K-12 $pending Inequality (Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools)

Darrel Burnette II: Several Massachusetts superintendents are spending more money on schools that enroll mostly wealthy students than they are on schools that educate mostly poor students, even though the state designed its funding formula to do the exact opposite. And some schools are outperforming other schools even though they’re receiving significantly less money. That’s … Continue reading K-12 $pending Inequality (Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools)

School District Reform Prompts Parent Protests in Beijing (Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools)

Ding Jie, Li Rongde, Su Xin and Zhou Simin: A group of 30 parents staged a protest at the education department of Beijing’s Dongcheng district earlier in May to voice their opposition to a sweeping change to the “school district” policy now being tested by the local government. Under the change, a school district, usually … Continue reading School District Reform Prompts Parent Protests in Beijing (Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools)

On School Segregation And Expanding Madison’s Least Diverse School

Kate Taylor: A look at the history of District 3, which stretches along the West Side of Manhattan from 59th to 122nd Street, shows how administrators’ decisions, combined with the choices of parents and the forces of gentrification, have shaped the current state of its schools, which, in one of the most politically liberal parts … Continue reading On School Segregation And Expanding Madison’s Least Diverse School

Compare Omaha K-12 Governance & Spending With Madison: Expand Least Diverse Schools Or?

Mareesia Nicosia: They’ve waited every morning since, Gunter told The 74 in a recent interview, until the doors open and staff welcomes them warmly inside, trading handshakes and high-fives as music courses through the halls. Not long ago, though, there was little enthusiasm from students, their families — and staff, for that matter. The pre-K–5 … Continue reading Compare Omaha K-12 Governance & Spending With Madison: Expand Least Diverse Schools Or?

Minding the nurture gap, Madison plans to expand least diverse schools

Economist: THE most important divide in America today is class, not race, and the place where it matters most is in the home. Conservatives have been banging on about family breakdown for decades. Now one of the nation’s most prominent liberal scholars has joined the chorus. Robert Putnam is a former dean of Harvard’s Kennedy … Continue reading Minding the nurture gap, Madison plans to expand least diverse schools

Houston Community College Helps Expand Educational Options in Qatar

Reeve Hamilton:

Ahmed Mohamed al-Hassan hit an educational glass ceiling. He needed a higher-education degree to move up the ladder at Aspire Logistics, the company that manages Doha’s massive sports complex. Although he had graduated from high school a decade before, his grade-point average was too low to enroll at Qatar University.
“There were no options,” said Mr. Hassan, 31. “If I wanted to study, I would have to leave my job.”
That changed in September 2010, however, when Qatar partnered with Houston Community College and opened the Community College of Qatar, the country’s first such college. Now, Mr. Hassan is the first in his family to go to college, mostly taking night classes as he continues to work full time.

Considering Madison’s K-12 Enrollment Projections: 2009 and 2014; Dramatic Demographic Variation Persists

The Madison School District recently published a brief K-12 enrollment history (2010- PDF) along with a look at school capacities (PDF). Happily, a similar 2009 document is available here (PDF). This document includes 18 years of history, to 1990. Yet, the District and community have long tolerated wide variation in demographics across the schools. Tap … Continue reading Considering Madison’s K-12 Enrollment Projections: 2009 and 2014; Dramatic Demographic Variation Persists

We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.

Alvin Chang: Think about your elementary school.  If you attended an American public school, chances are you went to that school because your family lived in that school’s attendance zone. You probably didn’t think twice about it. We tend to assume these are neutrally drawn, immutable borders. But if you take a step back and … Continue reading We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.

Commentary on Madison Schools’ Quietly spending taxpayer’s $4M

Logan Wroge: The plan didn’t become publicly available until Friday afternoon, when the meeting agenda was posted online. Does the analysis include space in other facilities? The District expanded some of its least diverse schools (Van Hise and Hamilton) several years ago, when space was available in other nearby schools. The Madison school district is … Continue reading Commentary on Madison Schools’ Quietly spending taxpayer’s $4M

Two Madisons: The Education and Opportunity Gap in Wisconsin’s Fastest Growing City

Will Flanders: At Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), there exist two distinct school systems. Despite its economic growth, low-income families in Madison are more likely to stay poor for their entire lives. While 60% of white students at MMSD are proficient or higher on the Forward exam, only 9.8% of African Americans are proficient. This … Continue reading Two Madisons: The Education and Opportunity Gap in Wisconsin’s Fastest Growing City

The Whiter, Richer School District Right Next Door

Adam Harris: The Democratic presidential debates, when they have turned to education, have so far focused on busing, college affordability, and school safety. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, notably, veered away from busing to talk about modern segregation during the second slate of debates, but only for a moment. But the schools trapped within these … Continue reading The Whiter, Richer School District Right Next Door

Researcher: School boundaries and segregation are linked

Roger McKinney: He said each instance where schools are rezoned can be an opportunity to address segregation. He said very few districts draw bad boundaries that exacerbate racial segregation. He said many studies show that the achievement gap between black and white students is closed when schools are desegregated and the gap widens when they … Continue reading Researcher: School boundaries and segregation are linked

You find, for example, an obsessive attention to what today we would refer to as ‘literacy’ and ‘critical thinking skills’”

Jeff Sypeck: But when you look at the manuscripts, the classroom texts, and the teaching methods of the early Middle Ages, you find habits and practices that I think would warm the hearts of pretty much everybody in this room. You find, for example, an obsessive attention to what today we would refer to as … Continue reading You find, for example, an obsessive attention to what today we would refer to as ‘literacy’ and ‘critical thinking skills’”

Some Madison schools sign on to Black Lives Matter event that calls for dumping police

Chris Rickert: Some Madison schools will participate next year in a Black Lives Matter event that features a call to “fund counselors, not cops” — despite the School Board’s decision this week to keep police officers in the Madison School District’s four main high schools. Hamilton Middle School said in an email to community members … Continue reading Some Madison schools sign on to Black Lives Matter event that calls for dumping police

$pending more on Bricks and Mortar in the Madison School District?

Madison School District Administration (PDF): Build a new neighborhood elementary school in or near the South Allis attendance area, south of the Beltline, to serve all of the South Allis area and a portion of the Leopold area. Invite Verona, Oregon, and McFarland to join with MMSD to rationalize the south border to better serve … Continue reading $pending more on Bricks and Mortar in the Madison School District?

Commentary on Madison Taxpayer Funded Schools’ PTO Budgets and Activity

Chris Rickert: Allis Elementary currently has no active PTO and its fundraising when it did have one last year was “very, very little,” according to interim principal Sara Cutler. Allis’ percentage of economically disadvantaged students last year was 67.9, according to state Department of Public Instruction data, or higher than the district percentage of 46.1. … Continue reading Commentary on Madison Taxpayer Funded Schools’ PTO Budgets and Activity

Why the Atlanta superintendent wants to close successful schools

Molly Bloom: Atlanta school Superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s plan to turn around the struggling school system calls for closing schools that, by Atlanta standards, are succeeding and merge those students with now-failing schools. The closures will allow her to replace hundreds of teachers, bring in new leaders and save money by closing half-empty schools. District officials … Continue reading Why the Atlanta superintendent wants to close successful schools

“Most MMSD schools are not over capacity. Six of the 32 elementary schools and one of the 12 middle schools had Third Friday enrollment numbers above their calculated capacities.”

Somewhat ironically, Madison has unused capacity in a number of schools, yet a successful Spring, 2015 referendum will spend another $41M+ to expand certain schools, including some of the least diverse such as Hamilton Middle School. Madison School District (PDF): Key Findings 1. Most MMSD schools are not over capacity. Six of the 32 elementary … Continue reading “Most MMSD schools are not over capacity. Six of the 32 elementary schools and one of the 12 middle schools had Third Friday enrollment numbers above their calculated capacities.”

Portland Schools’ Proposed Boundary Changes

Laua Frazier: Twenty out of 29 of the district’s K-8s have too few students in the middle grades, making it challenging to offer the same level of programming middle schools can, the district found. The district also has 11 schools that are over-crowded and nine that are under-enrolled. The district developed performance indicators to show … Continue reading Portland Schools’ Proposed Boundary Changes

Madison Staffing Per School

Rather interesting data from the District’s latest $413,703,424 2015-2016 budget document. The budget document includes total spending and a good amount of detail. Tap for a larger view. Van Hise and Hamilton are Madison’s least diverse schools, yet the District plans to expand their facilities. The staffing differences are rather illuminating, particularly when one considers … Continue reading Madison Staffing Per School

Commentary on Madison Schools’ Governance, Priorities & Spending

David Blaska Voters just approved a $41 million spending referendum. Now the Madison Metro School District says it needs to cut $10.8 million to cover a deficit. This is after rewarding its unionized teachers and support staff with a 2.5% pay increase in the budget approved late last year. Who is running this store? Hint: … Continue reading Commentary on Madison Schools’ Governance, Priorities & Spending

Commentary on Madison’s April 7, 2015 Maintenance Referendum; District spending data remains MIA

Molly Beck: If approved, the referendum would raise property taxes about $62 on the average $237,678 Madison home for 10 years. The district is still paying off $30 million in referendum debt for the construction of Olson and Chavez elementary schools in the late 2000s, according to the district. The final payment, for the Olson … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s April 7, 2015 Maintenance Referendum; District spending data remains MIA

Commentary on tension in the Madison Schools over “One Size Fits All” vs. “Increased Rigor”

Maggie Ginsberg interviews Brandi Grayson: Can you give an example of what you’ve described as “intent versus impact?” The Behavior Education Plan that the [Madison Metropolitan] school district came up with. The impact is effed up, in so many words, and that’s because the voices that are most affected weren’t considered. It’s like standing outside … Continue reading Commentary on tension in the Madison Schools over “One Size Fits All” vs. “Increased Rigor”

Current Madison Elementary School Boundaries…. & the School Board Election

Two Madison School Board candidates recently expressed opposition to boundary changes: Flores also said when students and parents walk to their schools, it fosters family connections and relationships between families and school faculty. “If (any) boundary changes obstruct from that, then I’m against that,” said Flores, who also said he supports asking voters for money … Continue reading Current Madison Elementary School Boundaries…. & the School Board Election

Madison Schools’ Referendum & Possible Boundary Change Commentary

Molly Beck: Even though expanding eight schools is only part of the plan, “if there’s any one (school) that looks particularly challenging to explain,” Hughes said, “we know that will be what the opponents of the referendum will latch onto. … We are going to have to be able to work through that and decide … Continue reading Madison Schools’ Referendum & Possible Boundary Change Commentary

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


Background

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

Possible Participants:

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

Madison’s Charter Intransigence

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

Wright & Neustro Mundo Background

Wright Middle School Searches:

Bing / Clusty / Google / Google News / Yahoo

Madison Middle School 2000 Searches:

Bing / Clusty / Google / Google News / Yahoo

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

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

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

Nuestro Mundo:

Bing / Clusty / Google / Google News / Yahoo

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

About the Madison Public Schools

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

Education Hot Topics

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

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

Wisconsin State Test Score Comparisons: Madison Middle Schools:

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

About Madison:

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

In Support of the November, 2008 Madison School District Referendum

Community and Schools Together:

We have a referendum!
Community and Schools Together (CAST) has been working to educate the public on the need to change the state finance system and support referendums that preserve and expand the good our schools do. We are eager to continue this work and help pass the referendum the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education approved on Monday, August 25, 2008.
“The support and interest from everyone has been great,” said Franklin and Wright parent and CAST member Thomas J. Mertz. “We’ve got a strong organization, lots of enthusiasm, and we’re ready to do everything we can to pass this referendum and move our schools beyond the painful annual cuts. Our community values education. It’s a good referendum and we are confident the community will support it.”
Community and Schools Together (CAST) strongly supports the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education’s decision to place a three-year recurring referendum on the November 4, 2008 ballot. This is the best way for the district to address the legislated structural deficit we will face over the next few years.

Much more on the November, 2008 Referendum here.

Accelerated Biology Update: “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics”?

When last I wrote about the status of Accelerated Biology at West HS, I was waiting to hear back from Assistant Superintendent Pam Nash. I had written to Pam on June 8 about how the promised second section of the course never had a chance, given the statistical procedure they used to admit students for … Continue reading Accelerated Biology Update: “Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics”?

Accelerated Biology at West HS Stands Still

I have a friend who is fond of saying “never ascribe to maliciousness that which can be accounted for by incompetence.” These words have become a touchstone for me in my dealings with the Madison schools. I work harder than some people might ever believe to remember that every teacher, administrator and staff person I … Continue reading Accelerated Biology at West HS Stands Still

Standards, Accountability, and School Reform

This is very long, and the link may require a password so I’ve posted the entire article on the continued page. TJM http://www.tcrecord.org/PrintContent.asp?ContentID=11566 Standards, Accountability, and School Reform by Linda Darling-Hammond — 2004 The standards-based reform movement has led to increased emphasis on tests, coupled with rewards and sanctions, as the basis for “accountability” systems. … Continue reading Standards, Accountability, and School Reform

Great Opportunity Needs Your Support

We have a great opportunity! On Monday March 6th, the Madison School Board will be considering four proposals for funding that have an opportunity to have a positive impact on the student achievement in our school district. These programs are community based after school and summer programming that can supplement students’ academic achievement in the … Continue reading Great Opportunity Needs Your Support

West HS English 9 and 10: Show us the data!

Here is a synopsis of the English 10 situation at West HS. Currently — having failed to receive any reply from BOE Performance and Achievement Committee Chair Shwaw Vang to our request that he investigate this matter and provide an opportunity for public discussion — we are trying to get BOE President Carol Carstensen to … Continue reading West HS English 9 and 10: Show us the data!