Madison Superintendent Search Commentary; Groundhog Day, in some ways

Negassi Tesfamichael: “I think the most important quality we are looking for in an interim superintendent is stability,” School Board member Cris Carusi said. “I don’t think it really matters as much if it’s an internal or external candidate … we’re going to want someone who can provide stability.” Carusi noted that she hopes the … Continue reading Madison Superintendent Search Commentary; Groundhog Day, in some ways

Administration Memo on the Madison Superintendent Search

Dylan Pauly, Legal Services:

Dr. Nerad recently announced his retirement effective June 30, 2013. Consequently, over the next few months this Board will be required to begin its search for the next District leader. While some members of the Board were Board members during the search that brought Dr. Nerad to Madison, many were not. A number of members have asked me to provide some background information so that they may familiarize themselves with the process that was used in 2007. Consequently, I have gathered the following documents for your review:
1. Request for Proposals: Consultation Services for Superintendent Search, Proposal 3113, dated March 19, 2007;
2. Minutes from Board meetings on February 26,2007, and March 12,2007, reflecting Board input and feedback regarding draft versions ofthe RFP;
3. Contract with Hazard, Young and Attea;
4. A copy of the Notice of Vacancy that was published in Education Week;
5. Minutes from a Board meeting on August 27, 2007, which contains the general timeline used to complete the search process; and,
6. Superintendent Search- Leadership Profile Development Session Schedule, which reflects how community engagement was handled during the previous search.
It is also my understanding that the Board may wish to create an ad hoc committee to handle various procedural tasks related to the search process. In line with Board Policy 1041, I believe it is appropriate to take official action in open session to create the new ad hoc. I recommend the following motion:

Dave Zweiful shares his thoughts on Dan Nerad’s retirement.
Related: Notes and links on Madison Superintendent hires since 1992.

Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater’s recent public announcement that he plans to retire in 2008 presents an opportunity to look back at previous searches as well as the K-12 climate during those events. Fortunately, thanks to Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, we can quickly lookup information from the recent past.

The Madison School District’s two most recent Superintendent hires were Cheryl Wilhoyte [Clusty] and Art Rainwater [Clusty]. Art came to Madison from Kansas City, a district which, under court order, dramatically increased spending by “throwing money at their schools”, according to Paul Ciotti:

2008 Madison Superintendent candidate public appearances:

The Madison Superintendent position’s success is subject to a number of factors, including: the 182 page Madison Teachers, Inc. contract, which may become the District’s handbook (Seniority notes and links)…, state and federal laws, hiring practices, teacher content knowledge, the School Board, lobbying and community economic conditions (tax increase environment) among others.

Superintendent Nerad’s reign has certainly been far more open about critical issues such as reading, math and open enrollment than his predecessor (some board members have certainly been active with respect to improvement and accountability). The strings program has also not been under an annual assault, lately. That said, changing anything in a large organization, not to mention a school district spending nearly $15,000 per student is difficult, as Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman pointed out in 2009.

Would things improve if a new Superintendent enters the scene? Well, in this case, it is useful to take a look at the District’s recent history. In my view, diffused governance in the form of more independent charter schools and perhaps a series of smaller Districts, possibly organized around the high schools might make a difference. I also think the District must focus on just a few things, namely reading/writing, math and science. Change is coming to our agrarian era school model (or, perhaps the Frederick Taylor manufacturing model is more appropriate). Ideally, Madison, given its unparalleled tax and intellectual base should lead the way.

Perhaps we might even see the local Teachers union authorize charters as they are doing in Minneapolis.

Yin & Yang: Madison Superintendent Search 1999 vs 2008

Props to the Madison School Board for a process that has resulted in five interesting candidates. We’ll see how it plays out. Susan Troller on the current process:

The pool of five candidates for Madison’s top school district job includes two superintendents and high-level administrators from some of the largest and oldest school districts in America.
The candidates — four men and one woman — all have experience working in urban school districts. All have doctoral degrees, two are minorities, and three come from out of state. The out-of-staters have administrative experience in the Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts, the Miami/Dade school system in Florida and a combined district that includes schools in Columbus, Ohio.
The two candidates from Wisconsin include Green Bay’s current superintendent and the chief academic officer of the Racine Unified School District.
The semifinalists, chosen by the Hazard, Young and Attea national executive search firm, come from an original pool of 25 candidates from 11 states.
The districts where the candidates are currently working range in size from Green Bay and Racine, which have about 20,000 students, to districts like Miami/Dade, which has about 350,000 students.

Chris Murphy, writing in January, 1999:

The way is almost clear for Art Rainwater to be the nextsuperintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District.
Rainwater was the only applicant for the permanent post at the head of theMadison schools as of 11 a.m. today. The application deadline is 4:15 p.m.today.The School Board will meet tonight to discuss the applicants, but membershave said they will make no hiring decisions because one of their number,JoAnn Elder, is out of town. The board planned to interview the superintendentcandidates on Feb. 1 and possibly make a decision that night.
“Of course, one could make the case that we’ve been interviewing Art forthe past five years, but another few questions probably won’t bother him atall,” said School Board member Deborah Lawson. She is one of three boardmembers who have been pushing to hire Rainwater since this summer withoutconducting a nationwide search.
The board reached a compromise last month in which only employees would beeligible to apply for the job. About a dozen district employees have thecertification to be a superintendent.

More Notes on the Madison Superintendent Search

Rebecca Kremble: [Additional Links & Background here] Last week, the consultants hired to organize the superintendent search conducted 31 hour-long individual and focus group sessions to gather information from concerned citizens and stakeholders about the strengths and challenges of the Madison School District, as well as characteristics we would like to see in the next … Continue reading More Notes on the Madison Superintendent Search

Madison co-chief of schools named finalist in Verona superintendent search

Elizabeth Beyer: Madison School District’s Co-Chief of Schools for elementary education, Dr. Tremayne Clardy, was named a finalist in the Verona Area School District superintendent search Monday. Clardy is one of four candidates that will participate in the next step in the interview process to become the new superintendent, according to a release by the … Continue reading Madison co-chief of schools named finalist in Verona superintendent search

MTI says Madison School District should reopen search, look locally for new superintendent

Scott Girard: MTI says going through an entire school year with another interim is unacceptable, though they understand that will be required for a period of time “and want clarity around who will fill that position immediately.” “However, there are too many critical issues facing our schools, staff, students, and community for us to have … Continue reading MTI says Madison School District should reopen search, look locally for new superintendent

Commentary on the Madison School Board’s Superintendent Search Finalists

Scott Girard: The finalists are: •Matthew Gutierrez, the superintendent of the Seguin Independent School District in Seguin, Texas. He is a former interim and deputy superintendent in the Little Elm Independent School District and received his Ph.D. in educational leadership from Texas Tech, according to the district’s announcement. •Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, an assistant professor of … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School Board’s Superintendent Search Finalists

Commentary on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Search

Scott Girard: School Board members adopted a “leadership profile” based on that feedback earlier this month. BWP reported the input indicated the community wants a visionary team-builder with experience with diverse populations and an understanding of the district’s commitment to high levels of academic achievement for all students. An educator’s background, student-centered, dedicated, sincere and honest person … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Search

Commentary on the Madison School District 2020 Superintendent Search

Scott Girard: The full report was not made available to the public Monday night, but was expected to be posted Tuesday afternoon. Board members voted to accept a leadership profile that will be used to help develop interview questions and screen candidates with a 6 to 1 vote, with Nicki Vander Meulen voting against, having … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District 2020 Superintendent Search

“36 people” on madison’s 2020 superinteNdent search

Logan Wroge: “The challenges of the district are actually not completely known because of a lack of transparency in how the district is doing with respect to several critical and urgent matters,” Chan Stroman, a West Side resident and education advocate said, adding she wants to see honesty and competence in the next leader of … Continue reading “36 people” on madison’s 2020 superinteNdent search

Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School Board’s GoVernance Plans: Replacement member and SuperintendenT search

Negassi Tesfamichael: “Given that Mary will not be attending any future meetings, I do feel a sense of urgency in getting this filled,” Reyes said. “I don’t want to move forward through some of the important discussions and decisions we’ll have to make … so i think it is going to be imperative that we … Continue reading Commentary on The taxpayer supported Madison School Board’s GoVernance Plans: Replacement member and SuperintendenT search

Madison School Board eyes hiring consultant in superintendent search

Logan Wroge: In 2012, the School Board hired consultant Ray and Associates, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for $31,000 to assist in the search process to replace former Superintendent Dan Nerad. But questions around a finalist’s background left some board members at the time saying they were not fully aware of controversial issues. That finalist withdrew … Continue reading Madison School Board eyes hiring consultant in superintendent search

Commentary on the proposed search for a new Madison School District Superintendent

Logan wroge: Cheatham said she would prefer to know who will replace her by July 1 so that the person can attend a summer retreat with senior staff members planned for July and be around to prepare in August for the 2019-20 school year. Cheatham, whose last day will be Aug. 30, has accepted a … Continue reading Commentary on the proposed search for a new Madison School District Superintendent

Madison superintendent consultant defends search process

Matthew DeFour:

The consultant the Madison School Board hired to conduct its recent superintendent search defended its work in a statement Thursday, saying that the district hired “a top-notch leader” and that the company provided the board with detailed background information about all candidates.
The statement from Gary Ray, president of Ray and Associates of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which the board hired for $31,000, comes more than a month after the district hired Jennifer Cheatham, a Chicago Public Schools administrator who will start April 1.
It says the company provided the board “with all of the Internet information” regarding Springfield, Ill., superintendent Walter Milton Jr. before he was named with Cheatham as a finalist for the job on Feb. 3 and said reports to the contrary are “totally erroneous.”
Ray also issued a statement on Madison School Board letterhead dated Feb. 11 stating, “Ray and Associates did make the board aware of earlier allegations about Dr. Milton as well as Dr. Milton’s assurances that the claims were unfounded.”

Madison School Board releases files on search for new superintendent

Matthew DeFour:

The newspaper sought the names of all candidates interviewed by the School Board and background material provided. The district disclosed those names along with background materials for the two finalists it named publicly, Milton and Cheatham.
The other finalists were:
Joe Gothard, Madison’s assistant superintendent for secondary education.
Barbara Thompson, a former Madison principal and New Glarus superintendent who is currently superintendent in Montgomery, Ala.
Tony Apostle, a retired superintendent from the Puyallup School District near Tacoma, Wash.
Curtis Cain, administrator of the Shawnee Mission School District near Kansas City, Mo.
Sandra Smyser, superintendent of Eagle County Schools in Eagle, Colo.
Cheatham and Milton were the only finalists the board named on Feb. 3. They were scheduled to appear together at a community forum on Feb. 7, but Milton abruptly dropped out two days before the event amid questions about his background.

The search for a new Madison schools superintendent: Can anyone meet our expectations?

Nayantara Mukherji:

Everyone in Madison seems to have an opinion about who the next superintendent of the school district should be.
Suzanne Swift, president of the Franklin Randall Elementary School PTO, wants a superintendent who can motivate a “demoralized staff,” develop relationships and advocate for the district at the state and national levels.
Education policy expert Sarah Archibald says a future superintendent should be willing to make tough decisions about allocating shrinking resources.
Eugenia Highland, program coordinator at Centro Hispano, wants someone who will focus on reducing the achievement gap.
School board member Ed Hughes says the district needs a leader who can “navigate the political shoals of serving in a place like Madison.”
Outgoing Superintendent Dan Nerad, who began his Madison tenure in 2008, insists his replacement must care about students and the community.

Notes and links on Madison Superintendent hires.

Madison’s Superintendent Search Service Contenders

Proact Services: [1MB PDF Presentation]

Gary Solomon, Chief Executive Officer
Gary Solomon was elevated to CEO of PROACT Search in 2009. Previously, Mr. Solomon had founded Synesi Associates and worked in Education for the past twenty years, starting as a high school teacher and administrator in the Chicago suburbs. Gary transitioned from the public to the private sector taking on a position as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for The Princeton Review, and was responsible for rebuilding the sales organization into a senior consultative team focused on creating custom solutions in the areas of assessment, professional development and academic intervention. During his six years with The Princeton Review, where annual revenue goals were exceeded by and average 150%, Solomon was fortunate to do significant business in many of the top 50 urban districts in the country, and work with some of the best and brightest reformers in the K12 space. 

A graduate of the University of Illinois, Solomon holds a Masters in Education Arts from Northeastern University.

Thomas Vranas
, President
Thomas brings an extensive background in educational management in the private sector, as well as numerous start-ups across various industries. He recently served as Vice President at one of the largest publicly traded test preparation companies where he was directly responsible for their sales teams as well as online learning division. Previously Thomas built an urban tutoring program in Chicago to service over 8,000 students with recognition for a quality program from the local and national government. Thomas has also started-up a Wireless Internet company, a Sales and Marketing company as well as a boutique Venture Capital firm. Thomas has been published by the Northwestern Press for his work in political economics and is and active volunteer at many organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Northwestern University and Steppenwolf Theatre. He’s been a guest lecturer at Northwestern University, where he earned his B.A. in Economics and Slavic Languages.

Phil Hansen
, Chief Operations Officer
Phil Hansen is a seasoned educator with an impeccable record rooted in Accountability. For fifteen years Phil taught history, before moving on to five years as assistant principal for the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), and then Director of Special Education in the southern suburbs of Chicago. In 1991 Phil took on the role of Principal at Clissold Elementary, a Chicago Public school. In 1995 he became the CPS Director of School Intervention, before moving on in 1997 to take on the position of Chief Accountability Officer, where he served until 2002. At this time Phil was offered a position working as an assistant to the Illinois State Superintendent where he was the liaison between CPS and the Illinois State Board of Education specifically focused on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) implementation throughout the state.
Upon his retirement Phil joined The Princeton Review and managed a turnaround project in Philadelphia, transitioning four middle schools to new small high schools. He also separately did consulting work for the School District of Philadelphia, the St Louis Schools Office of Accountability, and the Recovery School District of New Orleans. In the Recovery School District he served as the Interim Chief Academic Officer during the transition of leadership. Upon joining Synesi Associates, as Vice President of Policy and Development he has worked with the State Board of Louisiana and the East Baton Rouge Parish School District. His primary work has been in completing school and district quality reviews followed up by long term support as an external partner. Through Synesi he also continues to work in New Orleans, assisting with the High School Redesign efforts
As an active member of his community, Phil has also served as President and Secretary of the Beverly Area Planning Association, and has received rewards for service from both the local community as well as the greater city of Chicago. Most recently Phil was honored as an outstanding City of Chicago Employee and Outstanding Educator from the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Stephen Kupfer
, Regional President
Steve Kupfer serves as Northeast Regional President for PROACT Search and is responsible for executing talent management and support strategies in K-12 education institutions and organizations. He was previously a Senior Consultant in the education practice at Public Consulting Group where he worked alongside district leadership to implement web-based special education and response to intervention (RtI) case management modules in some of the largest school districts in the country, including Miami Dade County Public Schools, The School District of Philadelphia, and the Louisiana Recovery School District.
Steve brings practical, district-level experience in organizational development to challenges in K-12 human capital management and support. In his most recent role, he leveraged local leadership to build operational and financial capacity through Medicaid reimbursement programs, mitigating budget shortfalls and sustaining critical student services. Steve has also developed and implemented comprehensive strategies to engage and communicate with key internal and external stakeholders across districts, and has front line experience with the urgency and complexity of the problems school leaders face today.
Steve is a proud product of the K-12 public school system. He went on to receive a B.A. in political economy from Skidmore College, where he played baseball and was a member of various chamber music groups. He continued on to receive an M.B.A. from Clark University.
Kristin Osborn, Director of Operations
Krissi Osborn runs all Operations and Recruitment for PROACT Search. In her role with the company, she has additionally established an award winning internship program exclusively with Northwestern University. Krissi is an active member in her Chicago community, volunteering as an ESL Tutor in Albany Park, as well as on the executive board for a community outreach group. Krissi graduated from Northwestern with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and History from the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Ray and Associates: [2.6MB PDF Presentation]

Gary L. Ray, President
Christine Kingery, Vice-President
William Newman, National Executive Director
Ryan Ray, Corporate Director
Heidi Cordes, Corporate Associate
HeidiAnn Long, Executive Search Assistant
Carrie Gray, Executive Search Assistant

Notes, links, audio and video from the 2008 Madison Superintendent Search: Steve Gallon, James McIntyre and Dan Nerad.
Notes and links on Madison Superintendent hires since 1992.
TJ Mertz comments.

Madison School Board plans to hire consultant to help in search for superintendent

Matthew DeFour:

The Madison School Board is moving quickly to conduct a search for a new superintendent to replace Dan Nerad.
The board plans to vote Monday on hiring a consultant for up to $3,000 to assist with the search process.
A board committee Friday recommended hiring George McShan, a former president of the National School Boards Association from Harlingen, Texas. McShan advised the board in 2007-08 when it hired Nerad.
The committee also recommended hiring a search firm by the end of July to help find the best candidate.
Separately, the board is considering candidates to hire on an interim basis should Nerad leave sooner than expected and the search for a permanent replacement is still ongoing.

A bit of history and perspective on recent Madison Superintendent hires.

Madison’s Superintendent Search: Public Input

The public has an opportunitiy to provide input regarding qualities sought for the new Superintendent: 9/19/2007; 7:00p.m. at Memorial High School (Auditorium) [Map] 9/20/2007; 7:00p.m. La Follette High School (Auditorium) [Map] I passed along a few general thoughts earlier today: Candor An organization’s forthrightness and philosophy is set from the top. I cited examples including: … Continue reading Madison’s Superintendent Search: Public Input

Madison School Board selects a firm for superintendent search

For immediate release: Friday, June 8, 2007 (sent late Friday afternoon) The Madison Board of Education has selected the firm of Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates of Glenview, ILto conduct the search for the hiring of a new superintendent. HYA was selected from among four businesses which applied for the search contract. Board President Arlene … Continue reading Madison School Board selects a firm for superintendent search

“In the last school year Madison police were called 640 times to Madison’s four high schools”

Dave Cieslewicz: That’s an average of about 3.5 times a day or almost once per day to each school. According to a story in this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal the breakdown is 220 calls to East, 158 to La Follette, 170 to Memorial and 92 to West. In addition to the raw numbers there were … Continue reading “In the last school year Madison police were called 640 times to Madison’s four high schools”

Notes on Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 spending plans amidst declining enrollment

Scott Girard: While there is a large influx of federal COVID-19 relief funding, officials have expressed hesitancy at using that one-time money for ongoing operational costs like salaries. “You’re going to hear no argument from us that our teachers and our staff deserve better,” LeMonds said at one of MTI’s rallies in May. “The fiscal … Continue reading Notes on Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 spending plans amidst declining enrollment

“The fact that she was disconnected from that research is evidence of the problem.” Madison….

Dana Goldstein: How Professor Calkins ended up influencing tens of millions of children is, in one sense, the story of education in America. Unlike many developed countries, the United States lacks a national curriculum or teacher-training standards. Local policies change constantly, as governors, school boards, mayors and superintendents flow in and out of jobs. Amid … Continue reading “The fact that she was disconnected from that research is evidence of the problem.” Madison….

Restoring pandemic losses will require major changes in schools and classrooms, superintendents say

Paul Hill & Kate Destler: The solutions will require new modes of spending, performance measurement, and school oversight, as well as much greater flexibility in teacher hiring, training, and work. Superintendents and school-board leaders can’t make these changes all by themselves. They’ll need serious help and new thinking from governors, state legislators, the federal government, … Continue reading Restoring pandemic losses will require major changes in schools and classrooms, superintendents say

Notes on Madison area K – 12 taxpayer supported school attendance

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

Milwaukee, Madison School Districts Refuse to Follow the Science

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

Parents vs taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school district administration

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

Commentary from the Wisconsin DPI Superintendent

Jonah Beleckis: They’re going to have to get away from the notion that we’re using this money to reward schools that were open for in-person instruction. Maybe we can use that $77 million for after-school programming, for tutoring, for learning loss. That’s what we need to do. Notes and links on Jill Underly. The data clearly … Continue reading Commentary from the Wisconsin DPI Superintendent

Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Rhetoric, amidst long term, disastrous reading results

Rory Linnane: Though the position is technically nonpartisan, Underly’s campaign was heavily funded by the Democratic Party in a race that saw unprecedented spending. Her campaign spent seven times that of her opponent, former Brown Deer Schools Superintendent Deborah Kerr. The only action Underly announced Thursday was the creation of a literacy task force to … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Rhetoric, amidst long term, disastrous reading results

Political Posturing, interests and “adult employment” on taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health ordering schools closed

Wisconsin Supreme Court: For the respondent, there was a brief filed by Remzy D. Bitar, Sadie R. Zurfluh, and Municipal and Litigation Group ̧ Waukesha. There was an oral argument by Remzy D. Bitar. For the petitioners Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, et al., there was a reply brief filed by Richard M. … Continue reading Political Posturing, interests and “adult employment” on taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health ordering schools closed

Muldrow’s policies continue to drive (Madison) schools’ decline

Peter Anderson: The Capital Times editorializes, “Madison has a great public schools system” and Board President “Ali Muldrow, is a dynamic leader “who will move Madison schools in the right direction” — sentiments reminiscent of the acclaim it offered former Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, whose policies Muldrow seems poised to continue. But is it really great? … Continue reading Muldrow’s policies continue to drive (Madison) schools’ decline

An early look at the 2022 budgets of Wisconsin’s two largest school districts; +$70M for Madison!….

Wisconsin Policy Forum: Since 2013, the Wisconsin Policy Forum has produced an annual report on the superintendent’s proposed Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) budget that analyzes and describes the key elements and provides an independent assessment for school board members as they deliberate its contents. Last year, for the first time, we produced a similar budget … Continue reading An early look at the 2022 budgets of Wisconsin’s two largest school districts; +$70M for Madison!….

Potential lawsuit over Madison West High Racial Segregation Policies

WILL: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) issued a letter, Monday, to Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Superintendent, Dr. Carlton Jenkins, urging the school district to address the racial segregation employed at Madison West High School for Zoom conversations on current events. This is the second occasion in the last year where WILL has warned … Continue reading Potential lawsuit over Madison West High Racial Segregation Policies

An Interview with Outgoing Madison School Board Member (and President) Gloria Reyes

David Dahmer: As president, Reyes has been the face and often the spokesperson of the Madison School Board during some very trying and challenging times including the COVID-19 pandemic and the canceling of in-person classes, the hiring of new MMSD superintendent twice (Dr. Matthew Gutierrez rescinded his acceptance of the job before MMSD started over … Continue reading An Interview with Outgoing Madison School Board Member (and President) Gloria Reyes

Madison Receives More Redistributed Federal Taxpayer Funds; $70,659,827 (!)

Molly Beck: The $797 million allocated for Milwaukee amounts to $11,242 per student — the second-highest distribution of COVID-19 relief funding. On the lowest end, the McFarland School District in suburban Madison will receive $107 per student, according to an analysis released by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Republicans who control the state’s budget-writing committee … Continue reading Madison Receives More Redistributed Federal Taxpayer Funds; $70,659,827 (!)

Commentary on the 2021 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Superintendent election

Scott Girard: [I have received 3 text messages and a door knock from a paid lit drop person, for one of the candidates. Guess?] 13-1 Special interest $pending for Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Candidate Jill Underly, running against Deborah Kerr. In that same forum, Kerr outlined a plan to decentralize the Department of Public Instruction by … Continue reading Commentary on the 2021 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Superintendent election

Wisconsin Superintendent candidate Jill Underly accused of ‘hypocrisy’ for sending her children to private school

Daniel Bice: No one has been a bigger promoter of public schools during the race for state school superintendent than Jill Underly.  That was, no doubt, a large part of the reason that Underly, the Pecatonica school superintendent, has won the endorsement of state and local teachers unions. But back when it was her decision to … Continue reading Wisconsin Superintendent candidate Jill Underly accused of ‘hypocrisy’ for sending her children to private school

Candidates for Wisconsin state school superintendent clash on leadership, vouchers

WISN: “I am pro-kid. I do not support taking away a parent’s right to choose where their kid goes to school,” Kerr said. “The state superintendent cannot change these laws. So look at the Legislature. Does anyone really think the current legislature is going to massively roll back these policies? No. But I’m going to … Continue reading Candidates for Wisconsin state school superintendent clash on leadership, vouchers

Madison’s Taxpayer Funded K-12 Governence Commentary; 2021 Edition

Scott Girard: Superintendent Carlton Jenkins shared the data from the family survey that went out Feb. 17 with the School Board this week. He said about 65% of families — or about 7,790 families — with a student in those grades, which will be among the first to return in a phased reopening process, had … Continue reading Madison’s Taxpayer Funded K-12 Governence Commentary; 2021 Edition

Inside Education Column: Madison’s Literacy Task Force: Reading Renaissance or Recycling?

Armand A. Fusco, Ed.D. (Retired school superintendent, college administrator, columnist, author and consultant): Before looking at the Madison disastrous reading problem, some reading background will be helpful to put it into an historical perspective to fully understand the problems and issues involved that are also national in scope. What’s important to note is that it’s … Continue reading Inside Education Column: Madison’s Literacy Task Force: Reading Renaissance or Recycling?

Two Madison Parents: Why reopen MMSD schools now, and at what cost?

Sarah & Ben Jedd: On March 15, when the Madison Metropolitan School District shuttered buildings and sent students home, Dane County had eight cases of COVID-19. On Dec. 17, when MMSD superintendent Carlton Jenkins hosted a forum via Zoom to discuss reopening our schools, the county had over 3,000 positive cases this month alone. Nevertheless, … Continue reading Two Madison Parents: Why reopen MMSD schools now, and at what cost?

State superintendent agrees students are being “robbed” of their education; lawmakers can help by providing every student $3,000 in direct assistance

Liv Finne: As reported in The Seattle Times, State Superintendent Reykdal said Washington’s children are receiving a “sh-tty” education right now. This highest education official in Washington state is openly acknowledging that kids are feeling “robbed” of the education we have promised them. The legislature needs to step in and help families with direct educational assistance. … Continue reading State superintendent agrees students are being “robbed” of their education; lawmakers can help by providing every student $3,000 in direct assistance

Commentary on Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: “Madison’s status quo tends to be very entrenched.”

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.”

Madison Schools Announce Plans to Embrace the Science of Reading

Joseph Da Costa: Madison school officials plan significant changes in reading and literacy instruction. District administrators presented the proposed changes to school board members at a recent Board of Education meeting and signaled a shift toward phonics and the science of reading. MMSD’s Chief of Elementary Schools, Carletta Stanford, acknowledged, “We know that what we’ve … Continue reading Madison Schools Announce Plans to Embrace the Science of Reading

Madison School Board President Gloria Reyes Will Not Seek Re-election

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

Madison K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: Operating referendum gains support over 2016, capital referendum down from 2015

Scott Girard: With wide margins of success on recent ballot measures, the Madison Metropolitan School District’s $350 million questions were almost certain to pass ahead of Tuesday’s ballot count. Four years ago, the district’s operating question won by a 74.2% to 25.8% margin, while a capital referendum the year prior passed with 82.2% of voters … Continue reading Madison K-12 Tax, Referendum and Spending Climate: Operating referendum gains support over 2016, capital referendum down from 2015

Miami does more with less (about half of Madison’s per student spending)

Joanne Jacobs: Public-school enrollment grew by 16 percent from 1994 to 2017, the number of teachers by  28 percent and the number of all other staff grew 51 percent, according to Ben Scafidi of Kennesaw State. The “staffing surge” has inflated school budgets. But not in Miami-Dade, the fourth-largest district in the U.S., writes Michael Q. … Continue reading Miami does more with less (about half of Madison’s per student spending)

Covid-19 and Madison’s K-12 World

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.

After a turbulent search process, MMSD’s first Black superintendent takes charge

Benjamin Farrell: On July 10, after another, much shorter search, MMSD settled on UW-Madison alumnus and former associate principal of Madison Memorial High School Dr. Carlton Jenkins to be the district’s first Black superintendent. Since his time at Madison Memorial, Jenkinshas held high-ranking positions in school districts in New Hope, Minnesota; Beloit, Wisconsin; and Atlanta, … Continue reading After a turbulent search process, MMSD’s first Black superintendent takes charge

Madison School District plans to apply for waivers from some state requirements

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District plans to apply for a series of waivers from state requirements later this month for the 2020-21 school year. On the same day as students began the school year virtually, administrators told the School Board about three waivers they plan to request — as long as the board … Continue reading Madison School District plans to apply for waivers from some state requirements

(some) Madison School board COmmentary on Planned West High School Grading Changes

So in a district where this was previously implemented, um, failure went down, but so did rates of students earning A’s and B’s and our level classes, um, and teachers found that it had eroded some students’ motivations. So I was wondering if that’s a concern at all in how the district might address that. … Continue reading (some) Madison School board COmmentary on Planned West High School Grading Changes

A summary of community feedback (website) on Madison’s recent Superintendent candidates

Scott Girard: Records released by the Madison Metropolitan School District show feedback from staff and community members included plenty of praise and criticism for the two finalists for the district’s superintendent position this summer. Both Carlton Jenkins and Carol Kelley received positive feedback from many who filled out the forms, which asked respondents to answer … Continue reading A summary of community feedback (website) on Madison’s recent Superintendent candidates

New Madison Superintendent Adds an elementary administrator

Logan Wroge: “I have to address that because if you look at the data on the elementary level, we need to focus on literacy, we need to focus on numeracy, we need to focus on our special ed, our (English-language learners),” Jenkins said in the interview. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School … Continue reading New Madison Superintendent Adds an elementary administrator

Hard Questions: An interview with Madison Superintendent Carlton Jenkins

via Simpson Street Free Press 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results. My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results “An emphasis on adult employment” Wisconsin … Continue reading Hard Questions: An interview with Madison Superintendent Carlton Jenkins

New taxpayer supported Madison K-12 superintendent to prioritize students’ mental, emotional health

Scott Girard: The new Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent stressed the importance of community buy-in during his introductory press conferenceWednesday. Carlton Jenkins, hired in early July, began in the role Aug. 4. He said he will focus on improving reading abilities, improving student mental health and rebuilding trust during his first year on the job, stressing the … Continue reading New taxpayer supported Madison K-12 superintendent to prioritize students’ mental, emotional health

Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools’ fall plan includes Sept. 8 virtual start, MSCR child care for up to 1,000 kids

Scott Girard: District administrators outlined the latest updates to the “Instructional Continuity Plan” Monday night for the School Board’s Instruction Work Group. Board members expressed appreciation to staff for their efforts and asked questions about engaging students and ensuring they get some social experiences despite the restrictions of the virtual environment. The district announced July 17 it … Continue reading Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools’ fall plan includes Sept. 8 virtual start, MSCR child care for up to 1,000 kids

Madison Superintendent hire Carlton Jenkins tells Black leaders he’s ‘ready to go to work’

Logan Wroge: Former School Board member James Howard, who also served as president, said the district’s No. 1 challenge is the low reading outcomes for Black children, where only 9% of scored proficient on a state assessment. “Before our kids can succeed academically … we have to do something about our reading scores,” Howard said. … Continue reading Madison Superintendent hire Carlton Jenkins tells Black leaders he’s ‘ready to go to work’

Madison’s taxpayer supported schools need to fix its transparency problem if it wants voters’ trust (achievement?)

Dave Zweifel: If the Madison School Board hopes to convince the district’s voters to approve two referendums totaling $350 million this fall, it might be wise for it and the school district it governs to stop playing games with our long tradition of open government. At the same meeting this week where the board authorized … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported schools need to fix its transparency problem if it wants voters’ trust (achievement?)

Analysis: Madison school district’s lenient discipline policy is a dismal failure

Dave Daley: In 2013, the Madison school district had a zero-tolerance policy for misbehavior. Suspension was almost automatic for most violations. When Cheatham became superintendent that year, she was determined to bring down suspension and expulsion rates that she felt unfairly affected black students. Black students made up 62% of expulsions for the previous four … Continue reading Analysis: Madison school district’s lenient discipline policy is a dismal failure

“We know best”: Madison School Board approves superintendent contract before it becomes public

Logan Wroge: The Madison School Board approved a contract Monday to hire a Minnesota school administrator as the next superintendent before releasing details of the agreement to the public. That’s a change from how the board handled the hiring process for its first choice for superintendent — who later backed out of the job — … Continue reading “We know best”: Madison School Board approves superintendent contract before it becomes public

Carlton Jenkins is named Madison’s next K-12 Superintendent

Scott Girard: Carlton Jenkins said moving to work in the Madison Metropolitan School District would be like “going home.” One of two finalists to become the district’s next superintendent, Jenkins was an associate principal at Memorial High School in 1993 and earned his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Throughout the day Tuesday, the Robbinsdale … Continue reading Carlton Jenkins is named Madison’s next K-12 Superintendent

Commentary on Two 2020 taxpayer supported Madison School District Superintendent Candidates

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

Madison’s 37% Property Tax Growth (2012 – 2021). Outcomes?

Briana Reilly: Estimates flagged in the report show property taxes would be nearly 38% higher next year under the proposed operating budget compared with 2012, a jump the brief notes is “more than twice the rate of inflation” and doesn’t include potential changes in state aid levels going forward.  Crafting Madison Metropolitan School District’s budget is … Continue reading Madison’s 37% Property Tax Growth (2012 – 2021). Outcomes?

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

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

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

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

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’

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)

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

Madison schools’ happy talk Cheat(ham)s black kids

David Blaska: A crusader has stuck his out out of the foxhole to take on the political correctness that is destroying Madison’s public schools. We introduced him to you Blaska Policy Werkers two weeks ago. He is Peter Anderson, an environmental activist.  Peter has put up a website called “Durable Justice.” Bookmark it. (We’ll wait. Got it?) Anderson … Continue reading Madison schools’ happy talk Cheat(ham)s black kids

Guilty white teacher defends Madison school chaos

David Blaska: This trenchant observation drew a response from one Stan Endiliver, who (contrary to his intention) betrays why virtue-signaling progressives like himself are piping at-risk kids to disaster by playing the victim fife. MMSD teacher here; relax 1. If you are a parent of a student in MMSD, you have nothing to fear.[Blaska: as … Continue reading Guilty white teacher defends Madison school chaos

School Board chooses Matthew Gutiérrez as next Madison superintendent

Scott Girard: Gutiérrez said in the release he was “honored and humbled to be selected,” touting community engagement and support to teachers, students and families as “top priorities.” “During my visit to Madison, I was extremely impressed with the high level of community involvement and how community members hold education as a top priority,” he … Continue reading School Board chooses Matthew Gutiérrez as next Madison superintendent

Mission vs organization: leadership of the taxpayer supported ($500m+ annually) Madison School District

David Blaska: Only 8.9% of Madison’s African American high school students are proficient in English, according to 2019 ACT scores. One of every five African American students never graduate. In math, 65% of black students test below basic proficiency, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Not to worry, the district now prohibits teachers … Continue reading Mission vs organization: leadership of the taxpayer supported ($500m+ annually) Madison School District

Candidate Quotes from Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Pageant

Scott Girard: Behavior Education Plan Vanden Wyngaard: “Just like in previous districts I have been in, it appears we have a perception issue in the community.” Gutiérrez: “What I’ve seen is a rather comprehensive plan. I think it may be a little overwhelming for folks. How can we simplify that to be user-friendly, easy to … Continue reading Candidate Quotes from Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Pageant

Madison 2020 Superintendent Pageant: Eric Thomas appearance notes

Logan Wroge: “We have a district that is successful for a group of kids. We have a different district that’s not being successful for a group of kids,” he said of the Madison School District. “That means our organization is uniquely and excellently designed to get the results that we’re presently getting. If we keep … Continue reading Madison 2020 Superintendent Pageant: Eric Thomas appearance notes

“Madison teachers say ‘society is murdering black & brown people”

David Blaska: We are a group of educators planning a Black Lives Matter Week of Action in Madison as part of the National BLM Week of Action February 3-7, 2020. The Black Lives Matter movement recognizes the impact of mass incarceration, poverty, non-affordable housing, income disparity, homophobia, unfair immigration laws and policies, gender inequality, and poor access … Continue reading “Madison teachers say ‘society is murdering black & brown people”

No safe space for reformers at Madison’s Jefferson middle school? “One can create the greatest safe space on earth here in Madison but when they go out in the world you are killing these children, they won’t be able to function out in the world which lacks such safe spaces.”

David Blaska: “Teachers are very very afraid.” — former teacher* Parents are mobilizing for a showdown at Madison’s Jefferson middle school, which they describe as ruled by virtue-signaling administrators and out-of-control students. The flash point was on December 3 when a 13-year-old boy shot a girl with a BB gun outside from a bus window. The student … Continue reading No safe space for reformers at Madison’s Jefferson middle school? “One can create the greatest safe space on earth here in Madison but when they go out in the world you are killing these children, they won’t be able to function out in the world which lacks such safe spaces.”

2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Eric Thomas stresses success for ‘all students’ in Madison School District is key

Scott Girard: “My background is very much anchored on supporting all students,” Thomas said. “That’s sort of why I wake up every morning. The notion that all students are able to achieve at a high level, I truly not only believe it, but I’ve seen it, I’ve experienced it. I know it’s possible.” He will … Continue reading 2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Eric Thomas stresses success for ‘all students’ in Madison School District is key

2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard

Logan Wroge: She also highlighted the importance of having teachers know the cognitive process of how children learn to read to improve literacy outcomes. When asked about school-based police officers, a divisive topic in the Madison School District, Vanden Wyngaard said she doesn’t have a problem with police being in schools but thinks they should … Continue reading 2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard

2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Gutiérrez hopes to be ‘uniter’ for Madison School District

Scott Girard: Are we able to be laser focused on a number of a initiatives?” Gutiérrez said. “When you really do the research, the most highly successful systems have just three or four initiatives that they’re focused on, and you can do them really well.” He also brings recent experience with one of the likely … Continue reading 2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Gutiérrez hopes to be ‘uniter’ for Madison School District

2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Vanden Wyngaard wants to focus on social justice, equity in MMSD if selected

Scott Girard: She noted successes while she was in Albany, mentioning the graduation rate, increased attendance rate and lower disproportionality in its special education programming among them, and said maintaining the programs that helped lead to those was part of the resignation decision. “I work from a philosophy of students first, and I always will … Continue reading 2020 Madison Superintendent Pageant: Vanden Wyngaard wants to focus on social justice, equity in MMSD if selected

Madison School District superintendent finalists visit this week

Scott Girard: The three finalists to be the next leader of the Madison Metropolitan School District will visit the city this week. Their “Day in the District” will begin at 8 a.m. with meetings with community and staff groups until 11, followed by lunch with students until noon. The afternoon will include school visits, meetings with the … Continue reading Madison School District superintendent finalists visit this week

Commentary on Rhetoric: Departing Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham

David Blaska: The news media loves to imagine itself as the afflicter of the comfortable, David with his slingshot v. Goliath. “J’accuse!” in 96-point bodoni bold type. Edward R. Murrow starring down Tailgunner Joe. Bogart starting the presses in Deadline USA. Woodward and Bernstein. In Madison, too many news media “gatekeepers” just want to be … Continue reading Commentary on Rhetoric: Departing Madison Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham

Mckenna Kohlenberg: Why transparency is needed in Madison’s superintendent hiring process, and how to do it

Mckenna Kohlenberg: My concern stems from recent Board actions that I find concerning enough to warrant this stern message. As local press has noted (here too), the Board’s recent activities suggest a troublesome pattern of skirting, if not outright violating, open meetings and public records laws. Wisconsin law requires school boards, like other local public … Continue reading Mckenna Kohlenberg: Why transparency is needed in Madison’s superintendent hiring process, and how to do it

Camden students have shown significant improvements in math proficiency, a new independent study has found (Madison?)

Vincent DeBlasio: Released Monday, the study from the Stanford University Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) looked at student academic growth in the various K-12 schools on a year-by-year basis from 2014-15 to 2016-17. Schools superintendent Katrina McCombs said the study confirms that students benefitted from the district’s “collaborative and focused efforts over the … Continue reading Camden students have shown significant improvements in math proficiency, a new independent study has found (Madison?)

Madison School District taps Jane Belmore (again) to serve as interim superintendent

Negassi Tesfamichael: A familiar face will serve at the helm of the Madison Metropolitan School District for the upcoming school year. The Madison School Board on Friday named Jane Belmore, a retired MMSD teacher and administrator, to serve as the interim superintendent. Belmore will take over once current Superintendent Jen Cheatham steps down at the … Continue reading Madison School District taps Jane Belmore (again) to serve as interim superintendent

Why are Madison’s Students Struggling to Read?

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

Commentary on Avid/Tops in the Madison Schools

Logan Wroge: The board also approved a three-year partnership renewal with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County for the college preparation program AVID/TOPS. The program is meant to prepare students for post-secondary education, particularly low-income and minority students or students who would be the first in their family to go to college. AVID/TOPS … Continue reading Commentary on Avid/Tops in the Madison Schools

Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 School Superintendent Cheatham’s 2019 Rotary Talk

2013: What will be different, this time? Incoming Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham’s Madison Rotary Talk. December, 2018: “The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic” 2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end … Continue reading Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 School Superintendent Cheatham’s 2019 Rotary Talk

Ravenna school board fires superintendent for low student achievement

Justine Lofton: The board’s decision to replace VanLoon came after its performance evaluation of him in December resulted in a score of 2.41 out of 4. A score of 2 means “minimally effective,” while a 3 is “effective.” “Knowing that I’ve had effective or highly effective ratings for the past nine years, yes I was … Continue reading Ravenna school board fires superintendent for low student achievement

Commentary on A Diverse K-12 Governance Model – in Madison (outside the $20k/student legacy system)

Neil Heinen: There is so much to like about One City’s structure and operation, starting with founder, President and CEO Kaleem Caire. Caire’s bedrock passion for education has always been part of what hasn’t always been a straight-line career path. But all of the elements of his business, civic, nonprofit and activist education ventures have … Continue reading Commentary on A Diverse K-12 Governance Model – in Madison (outside the $20k/student legacy system)