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

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 expanding Madison’s Least Diverse schools

It’s interesting to consider recent Madison School Board/Administration decisions in light of David Brooks’ 7/11/2017 column: Over the past generation, members of the college-educated class have become amazingly good at making sure their children retain their privileged status. They have also become devastatingly good at making sure the children of other classes have limited chances … Continue reading On expanding Madison’s 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

Expanding Madison’s Least Diverse Schools: Exclusionary Zoning Robs Our Cities of Their Best Qualities

Sightline Institute: What drew far less attention—and what is ultimately far more important—is the rest of HALA’s assertion. Those other 43 words point directly at local restrictions on housing construction in Seattle, prominently including its vast allocation of land to single-family lots as “among the largest obstacles to equity and affordability.” Across North America, such … Continue reading Expanding Madison’s Least Diverse Schools: Exclusionary Zoning Robs Our Cities of Their Best Qualities

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

Commentary on Madison’s planned 2020 tax and spending increase referendum

Scott Girard: In the midst of economic collapse, the Madison School Board is likely to decide in June or July whether to ask taxpayers for additional funds through November referenda. But most board members stated their support for putting both questions on the ballot during a discussion Monday night. Each of the seven board members … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s planned 2020 tax and spending increase referendum

Madison School Board Continues Fall 2020 referendum tax and spending increase plans

Logan Wroge: Board members acknowledged the tough financial reality facing residents, but several members said the need to renovate aging school buildings and shore up the operating budget remains the same. “These are not things I think we should be putting off,” board member Ali Muldrow said during an online Operations Work Group meeting. “We … Continue reading Madison School Board Continues Fall 2020 referendum tax and spending increase plans

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

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [May, 2020] 1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21 2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21 3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21 4. Total expenditures per pupil: +19.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed … Continue reading Madison K-12 Spending up 19% from 2014-2020

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

Roger Koppl: If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, you’re not paying attention to the experts. Epidemiologists tell us that if we do not hide in our houses with the door securely locked, hundreds of thousands will surely perish. Economists tell us that if we do not return immediately … Continue reading The fallen state of experts: How can governments learn from their expert failings?

Madison School Board May Retreat

Madison School Board: Meeting Objectives ● Understand Applicable Legal Statutes that pertain to School Boards ● Develop a planned strategy to successfully transition to a new leadership paradigm with the MMSD school board, superintendent, administration/staff, parents/guardians, and community creating a dynamic school community team. Legal notice and zoom link. Notes and links on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent … Continue reading Madison School Board May Retreat

Resisting Open Records Requests at the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Scott Girard: The Cap Times submitted an open records request the morning of Jan. 17, the deadline for residents to submit feedback through an online form, asking for “any and all public feedback on the Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent finalists, submitted online or via forms at the public forums, as of 8 a.m. Friday, … Continue reading Resisting Open Records Requests at the taxpayer supported Madison School District

A Reprieve for Madison Property Taxpayers (taxes up substantially)

Abigail Becker: The state’s COVID-19 Relief Bill, which Gov. Tony Evers signed into law April 15, included provisions to help counties and municipalities defer property tax payments. This allows Dane County to adopt a resolution enabling municipalities to waive interest and penalties on 2020 property tax payments due after April 1 until Oct. 1.  “Many in Dane County are … Continue reading A Reprieve for Madison Property Taxpayers (taxes up substantially)

NOW will Madison take teen car thieves seriously?

David Blaska: All hail Chris Rickert and the Wisconsin State Journal for a bang-up job exposing the revolving-door criminal-justice system here in Dane County WI. “Trouble down a one-way street” deserves to be read, saved, and discussed as the basis for action before someone gets killed. Oh, wait, someone HAS been killed. (“Car thief jailed in deaths of … Continue reading NOW will Madison take teen car thieves seriously?

K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum Climate: Freeze property taxes Local governments must consider cuts and furloughs too

Dave Cieslewicz: There have been no cuts, furloughs or reduced hours for municipal workers in the City-County Building or anywhere else in city government yet. It’s time for local governments in Dane County to make some cuts in response to the economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus epidemic. And, unfortunately, to be meaningful they’ll also … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum Climate: Freeze property taxes Local governments must consider cuts and furloughs too

Madison School District sticking to ‘pass/no pass’ for high schoolers during COVID-19 closure despite some calls for letter grade option

Scott Girard: A survey with more than 550 signatures is calling for the Madison Metropolitan School District to offer the option of letter grades to high school students during virtual learning, but district officials are maintaining their plan for a “pass/no pass” system. The district announced it would use the “pass/no pass” grading system earlier in April to do … Continue reading Madison School District sticking to ‘pass/no pass’ for high schoolers during COVID-19 closure despite some calls for letter grade option

In lieu of celebration, Greater Madison Writing Project shifts online for 10th anniversary

Scott Girard: The Greater Madison Writing Project was set to celebrate its 10-year anniversary on March 21. Ten days before that, the University of Wisconsin-Madison closed most of its facilities and social distancing practices went into effect amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, forcing GMWP to cancel its celebration and shift its work with teachers and students online. … Continue reading In lieu of celebration, Greater Madison Writing Project shifts online for 10th anniversary

Notes and Commentary on Madison’s Planned 2020-2021 K-12 Budget

Kelly Meyerhofer: The $476.1 million proposed spending package would increase property taxes by $46 for the owner of an average-value home in the district, now estimated at $311,500. Faced with an $8 million shortfall at the beginning of crafting the 2020-21 budget, district officials propose cutting nearly 50 staff positions and doubling the share employees … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on Madison’s Planned 2020-2021 K-12 Budget

Harvard vs. the Family: A scheduled academic conference confirms the suspicions of homeschooling parents.

Max Eden: This June, pandemic conditions permitting, Harvard University will host a conference—not open to the public—to discuss the purported dangers of homeschooling and strategies for legal reform. The co-organizer, Harvard law professor Elizabeth Bartholet, believes that homeschooling should be banned, as it is “a realm of near-absolute parental power. . . . inconsistent with a … Continue reading Harvard vs. the Family: A scheduled academic conference confirms the suspicions of homeschooling parents.

Gov. Brown and the Oregon Teachers Union shut down online charter schools

Aaron Withe and Jeff Kropf: In a time of national emergency, when our leaders need to be thinking outside the box and giving struggling families more choices rather than fewer, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown instead decided to pay back political favors by shutting down online charter schools. On paper, online charter schools that allow students … Continue reading Gov. Brown and the Oregon Teachers Union shut down online charter schools

‘A’s for all’ is the most Seattle thing ever — and cover for the school district’s own poor marks

Danny Westneat: The email to students from a Seattle high-school teacher Monday summed up the aimless mood in the city’s public schools. “Hello All, I hope you had a good spring break! (I’m not sure what we were breaking from),” the teacher wrote, sardonically. Also Monday — and maybe not coincidentally — the Seattle School … Continue reading ‘A’s for all’ is the most Seattle thing ever — and cover for the school district’s own poor marks

K-12 “Equity Spending Test”; Difference in spending between public or charter school cannot exceed 25%…. (Madison exceeds that)

Chris Stewart: Public schools in New Mexico aren’t funding students equitably, so says the U.S. Department Education who accuse the state’s leaders of “diverting [$63 million] in federal Impact Aid grants” intended to help school districts that are disadvantaged by their low tax bases.  The feds found that New Mexico wasn’t passing the “equity test,” … Continue reading K-12 “Equity Spending Test”; Difference in spending between public or charter school cannot exceed 25%…. (Madison exceeds that)

Anti-Homeschooling Rhetoric; “we know best”

Erin O’Donnell: RAPIDLY INCREASING number of American families are opting out of sending their children to school, choosing instead to educate them at home. Homeschooled kids now account for roughly 3 percent to 4 percent of school-age children in the United States, a number equivalent to those attending charter schools, and larger than the number … Continue reading Anti-Homeschooling Rhetoric; “we know best”

COVID-19 Took Away Public Education. Will We Miss It?

Frederick M. Hess: A week after COVID-19 prompted the closure of Virginia’s schools, my five-year-old’s Montessori teacher started doing 30 minutes of Zoom with the class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. The content is nothing to write home about. The teacher reads a story, talks a bit about daffodils or frogs, and might celebrate a … Continue reading COVID-19 Took Away Public Education. Will We Miss It?

How To Build A New Leadership Class

John Burtka: In historian Christopher Lasch’s book, The Culture of Narcissism, he describes how “the new ruling class of administrators, bureaucrats, technicians, and experts” that dominates public life possesses neither the old aristocratic virtues of priests and monarchs nor the virtues of natural aristocrats described by Jefferson and Röpke. A “new therapeutic culture of narcissism” instead … Continue reading How To Build A New Leadership Class

Free speech rhetoric, “we know best” and our long term, disastrous reading results

Brooke Binkowski: And this is what social media needs to do, now, today: Deplatform the proudly ignorant disinformers pushing snake oil and false hopes. Do so swiftly and mercilessly. They will whine about freedom of speech. They will cry about censorship. Let them. How can I be so cavalier about freedom of speech? I hear … Continue reading Free speech rhetoric, “we know best” and our long term, disastrous reading results

Madison School Board winners differ on school-based police; only 1 had union support

Logan Wroge: Gomez Schmidt’s victory also meant a loss for Madison Teachers Inc., which had endorsed Pearson. Gomez Schmidt had the backing of the current Seat 6 holder, Kate Toews, who decided not to seek reelection. In the other competitive race, though, the union-backed Vander Meulen earned a 20-percentage-point victory over Strong. Gomez Schmidt has … Continue reading Madison School Board winners differ on school-based police; only 1 had union support

Civics: Regulation and the tax base

Wisconsin institute of law & liberty: Further Empower Parents and School Leaders 1.    Ensure accountability on schools – As stories appear that school districts are dropping the ball and failing to educate students, state policymakers must make it abundantly clear that school districts must use tax dollars to educate students. 2.    Oversight of federal stimulus dollars – The federal CARES Act will … Continue reading Civics: Regulation and the tax base

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

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

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Longer-Term Prospects of Coronavirus Response: Bigger State, Higher Taxes

Tom Fairless and Jason Douglas: When the crisis is over, “it will be very hard for any government not to increase spending on health,” and to fund new areas such as medical research and vaccine production, said Mr. Travers. A similar shift happened after the depravations of World War II, when countries like the U.K. … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Longer-Term Prospects of Coronavirus Response: Bigger State, Higher Taxes

Madison School Board offers feedback on K-5 literacy plan

Scott Girard: Staff began working on the new curriculum adoption last year, following a 2018 needs assessment that showed a “need for materials K-5 that have a structured phonics component, are standards aligned and are more culturally and linguistically responsive, historically accurate and inclusive,” according to Monday’s presentation. The steps since have included forming focus … Continue reading Madison School Board offers feedback on K-5 literacy plan

The CARES Act and Wisconsin’s K-12 Climate

CJ Szafir and Libby Sobic: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Act provides $2.2 trillion of relief for those impacted by COVID. Of this, CARES allocates about $30 billion for K-12 schools and higher education institutions. Soon, Wisconsin will need to make decisions on how to spend the huge influx of federal funds on … Continue reading The CARES Act and Wisconsin’s K-12 Climate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 eyes $317M facilities referendum, $33M operating referendum

Logan Wroge: The Madison School Board signaled support Monday for a $317 million facilities referendum and a $33 million operating referendum, setting up the board to finalize the ballot questions later this month for the November election. With several options on the table, board members expressed broad support for a slightly larger facilities referendum that … Continue reading Madison School Board eyes $317M facilities referendum, $33M operating referendum

The Misguided Progressive Attack on Charters

Conor Williams: Charter schools used to be a bipartisan education reform, but Democrats have turned against it of late. Many of their complaints are bad-faith projections—criticism for problems that aren’t unique to charters but endemic throughout the public education system. Take the objection that charters are an insufficiently transparent use of public dollars. In rolling … Continue reading The Misguided Progressive Attack on Charters

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

Madison School District High School “Grade Flooring” continues….

NBC 15: Under a new pilot program the lowest grade students could get on assignments is 40 or 50 percent, not a zero. Studies show freshman year is the most important year in high school and Geoffrey D. Borman, UW-Madison Education Policy Professor, said it can make or break you. The modern A-F grading system … Continue reading Madison School District High School “Grade Flooring” continues….

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.”

Madison West High’s microschool shows attendance, credit improvements for students

Scott Girard: A Madison Metropolitan School District microschool for West High School students at risk of not graduating has shown improved attendance and credit achievement for its participants, according to a presentation to the School Board Monday. The microschool opened in November at the Taft Street Boys and Girls Club of Dane County location with 22 girls … Continue reading Madison West High’s microschool shows attendance, credit improvements for students

The Cost-effectiveness of Public and Private Schools of Choice in Wisconsin

Corey DeAngelis: The United States invests over $660 billion for K-12 education, or over $13,000 per student, each year, on average.1 Real education expenditures in the U.S. have nearly quadrupled in the past half century without consistent improvements in student outcomes (Hanushek, 1997, 2015a, 2015b; Hanushek & Lindseth, 2009, 2010). Because education dollars are scarce resources, and because students’ academic success … Continue reading The Cost-effectiveness of Public and Private Schools of Choice in Wisconsin

‘No school is perfect’: Student suing Baraboo district reflects on her ‘safer’ Madison school

Kelly Meyerhofer: Baraboo School District officials said in court filings that police were contacted about the locker room note and that the district conducted a “thorough” investigation. They said students wearing inappropriate clothing are required to remove the items once staff is made aware. The district also said it now contracts with a company to … Continue reading ‘No school is perfect’: Student suing Baraboo district reflects on her ‘safer’ Madison school

Hidden Segregation Within Schools Is Tracked in New Study

Sarah Sparks: Eliminating racial segregation can be a little like playing whack-a-mole: Instead of going away, too often it just finds a new outlet. A massive new study of North Carolina classrooms over nearly 20 years finds that as racial segregation between schools went down, the racial isolation within the classrooms inside those schools went … Continue reading Hidden Segregation Within Schools Is Tracked in New Study

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

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

An interview with Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes

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

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: What the Green New Deal Could Cost a Typical Household

Kent Lassman, Daniel Turner: Regardless of the GND architects’ intentions, this paper examines the some of the major tradeoffs associated with taking significant portions of the GND seriously. What would it mean to actually implement significant portions of the proposal? Can we understand the effects at a household level in different regions of the country? … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: What the Green New Deal Could Cost a Typical Household

Commentary on the growth of redistributed Wisconsin K-12 tax & spending

David Blaska: Governor Evers vetoed another middle class tax cut this week. The bill that passed with bipartisan support in the Assembly last week would have: • Reduced nearly $250 million in income taxes for middle and lower income levels by increasing the sliding scale standard deduction by 13.2% for each filer. This would have resulted … Continue reading Commentary on the growth of redistributed Wisconsin K-12 tax & spending

Civics & K-12 Opportunity: AOC Admits She Got Her Goddaughter Into a Bronx Charter School

Billy Binion: This isn’t the first time that AOC has inadvertently made the case for school choice. At an October rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), she shared that her family left the Bronx for a house in Westchester county, so that she could attend a higher-quality school. “My family made a really … Continue reading Civics & K-12 Opportunity: AOC Admits She Got Her Goddaughter Into a Bronx Charter School

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

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

The New “Causal” Research on School Spending is Not Causal

Jay Greene: Some researchers and journalists have become very excited about a new set of studies that claim to find a causal relationship between increasing school spending and improving student outcomes.  These folks acknowledge that the vast majority of earlier research found no relationship between additional resources and stronger results, but that research was purely observational.  Perhaps school systems … Continue reading The New “Causal” Research on School Spending is Not Causal

$35K contract for police at school events turns into heated debate, protests Monday

Scott Girard: A $35,000 contract not initially up for discussion at the Madison School Board meeting Monday night ended up the most hotly debated topic among board members. The contract with the city of Madison provides for up to $35,000 paid to the Madison Police Department in 2020 for officers to provide security, safety and crowd control … Continue reading $35K contract for police at school events turns into heated debate, protests Monday

“We know best”: Authoritarianism’s Fatal Flaw

Zeynep Tufekci: Authoritarian blindness is a perennial problem, especially in large countries like China with centralized, top-down administration. Indeed, Xi would not even be the first Chinese ruler to fall victim to the totality of his own power. On August 4, 1958, buoyed by reports pouring in from around the country of record grain, rice, … Continue reading “We know best”: Authoritarianism’s Fatal Flaw

Black community leaders share concerns about Madison School District’s superintendent hire, call process ‘flawed, incomplete’

Scott Girard: A letter signed by 13 black community leaders in Madison expresses concerns about the Madison Metropolitan School District’s hiring of Matthew Gutiérrez to be its next superintendent. The concerns include how much larger and more diverse MMSD is than Gutiérrez’s current Seguin Independent School District in Texas, student performance scores in Seguin and a “flawed, … Continue reading Black community leaders share concerns about Madison School District’s superintendent hire, call process ‘flawed, incomplete’

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

Patrick O’Donnell: High school students won’t have to be “proficient” in either math or English to graduate, under minimum required test scores proposed by State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria. They will just need to know enough to do the most basic of jobs. New high school graduation requirements passed this summer require most students to show … Continue reading Ohio graduates won’t have to be “proficient” in math or English, under state superintendent’s plan

The AOC Tapes: Rep says she got goddaughter into Bronx charter school

Jon Levine: Good for me, but not for thee. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez managed to get her goddaughter into a Bronx charter school, according to a Facebook Live video she recorded in 2017 — before she was a public figure. “This area’s like a lot of where my family is from,” AOC says as she strolls … Continue reading The AOC Tapes: Rep says she got goddaughter into Bronx charter school

Commentary on Open Enrollment, the rule of law and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan and Monona Grove school districts are applying for a waiver from the state to continue an agreement that allows up to five MGSD students to attend Nuestro Mundo Charter School beginning with each kindergarten class. The state Department of Public Instruction informed the districts in December 2019 that the agreement, which … Continue reading Commentary on Open Enrollment, the rule of law and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Groundbreaking Settlement in California Literacy Lawsuit to Provide Immediate Relief to 75 Low-Performing Schools, Advances Holistic Approach to Learning in Schools

Morrison Foerster: Superior court Judge Rupert Byrdsong today received notice of a wide-ranging settlement in a major education lawsuit brought by students, parents and advocacy groups against the State of California. The lawsuit was the first civil rights action brought under any state constitution to protect students’ right to access to literacy. The ability to … Continue reading Groundbreaking Settlement in California Literacy Lawsuit to Provide Immediate Relief to 75 Low-Performing Schools, Advances Holistic Approach to Learning in Schools

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Taxpayer Income, purchasing power and 2020 Madison Referendum climate

Oren Cass: 2/ Punchline: Popular perception is correct. In 1985, the typical male worker could cover a family of four’s major expenditures (housing, health care, transportation, education) on 30 weeks of salary. By 2018 it took 53 weeks. Which is a problem, there being 52 weeks in a year. Notes, links and some data on Madison’s … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Taxpayer Income, purchasing power and 2020 Madison Referendum climate

The 1619 Project perpetuates the soft bigotry of low expectations

Ian Rowe: On March 18, 2008, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama began an oration that Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic called a “searing, nuanced, gut-wrenching, loyal, and deeply, deeply Christian speech” and “the most honest speech on race in America in my adult lifetime.” “‘We the people, in order to form a more perfect union,’” Obama began, quoting the … Continue reading The 1619 Project perpetuates the soft bigotry of low expectations

Effects of Scaling Up Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students

David N. Figlio, Cassandra M.D. Hart, Krzysztof Karbownik: Using a rich dataset that merges student-level school records with birth records, and a student fixed effect design, we explore how the massive scale-up of a Florida private school choice program affected public school students’ outcomes. Expansion of the program produced modestly larger benefits for students attending … Continue reading Effects of Scaling Up Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students

Commentary on the Madison School District’s teacher climate

David Blaska: In a school district that is 18% black, 57% of students suspended from school the first semester of the current school year (2019-20) were African-American. White students, 43% of the student body, accounted for 11% of out-of-school suspensions. To school board member Ali Muldrow, the data showed more about school staff than about … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District’s teacher climate

“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)

3 more Madison private schools to join statewide voucher program

Logan Wroge: Three more private Madison schools intend to join the statewide voucher program in the fall, bringing the number of Dane County schools that plan to accept vouchers in 2020-21 to seven. The state Department of Public Instruction released Thursday the lists of schools that have signed up for three programs that provide taxpayer-funded … Continue reading 3 more Madison private schools to join statewide voucher program

“We definitely see science-based reading instruction as urgent in our – Madison – schools” (!)

Scott Girard: The 2018-19 state Forward Exam, given to students in grades 3 through 8, showed 35% of students scored proficient or advanced on the English Language Arts portion. For black students, it was 10.1% and for Hispanic students, 16%. Those scores come amid a nationwide, and more recently statewide, push for using the Science of Reading to educate … Continue reading “We definitely see science-based reading instruction as urgent in our – Madison – schools” (!)

School board candidates reflect on school climate ahead of primary

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

This Wisconsin student earned her high school diploma and an associate degree in the same year. How’d she do it?

Samantha West: Thanks to a Fox Valley Technical College program called Start College Now, Pingel was able to get a head start on her college education. The program is designed to give high school students a taste of higher education by simultaneously earning high school and college credit. But it’d be safe to say Pingel got … Continue reading This Wisconsin student earned her high school diploma and an associate degree in the same year. How’d she do it?

Commentary on Federalism, the Education Bureaucracy, Spending & Results

Robby Soave: The Obama administration in 2009 pumped $3 billion into a program that awarded an extra $2 million to underperforming public schools, so long as they made certain reforms. The money came from the School Improvement Grants initiative. And yet, according to a study by the education department published at the start of 2017, “Overall, across … Continue reading Commentary on Federalism, the Education Bureaucracy, Spending & Results

Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School District 2020 Referendum & Spending Plans

Logan Wroge: “I appreciate the cuts in central office because I want more people in the classroom,” said board member Nicki Vander Meulen. Ruppel said the proposed reduction of school staff, which would be about 35 positions across a district that employs 4,000 people, is in response to expected short-term drops in enrollment due to … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School District 2020 Referendum & Spending Plans

She is the product of an education system that cultivate and rewards stupidity.

Bookworm room: At the K-12 level, education is lousy for several reasons. First, the education model is the worst way to teach children. Few students learn by sitting down, being lectured to, and then going home and struggling with homework. I highly recommend the Montessori approach, for Maria Montessori looked at how children learn, rather … Continue reading She is the product of an education system that cultivate and rewards stupidity.

Digitization and Divergence: Online School Ratings and Segregation in America

Sharique Hasan and Anuj Kumar: We analyze whether widespread online access to school-performance information affected economic and social segregation in America. We leverage the staged rollout of GreatSchools.org school ratings from 2006–2015 to answer this question. Across a range of outcomes and specifications, we find that the mass availability of school ratings has accelerated divergence … Continue reading Digitization and Divergence: Online School Ratings and Segregation in America

‘This work is so crucial’: Madison School District staff lead conversations about Black Lives Matter At School Week

Scott Girard: Every Madison Metropolitan School District site had staff participating in the Black Lives Matter At School Week of Action this year. The national movement to hold a week of support for black students ran Feb. 3-7 this year, culminating Thursday night in Madison with a sold-out staff showing of the movie “Just Mercy” and a … Continue reading ‘This work is so crucial’: Madison School District staff lead conversations about Black Lives Matter At School Week

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

Will Wisconsin return to its ‘three-legged stool’ to pay for schools? Here are reasons to doubt it

Alan Borsuk: Let’s focus particularly on Evers’ call for using some of the money to return state support of general operating costs of public schools to two-thirds of the total bill (with the other third coming generally from property taxes).   A bit of history: In the early 1990s, there was strong opinion, particularly for then-Gov. Tommy Thompson … Continue reading Will Wisconsin return to its ‘three-legged stool’ to pay for schools? Here are reasons to doubt it

Principal Commentary from Madison’s Jefferson Middle School

Logan Wroge: After a rocky first semester for Madison’s Jefferson Middle School, its interim principal assured parents Thursday she’ll work to address their concerns about safety. “Here’s what I’m going to promise you, I am always going to be available to you,” said Mary Kelley. “I’m always going to be visible. I’m in the classrooms, … Continue reading Principal Commentary from Madison’s Jefferson Middle School

Wisconsin School Spending Transparency Bill Hearing on Thursday

James Wigderson: A new bill to make school spending more transparent will get its first public hearing at the legislature on Thursday. The bill, Assembly Bill 810, would create a computerized database of public school expenditures maintained by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The agency would then post the information on the internet for … Continue reading Wisconsin School Spending Transparency Bill Hearing on Thursday

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

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

Commentary on a 2020 Madison School Board Candidate appearance

Logan Wroge: Three candidates for an open Madison School Board seat aligned on several issues facing the school district while offering their own solutions to other topics during a forum Tuesday. The trio seeking the board’s Seat 6 — Karen Ball, Christina Gomez Schmidt and Maia Pearson — spoke of rebuilding trust between the community … Continue reading Commentary on a 2020 Madison School Board Candidate appearance

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

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

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

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

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

Scott Girard: The contract runs from June 1 to May 31 of the following year. The agreement would allow Gutiérrez 25 vacation days each year, 10 holidays off and up to 13 personal illness days. It will provide up to $8,500 for moving expenses as Gutiérrez and his family move from Seguin, Texas, and cover … Continue reading New Madison Schools superintendent’s $250K+ contract up for vote Monday

As suspensions rise, Madison School Board unhappy with racial disparities

Logan Wroge: In the first semester of this school year, 1,524 out-of-school suspensions were issued. That’s up from 910 in the fall of 2015 — a 67% increase — and the number of fall semester suspensions has steadily increased during the past five years. “If we say this is about how black kids behave, I … Continue reading As suspensions rise, Madison School Board unhappy with racial disparities

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: State lawmakers will ask New Yorkers for input regarding state’s population decrease

Sarah Darmanjian: “When enough people who can afford to leave New York State are gone, who will be left to pay for the infrastructure, health care, schools and other necessities?” said Sen. Tedisco. “This is a bi-partisan effort to shine the light on this problem that’s causing people to leave our Upstate communities and to … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: State lawmakers will ask New Yorkers for input regarding state’s population decrease

Commentary on Taxpayer Low Income Programs and Outcomes

Jeff Madrick: Actually, we can find low income as the main cause of the hardships and damage of poverty by looking at the consequences of current welfare policies themselves. Government programs in which benefits have changed over time provide abundant data for isolating low incomes as a fundamental cause of problems. Variations in government programs, … Continue reading Commentary on Taxpayer Low Income Programs and Outcomes

Most Colorado teacher prep programs don’t teach reading well, report says. University leaders don’t buy it.

Ann Schimke: About two-thirds of Colorado’s teacher preparation programs, including the state’s two largest, earned low grades for how they cover early reading instruction, according to a new report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. The report, which is controversial for its reliance on documents such as course syllabi and textbooks, claims to assess … Continue reading Most Colorado teacher prep programs don’t teach reading well, report says. University leaders don’t buy it.

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