendous undertaking for schools. Schools are tasked with re-envisioning educational delivery models in a span of weeks and adjust practices accordingly. As we look toward the fall, the safety and health of our students, educators, and families remains of the highest importance. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI 87 page “reopening schools” plan

The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschooling

Melinda Anderson: Racial inequality in Baltimore’s public schools is in part the byproduct of long-standing neglect. In a system in which eight out of 10 students are black, broken heaters forced students to learn in frigid temperatures this past winter. Black children in Baltimore’s education system face systemic disadvantages: They’re suspended at much higher rates … Continue reading The Radical Self-Reliance of Black Homeschooling

Charter Schools’ Enemies Block Black Success

Thomas Sowell: For decades, there has been widespread anxiety over how, when or whether the educational test score gap between white and non-white youngsters could be closed. But that gap has already been closed by the Success Academy charter school network in New York City. Their predominantly black and Hispanic students already pass tests in … Continue reading Charter Schools’ Enemies Block Black Success

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison’s 2019-2020 property tax payment and installment data

Craig Franklin, via a kind email: 1.       The total 2019 tax levy for City of Madison property is $713,571,544.19.  This amount includes lottery, school levy and first dollar credits paid by the State of Wisconsin. The total tax outstanding, from City of Madison property owners, as of May 31, 2020 (the date of the last … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Madison’s 2019-2020 property tax payment and installment data

Wisconsin School Districts Have Administrative Bloat to Blame for Budget Failures

Will Flanders: Wisconsin public school teachers made, on average, $55,985 in salary during the 2017–18 school year with an average of 14.2 students per teacher. During that school year, spending was $13,670 per student in local, state and federal funding. This means that about $195,392 is spent on the average classroom in the state. Of that, only about … Continue reading Wisconsin School Districts Have Administrative Bloat to Blame for Budget Failures

No, we haven’t ‘defunded education for years’

Corey DeAngelis & Matthew Nielsen: On average, the United States currently spends over $15,000 per student each year, and inflation-adjusted K-12 education spending per student has increased by 280% since 1960. In California, where the previously mentioned football coach resides, inflation-adjusted spending on K-12 education has increased by 129% since 1970. Furthermore, data from the … Continue reading No, we haven’t ‘defunded education for years’

Commentary on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s planned 2020-2021 budget

Scott Girard: Administrators are concerned about a potential state budget repair bill that could cut funding to K-12 schools, though Gov. Tony Evers told the Cap Times last week he’s hopeful such a measure can be avoided amid lower than anticipated revenue for the state. The budget Ruppel recommended Monday would save $8.4 million from … Continue reading Commentary on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s planned 2020-2021 budget

Virtual schools see bump in interest as COVID-19 pandemic makes for uncertain fall

Logan Wroge: In a normal week, Parr fields about five or six phone calls. But in recent weeks, he said he’s been answering easily 70 calls a week from across the region, including many from Madison. Parr said he could see the online school’s enrollment, which was about 150 full-time students this year and a … Continue reading Virtual schools see bump in interest as COVID-19 pandemic makes for uncertain fall

Home-schooled children are very well socialized, despite what some experts say

Karen Lenington: Homeschooling- it’s all the rage right now! One year ago no one would have believed that every school-age child in America would be educated at home by the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Ironically, just weeks before this educational upheaval, Professor Elizabeth Bartholet of Harvard called for a summit to examine the … Continue reading Home-schooled children are very well socialized, despite what some experts say

As the Madison School district plans for more budget cuts, Evers hopeful no budget repair bill necessary

Briana Reilly: While MMSD is heavily reliant on property taxes instead of state aid compared to other districts, a decrease to the revenue authority or other measures that would lower the levy limit would serve as a funding cut. The district already cut $8 million from the 2019-20 budget in the preliminary 2020-21 budget. Contingencies could include … Continue reading As the Madison School district plans for more budget cuts, Evers hopeful no budget repair bill necessary

Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Dane County school districts waive requirements for graduation

Chris Rickert: All 16 of the school districts completely or partially within Dane County have waived or loosened at least two academic standards to help seniors graduate at a time when schools have been shut down since mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic. Information from the districts and the state Department of Public Instruction also … Continue reading Amid COVID-19 pandemic, Dane County school districts waive requirements for graduation

“This idea of parental choice, that’s great if the parent is well-educated. There are some families that’s perfect for. But to make it available to everyone? No. I think you’re asking for a huge amount of trouble,” Dietsch said.

Michael Graham: “Is it your belief that only well-educated parents can make proper decisions for what’s in the best interest of their children?” asked a dumbfounded Rep. Glenn Cordelli (R-Tuftonboro). Rather than saying “no,” Dietsch instead repeated her view that parents without college degrees are less capable of overseeing their children’s education. “In a democracy, … Continue reading “This idea of parental choice, that’s great if the parent is well-educated. There are some families that’s perfect for. But to make it available to everyone? No. I think you’re asking for a huge amount of trouble,” Dietsch said.

Analysis: Police Unions Stonewall All Attempts at Reform. So Do Teachers Unions. Is That Why They’ve Been So Silent?

Mike Antonucci: The Center for Public Integrity reports that police contracts have “arbitration clauses that often force police departments to rehire fired misbehaving cops” and that cop unions “have successfully lobbied for state laws granting police officers far more job security than the average U.S. worker.” A former attorney for the Service Employees International Union … Continue reading Analysis: Police Unions Stonewall All Attempts at Reform. So Do Teachers Unions. Is That Why They’ve Been So Silent?

“our schools first started by killing their minds”

Jasmine Lane: Shallow successes allow us to pat ourselves on the back. But a high graduation rate is meaningless when our graduates enter the world without a fundamental grasp of the tools and knowledge necessary for full participation in life and citizenship. We can hope for a reimagining of schooling during this time, but nothing … Continue reading “our schools first started by killing their minds”

Madison teachers union backs removal of police from high schools

Logan Wroge: Madison’s teachers union is shifting its stance on school-based police officers and is now advocating they be taken out of the city’s main high schools — but only if 33 additional support staff are hired. In a statement Sunday, Madison Teachers Inc. said it backs the removal of school resource officers, or SROs, … Continue reading Madison teachers union backs removal of police from high schools

Governance: How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts (Act 10)

Noam Scheiber, Farah Stockman and J. David Goodman: Over the past five years, as demands for reform have mounted in the aftermath of police violence in cities like Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and now Minneapolis, police unions have emerged as one of the most significant roadblocks to change. The greater the political pressure for reform, the … Continue reading Governance: How Police Unions Became Such Powerful Opponents to Reform Efforts (Act 10)

Wisconsin private schools weigh whether to accept federal pandemic relief money

Kelly Meyerhofer: The “real help” will come from other federal funding, she said. For example, Wisconsin is slated to receive $175 million from Congress for K-12 schools through what’s known as the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. The law allows governors to disperse the money as they see fit, so private schools could potentially be … Continue reading Wisconsin private schools weigh whether to accept federal pandemic relief money

How ‘Reading Instruction’ Oppresses Black And Brown Children

Natalie Wexler: On national tests last year, only 18 percent of black 4th-graders scored proficient or above in reading; the figure for white 4th-graders was 45 percent. For 8th graders, the percentages were 15 and 42 percent. It’s sobering that over half of white students fail to meet the proficiency bar. But the figures for black students should outrage anyone who cares … Continue reading How ‘Reading Instruction’ Oppresses Black And Brown Children

Law review article highlights MMSD’s racial disparities in literacy

Scott Girard: A recently published law review article has some strong words for the Madison Metropolitan School District’s literacy achievement gap and how that connects with Dane County’s disparate incarceration rates for black people. “Where Dane County’s largest public school district has largely failed to produce literate Black fourth graders for more than a decade, it follows … Continue reading Law review article highlights MMSD’s racial disparities in literacy

On the education front, one way to move from anger to action would be to make sure all youngsters are proficient in reading

Alan Borsuk: First, success in reaching proficiency in reading is shockingly low among students from low-income homes and those who are black or Hispanic. The Wisconsin gap between white kids and black kids has often been measured as the worst in the United States.  Only 13% of black fourth through eighth graders in Wisconsin were rated as proficient or … Continue reading On the education front, one way to move from anger to action would be to make sure all youngsters are proficient in reading

Statement on recent incidents of racial injustice and SRO’s

Gloria Reyes, Madison School Board President: Dear MMSD Family and Community: I would like to acknowledge the hurt our community is feeling after recent events of racial injustice. I stand by the many voices who have so passionately rallied our community to speak out against racism, and reject it in all its forms. I honor … Continue reading Statement on recent incidents of racial injustice and SRO’s

Group places American flags scrawled with obscenities on Madison School Board leader’s lawn

Reyes is a former police officer. https://t.co/HB0xGCSNaQ — Patrick Marley (@patrickdmarley) June 5, 2020 Chris Rickert: A group protesting the presence of police officers in Madison’s four main high schools placed what appear to be dozens of American flags scrawled with obscenities targeting police overnight Thursday on the lawn of the Madison School Board president, … Continue reading Group places American flags scrawled with obscenities on Madison School Board leader’s lawn

“qualifications and not seniority will decide who gets let go”

Scott Girard: Among the changes is one that would allow the district to choose who is laid off and designated as surplus staff based on qualifications rather than seniority. That is among a slate of administrator-proposed “preliminary recommendations” the board discussed Monday night during an Instruction Work Group meeting, with a vote anticipated at the full June … Continue reading “qualifications and not seniority will decide who gets let go”

Minnesota teachers union opposes constitutional amendment to address achievement gap

Mary Lynn Smith: The largest organization representing Minnesota educators announced Wednesday that it opposes a plan to change the state Constitution in an effort to narrow the state’s persistent academic achievement gap. Education Minnesota, the union representing 80,000 members who work in pre-K and K-12 schools and higher-education institutions, announced its opposition as the authors … Continue reading Minnesota teachers union opposes constitutional amendment to address achievement gap

Administrative Commentary on the taxpayer supported Palmyra-Eagle School District (and the relevance of many smaller districts)

Chris Rickert: Five of the six other board members, all representing other local school districts, agreed. Only the state superintendent of public instruction’s designee to the board, David Carlson, voted against keeping the district open. District employees, students and community members packing the district’s middle school gymnasium where the board was meeting erupted in applause … Continue reading Administrative Commentary on the taxpayer supported Palmyra-Eagle School District (and the relevance of many smaller districts)

Parent questions Madison School District practice barring third party from working with child in class

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District’s practice of barring an outside therapy organization from providing classroom support for students with special needs is being questioned after a parent’s request to do so was at first allowed, and later prohibited. The parent, who asked not to be named to protect the identity of her son, … Continue reading Parent questions Madison School District practice barring third party from working with child in class

Bargaining for the Common Good Is Neither Common Nor Good. But It Makes for Great Public Relations

Mike Antonucci: Have you heard? Teachers unions are no longer interested in negotiating only the salaries, benefits and working conditions of their members, but affordable housing, restorative justice, climate change and a host of other social issues as well. Unions call this “bargaining for the common good” and have parlayed the concept into positive — … Continue reading Bargaining for the Common Good Is Neither Common Nor Good. But It Makes for Great Public Relations

How Are Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers Getting Post-Strike Makeup Days Off?

Dana Kozlov: The Chicago Teachers Union did not budge during its 11-day strike. “We should return to work in the schools pending one thing – and that one thing is a return-to-work agreement,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said on the 11th and last day of the strike on Oct. 31. The union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot agreed … Continue reading How Are Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers Getting Post-Strike Makeup Days Off?

Jersey City Board Of Education, Owned and Operated by Teacher Union Leaders. A Board Member Speaks Out.

Laura Waters: At that time Matt filed an ethics complaint with the State Ethics Commission. The Commission issued an Advisory Opinion on April 3d. (See the bottom of this post for the full opinion.) Regarding Lorenzo Richardson, the Commission opined that Mr. Richardson may have opted to support the JCEA over the Board and its … Continue reading Jersey City Board Of Education, Owned and Operated by Teacher Union Leaders. A Board Member Speaks Out.

Commentary on Redistributed Taxpayer Funds and the Madison School District (no mention of total spending or effectiveness)

Former Madison School Board Member Ed Hughes: It turns out that this isn’t true. Explaining why gets a bit complicated, but here goes. Mr. Hughes voted against the proposed Madison Preparatory IB Charter School. Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results, despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts. Madison Wisconsin High … Continue reading Commentary on Redistributed Taxpayer Funds and the Madison School District (no mention of total spending or effectiveness)

Madison School Board Continues Non Diverse Governance Practices with Proposed Montessori Academy School

Amber Walker: In a 5-2 decision on Monday, the Madison School Board voted to postpone the charter approval of Isthmus Montessori Academy. The board wanted more clarity around the school’s proposed attendance area, financial and academic accountability standards at their three-year mark, and language in the proposal that asks for waivers that apply to early … Continue reading Madison School Board Continues Non Diverse Governance Practices with Proposed Montessori Academy School

Independent (!) Charter School RFP: Madison OR Milwaukee (!)

University of Wisconsin System Office of Educational Opportunity, via a kind email: As home to the nation’s first public kindergarten, Wisconsin has a proud history of visionary educators incubating innovative educational opportunities for students, families, and their communities. The Office of Educational Opportunity is proud to be a partner in the Badger State’s living legacy … Continue reading Independent (!) Charter School RFP: Madison OR Milwaukee (!)

Parent LIFO Lawsuit: The battle over teacher seniority in N.J. has just begun

New Jersey Star Ledger Editorial: The Newark parents who sued, arguing that forcing school districts to prioritize seniority over teacher talent hurts their kids, just lost their case in court. That’s a real blow to students, who don’t have a special interest union. But make no mistake: this fight is far from over. Their families … Continue reading Parent LIFO Lawsuit: The battle over teacher seniority in N.J. has just begun

University of Wisconsin System Charter School Opportunities, including Madison; Draft Recovery School Legislation

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, via Gary Bennett: The University interprets its responsibility to authorize charter schools as a part of a larger attempt to improve education for children and in this instance, the education of children in the City. Charter schools must have programs that provide quality education to urban students and address the critical issues … Continue reading University of Wisconsin System Charter School Opportunities, including Madison; Draft Recovery School Legislation

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

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

Madison K-12 incoming Superintendent Gutiérrez Commentary

Scott Girard: Tuesday afternoon, he spent 15 minutes taking questions from the press and another 15 minutes answering questions from seven students at Glendale Elementary School, where the press conference was held. “There is some division in the community, so we’ve got to bridge that gap,” Gutiérrez said. “There is some division between the Doyle … Continue reading Madison K-12 incoming Superintendent Gutiérrez Commentary

Madison School Board candidate forums begin this weekend, continue throughout March

Scott Girard: Voters will have several opportunities this month to hear from candidates for Madison School Board beginning this weekend. The East Side Progressives will hold a forum Sunday, March 8, at Lake Edge Lutheran Church, 4032 Monona Drive. It’s the first of four forums currently planned for the month before the Tuesday, April 7, … Continue reading Madison School Board candidate forums begin this weekend, continue throughout March

A Conversation About the Science of Reading and Early Reading Instruction with Dr. Louisa Moats

Kelly Stuart & Gina Fugnitto: Dr. Louisa Moats: The body of work referred to as the “science of reading” is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one-size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, nor a specific component of instruction. It is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, based on literally thousands of … Continue reading A Conversation About the Science of Reading and Early Reading Instruction with Dr. Louisa Moats

“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.”

Mission vs organization: Student enrollment vs tax receipts

Marielle Argueza: It’s census season, meaning there’s a lot of attention on how many people live where right now, but population numbers and projections are always changing, even between census years. In 2018, the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments forecast a slowdown in population growth in Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties. And … Continue reading Mission vs organization: Student enrollment vs tax receipts

Top officials at Milwaukee Public Schools don’t apply or interview for jobs

Casey Geraldo: The I-TEAM verified with a district spokesperson who clarified in an email that “the superintendent has the ability to appoint these positions regardless of an application process or not.” He continued, writing “I’d be curious to learn if that is common practice for other large districts.” We called other similar-sized districts. Both Kansas … Continue reading Top officials at Milwaukee Public Schools don’t apply or interview for jobs

“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)

From the Cap Times (Madison) editorial board, a rant on education — just not about students

Jim Bender: More than 43,000 families in Wisconsin’s school choice programs likely will be surprised to learn that they constitute a “threat” to the state. The editorial board of the Capital Times offered up that opinion in a recent attack on programs that serve these low-income and working-class families. The impetus for the editorial — … Continue reading From the Cap Times (Madison) editorial board, a rant on education — just not about students

Old People Have All the Interesting Jobs in America

Tyler Cowen: Why so many of America’s best and brightest college graduates go into management consulting, finance or law school is a perennial question. There are some compelling theories, which I will get to, but first I would like to turn the question around: Why are so many people in top positions, whether in the public … Continue reading Old People Have All the Interesting Jobs in America

Teacher in-retirement & pension change proposal from 55 to 59.5 (!)

Riley Vetterkind: Felzkowski and Stroebel say the bill would make it easier for retired teachers to fill workforce shortages in local school districts in order to meet the needs of students. Since 2009-10, the number of Wisconsin teachers has declined by 1,338, or 2.2%, while the number of public school students over the same time … Continue reading Teacher in-retirement & pension change proposal from 55 to 59.5 (!)

Our Tax Dollars at Work: Wisconsin DPI loses School Choice Case

WILL: Waukesha Circuit Court Judge Bohren issued a summary judgement order Tuesday in favor of School Choice Wisconsin Action (SCWA), a WILL client, that sued the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), the state education agency, for their unfair, illegal treatment of private schools in Wisconsin’s choice programs. WILL filed the lawsuit on behalf of … Continue reading Our Tax Dollars at Work: Wisconsin DPI loses School Choice Case

Parent union forming to combat power of public school teachers unions; “The tyranny of low expectations”

Nick Givas: Keri Rodrigues and Alma Marquez said they were so appalled by the low standards of America’s public school teachers unions, they formed the National Parents Union (NPU), so families could have a greater say in their children’s education. Rodrigues, a mother of three from Boston, and Marquez, a mother of one from Los Angeles, are no strangers … Continue reading Parent union forming to combat power of public school teachers unions; “The tyranny of low expectations”

Nygren and Thiesfeldt Call for Audit of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Wisconsin Legislature: –State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Finance and State Representative Jeremy (R-Fond du Lac), Chair of the Assembly Education Committee released the following statement calling for an audit of the Department of Public Instruction: “Representing nearly one-fifth of the entire state budget, the Department of Public Instruction budget … Continue reading Nygren and Thiesfeldt Call for Audit of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Mission vs Organization: Parent and Student Choice vs the Status Quo

Michael Clark & Jeremy Kelley: Public school buildings, which previously have been rated high enough by the Ohio Department of Education’s annual building report cards that families did not have access to the school-choice exit option, will instead be designated as “underperforming” if only a subset of students or academic subjects now fall into that … Continue reading Mission vs Organization: Parent and Student Choice vs the Status Quo

Federalism, local governance, influence and how we arrived at Wisconsin ACT 10

Rachel Cohen: Meanwhile, a top priority for labor has been sitting quietly on Pelosi’s desk and, unlike USMCA, already commands enough support to get it over the House finish line. The Protecting the Right to Organize Act would be the most comprehensive rewrite of U.S. labor law in decades. It would eliminate right-to-work laws, impose … Continue reading Federalism, local governance, influence and how we arrived at Wisconsin ACT 10

Politifact joins the Wisconsin Reading mulligan party

Wisconsin’s new Governor, Democrat Tony Evers, recently acknowledged his support for thousands of elementary reading teacher content knowledge exam mulligans. Now comes Politifact: As proof, Thiesfeldt’s staff pointed to the most recent Wisconsin Student Assessment System results. The annual tests include the Forward Exam for grades three to eight and ACT-related tests for grades nine … Continue reading Politifact joins the Wisconsin Reading mulligan party

Great New Essay Tells the Truth About Teacher Pay. Unfortunately, in Ed World, the Truth Is Just Another Story

Mike Antonucci: Biggs and Richwine are especially effective in dissecting the annual reports on the “teacher pay gap” published by the union-backed Economic Policy Institute. They demonstrate that when EPI’s methodology is applied to other professions, it shows “pay gaps” for about 40 percent of all occupations. EPI’s methods suggest telemarketers are woefully underpaid. Biggs … Continue reading Great New Essay Tells the Truth About Teacher Pay. Unfortunately, in Ed World, the Truth Is Just Another Story

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

Wiseye @ 24 September WisPolitics Lunch: Jim Zellmer: Thank you for your service Governor Evers. Under your leadership, the Wisconsin d.p.i. granted Mulligan’s to thousands of elementary teachers who couldn’t pass a reading exam (that’s the “Foundations of Reading” elementary teacher reading content knowledge exam), yet our students lag Alabama, a state that spends less … Continue reading My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

Parental rights and the Taxpayer Supported Madison School District

Logan Wroge: Last school year, the district began using a 35-page guidance document on student gender identity, which is based on federal and state laws and School Board policies regarding anti-bullying and non-discrimination, Hohs said. While the document was not voted on by the Madison School Board, members received updates on it when it was … Continue reading Parental rights and the Taxpayer Supported Madison School District

“ driven to leave the Democratic Party by the state of Hartford Public Schools, which lag far behind the state but also trail Connecticut’s other urban districts in terms of quality“

Rebecca Lurye: Democrats, in leadership in Hartford since 1971, are responsible for the city’s educational failures, Lewis said. “[The party] doesn’t serve black people, it doesn’t serve middle-class or poor white people, it doesn’t serve Hispanics,” Lewis said. “It serves people at the top tier of the party. “No matter how many times people from … Continue reading “ driven to leave the Democratic Party by the state of Hartford Public Schools, which lag far behind the state but also trail Connecticut’s other urban districts in terms of quality“

COMMENTARY on Madison k-12 teacher compensatioN: 2 + 2.44 + benefits

Logan Wroge: In addition to a higher base wage, the district has said that, on the average, employees will receive another 2% salary increase this year based on a salary schedule that awards experience and education. But MTI has said about 1,000 employees, including some of the lowest paid, won’t receive more money through the … Continue reading COMMENTARY on Madison k-12 teacher compensatioN: 2 + 2.44 + benefits

“ They don’t want the competition of a private school”

waow: If we get this property and we will get it we will start the groundwork for a Christian school,” said Wade Reimer of Shepherd’s Watch. However, there is confusion over who owns the building. The confusion over the ownership led to a lawsuit between the Village of Mattoon, Town of Hutchins and The Antigo … Continue reading “ They don’t want the competition of a private school”

Why are Madison’s Students Struggling to Read?

Jenny Peek: Mark Seidenberg, a UW-Madison professor and cognitive neuroscientist, has spent decades researching the way humans acquire language. He is blunt about Wisconsin’s schools’ ability to teach children to read: “If you want your kid to learn to read you can’t assume that the school’s going to take care of it. You have to … Continue reading Why are Madison’s Students Struggling to Read?

The Price of Teacher Mulligans: “I didn’t stop to ask myself then what would happen to all the kids who’d been left in the basement with the teacher who couldn’t teach” – Michelle Obama

Michelle Obama: Without telling me, she went over to the school and began a weeks-long process of behind-the-scenes lobbying, which led to me and a couple of other high-performing kids getting quietly pulled out of class, given a battery of tests, and about a week later reinstalled permanently into a bright and orderly third-grade class … Continue reading The Price of Teacher Mulligans: “I didn’t stop to ask myself then what would happen to all the kids who’d been left in the basement with the teacher who couldn’t teach” – Michelle Obama

Mulligans for Wisconsin Elementary Reading Teachers

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction “DPI”, lead for many years by new Governor Tony Evers, has waived thousands of elementary reading teacher content knowledge requirements. This, despite our long term, disastrous reading results. Chan Stroman tracks the frequent Foundations of Reading (FoRT) mulligans: Yet the statutory FoRT requirement is now deemed satisfied by “attempts” … Continue reading Mulligans for Wisconsin Elementary Reading Teachers

2004-2019 Wisconsin K-12 Spending: Property Tax & Redistributed Taxpayer funds

Tap for a larger version. Raw data [Excel Numbers] via Sara Hynek. Note that taxpayer supported K-12 school districts receive funds from a variety of sources, including federal taxpayer funds along with local fees. Madison plans to spend $518,955,288 during the 2018-2019 school year. That’s about $20,000 per student (26,917, which includes 4k), which is … Continue reading 2004-2019 Wisconsin K-12 Spending: Property Tax & Redistributed Taxpayer funds

K-12 Governance Diversity: the 2019 Madison School Board Election, Parental Choice and our long term, disastrous reading results

Chris Rickert: Endorsements in this month’s School Board primary from the influential Madison teachers union include one for a candidate who sends her two children to the kind of charter school strongly opposed by the union. Madison Teachers Inc. this week endorsed Ali Muldrow over David Blaska, Laila Borokhim and Albert Bryan for Seat 4; … Continue reading K-12 Governance Diversity: the 2019 Madison School Board Election, Parental Choice and our long term, disastrous reading results

2019 Madison School Board Candidate Events; Kaleem Caire on Accountability

I’ve added the following audio recordings to the 2019 Madison School Board Candidate page. WORT FM Candidate discussion 2.5.2019 Cris Carusi and Kaleem Caire [mp3 audio] Mr. Caire: “If we don’t reach our benchmarks in five years, they can shut us down”. There is no public school in Madison that has closed because only 7 … Continue reading 2019 Madison School Board Candidate Events; Kaleem Caire on Accountability

Meet the ‘crazy’ moms saying one of Pa.’s top-rated school districts can’t teach reading

Avi Wolfman-Arent: The small parent rebellion forming in one of Pennsylvania’s wealthiest school districts began at a Starbucks in suburban Chester County. Over coffee, three moms — Kate Mayer, Jamie Lynch, and Wendy Brooks — swapped stories about how their kids struggled to read as they moved through the Tredyffrin/Easttown school district, located about 30 … Continue reading Meet the ‘crazy’ moms saying one of Pa.’s top-rated school districts can’t teach reading

Advocating status quo, non diverse K-12 Madison Schools Governance

Negassi Tesfamichael: MTI cited Carusi’s opposition to voucher and independent charter schools in its endorsement. “Carusi is opposed to vouchers and independent charter schools and strongly believes that we need to continuously work to improve our public schools, rather than support alternatives,” MTI’s endorsement said. Caire’s One City Schools, which expanded from One City Early … Continue reading Advocating status quo, non diverse K-12 Madison Schools Governance

Minnesota’s persistent literacy gap has lawmakers looking for ways to push evidence-based reading instruction

Erin Hinrichs: “Minnesota has a state of emergency regarding literacy. I’m very disappointed with where we’re at right now with the persistent reading success gap between white students and students of color,” he said Wednesday. “We are not making adequate progress, and the future of tens of thousands of our students is seriously at risk … Continue reading Minnesota’s persistent literacy gap has lawmakers looking for ways to push evidence-based reading instruction

UW rejects application for independent Madison charter school

Chris Rickert: According to emails released to the State Journal under the state’s open records law, Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham on Sept. 10 asked her chief of staff, Ricardo Jara, and other front-office officials whether Arbor was “worth trying to stop? Or change somehow? If so, how?” Cheatham expressed the district’s opposition to the school in … Continue reading UW rejects application for independent Madison charter school

“One issue state officials say they have detected as they monitor the effectiveness of the READ Act is that not all teachers are up to date on how best to teach reading.”

Christopher Osher: But districts are free to use their READ Act per-pupil funds on whatever curriculum they want, even on interventions researchers have found ineffective. “Typically, as with any education policy, we’re only given so much authority on what we can tell districts to do and what we monitor for,” Colsman said in an interview … Continue reading “One issue state officials say they have detected as they monitor the effectiveness of the READ Act is that not all teachers are up to date on how best to teach reading.”

2019 Madison School Board Election: Madison Teachers Union Candidate Questions

Negassi Tesfamichael: Nearly all current candidates for the Madison School Board have started to make their case to voters and potential endorsers as the primary election heats up. That included answering questions from Madison Teachers Inc., the city’s teachers’ union. Nine candidates are running for three seats on the seven-person School Board. MTI executive director … Continue reading 2019 Madison School Board Election: Madison Teachers Union Candidate Questions

deja vu: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results

Laurie Frost and Heff Henriques: Children who are not proficient readers by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school. Additionally, two-thirds of them will end up in prison or on welfare. Though these dismal trajectories are well known, Madison School District’s reading scores for minority students remain unconscionably low and … Continue reading deja vu: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results

2019 Election: Why are all of the Madison School Board seats at-large? (Curious statute words limiting legislation to Madison)

Negassi Tesfamichael m: Why are all of the Madison School Board seats at-large? The answer lies in state law. Tucked into a section of state statutes about how school boards and districts are organized is a requirement that applies directly to MMSD. The requirement says that unified school districts — such as MMSD — “that … Continue reading 2019 Election: Why are all of the Madison School Board seats at-large? (Curious statute words limiting legislation to Madison)

Re-thinking integration, Parents and the Madison Experience

The Grade: There are two main reasons why Eliza Shapiro’s New York Times piece, Why Black Parents Are Turning to Afrocentric Schools, is this week’s best. The first is that it’s a really well-written piece of journalism. The second is that it addresses an important and previously under-covered topic: parents of color interested in alternatives … Continue reading Re-thinking integration, Parents and the Madison Experience

Madison Teachers Union and the 2019 school board election: Commentary, Spending and Academic Results

Chris Rickert: The questionnaire also includes several questions about teachers’ ability to have a say in their compensation and working conditions, and asks whether the candidates “support the reinstatement of collective bargaining rights for all public employees (currently prohibited by Act 10)?” Act 10 is the controversial 2011 law passed by Republicans that stripped most … Continue reading Madison Teachers Union and the 2019 school board election: Commentary, Spending and Academic Results