The Foundations of Reading, Wisconsin’s one elementary reading teacher content knowledge requirement is (was) an attempt to improve our K-12 students’ disastrous reading results. Readers may find the Foundations of Reading results of interest (2.4MB xlsx). (3 February 2020: link updated to remove partial ss identifiers, via a kind DPI message). The test is based … Continue reading Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Examination Results
Molly Beck and Erin Richards: “We set a high bar for achievement,” DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy said. “To reach more than half (proficiency), we would need to raise the achievement of our lowest district and subgroup performers through policies like those recommended in our budget, targeted at the large, urban districts.” The new scores reveal … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI: “We set a high bar for achievement,” & abort Foundations of Reading Teacher Content Knowledge Requirement}
Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email: Wisconsin Reading Coalition has alerted you over the past 6 months to DPI’s intentions to change PI-34, the administrative rule that governs teacher licensing in Wisconsin. We consider those changes to allow overly-broad exemptions from the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test for new teachers. The revised PI-34 has … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI efforts to weaken the Foundations of Reading Test for elementary teachers
Results, by ed school, via the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: October, 2015 data request: January 2014-August 2014 .xls. .docx September 2014-August 2015 .xls .docx To Date (2015) .xls .docx July 2017 Request: 2013-2014 .xls 2014-2015 .xls 2015-2016 .xls 2016 – YTD .xls Much more on Wisconsin’s Foundation of Reading Teacher Content Knowledge exam, here. … Continue reading Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Exam Results
Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email: Citing anecdotal evidence of a shortage of fully licensed teachers for available positions, DPI has issued an emergency rule that would allow many in-state and out-of-state individuals to become licensed and act as teachers-of-record in the classroom without passing the Foundations of Reading Test (FORT). The work-around to … Continue reading Your action requested on Wisconsin DPI’s emergency rule (Foundations of Reading/MTEL)
Wisconsin Reading Coalition Comments: Wisconsin’s DPI provided the results to-date of the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading exam to School Information System, which posted an analysis. Be aware that the passing score from January, 2014 through August, 2014, was lower than the passing score in Massachusetts and Connecticut. Since September of 2014, the Wisconsin passing score … Continue reading Foundations of Reading Results (Wisconsin Education Schools), or MTEL arrives
Zaner-Bloser via a kind reader: Rowland Reading Foundation, of Madison, Wisconsin, today announced the acquisition of its Superkids Reading Program by Zaner-Bloser, an educational publisher providing curricula and digital resources in literacy, language arts, writing instruction and handwriting. The Superkids program is a rigorous phonics-based literacy curriculum that integrates reading with writing, spelling and grammar … Continue reading Superkids K-2 Core Reading Program From Rowland Reading Foundation
The post by Ruth Robarts includes the following: The panel also will recommend some shifts in teaching techniques, said a panel member, Dr. Susan Landry of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. These include having at-risk children spend more time in small groups that address their specific weaknesses; emphasizing skills like blending sounds … Continue reading Comment on Early Repairs in Foundation for Reading
ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Children with severe reading problems usually struggle for years before getting the help they need. But a growing number of neurologists and educators say that with the latest diagnostic tests, children at high risk for these problems can be identified in preschool and treated before they ever begin to read. The newer … Continue reading Early Repairs in Foundation for Reading
Scott Girard: “The problem was we could not get the teachers to commit to the coaching.” Since their small success, not much has changed in the district’s overall results for teaching young students how to read. Ladson-Billings called the ongoing struggles “frustrating,” citing an inability to distinguish between what’s important and what’s a priority in … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: “Madison’s status quo tends to be very entrenched.”
.@MMSDschools and @UWMadEducation announce a 14-member early literacy task force focused on analyzing approaches to teaching reading “toward the goals of improving reading outcomes and reducing achievement gaps.” More details at a 1 p.m. press availability. Members: pic.twitter.com/mPDoVmDrTF — Scott Girard (@sgirard9) December 14, 2020 Yet, deja vu all around Madison’s long term, disastrous reading … Continue reading A Task force on Madison’s Long term, Disastrous Reading Results
Sarah Mitchell: Of all the debates in education, none are quite as absurd as the reading wars. On the one hand there are those who advocate for a phonics-based approach to reading instruction in the early years – making sure children understand sound-letter relationships so they can read words accurately without guessing from the context … Continue reading The reading wars are over – and phonics has won
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
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” (!)
Chris Rickert: In at least two cases, principals left under a cloud. In 2017, district officials decided not to pursue legal action against former Black Hawk Middle School Principal Kenya Walker, who abandoned her position and oversaw more than $10,000 in spending on the school’s credit card that could not be accounted for. In 2018, … Continue reading Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: middle school governance edition
Emily Hanford: “Thank God for Mississippi.” That’s a phrase people would use when national education rankings came out because no matter how poorly your state performed, you could be sure things were worse in Mississippi. Not anymore. New results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a standardized test given every two years to measure … Continue reading There Is a Right Way to Teach Reading, and Mississippi Knows It
Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email AB 110, creating a Wisconsin guidebook on dyslexia and related conditions, passed the Assembly earlier this year and passed, with an amendment, the Senate Education Committee at the end of the summer. However, the bill has not yet been brought to the Senate floor for a vote. Meanwhile, … Continue reading Pending Reading Legislation
Alan Borsuk: Mississippi got a lot of attention when the NAEP scores were released. It was the only state where fourth grade reading scores improved. Mississippi is implementing a strong requirement that teachers be well-trained in reading instruction. Massachusetts did that in the 1990s and it paid off in the following decade. Wisconsin passed a … Continue reading Teacher Mulligans, continued: The latest report on reading was really bad. Here are some possible solutions
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
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
Chad Aldeman: But in this country, there are at least a few thousand preparation programs attempting to teach future teachers to teach reading. And yet, we have no evidence that any of those programs produce reading instructors who are better (or worse) than any others. This is a scary realization, but it has implications for … Continue reading We Think We Know How to Teach Reading, But We Don’t. What Else Don’t We Know, and What Does This Mean for Teacher Training?
Logan Wroge: For example, white students in fifth grade dropped 4.6 percentage points in English/language arts proficiency compared to a 1.6 percentage-point decrease for black students in fifth grade. In the eighth grade, the percentage of African American students scoring proficient or advanced in English/language arts rose 2 percentage points to 12.1%, while the percentage … Continue reading Wisconsin Academic Result commentary: writer fails to mention thousands of DPI eLementary Reading teacher mulligans
Wisconsin Reading Coalition: A bill is circulating in both houses of the Wisconsin legislature that would permanently exempt special education teachers from having to pass the Foundations of Reading Test (FORT). Prospective special educators would merely have to take one course in reading and reading comprehension, receive some unspecified coaching, and compile a portfolio. There … Continue reading Mulligans for Elementary Reading Teachers; permanent exemption proposal
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
Ann Schimke: In a 15-page reauthorization report, state officials detail a number of specific problems with the university’s core literacy courses, including that they emphasize prospective teachers’ beliefs about reading rather than forcing them to draw science-based conclusions. “A lower bar for education prep [candidates] versus the students they’ll be teaching is concerning,” the report … Continue reading Concerned about reading instruction, state cracks down on teacher prep programs, starting with Colorado’s largest
Laurie Frost and Jeff Henriques: Thank you for your excellent article on the increase in juvenile crime in our city. May we suggest a followup story? It is well known that students who are not reading proficiently by fourth grade — when “learning to read” becomes “reading to learn” — do not fare well. For … Continue reading Reading by fourth grade vital to success
Jessie Opoien: Evers, a Democrat, is asking for $1.4 billion in additional funds for the state’s K-12 schools in the 2019-21 budget. The $15.4 billion request, submitted by Evers on Monday, comes less than two months before Walker and Evers will meet on the ballot — and Evers’ budget letter includes a swipe at the … Continue reading Gubernatorial Candidate Tony Evers Proposal: Spend 12.3% (10%?) more taxpayer funds on Wisconsin K-12 school districts; while killing substantive reading improvement efforts.
Kelly Meyerhofer: Walker proposed $13.7 billion in total state support for public schools for the 2017-19 biennium. That includes about $2.2 billion in property tax credits that are counted as K-12 funding, but don’t go directly into the classroom. Walker’s campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger touched on the record amount in a Saturday statement: “Scott Walker … Continue reading Gubernatorial Candidate Tony Evers Proposal: Spend 12.3% more taxpayer funds on Wisconsin K-12 school districts; while killing substantive reading improvement efforts.
Jared Diamond: these stories of isolated societies illustrate two general principles about relations between human group size and innovation or creativity. First, in any society except a totally isolated society, most innovations come in from the outside, rather than being conceived within that society. And secondly, any society undergoes local fads. By fads I mean … Continue reading “We know best”, Disastrous Reading Results and a bit of history with Jared Diamond
Molly Beck: But Walker and his campaign accused Evers of flip-flopping on the issue of school funding because Evers once said in an interview with WisconsinEye that improving academic outcomes for students struggling the most could still be achieved even if the state didn’t provide a significant funding increase. Evers in the interview did say … Continue reading Wisconsin Election Commentary on our disastrous reading results
Elizabeth Ross: This study examines all 50 states’ and the District of Columbia’s requirements regarding the science of reading for elementary and special education teacher candidates. Chan Stroman: “Report finds only 11 states have adequate safeguards in place for both elementary and special education teachers.” Make that “10 states”; with Wisconsin PI 34, the loophole … Continue reading Strengthening Reading Instruction through Better Preparation of Elementary and Special Education Teachers (Wisconsin DPI, lead by Tony Evers, loophole in place)
Wisconsin Reading Coalition: Despite the written and oral testimony of many concerned stakeholders around the state, the legislature’s Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules made no changes to the PI-34 teacher licensing rule that was submitted by the Department of Public Instruction. As a result, graduates of any teacher preparation program (along with other … Continue reading Ongoing Wisconsin DPI efforts to weaken our thin elementary teacher reading content knowledge requirements.
Alan Borsuk: But consider a couple other things that happened in Massachusetts: Despite opposition, state officials stuck to the requirement. Teacher training programs adjusted curriculum and the percentage of students passing the test rose. A test for teachers In short, in Wisconsin, regulators and leaders of higher education teacher-prep programs are not so enthused about … Continue reading On Wisconsin’s (and Madison’s) Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results
Alan Borsuk: Overall, the Read to Lead effort seems like the high water mark in efforts to improve how kids are taught reading in Wisconsin — and the water is much lower now. What do the chair and the vice-chair think? Efforts to talk to Walker were not successful. Evers said, “Clearly, I’m disappointed. . … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin’s Reading Challenges
Alan Borsuk: As someone recently put it to me, improving Wisconsin’s overall results in reading will not come from pushing one button. It will require pushing maybe 10 buttons. A lot needs to be done. Some of the buttons that should be pushed connect to what goes on in school. Some connect to things beyond … Continue reading Wisconsin Reading Corp tutors combat literacy crisis one child at a time
Erin K. Washburn, Candace A. Mulcahy, Gail Musante and R. Malatesha Joshi: Current understandings about the nature of persistent reading problems have been influenced by researchers in numerous fields. Researchers have noted that a current and accurate understanding of reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, can be helpful in assessing, teaching and supporting indi- viduals with … Continue reading Novice Teachers’ Knowledge of Reading-related Disabilities and Dyslexia
Natalie Wexler: Cognitive scientists have known for decades that simply mastering comprehension skills doesn’t ensure a young student will be able to apply them to whatever texts they’re confronted with on standardized tests and in their studies later in life. One of those cognitive scientists spoke on the Tuesday panel: Daniel Willingham, a psychology professor … Continue reading Why American Students Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years
Patrick Marley: A group of teachers and parents sued, arguing the law didn’t apply to Evers because of the powers granted to him by the state constitution. A Dane County judge agreed with them in 2012 and the state Supreme Court upheld that ruling in 2016. In 2017, Walker signed a new, similar law. Evers … Continue reading Reading and Wisconsin Education “Administrative Rules”
Will Fitzhugh is founder and editor of The Concord Review, which publishes outstanding historical essays by high school students. I have long been an admirer of the publication and of Will for sustaining it without support from any major foundations, which are too engaged in reinventing the schools rather than supporting the work of excellent … Continue reading Will Fitzhugh: Common Core, Close Reading, and the Death of History in the Schools
Education Trust- Midwest (PDF): This decline has come as state leaders have invested nearly $80 million to raise third-grade reading levels — and during the same period when many other states that also adopted higher standards for teaching and learning produced notable learning gains for their students in the same metric. In some respects, Michigan’s … Continue reading In some respects, Michigan’s continued (reading) decline should come as no surprise
Joanne Jacobs: I’m not sure this is quite the mea culpa the Times thinks it is. Gates certainly isn’t abandoning the Common Core. The foundation will focus on providing high-quality Core-aligned learning materials and helping teachers choose from what’s available. “If the knock on the hidebound education system is that it doesn’t change fast enough … Continue reading The Gates Foundation And Governance Change
Wisconsin Reading Coalition: Milwaukee Summer Reading Project As MSRP enters its 7th year, Rep. Joe Sanfelippo has proposed legislation that would provide $1.1 million for the program over two years. The six-week summer program for Milwaukee students exiting 1st and 2nd grades has seen student scores rise significantly. Dr. Howard Fuller, who spearheaded MSRP, credits … Continue reading Reading Notes, 2016
Laura Moser: New data on child well-being released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation make for depressing reading on many levels, not least because the findings are so deeply unsurprising. The basic gist is that, despite the economic recovery, more kids are living in poverty (defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as an annual … Continue reading The U.S. Is Letting Poor Kids Fall Further and Further Behind in Reading (and Madison)
Kaleem Caire, via a kind email: We had a great time at our campaign kick-off event for One City Early Learning Centers at the CUNA Mutual Conference Center on March 6! More than 350 friends and champions for children joined us on a Friday night to learn about our plans to raise $1.4 million to … Continue reading An Update on One City Early Learning Centers & Reading….
Robert Pondiscio & Kevin Mahnken, via a kind reader’s email: Among opponents of the Common Core, one of the more popular targets of vitriol is the standards’ focus on improving literacy by introducing higher levels of textual complexity into the instructional mix. The move to challenge students with more knotty, grade-level reading material represents a … Continue reading Leveled reading: The making of a literacy myth
Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email: Teachers, tutors, or anyone who is responsible for teaching children to read will be interested in an excellent and free online self-study course from Reading Rockets. It was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and The … Continue reading Teacher, Tutor Online Reading Course
Motoko Rich: DC Prep operates four charter schools here with 1,200 students in preschool through eighth grade. The schools, whose students are mostly poor and black, are among the highest performing in Washington. Last year, DC Prep’s flagship middle school earned the best test scores among local charter schools, far outperforming the average of the … Continue reading Trying to Improve Status Quo Education Models; Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results
he National Center for Education Statistics has released the 2013 scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, sometimes called the “Nation’s Report Card.” While the press has rightly focused on Wisconsin’s scores for black students (lowest in the country) and the black-white gap (largest in the country), the data indicates many other areas of concern. Here are some major takeaways from the critical 4th grade reading performance:
- Wisconsin’s average score (221) in 2013 is identical to 2011, and is statistically unchanged from our first NAEP score (224) in 1992.While we have remained stagnant, many other jurisdictions have seen statistically significant increases.
- Wisconsin ranked 31st out of 52 jurisdictions that participated in NAEP this year. In 1994, we ranked 3rd.
- Since 2007, the number of jurisdictions scoring significantly lower than Wisconsin has shrunk from 21 to 11. The number scoring significantly higher has grown from 8 to 15. Wisconsin sits in the lower half of the “middle” group of 26 jurisdictions.
- Only 8% of Wisconsin students scored at the advanced level, while 32% were below basic, the lowest level.
- Compared to their peer groups nationwide, Wisconsin’s white, black, Hispanic, Asian, low income, and disabled students all scored below their respective national averages.
- Wisconsin had the lowest scores for black students in the nation.
- Wisconsin had the largest gap between white and black students in the nation.
How will Wisconsin respond?
Social and economic disadvantages affect achievement for many students, but other states do better at mitigating those realities. Wisconsin must look within the education system itself for improvement opportunities, starting with teacher preparation. Beginning in 2014, the Foundations of Reading exam will require prospective teachers to understand the science of reading that is woven through the Common Core State Standards and that is necessary for successful intervention with struggling readers. As DPI revises the regulations governing educator licensure and preparation program approval, it will be important to align them with the only comprehensive guidelines available, the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (Moats, Carreker, Davis, Meisel, Spear-Swerling, Wilson, 2010), and to encourage independent, objective program reviews for campuses. Equally important, our state and districts need to provide practicing teachers with that same knowledge of language structure and reading acquisition, and to track the impact of professional development on student performance outcomes. Programs like LETRS from Sopris Learning and the online coursework and coaching offerings from the Science of Reading Partnership deserve attention. Only then can we hope to see student outcomes begin to reflect the efforts of our dedicated educators.
The pie charts below show the breakdown of proficiency levels of Wisconsin students as a whole and broken into sub-groups. The line graphs show the trend over time in Wisconsin scores compared to Massachusetts, Florida, and Washington, D.C., where the science of reading has found a greater acceptance in education, as well as the changes in national ranking for Massachusetts, Florida, and Wisconsin.
Related: Madison’s disastrous reading results and Wisconsin adopts the MTEL-90 (Massachusetts) elementary teacher English content knowledge requirements.
When the Building Our Future plan was approved in June 2012, BOE members approved two motions to assure that specific accountability plans and progress indicators would be provided for each program receiving funding. Research & Program Evaluation staff have worked since then to create a comprehensive report to monitor progress on district priorities and strategies related to the plan. It is noted that while this plan officially indicated 17 specific strategies to address closing achievement gaps, every instructional decision in the district and at the school level is made with the intention of all students learning to potential and all learning gaps closed.
The overarching priorities section of the report has been developed this year to provide the direction for and measure of all of the energies that are going into all students reaching high levels of academic performance. This section of the report can stand alone as direction for and measures of overall district improvement efforts.
A. Synthesis of Topic: The Building Our Future Plan is a comprehensive set of strategies designed to eliminate achievement gaps while at the same time increase the achievement of all students. Attached to this report are Summary of Activities for the strategies approved by the Board of Education in each of the identified foundational areas: Instructional support, College and Career Readiness, Culturally Relevant Practices, Safe and Positive School Environments, Family Engagement, and Diverse and Qualified Workforce. Each of the summaries provides activities implemented, challenges, and future recommendations. All strategies now have outcome measures identified.
B. Recommendations: We are recommending, for budget purposes, all year two activities be moved to year three and that next year will be a combination of completion of year one activities and some recommended year two activities. These specific recommendations will come through the 2013/14 budget process. As with any implementation phase, some of the strategies needed to be modified and adapted. We continue to see this plan as the frame work by which the district will close the achievement gap.
Related: Madison’s disastrous reading results.
The bad news: A Harvard Study using data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) finds that Wisconsin ranks 38th out of 41 states in progress in reading and math between 1992 and 2011. Both low and high performing states from 1992 have outperformed us, and they tend to be states where serious reforms were made in instructional content and pedagogy. The top 10 show up on many lists of states with improved reading instruction: Maryland, Florida, Delaware, Massachusetts, Louisiana, South Carolina, New Jersey, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Virginia. Some of these states served as models for our recent Wisconsin legislation on early reading screening and a new reading exam for teacher licensure. A logical next step is to look at what they are doing for professional development for their in-service teachers of reading. Which leads to . . .
The good news: A committed group of 38 teachers and tutors will spend 12 Saturdays in 2013 being trained in LETRS (Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling). LETRS is a comprehensive professional development program created by Louisa Moats, the primary author of the foundational reading standards of the Common Core State Standards. LETRS is quite common elsewhere in the country: in some states it is the official state-funded development tool for teachers of reading, and in some cases it is required for certain teaching licenses. Despite its popularity and proven value, it has not been available in Wisconsin. The current opportunity is being sponsored by the Milwaukee Summer Reading Project, an initiative of Howard Fuller’s Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette University. UW-Milwaukee School of Continuing Education is hosting at their conference facilities in downtown Milwaukee. The training is being presented by Alicia Sparks through the Rowland Reading Foundation, which is a LETRS affiliate site. Participants include teachers from public and charter schools in Milwaukee and Wausau, as well as tutors from a variety of literacy programs for children and adults in Milwaukee and Madison. This training is at capacity, but other communities interested in sponsoring LETRS training can contact the Rowland Reading Foundation in Middleton.
Carol Jago, Past President of NCTE, and Will Fitzhugh, penniless drudge at The Concord Review,
ARE pleased (proud, humble, thrilled, inspired, excited, etc.)
Their innovative, new, exciting, transformative, breakthrough:
THE SIX/FORTY-ONE/SIX Weekly Reading Plan for American Students
The Kaiser Foundation finds that Americans 8-18 spend 53 hours
a week (A WEEK) with electronic entertainment media.
Jago and Fitzhugh propose a bold new initiative, potentially in collaboration
with CCSSO, NGA, the College Board, NASSP, the Department of Education,
and others, which will ask students to spend SIX HOURS a week reading
a novel, SIX HOURS a week reading a history book, and that will still leave
them Forty-One HOURS a Week, or nearly six hours each day, for their electronic
It could be called the 41/6/6/ Plan or the 6/6/41 Plan if either would appeal more to the media
covering this transformative and bold new and exciting innovative initiative.
Tweets and other comments on this exciting new initiative welcomed.
Children in New York City who learned to read using an experimental curriculum that emphasized nonfiction texts outperformed those at other schools that used methods that have been encouraged since the Bloomberg administration’s early days, according to a new study to be released Monday.
For three years, a pilot program tracked the reading ability of approximately 1,000 students at 20 New York City schools, following them from kindergarten through second grade. Half of the schools adopted a curriculum designed by the education theorist E. D. Hirsch Jr.’s Core Knowledge Foundation. The other 10 used a variety of methods, but most fell under the definition of “balanced literacy,” an approach that was spread citywide by former Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, beginning in 2003.
The study found that second graders who were taught to read using the Core Knowledge program scored significantly higher on reading comprehension tests than did those in the comparison schools.
It also tested children on their social studies and science knowledge, and again found that the Core Knowledge pupils came out ahead. Citywide, budget cuts and the drive to increase scores on the state reading and math exams have led many elementary and middle schools to whittle down their social studies and science instruction.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropy, and the foundation associated with Pearson, the giant textbook and school technology company, announced a partnership on Wednesday to create online reading and math courses aligned with the new academic standards that some 40 states have adopted in recent months.
The 24 new courses will use video, interactive software, games, social media and other digital materials to present math lessons for kindergarten through 10th grade and English lessons for kindergarten through 12th grade, Pearson and Gates officials said.
Widespread adoption of the new standards, known as the common core, has provoked a race among textbook publishers to revise their current classroom offerings so they align with the standards, and to produce new materials. The Gates-Pearson initiative appears to be the most ambitious such effort so far.
If educators want to shrink the number of students who drop out of high school each year, they must greatly increase the number who can read proficiently by the time they’re in fourth grade, a key non-profit children’s advocacy group says in a new report.
The findings, out today from the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation, echoes research on reading proficiency going back decades, but it’s the first to draw a direct line between reading and the nation’s long-term economic well-being.
“The bottom line is that if we don’t get dramatically more children on track as proficient readers, the United States will lose a growing and essential proportion of its human capital to poverty,” the authors say.
Ralph Smith, the foundation’s executive vice president, says recent research shows that dropouts “don’t just happen in high school” but that students give clear indications as early as elementary school that they’re on a “glide path” to dropping out. Among the clearest signs: difficulty reading and understanding basic work that becomes more detail-oriented around fourth grade.
Valerie Strauss has more.
Improving teacher effectiveness is hgh on the list of most education reformers in colorado, as it is nationally. Effective teaching in the elementary years is of vital importance to ensure not only that children master fundamental skills, but that performance gaps narrow rather than widen beyond repair. We now know that disadvantaged students can catch up academically with their more advantaged peers if they have great elementary teachers several years in a row.
It is for these reasons that the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a nonpartisan research and advocacy group dedicated to the systemic reform of the teaching profession, evaluates the adequacy of preparation provided by undergraduate education schools. These programs produce 70 percent of our nation’s teachers. We think it is crucial to focus specifically on the quality of preparation of future elementary teachers in the core subjects of reading and mathematics.
Teacher preparation programs, or “ed schools” as they are more commonly known, do not now, nor have they ever, enjoyed a particularly positive reputation. Further, there is a growing body of research demonstrating that teacher preparation does not matter all that much and that a teacher with very little training can be as effective as a teacher who has had a lot of preparation. As a result, many education reformers are proposing that the solution to achieving better teacher quality is simply to attract more talented people into teaching, given that their preparation does not really matter.
In several significant ways, we respectfully disagree. NCTQ is deeply committed to high-quality formal teacher preparation, but, importantly, we are not defenders of the status quo. We also do not believe that it is a realistic strategy to fuel a profession with three million members nationally by only attracting more elite students. Yes, we need to be much more selective about who gets into teaching, and we strenuously advocate for that goal. But even smart people can become better teachers, particularly of young children, if they are provided with purposeful and systematic preparation.
NCTQ has issued two national reports on the reading and mathematics preparation of elementary teachers in undergraduate education schools. The first, What Education Schools Aren’t Teaching about Reading and What Elementary Teachers Aren’t Learning was released in May 2006.1 The second, No Common Denominator: The Preparation of Elementary Teachers in Mathematics by America’s Education Schools, followed just over two years later.2 These reports provide the methodological foundations for this analysis of teacher preparation in every undergraduate program in Colorado.
People my age are prone to what I call geezerisms, such as: What’s the matter with kids these days? Why aren’t schools good like they used to be? Where can I get a really thick milkshake? Stuff like that.
You don’t often run into these outbreaks of cranky nostalgia in educational research, but one has surfaced recently. Several prominent scholars have suggested that teenage reading for pleasure, and verbal test scores, plummeted after 1988 because of the rise of rap and hip-hop music and an increase in television watching.
Changes in youthful cultural tastes and habits always push us senior citizens into rants about declining values, so I wondered whether the researchers — many of them in my age group — were giving into one of those recurring bromides that the new music is terrible and will turn our society into a garbage dump.
I couldn’t sustain that argument because the scholars involved (including Ronald Ferguson, David Grissmer and Abigail and Stephan Thernstrom) are brilliant people whose work always meets the highest standards of professional inquiry. I was trying to decide how to sort this out when University of California at Los Angeles sociologist Meredith Phillips, one of my favorite writers on student achievement, came to the rescue with an intriguing take in a chapter of a new book, “Steady Gains and Stalled Progress: Inequality and the Black-White Test Score Gap,” edited by Katherine Magnuson of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University and published by the Russell Sage Foundation.
Sandra Kowalczyk’s creative approach to helping students read is evident when you walk into her classroom at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie.
Kowalczyk, who has traveled to 55 countries in five continents, decorated her room with a variety of artifacts such as wood carvings and masks from Ghana, batik sarongs from Malaysia and Indonesia, mud paintings from the Ivory Coast, mola cloth from Panama, puppets from India and books from around the world.
“My philosophy is build interest, give them background,” said Kowalczyk, who was named the Wisconsin Middle/Junior High School Teacher of the Year.
As Teacher of the Year, she received $3,000 from Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., through the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation. She was recognized by state Superintendent Elizabeth Burmaster along with the other three 2008-09 Teachers of the Year during the recent State of Education speech and awards ceremony at the Capitol.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released its 2007 eighth-grade writing scores today. These scores have particular significance to Texas because we are engaged in an intense battle over the rewrite of the English / Language Arts / Reading standards.
One side, the Coalition made up of eleven organizations with ties to NCTE and other national organizations, has joined up with the bilingual organizations to impede progress toward changing the way our state teaches students how to read, write, and speak English.
By looking at the NAEP writing results below, it is obvious that Texas needs to change the status quo. Anyone can see that the way English is being taught right now is simply not working.
Those of us who want change are strongly advocating that students need to be taught explicit grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization so that they will have a strong foundation upon which to build good writing skills.
In the new ELAR standards, our side wants to have a separate strand for oral and written conventions so that these skills will be emphasized among our Texas students.
Michael Dirda: Anyone who reads is bound to wonder, at least occasionally, about how those funny squiggles on a page magically turn into “Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang” or “After a while I went out and left the hospital and walked back to the hotel in the rain.” Where did this … Continue reading The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
What makes this article from Fargo interesting is how it almost exactly mirrors the findings in my home district, Hortonville, and the recent analysis of Reading Recovery done in Madison. That being, a 50% success rate for RR students. From the article: “However, West Fargo student data over time, as presented by Director of Knowledge … Continue reading Reading Recovery: More chipping and shredding in Fargo!
Amy Hetzner: Wisconsin students continue to fare far better on the state’s standardized tests than they do on those given by the federal government, according to a new analysis that raises questions about what it means to be “proficient.” About 70% to 85% of Wisconsin students were considered proficient or better on the state’s reading … Continue reading Wisconsin Math, reading proficiency are much higher on state exams than on federal
Erika Kinetz: The foundation awards high school seniors more than $500,000 in cash prizes each year for achievement in the performing, literary and visual arts. It also nominates presidential scholars in the arts, and some colleges refer to its rosters for recruitment. Yet many people have never heard of the foundation. “That’s what I was … Continue reading Fostering Young Artists: Start Spreading the News
Joanne Jacobs: After investing $1 billion in small high schools, the Gates Foundation has learned results are “mixed,” according to a study commissioned by the foundation. The study found progress in reading and language arts, but not in math. Among the most disheartening findings of that analysis — and one the researchers said also applied … Continue reading Gates Foundation Looks at Results
Little solid evidence is available to gauge whether the federal government’s multibillion-dollar Reading First initiative is having an effect on student achievement, but many states are reporting anecdotally that they are seeing benefits for their schools. Among those benefits are extensive professional development in practices deemed to be research-based, extra instructional resources, and ongoing support … Continue reading States Report Reading First Yielding Gains, Some Schools Getting Ousted for Quitting
For a research project 1.Which belief, currently deemed true by scientific consensus, is most important for teachers & faculty at schools of ed to know? 2.Which belief, currently deemed false by scientific consensus, is nevertheless often believed by Ts & faculty at schls of ed? — Daniel Willingham (@DTWillingham) December 15, 2020 2010: When A … Continue reading Education Schools & Dogma
Amber Walker: “Candidates graduating from new (teacher preparation) programs will be able to teach in all of the areas…(Teachers) that weren’t prepared in that manner retain the same ability to teach only in the narrow area, such as biology,” McCarthy said in an email to the Cap Times. “We will continue to support pathways for … Continue reading Commentary on Proposed Changes to Wisconsin Teacher Licensing Requirements
Wisconsin department of public instruction, via a kind reader: Through its work with stakeholder groups, the Department has identified administrative rule changes that help school districts address teacher shortages, beginning with CHR 16-086 which became effective on June 1, 2017. Additional changes to PI 34 are being advanced by the Department which build upon the … Continue reading DPI Plans To Reduce Wisconsin’s Teacher Content Knowledge Requirements
Gloria Reyes: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 1, 2020 Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes Will Not Seek Re-election Statement by Gloria Reyes I am announcing today that I will not seek re-election to the Madison School Board. This has been a difficult decision. I’ve made it after much consideration, consultation with my family, and as … Continue reading Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes Will Not Seek Re-election
Greg Piper: City has turned a blind eye to all other political ‘defacement’ for months In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody in May, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel commissioned a two-block-long street mural reading BLACK LIVES MATTER just north of the White House. She allowed Black Lives Matter activists to paint … Continue reading Students for Life sues D.C. for ban on ‘Black preborn lives matter’ mural after allowing anti-police mural
Scott Girard: Immediately, the operating referendum approval means district officials can implement the “passing referendum budget,” which includes $6 million in extra funds. That will go toward initiatives including early literacy, Black Excellence and a slight base wage increase for staff. The School Board passed two versions of the 2020-21 budget Oct. 30, one for … Continue reading Voters approve Madison’s Substantial K-12 Tax & SPending Increase Referendums
Hi, I’m cap tines K-12 education reporter Scott Gerard. Today. Our cap times IDFs panel will discuss how will COVID-19 change K-12 education. I’m lucky to have three wonderful panelists with me to help answer that question. Marilee McKenzie is a teacher at Middleton’s Clark street community school, where she has worked since the school was in its planning stages.
She’s in her [00:03:00] 11th year of teaching. Dr. Gloria Ladson billings is a nationally recognized education expert who was a U w Madison faculty member for more than 26 years, including as a professor in the departments of curriculum and instruction, educational policy studies and educational leadership and policy analysis.
She is also the current president of the national Academy of education. Finally dr. Carlton Jenkins is the new superintendent of the Madison metropolitan school district. He started the districts top job in August, coming from the Robbinsdale school district in Minnesota, where he worked for the past five years, Jenkins began his career in the Madison area.
Having worked in Beloit and at Memorial high school in early 1990s before moving to various districts around the country. Thank you all so much for being here. Mary Lee, I’m going to start with you. You’ve been working with students directly throughout this pandemic. How has it gone? Both in the spring when changes were very sudden, and then this fall with a summer to reflect and [00:04:00] plan, it’s been interesting for sure.
Um, overall, I would say the it’s been hard. There has been nothing about this have been like, ah, It’s really, it makes my life easy. It’s been really challenging. And at the same time, the amount of growth and learning that we’ve been able to do as staff has been incredible. And I think about how teachers have moved from face-to-face to online to then planning for.
Scott Girard: While schedules vary from school to school, some are publicly available online and show a more traditional school day — in front of a screen instead of in a classroom. At Elvehjem Elementary School, for example, second graders will have a morning meeting from 8:30-9 a.m., a “foundational skills” lesson from 9-9:30 a.m. … Continue reading ‘We have an important first day coming up’: MMSD set to begin year with virtual learning
Joanne Jacobs: Thirty years ago, Milwaukee launched a private-school voucher program for low-income students. In 1998, when religious schools were allowed to participate, enrollment expanded. Overall, test scores for voucher students resemble their public school counterparts. But there’s a critical difference: Voucher students are more likely to complete high school, enroll in college and earn a … Continue reading Choosing a good-citizen school (Milwaukee)
Taxpayers have long supported the Madison School District’s far above average spending, while tolerating our long term, disastrous reading results. The district has placed substantial tax and spending increase referendums on the November, 2020 Presidential ballot. A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while … Continue reading Fall 2020 Madison School District Referenda Notes & Links
Charles Lipson: In the early 1950s, at the nadir of McCarthyism, the Cincinnati Reds baseball team was so fearful of anti-communist crusaders that it actually changed the team’s name. Overnight, they reverted to their original name, the Cincinnati Red Stockings, and then for several years became the Redlegs. The anti-communism was justified; the mob mentality … Continue reading Three Ideas to End the Rot on College Campuses
Henry Dyer: In 2004, before he reached the age of 20, Andrey Alimetov created what has become one of the most viewed websites of the coronavirus pandemic, Worldometer. The site has shot into the top 100 Alexa rankings. Coronavirus data collated by Worldometer has gone on to be cited by the Government, politicians, media outlets, … Continue reading The story of Worldometer, the quick project that became one of the most popular sites on the internet
Public Counsel: A historic agreement was reached today between the plaintiffs and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in the Gary B. v. Whitmer literacy suit. The agreement will preserve a groundbreaking opinion by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals which held that a basic minimum education, including literacy, is a Constitutional right, and includes an immediate … Continue reading History is Made: Groundbreaking Settlement in Detroit Literacy Lawsuit
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.
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALSFOR THE SIXTH CIRCUIT, via a kind reader: “The recognition of a fundamental right is no small matter. This is particularly true when the right in question is something that the state must affirmatively provide. But just as this Court should not supplant the state’s policy judgments with its own, neither … Continue reading Detroit Literacy Lawsuit
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
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
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)
R. Shep Melnick: The central, unstated assumption of Hannah-Jones and other defenders of court-ordered busing is that the meaning of the crucial term “desegregation” remained constant from Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 to busing in Boston two decades later. To oppose busing in Detroit, Dayton, or Delaware (as Biden did), so the story … Continue reading Desegregation, Then and Now
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
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
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor announced her decision today not to run in the 2021 election for state superintendent of public instruction. Gov. Tony Evers appointed Stanford Taylor to the office in January 2019, and her term ends July 2021. “I am honored to have been appointed by Governor … Continue reading A competitive Wisconsin DPI superintendent election in 2021?
DJ Buck: Among high school students, I’ve seen puzzled looks in response to the mention of Adolf Hitler, segregation, Thomas Jefferson, the Cold War, Aristotle and the Bill of Rights—among other things. This shocking lack of knowledge has a noxious effect on student thought. Take a question I gave during a video assignment: to which … Continue reading Critical Thinking is Nothing Without Knowledge
Daniel Willingham: American students remain stumped by math. The 2019 scores for the National Assessment of Educational Progress test — known as NAEP — were published last month, showing that performance for fourth- and eighth-graders hasn’t budged since 2009. That’s a year after the National Mathematics Advisory Panel, convened by President George W. Bush, concluded that … Continue reading Math scares your child’s elementary school teacher — and that should frighten you
Matthew Ladner: Americans thus seem to see their public education system as falling short in a variety of ways and aren’t especially optimistic about future improvement. Republicans exhibited the greatest amount of optimism, with 24 percent forecasting that the American public school system would be a “model of excellence around the world” in 20 years. … Continue reading Should we feel optimistic or pessimistic about American K-12 education’s future?
Molly Beck: Less than half of Wisconsin students again this year are considered to be proficient in reading and math — a trend Assembly Speaker Robin Vos on Thursday called “disturbing.” The percentage of students in public and private voucher schools scoring well in reading and math on state tests dropped slightly during the 2018-19 … Continue reading Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos questions how K-12 funding was spent given test score decline
Judith Siers-Poisson: An education expert explains why he thinks that teachers leaving the profession is at the heart of the current teacher shortages. And he offers advice on how to retain experienced educators, while making it a more attractive career to young people. Tim Slekar notes and links. Additional Wisconsin Public Radio appearances: February, 2019. … Continue reading Commentary on Teacher Supply
: More than 2,500 teachers in Wisconsin worked in schools using emergency licenses during the 2017-18 school year, according to DPI data. In the Madison Metropolitan School District, 109 teachers were on emergency licenses during the 2016-17 school year after 67 the preceding school year. Teachers who work with some of the state’s most vulnerable … Continue reading Commentary on Education Schools and Teacher Supply/Demand
Dana Ansel: Last year, the Massachusetts Legislature decided that the time had come to understand the state of education that gifted students receive in Massachusetts. They issued a mandate for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to review the policy and practices of education in public schools for gifted students as well as for … Continue reading Gifted Education in Massachusetts: A Practice and Policy Review
Mark Seidenberg Wisconsin legislators are considering an important issue: how to help dyslexic children who struggle to read. You might think that helping poor readers is something everyone could get behind, but no. Dyslexia was identified in the 1920s and has been studied all over the world. It affects about 15% of all children, runs … Continue reading In Wisconsin Even Dyslexia Is Political
mp3 audio – Machine Transcript follows [Better transcript, via a kind reader PDF]: I’m Carousel Baird and we have a fabulous and exciting show lined up today. Such a fabulous guy sitting right across from me right here in the studio. Is Madison metropolitan school district current superintendent? She still here in charge of all … Continue reading Departing Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham WORT FM Interview
Citizen Stewart: Ravitch, by contrast, has fallen irreparably into polemics so much that her daily blogs put her in league with Alex Jones’ made-for-YouTube Info Wars. Along those lines, her blog-fart today ties “the charter industry” to the “infamous pedophile and “super-rich” Jeffrey Epstein. “In 2013, his foundation issued a press release announcing that he … Continue reading It’s time to admit Diane Ravitch’s troubled crusade derails honest debate about public education
Molly Worthen: A small band of students will travel to Sitka, Alaska, this month to help reinvent higher education. They won’t be taking online courses, or abandoning the humanities in favor of classes in business or STEM, or paying high tuition to fund the salaries of more Assistant Vice Provosts for Student Life. They represent … Continue reading The Anti-College Is on the Rise
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?
Karen Vaites: “Thank you so much to EWA, congratulations to my fellow finalists, and there’s so much great reporting, education reporting going on right now–I’ve been coming to this conference and I’ve been a part of this community for a long time, and I’m just so grateful to be in the profession that all of … Continue reading Emily Hanford and APM Reports won a national education reporting award
Libby Sobic and Will Flanders: This change in accreditation also makes it more difficult for existing private schools to join the parental choice program because it is one more regulation that the school must comply with. The plan is even more ridiculous when one considers that Wisconsin’s public schools aren’t required to go through any … Continue reading Wisconsin Governor Evers’ Backdoor Plan to Stop School Choice