David Blaska: Teachers are some of our most dedicated public servants. Many inspiring educators have changed lives for the better in Madison’s public schools. But their union is a horror. Madison Teachers Inc. has been a bad corporate citizen for decades. Selfish, arrogant, and bullying, it has fostered an angry, us-versus-them hostility toward parents, taxpayers, … Continue reading Election Grist: Madison Teachers Inc. has been a bad corporate citizen for too long
The leadership of Madison Teachers Inc. is letting its membership know it has unearthed yet another reason to recall Gov. Scott Walker.
In its weekly “Solidarity!” newsletter that was mailed out Friday, the union warns how administrative rules recently released by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission related to the implementation of Act 10 could result in teachers’ pay being cut.
“This is causing a lot of angst,” says John Matthews, executive director of MTI.
“This could be very bad for teachers,” adds state Rep. Sondy Pope-Roberts, D-Middleton, who sits on the Assembly’s Committee on Education. “These rules allow for teachers’ base pay to be redefined, and I think that’s absurd.”
The roots of this story reach back to last summer, when Act 10 eliminated most public employees’ ability to collectively bargain over virtually anything except “base wages.” Even then, workers are limited to bargaining over raises that can’t exceed the consumer price index (CPI), unless voters approve a hike via a referendum.
After receiving requests to explain what “base wages” could be bargained over, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (WERC) — a state agency designed to settle labor disputes — worked on rules to clarify the matter.
Scott Girard: Anderson, who posted about the incident on social media and became a face for the push against the “zero tolerance” practice the district had instituted, had been called a “b**** a** n****” by a student and told the student not to call him the n-word, using the word itself in the process. Another … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Director Reflects on 2019 and the taxpayer supported School District’s Governance
November 7, 2016 November 14, 2016 November 21, 2016 November 28, 2016 December 5, 2016
September 6 2016 (PDF). September 6 2016 (PDF). September 6 2016 (PDF). September 6 2016 (PDF). September 6 2016 (PDF). September 6 2016 (PDF). September 6 2016 (PDF). September 6 2016 (PDF). September 6 2016 (PDF).
Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeanie Kamholtz email (PDF): On March 7, MTI Executive Director Doug Keillor and MTI Office Manager Yvonne Knoche presented the recommended 2016-17 MTI Budget to MTI’s Finance Committee. The Committee unanimously approved the recommendation. In acknowledgment of the financial uncertainties ahead, the Budget recommends a 20% reduction in MTI expenditures … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Budget Reductions
Madison Teachers, Inc. Newsletter (PDF) 1.25.2016 Newsletter: MTI – Teachers who worked full-time in the Madison Metropolitan School District for the entire calendar year in 2015 (January through December) paid dues/fair share in the amount of $1,042.10. Of that amount, $260 was for WEAC, $183.60 for NEA, $570.00 for MTI, and $28.50 for MTI VOTERS … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Dues, Taxes and Recent Newsletters; Matthews Reflects on Service to MTI
Madison Teachers, Inc., via a kind Jeanie Kamholtz email (PDF): Of the grievance procedure, MTI Legal Counsel Lester Pines said: “I congratulate MTI and its sister Unions of District employees (AFSCME and The Building Trades Council) for achieving an agreement that the Independent Hearing Officer will be mutually selected by the Union and the District … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Commentary on the Proposed “Handbook”
Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeanie Kamholtz email (PDF): Plan now to attend one of the MTI ALL-MEMBER meetings scheduled for the week of March 23. Because of the importance of the Employee Handbook, MTI has scheduled meetings, hopefully one convenient to all members, on March 23, 24 and 26. Governor Walker’s 2011 Act 10 … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. “Employee Handbook” Planning Meetings
Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter, via Jeannie Kamholtz (PDF): So far, one-hundred and fifteen (115) MTI members, teachers, educational assistants, clerical-technical employees and substitute teachers have stepped up to serve as MTI Member Organizers for MTI’s forthcoming recertification election. The Organizers will help to ensure that everyone in their school building/work site understands the importance … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Recertification Plans
Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity newsletter, via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF): As previously reported, Governor Walker’s Act 10 requires public sector unions, except police & fire, to participate in an annual recertification election to enable Union members to retain representation by their Union. The election by all MTI-represented District employees will be conducted between … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Recertification Campaign
Madison Teachers, Inc. via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF): Governor Walker’s Act 10 requires MTI to engage in a recertification election to retain its status as the representative of those covered by MTI’s collective bargaining units. This year’s election will be conducted between noon November 5 and noon November 25. Voting will be via … Continue reading Advocating Madison Teachers, Inc. Recertification
Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF): Members of MTI’s Board of Directors, Bargaining Committee and Union staff greeted the District’s 200+ newly hired teachers at New Teacher Orientation last Monday. Sixty- five have already joined the union. MTI Executive Director John Matthews addressed the District’s new teachers during Monday’s … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Greets New Hires
MTI Website: This meeting is scheduled to consider ratification of Contract terms for 2015-16 for all five MTI bargaining units. This is a membership meeting. 2013-14 membership cards are required for admission. Those who need assistance with membership issues, and those who are not members at this time and wish to join to enable participation … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc. Contract Ratification Meeting – Tuesday, June 3!
Madison Teachers, Inc. Solidarity Newsletter, via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF): Board of Education meetings on May 12 and 15 were a sea of red, as MTI members produced an overflow crowd, calling for Contract negotiations for the 2015-16 school year. Numerous MTI members, supported by four past-presidents on the Board of Education, State … Continue reading MTI (Madison Teachers, Inc) Red Fills Doyle Auditorium; Bargaining to Begin
Madison Teachers, Inc., Newsletter, via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF): Pursuant to changes in MTI’s Teacher Collective Bargaining Agreement, teacher contracts for the 2014-15 school year will now be issued in MAY instead of March. Signed contracts of all teachers returning for the 2014-15 school year must be received in the MMSD Human Resources … Continue reading Madison Teachers, Inc: Teacher Contracts to be Issued in May
Madison Teachers, Inc. Newsletter via a kind Jeannie Kamholtz email (PDF): Each year about this time MTI engages in the process of developing its Budgets for the ensuing fiscal year, in this case July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015. MTI has two (2) budgets, one for MTI (the Union) and one for the MTI … Continue reading The Madison Teachers, Inc. Budget Process
To each and every one of the nearly 5,000 District employees who are represented by MTI, welcome, as the 2013-14 school year begins! MTI is the collective bargaining agent for all teachers and non-supervisory professional staff, educational assistants (EA-MTI), clerical/technical personnel (SEE-MTI), substitute teachers (USO-MTI), and school security assistants (SSA-MTI) who are employed by the Madison Metropolitan School District. It is the Union’s mission to negotiate the best possible Collective Bargaining Agreements, and to provide the best representation and service possible, when assisting members with any Contract or work-related matter. Contact your Union staff at MTI Headquarters (257-0491 or www.madisonteachers.org) should you have a question or need assistance with any Contract or work-related matter.
This school year will be one of challenge as MTI moves to preserve members’ wages, benefits and rights. MTI is one of the few public employee unions with contracts in place, given the devastating impact of Walker’s Act 10.
MTI Greets New Hires
Members of MTI’s Board of Directors, Bargaining Committee and Union staff greeted the District’s newly hired teachers at New Teacher Orientation last Monday. On Tuesday MTI hosted a luncheon for the 250 new members of MTI’s teacher bargaining unit.
MTI President Peg Coyne and MTI Executive Director John Matthews addressed the District’s new teachers during Tuesday’s luncheon. In doing so, Matthews provided a brief history of the Union, its reputation of negotiating outstanding Collective Bargaining Agreements which provide both employment security and economic security, and in explaining the threat to both, given Act 10, said all MTI members would need to pull together to preserve the Madison Metropolitan School District as a quality place to teach.
President Coyne gave a warm MTI welcome to those present, discussed MTI’s structure and stressed the need for member participation in political action, if public employees are to regain the right to collectively bargain and if schools are to be adequately funded.
District retiree Jan Silvers lighted up the room when discussing how her life and career was much more enjoyable and rewarding having MTI as her advocate, especially when it came to the ability to experience religious freedom and work during pregnancy. She was awarded 16 years of back pay plus interest as a result of MTI’s litigation. Teachers, through the early 1970’s, had to advise their principal “immediately upon becoming pregnant” and were obligated to resign when the pregnancy “began showing”. As a result of MTI’s accomplishments, such antiquated and degrading policies are history.
Base wages, in all MTI/MMSD Collective Bargaining Agreements, have not increased since the passage of Act 10 in 2011. Act 10 also removed the benefit for the members of all MTI bargaining units of the District paying the employee’s share of the mandated deposit in the Wisconsin Retirement System. This in itself caused a 6.2% reduction take-home wages. MTI had negotiated in the early 1970’s that the District pay the WRS deposit. This part of Act 10 caused a loss in earnings of $11.7 million last school year and another $12.9 million this school year for District employees.
All employees do not automatically move up on the salary schedule each year. Members of the clerical/technical bargaining unit, for example, receive a wage additive based on months of service. These “longevity” payments begin at the 49th month of service, with the next one beginning at the 80th month of service.
There are similar increments between the increases in longevity payments. Last year, 199 individuals remained at the same salary, while this year, there were 70 who received no increase in wage.
Members of the educational assistant and school security assistant bargaining units, for example, receive a longevity increase after three years of service, but not anotheroneuntilafter12yearsofservice. Lastyear,282 individuals remained at the same salary, while this year there were 321 who received no increase in wage.
The teachers’ salary schedule requires that a teacher earn six credits each four years and receive his/her principal’s recommendation to be able to cross the salary barrier. This is at each four-year improvement level. For incentive levels, beginning at level 16, one progresses only every two years, and then only if he/she earns three credits and receives his/her principal’s recommendation. Last year, 941 individuals remained at the same salary, while this year, there were 701 who received no increase in wage.
What’s the first ingredient necessary to address workplace concerns? The opportunity to talk with colleagues to identify areas of common concerns and brainstorm about possible solutions. That’ s the conclusion reached by the clerical and technical employees who attended the March 20 SEE-MTI General Membership meeting. In response, SEE-MTI President Kris Schiltz and MTI staff rep Doug Keillor agreed to schedule monthly membership organizing workshops to provide: 1) an opportunity to get together to talk and 2) to further develop an organizing approach to problem-solving. The first workshop was held on April 24, and the next workshop will be held soon with notice in MTI Solidarity!.
The organizing workshops are structured to provide a brief update on what is happening across the district relative to SEE unit concerns (e.g. surplus declarations, budget proposals, etc.) and then those present breakout (e.g. elementary, middle, high, administration) to discuss their concerns, facilitated by their unit rep. Following the small group discussions the participants reconvene to report on topics of discussion and organizing relative to the identified issues.
While MTI has used similar organizing models on a smaller scale for years, the monthly SEE-MTI member organizing workshops are an attempt to further institutionalize this approach, engaging more Union members in the process and leading to better potential outcomes.
All SEE-MTI members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Join your fellow Union members in working for positive change in the District!
Thanks to the volunteers who helped make phone calls at MTI on April 23. With few volunteers, 51 callers were “patched through” to leave a message for Senator Sheila Harsdorf that voucher expansion is bad for Wisconsin and that public schools must be fully funded. The Governor’s proposed budget will take $96 million from public schools to fund private and parochial “voucher” schools and private charter schools.
This program was a great success in other Senate Districts as well, generating well over 200 contacts last week. Any member interested in giving this a try, another night of calling is being considered for Thursday, May 9, 4:30 – 7:30 p.m., at MTI. The constituents we are calling are targeted based on their likelihood to respond positively and include WEAC members and voters favorable to public schools. This fight is critical because if we lose, voucher schools will be coming to Madison, whether we want them or not, with slick marketing campaigns designed to lure tax dollars into their pockets by denigrating our public schools. Don’t let this happen! We need seven confirmed volunteers to make this set-up worthwhile.
If you can join us next Thursday, please contact Jeff Knight (firstname.lastname@example.org / 257-0491).
Each year about this time MTI begins the process of developing its budgets for the ensuing fiscal year, in this case July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014. MTI has two (2) budgets, one for MTI (the Union) and one for the MTI Building Corporation, the owner of MTI’s headquarters building.
MTI’s budget is the operating budget under which the Union provides services to the members of its five (5) bargaining units; i.e. the Teacher/professional unit (MTI); the Educational Assistants bargaining unit (EA-MTI); the Clerical/Technical bargaining unit (SEE-MTI); the Substitute Teacher bargaining unit (USO-MTI); and the Security Assistants bargaining unit (SSA-MTI).
This year’s proposed budgets are based on last year’s dues levels; i.e. no dues increase. This is the second straight year the Union has not proposed a dues increase.
The Madison School District is considering ways to increase school security in response to the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school last week, though arming more school officials is not among them.
In the wake of the massacre, parents, teachers and members of the public have offered dozens of safety suggestions to the district, security coordinator Luis Yudice said Friday.
They include making it easier for teachers to secure their classrooms, training principals to deal with an armed intruder and reviewing the policy of having schools serve as polling places.
Related, via a kind reader’s email:
From: Sara Paton
Date: December 19, 2012 3:20:35 PM CST
Subject: Important Message from Principal Holmes
Reply-To: Sara Paton
Madison Metropolitan School District
The following letter was sent as an email to all students during 8th hour today. Please read:
December 19, 2012
Dear West Students,
There have been several concerns raised about safety and security at West High School over the past few days as it relates to 12/21/12. Safety concerns have included rumors about:
-School closings on 12/21/12
-Comments made by West High students
Administration, security, and police have spent Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week speaking with students, staff, and parents regarding the concerns that have been raised. All of the information collected has been thoroughly investigated, and we as an administrative team, security staff and police are confident that the concerns raised do not pose a safety risk for the students and staff of West High.
In light of the recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, tensions are high across the country and threats are more likely to be viewed as potentially dangerous. We want you to be aware that we are taking the concerns very seriously and are taking the necessary precautions to be sure we are safe. Unfortunately, information has been misinterpreted and taken out of context through multiple social media such as Facebook and Twitter. This has created a great deal of anxiety and fear in our school community. Again, we have found no substance to the rumors and no threat to school safety.
In conclusion, we know some students are frightened and some students have been blamed. It is critical at this time that we as the West High community work together to dispel rumors, ensure school safety and create a positive school culture.
Below are some suggestions on steps to take in the event important information comes to your attention:
-Continue to let trusted adults know when you are concerned about safety or someone else’s behavior.
-Be kind and patient with each other. This is a tough time for our school and our country.
-Make healthy decisions for yourself with your parents guidance.
It is up to all of us to be good stewards of our school and work together to protect one another.
Ed Holmes, Principal
When a union member files a grievance it means that the member and his or her union believe the employer has failed to live up to its end of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. They are called “agreements” for a reason: the union and the employer have agreed that what has been agreed upon in negotiations is what both parties will live by, that it is best for the employee and the employer. A Collective Bargaining Agreement is a legally binding Contract.
Filing a grievance sets in motion a process for resolving the employee’s complaint. Once a grievance is filed, the union and the employer meet in a process set forth in the Collective Bargaining Agreement to discuss the reasons it was filed. When the issue cannot be resolved through discussions, the union may take the complaint to a neutral third party (an arbitrator) who will decide whether the Contract has been violated. Wisconsin law assures that union- represented employees cannot be retaliated against because of filing a grievance.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement is the Constitution of the workplace, and only unionized employees, like members of MTI, are protected by a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
To complete the hat trick, late last month Pines, representing Madison Teachers Inc. and the Wisconsin Education Association Council, stuck it to Republicans again when Dane County Judge Amy Smith struck down part of a law that consolidated rule-making authority in the governor’s office. That law gave Gov. Scott Walker control over rules that govern agencies like the Attorney General’s Office, the Government Accountability Board, the Employment Relations Commission, the Public Service Commission and the Department of Public Instruction, all of which were previously independent. Pines argued, and Smith agreed, that State Superintendent Tony Evers had constitutional powers beyond the governor’s reach.
“They extended (the law) to the Department of Public Instruction despite the fact that they were told in the brief legislative hearings they held on that bill that it was likely unconstitutional,” says Pines. “But they didn’t care. They just did it.”
While Pines’ recent wins are likely to be appealed, one thing is clear: He’s on a roll. How did he get to be such a pain in the collective GOP butt?
MTI President Kerry Motoviloff addressed the Board of Education at its May 21 general meeting. At issue is the District’s plan to introduce more new programs into elementary teachers’ literacy curriculum, including Mondo and 3 new assessments. At the same time, elementary teachers are being told that they will be losing release days for the administration of K-2 testing.
Motoviloff listed more than 13 current K-5 assessments, explaining to Board members that each assessment comes with a set of non-comparable data or scores. She noted that the District has introduced more than 18 programs and initiatives for elementary teachers since 2009.
Motoviloff stressed that all teachers are concerned about the achievement gap, and that the District needs to walk its own talk relative to ensuring fidelity in the curriculum process. She challenged the District to prioritize essentials, instead of swamping teachers with initiatives while reducing teachers’ time to implement the curriculum with fidelity, and emphasized the need to include time not only for assessments, but also time for teachers to analyze and plan. She also urged the District to stop pitting professional development against planning/prep time.
- Standards based report cards
- 60% to 42%: Madison School District’s Reading Recovery Effectiveness Lags “National Average”: Administration seeks to continue its use
- MTEL (Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure) 90 coming to Wisconsin
I’ve long suggested that the District should get out of the curriculum/program creation business and focus on hiring the best teachers. Like it or not, Oconomowoc is changing the game by focusing efforts and increasing teacher pay. Madison, given our high per student spending and incredible community and academic resources, should be delivering world class results for all students.
I don’t see how more than 18 programs and initiatives can be implemented successfully in just a few years. I’m glad MTI President Kerry Motoviloff raised this important issue. Will the proposed “achievement gap plan” add, replace or eliminate programs and spending?
Meanwhile, Superintendent Dan Nerad’s Madison tenure, which began in 2008, appears to be quickly coming to an end.
Teachers – the people who educate us and give us the vital knowledge which we need to live our lives. They encourage, support, discipline and prepare us for the road ahead and now it’s time for us to show them our appreciation. Teacher Appreciation Week begins on the 7th until the 11th of May 2012, which will be the perfect opportunity for us to show teachers how thankful we are for their support. So boys and girls, it’s time for us to demonstrate how much our teachers mean to us, let’s all say a big thank you to the people who work really hard so that we can have a better future.
The 8th of May 2012 will mark Teacher Appreciation Day and students all across America will show their appreciation by rewarding their teachers with lovely gifts. These gifts can come in a variety of shapes and sizes – remember, it’s the thought that counts! Your school will also have a special schedule lined up which will provide many outlets for you to show how much you’re teacher means to you. Maybe you could write your teacher a poem or even a story about your favorite memory. You may also choose to make you’re teacher a “best teacher in the world” award, and present it to him or her during the week.
If you are not among those who voted early, be sure you vote tomorrow. The terrible legislation, Act 10, which has put your economic security and your employment security at risk would not be on
the books if voter turnout in 2010 had been as great as in 2008. 812,086 fewer people voted in Wisconsin in 2010 than in 2008. Governor Walker won by only 124,638. Every MTI member doing their part will help reverse Act 10 and restore your rights and security. No matter who wins the primary, we need ALL HANDS ON DECK to rid our state of Governor Walker’s divisive approach to balancing the budget on the backs of working families, cuts to public education, women’s health and the dismantling of the safety net, in favor of continued tax breaks to out-of-state corporate interests funding his campaign and his legal defense fund. The far-right is trying to make Wisconsin the model for how to break unions. Join those standing up against Act 10 by ensuring that everyone votes on June 5!
MTI Faculty Representatives will schedule a meeting at each work site to discuss the effective ways to increase voter turnout. Make contact with friends and family, encourage them to vote, make a phone call or send a note or email the importance of this election. Personal contact makes a big difference.
MTI members will be making calls to union households from the Labor Temple and participating in door-to-door contacts. These efforts are aimed at reaching the infrequent voters, particularly those who voted in 2008 and did not vote in 2010. We need them to assure success. This election will directly impact the future of your profession, your pay and your benefits, your security and the future of public education.
Action is needed to assure success. See www.madisonteachers.org for ways to get involved.
CT: What about the training and capabilities of Madison school teachers and how they deliver in the classroom day to day — is there room for improvement there?
JM: Well, there’s always room for improvement — there’s room for improvement in what I do. I can only say that the Madison School District has invested all kinds of things in professional development. One thing teachers tell us if they have time to work together, they can make strides. I found early in my career if I’m having a teacher identified as having a performance problem, ask the principal who is the best at doing what they want this teacher to do. Then you go to that teacher and say: “You have a colleague who needs help, will you take them under your wing?” I don’t have access to any of what they talk about, management doesn’t have access to that — it’s been a remarkably successful venture.
CT: In discussion of the achievement gap in Madison I’ve heard from African-American parents up and down the economic spectrum who say that their children are met at school with low expectations that really hamper their performance.
JM: I’ve heard that too. The Madison School District has an agreed-upon mandatory cultural course that people have to take. But there are people in society who don’t like to be around other races. I don’t see that when teachers are together. And we have a variety of people who are leaders in MTI — either Asian or Indian or black — but there are people who have different expectations from people who are different from them.
CT: Does the union have a role in dealing with teachers whose lowered expectations of students of color might contribute to the achievement gap?
JM: The only time MTI would get involved is if somebody was being criticized for that, we’d likely be involved with that; if someone were being disciplined for that, we would be involved. We’ve not seen that.
EMOCRACY IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT. That is one message that should be evident with all that has happened in the last year. A functioning democracy requires an informed and engaged citizenry. Such is as true with union democracy as it is in a political democracy. MTI is a union of 4,700 members in five bargaining units, each with Bylaws enabling democratic governance to ensure the union reflects the will of its members. Each MTI unit elects its leadership – every member has a vote, and is free to seek office. Also, Collective Bargaining Agreements are subject to member ratification, with every member having a vote. Similarly, the MTI Budget is enacted only after approval by the MTI Finance Committee and by approval by the MTI Joint Fiscal Group, which is comprised of representatives proportionate to the membership of each of the five bargaining units. But,just like the right of suffrage cannot ensure voter participation, neither can union Bylaws ensure member participation in the union. Only you can. YOU ARE THE UNION.
In the coming months, your union will be engaging in a number of initiatives to further engage individuals in discussion about your union, what we have achieved together, what is at risk, and where we can go from the terrible situation created by Governor Walker’s Act 10. Beginning with a Member Engagement Survey which is being sent to the personal e-mail addresses of all MTI members who have shared their email address with the Union from all five bargaining units. Members are encouraged to take ten minutes to complete the on-line survey and share their thoughts. If you have not already provided your personal e-mail address to MTI, please do so now by contacting email@example.com. Those for whom MTI does not have a personal email address may access the survey on MTI’s webpage www.madisonteachers.org or by calling MTI Headquarters (257-0491).
Among the excellent benefits available to MTI members is the additional worker’s compensation benefit provided by MTI’s various Collective Bargaining Agreements.
Wisconsin Statutes provide a worker’s compensation benefit for absence caused by a work-related injury or illness, but such commences on the 4th day of absence and has a maximum weekly financial benefit.
MTI’s Contracts provide one’s full wage, beginning on day one of an absence caused by a work-related injury or illness, with no financial maximum. Also, under MTI’s Contract provision, one’s earned sick leave is not consumed by such an absence.
Although MTI is working to preserve this benefit, it is at risk due to Governor Walker’s Act 10.
The Osaka Social Forum (OSF) is “a coalition of citizens’ groups, trade unions and other issue-oriented groups” in the Osaka and Kansai region, which includes Kyoto and Kobe, in Japan. A four day Pre Forum planning session was held February 24-27 and, at the request of OSF, MTI President Peg Coyne (Black Hawk) and MTI activist Kathryn Burns (Shorewood) were guest speakers and participants in the forum, sharing the stories of the “Wisconsin Uprising”. The Japanese organizers wanted to benefit from MTI’s leadership in fighting Governor Walker’s anti-public worker legislation. As Mr. Yoshihide Kitahata, a forum organizer, OSF host and translator, explained, “It is very difficult to bring the many groups together in Japan, and we want to hear about the struggles against harsh attacks on public education and trade union rights in Wisconsin.”
A series of meetings held in Osaka and Kyoto featured a video produced by Labor Beat and Osamu Kimura, a former Japanese high school teacher and current documentarian; and speeches with question and answer sessions by Coyne and Burns. Many observed that current mayor and former governor of the Osaka Prefecture, Toru Hashimoto, seems to be “taking pages out of Wisconsin Governor Walker’s play book.” Mayor Hashimoto and his backers are proposing 40% pay cuts for city bus drivers, threatening to throw the office of the city workers’ union out of city hall and has introduced an ordinance requiring teachers to stand and sing the national anthem at all school functions. The Mayor’s proposed ordinance “proposes to choose principals by open recruitment and incorporates a clause to dismiss teachers who refuse to stand while singing the Kimigayo national anthem at school functions.”
Coyne and Burns heard stories of teachers fired over the national anthem issue. Ms. Msako Iwashita, a retired high school social studies teacher, said that 200 of her students followed her lead and refused to stand as the flag was raised and the anthem played at a high school graduation. Ms. Iwashita, whose business card displays the words, “Hope, Peace and Article 9” explains that many citizens and older teachers, in particular, are distressed that the government did not replace the rising sun flag and Kimigayo after World War II. It is felt that these two symbols of Japan’s aggression against neighboring Asian countries and the United States are an embarrassment and too militaristic for a modern country that espouses peace. (Article 9 is a Constitutional Agreement that declares Japan’s commitment to peace and refusal to engage in weapons build up.)
Given Act 10’s negative Impact on Collective Bargaining Agreements, will you introduce and vote for a motion to adopt the Collective Bargaining Agreements (182 page PDF Document) negotiated between MTI and The Madison Metropolitan School District as MMSD policy?
Both Silveira and Flores answered Yes.
Seat 1 Candidates:
Arlene Silveira (incumbent)
Seat 2 Candidates:
1.25.2012 Madison School Board Candidate DCCPA Event Photos & Audio
Listen to the event via this 77MB mp3 audio file.
I suspect that at least 60% of Wisconsn school districts will adopt their current teacher contracts as “handbooks”. The remainder will try different approaches. Some will likely offer a very different environment for teachers.
John Matthews, Executive Director of Madison Teachers, Inc., via email:
The Urban League proposes that Madison Prep be operated as a non-instrumentality of the Madison Metropolitan School District. The Urban League’s proposal is unacceptable to Madison Teachers, because it would effectively eliminate supervision and accountability of the school to the Madison School Board regarding the expenditure of millions of dollars in taxpayer money, and because it would also violate long-standing terms and conditions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Madison Metropolitan School District and MTI.
The Urban League proposes to use District funds to hire non-District teaching staff at lower salaries and benefits than called for in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. It was recently stated in a meeting between representatives of Madison Prep, the School District and MTI that the Urban League plans to hire young African-American males and asks that MTI and the District enable them to pay the teachers they hire less than their counterparts, who are employed by the District. MTI cannot agree to enable that. We believe that such is discriminatory, based both on race and gender. The MTI/MMSD Contract calls for teachers to be compensated based upon their educational achievement and their years of service. MTI and MMSD agreed in the early 1970’s that the District would not enable such undermining of employment standards. The costing of the Contract salary placement was explained by both Superintendent Nerad and John Matthews. Those explanations were ignored by the Urban League in their budgeting, causing a shortfall in the proposed operational budget, according to Superintendent Nerad.
It is also distasteful to MTI that the Urban League proposes to NOT ADDITIONALLY pay their proposed new hires for working a longer day and a longer school year. Most employees in the United States receive overtime pay when working longer hours. The Urban League proposes NO additional compensation for employees working longer hours, or for the 10 additional school days in their plan.
Finally, the Urban League is incorrect in asserting that MTI and the District could modify the MMSD/MTI Contract without triggering Act 10, Governor Walker’s draconian attack on teachers and other public employees. The Contract would be destroyed if MTI and the District agreed to amend it. Such is caused by Walker’s Law, Act 10. MTI is not willing to inflict the devastating effects of Act 10 on its members. The Urban League states that Walker’s Act 65 would enable the Contract to be amended without the horrible impact cause by Act 10. That claim is unfounded and in error.
The Madison Prep proposal could easily be implemented if it followed the Charter Plan of Wright School, Nuestro Mundo, and Badger Rock School, all of which operate as instrumentalities of the District, under its supervision and the MMSD/MTI Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Much more on the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school, here.
157 page pdf, via a kind reader’s email.
Several major impediments facing the proposed Madison Prep charter school appear closer to resolution after a series of meetings and communications Friday between Urban League CEO Kaleem Caire, district Superintendent Daniel Nerad and John Matthews, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc.
The changes are just in time for a public hearing on the Urban League-backed school on Monday, Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. at the Doyle Administration Building, 545 W. Dayton St.
In a major shift, the proposed charter school will now be what’s called an “instrumentality” of the Madison Metropolitan School District. That means a significant portion of the school’s staff will be covered by the contract the district has with the local teachers union, Madison Teachers Inc. The contract runs through the end of June 2013
On the eve of a public hearing for Madison Preparatory Academy — a proposed charter school with single-sex classrooms focused on raising the academic performance of minority students — backers of the school agreed to employ union staff, eliminating a potential hurdle to approval of the school.
A budget plan for Madison Prep, proposed by the Urban League of Greater Madison, also was released late Friday. It estimates the Madison School District would spend $19.8 million over five years on the school, or about $2,000 less per student than it spends on other secondary-school students.
In lengthy meetings Friday, Urban League officials hammered out an agreement with Madison Teachers Inc., the union that represents Madison school teachers. MTI executive director John Matthews said the union, which previously opposed creation of Madison Prep, will remain neutral on whether the school should be approved.
Fascinating. It will be interesting to see the substance of the arrangement, particularly its implications for the current MMSD schools and Madison Prep’s curriculum and operating plans.
A friend notes that the change is “stunning” and that it will likely “cost more” and perhaps “gut” some of Madison Prep’s essential components.
“They’re ready,” Matthews said afterward, “to do whatever it takes.”
After 43 years as executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., Matthews is in the spotlight again after encouraging a four-day sick-out that closed school in February. The action allowed teachers to attend protests at the Capitol over Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to curb collective bargaining by public employees. The matter remains in the courts, but it prompted a hasty contract negotiation between the district and union.
Teachers aren’t happy about some of the changes, and Matthews is preparing for a street fight.
“It’s going to get down and dirty,” Matthews said, alluding to the possibility of more job actions, such as “working the contract” – meaning teachers wouldn’t work outside required hours – if the School Board doesn’t back off changes in the contract. “You can’t continually put people down and do things to control them and hurt them and not have them react.”
Moreover, the latest battle over collective bargaining has taken on more personal significance for Matthews, whose life’s work has been negotiating contracts.
In an article about teacher retirements in the State Journal a couple of weeks ago, Madison Teachers Inc. Executive Director John Matthews had some harsh comments about the Madison school district and school board. Referring to the Teacher Emeritus Retirement Program, or TERP, Matthews said, “The evidence of the ill will of the board of education and superintendent speaks for itself as to why we have grave concern over the benefit continuing. . . . They tore things from the MTI contract, which they and their predecessors had agreed for years were in the best interest of the district and its employees.”
In an article in Isthmus last week, Lynn Welch followed up with Matthews. Matthews comes out swinging against the school district in this article as well, asserting, “The bargaining didn’t have to [involve] so much animosity. . . . If they wanted to make revisions, all they had to do is talk with us and we could have worked through something that would be acceptable to both sides. But they didn’t bother to talk about it. You don’t buy good will this way.” While the contract includes very significant economic concessions on the part of the teachers, Matthews expressed unhappiness with the non-economic changes as well, labeling them “inhumane.”
In the Isthmus article, Matthews asserts that the changes in the collective bargaining agreement “show how Walker’s proposed legislation (still tied up in court) has already produced an imbalance of power forcing unions to make concessions they don’t want to achieve a contract deal.”
The collective bargaining process is useful because it provides an established framework for hammering out issues of mutual concern between the school district and its employees and for conflict resolution. However, if the collective bargaining agreement were to disappear, the school district wouldn’t immediately resort to a management equivalent of pillaging the countryside. Instead, the district would seek out alternative ways of achieving the ends currently served by the collective bargaining process, because the district, like nearly all employers, values its employees and understands the benefits of being perceived as a good place to work.
But when employers aren’t interested in running sweat-shops, organizations set up to prevent sweat-shop conditions aren’t all that necessary. It may be that John Matthews’ ramped-up rhetoric is best understood not as a protest against school district over-reaching in bargaining, since that did not happen, but as a cry against the possibility of his own impending irrelevance.
Early on in the protests at the Capitol, I ran into a friend who predicted that the unions would agree to all of Walker’s benefit cuts if he agreed to allow collective bargaining.
“They would do that?” I asked innocently. “They wouldn’t tell the governor to rescind tax cuts on businesses before he attempts to balance the budget on the backs of workers?”
“Just wait,” she said.
Little did either of us imagine that the unions would soon concede to all of the benefit cuts BEFORE Walker agreed to talk. When you give up key issues before the other side is at the table, there isn’t much left to negotiate. It is certainly not the way we educators teach children to deal with a bully.
However things turn out with Walker’s damaging repair bill, Wisconsin unions have helped dig themselves into a hole. Some unions may fare better than others. I am distraught about Madison Teachers Inc., which I belong to as a substitute teacher. In its rush to negotiate with the district immediately after Walker signed the bill, MTI plunged headlong into the very waters it was trying to avoid. The union allowed the lowest paid to, in effect, sail away in a leaky lifeboat.
1MB PDF, via a kind reader’s email:. Mayoral Candidate Paul Soglin participated and I found this question and response interesting:
What strategies will you introduce to reduce the 6000+ families who move in and out of Madison Public School classrooms each year?
In the last three years more children opted out of the district than all previous years in the history of the district. That contributed to the increase of children from households below the poverty line rising to over 48% of the kids enrolled.
To stabilize our enrollment we need stable families and stable neighborhoods. This will require a collaborate effort between governments, like the city, the county and the school district, as well as the private sector and the non-profits. It means opening Madison’s economy to all families, providing stable housing, and building on the assets of our neighborhoods.
One decades old problem is the significant poverty in the Town of Madison. I would work with town officials, and city of Fitchburg officials to see if we could accelerate the annexation of the town so we could provide better services to area residents.
Ed Hughes and Marj Passman, both running unopposed responded to MTI’s questions via this pdf document.
MTIVOTERS 2011 School Board Election Questionnaire
Please respond to each ofthe following questions. If you wish to add/clarifY your response, please attach a separate sheet and designate your responses with the same number which appears in the questionnaire. Please deliver your responses to MTI Headquarters (821 Williamson Street) by, February 17, 2011.
If the School Board finds it necessary to change school boundaries due to enrollment, what criteria would you, as a Board member, use to make such a judgement?
Ifthe School Board finds it necessary to close a school/schools due to economic reasons, what criteria would you, as a Board member, use to make such a judgement?
If the School Board finds it necessary, due to the State-imposed revenue controls, to make further budget cuts to the 2011-12 budget, what criteria would you, as a Board member, use to make such a judgement?
IdentifY specific MMSD programs and/or policies which you believe should to be modified, re-prioritized, or eliminated, and explain why.
What should the District do to reduce violence/assure that proper discipline and safety (of the learning and working environment) is maintained in our schools?
Do you agree that the health insurance provided to District employees should be mutually selected through collective bargaining?
_ _ YES _ _ NO Explain your concerns/proposed solutions relative to the District’s efforts to reduce the “achievement gap”.
Should planning time for teachers be increased? If yes, how could this be accomplished?
Given that the Wisconsin Association of School Boards rarely supports the interests of the Madison Metropolitan School District, do you support the District withdrawing from the W ASB? Please explain your rationale.
From what sources do you believe that public schools should be funded?
a. Do you support further increasing student fees? _ _ YES _ _ _ NO
Do you support the Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools’ (WAES) initiative to raise sales tax by 1% to help fund schools?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
Do you support class sizes of 15 or less for all primary grades? _ _ YES _ _ NO
Do you support:
a. The use of public funds (vouchers) to enable parents to pay tuition with tax payers’ money for religious and private schools?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
b. The expansion of Charter schools within the Madison Metropolitan School District? _ _ YES _ _ NO
c. The Urban League’s proposed “Madison Preparatory Academy for Young Men” as a charter school which would not be an instrumentality of the District?
_ _ YES _ _ _ NO
Do you agree that the usual and customary work ofteachers, i.e. work ofthose in MTI’s teacher bargaining unit, should not be performed by others (sub-contracted)?
_ _ YES _ _ NO List MMSD staff and Board member(s) from whom you do or would seek advice.
Is your candidacy being promoted by any organization? _ _ YES _ _ NO
If yes, please name such organization(s). Have you ever been employed as a teacher? If yes, please describe why you left the teaching profession.
Do you support the inclusion model for including Title 1, EEN and ESL students in the regular education classroom? Why/why not?
What grouping practices do you advocate for talented and gifted (TAG) students?
Aside from limitations from lack ofadequate financial resources, what problems to you feel exist in meeting TAG students’ needs at present, and how would you propose to solve these problems?
The Board ofEducation has moved from the development ofpolicy to becoming involved in implementation of policy; i.e. matters usually reserved to administration. Some examples are when it:
a. Decided to hear parents’ complaints about a teacher’s tests and grading. b. Decided to modifY the administration’s decision about how a State Statute should be implemented.
Do you believe that the Board should delegate to administrators the implementation of policy which the Board has created?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
Do you believe that the Board should delegate to administrators the implementation of State Statutes? _ _ YES _ _ NO
Do you support the Board exploring further means to make their meetings more efficient? _ _ YES _ _ _ NO
Do you support a merit pay scheme being added to the Collective Bargaining Agreement _ _ YES _ _ _ NO
If yes, based on which performance indicators?
Do/did/will your children attend private or parochial schools during their K-12 years? Ifno, and ifyou have children, what schools have/will they attend(ed)?
_ _ YES _ _ NO If you responded “yes”, please explain why your child/children attended private parochial schools.
Will you introduce and vote for a motion which would direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage oflegislation to eliminate the revenue controls on public schools and return full budgeting authority to the School Board?
_ _ YES _ _ _ NO
Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage oflegislation to prohibit the privatization ofpublic schools via the use oftuition tax credits (vouchers) to pay tuition with taxpayers’ money to private or religious schools?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation which will maintain or expand the benefit level of the Wisconsin Family and Medical Leave Act?
_ _ YES _ _ _ NO
Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage oflegislation which will increase the retirement formula multiplier from 1.6% to 2% for teachers and general employees, i.e. equal that of protective employees?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation which will forbid restrictions to free and open collective bargaining for the selection ofinsurance for public employees (under Wis. Stat. 111.70), including the naming ofthe insurance carrier?
_ _ YES
_ _ NO
Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation which will guarantee free and open collective bargaining regarding the establishment of the school calendar/school year, including when the school year begins?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsiu Association of School Boards to request the introduction and promote the passage of legislation to forbid the work of employees organized under Wis. Stat. 111.70 (collective bargaining statute) to be subcontracted?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to seek passage of legislation which will require full State funding of any State-mandated program?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
Will you introduce and vote for a motion to direct the Wisconsin Association of School Boards to seek passage oflegislation which will provide adequate State funding of public education?
_ _ YES _ _ NO
Do you support a specific school finance reform plan (e.g., School Finance Network (SFN), Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES), Andrews/Matthews Plan)?
Why/why not? Your Campaign:
Are you, or any of your campaign committee members, active in or supportive (past or present) of the “Get Real”, “ACE”, “Vote No for Change” or similar organizations?
Name ofCampaign Committee/Address/Phone #/Treasurer. List the members ofyour campaign committee.
via a kind reader’s email.
via a kind reader’s email (200K PDF):
The Madison Metropolitan School District and Madison Teachers Inc. reached a tentative agreement Tuesday evening on the terms and conditions of a new two-year Collective Bargaining Agreement for MTI’s 2,600 member teacher bargaining unit. Negotiations began April 15.
The Contract, for July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2011, needs ratification from both the Board of Education and MTI. The Union will hold its ratification meeting on Wednesday, October 14, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center, Dane County Forum. The Board of Education will tentatively take up the proposal in a special meeting on October 19 at 5:00 p.m.
Terms of the Contract include:
Base Salary Raise – 1.00% Base Salary Raise – 1.00%
Total Increase Including Benefits – 3.93% Total Increase Including Benefits – 3.99%
Bachelor’s Degree Base Rate $33,242 Bachelor’s Degree Base Rate $33,575
A key part of this bargain involved working with the providers of long term disability insurance and health insurance. Meetings between MTI Executive Director John Matthews and District Superintendent Dan Nerad and representatives of WPS and GHC, the insurance carriers agreed to a rate increase for the second year of the Contract not to exceed that of the first year. In return, the District and MTI agreed to add to the plans a voluntary health risk assessment for teachers. The long term disability insurance provider reduced its rates by nearly 25%. The insurance cost reductions over the two years of the contract term amount to roughly $1.88 million, were then applied to increase wages, thus reducing new funds to accomplish this.
The new salary schedule increase at 1% per cell, inclusive of Social Security and WRS, amount to roughly $3.04 million. Roughly 62% of the salary increase, including Social Security and WRS, was made possible by the referenced insurance savings.
Key contract provisions include:
Inclusion in the Contract of criteria to enable salary schedule progression by one working toward the newly created State teacher licensure, PI 34. Under the new Contract provision, one can earn professional advancement credits for work required by PI 34.
- Additive pay regarding National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, i.e. an alternative for bargaining unit professionals who are not teachers (nurses, social workers, psychologists, et al) by achieving the newly created Master Educator’s License.
- Continuance of the Teacher Emeritus Retirement Program (TERP).
- The ability after retirement for one to use their Retirement Insurance Account for insurance plans other than those specified in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. This will enable one to purchase coverage specific to a geographic area, if they so choose, or they may continue coverage with GHC or WPS – the current health insurance providers.
For elementary teachers, the frequency and duration of meetings has been clarified, as have several issues involving planning time. All elementary teachers and all elementary principals will receive a joint letter from Matthews and Nerad explaining these Contract provisions.
- For high school teachers who volunteer for building supervision, there is now an option to enable one to receive compensation, rather than compensatory time for the service. And there is a definition of what “class period” is for determining compensation or compensatory time.
- For elementary and middle school teachers, MTI and the District will appoint a joint committee for each to study and recommend the content and frequency of report cards.
For elementary specials (e.g. art, music) teachers, the parties agreed to end the class and a half, which will mean that class sizes for specials will be similar to the class size for elementary classroom teachers.
- For coaches, and all others compensated on the extra duty compensation schedule, the additive percentage paid, which was frozen due to the State imposed revenue controls, will be restored.
- School year calendars were agreed to through 2012-2013.
- Also, MTI and the District agreed to a definite five-year exemption to the Contract work assignment clause to enable the District to assist with funding of a community-based 4-year-old kindergarten programs, provided the number of said 4-K teachers is no greater than the number of District employed 4-K teachers, and provided such does not cause bargaining unit members to be affected by adverse actions such as lay off, surplus and reduction of hours/contract percentage, due to the District’s establishment of, and continuance of, community based [Model III] 4-K programs. (See note below.)
Madison School District: We are committed to providing robust learning experiences for our students of MMSD during this time of school closure. Our instructional leaders are working to provide a virtual learning experience for our students that incorporates family engagement, limited screen time, and student overall health and emotional wellness. We recognize the impact that … Continue reading Madison’s Virtual Learning Website is Live
Katy Grimes: In March 2019, California Globe reported Sacramento City Unified School District Superintendent Jorge Aguilar and seven other administrators spent more than $35,000 to attend a six-day conference at the Harvard Business School, while the district teetered on the verge of insolvency, and under the threat of state takeover as it struggled with a … Continue reading Sacramento City Schools Superintendent Aguilar Takes a Big Pay Increase While Schools Closed
Scott Girard:: Others are offering read-a-longs, bedtime stories and daily mindfulness practice videos. The district has offered enrichment materials online, but so far not mandated virtual learning. An email to families sent Wednesday night stated that virtual learning would begin in early- or mid-April if schools are still closed at that time. “It is taking … Continue reading Madison schools use social media to keep students connected during COVID-19 break
Logan Wroge: In an email Friday, district spokesman Tim LeMonds said the district is now aiming to roll out virtual learning the first week of April, but it “takes time and thoughtful planning to prepare an all inclusive virtual learning program.” “The complexities being addressed include there being a large number of our families who … Continue reading Commentary on Virtual Learning & The Madison School District
On January 21, 2020, I sent this email to firstname.lastname@example.org 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
The Madison School District’s much discussed “Behavior Education Plan” seems worth a deeper dive. A Tuesday evening District presentation [slides / survey: 1.1MB PDF] – mostly a discussion – offers a substantive lens into our increasingly challenged K-12 system. Approximately 25 people attended this event, including some district employees. 2020 Madison School Board Candidates Chris … Continue reading Madison Behavior Education Plan Meeting
Scott Girard: Tuesday afternoon, he spent 15 minutes taking questions from the press and another 15 minutes answering questions from seven students at Glendale Elementary School, where the press conference was held. “There is some division in the community, so we’ve got to bridge that gap,” Gutiérrez said. “There is some division between the Doyle … Continue reading Madison K-12 incoming Superintendent Gutiérrez Commentary
Logan Wroge: Increasing the amount staff pay for premiums would see teachers paying 6% of a HMO family plan — up from 3% — to about $44 more a month. Certain hourly employees, such as special education assistants, would pay 2.5% of an HMO family plan instead of 1.25%, or $8.53 more per month. Scott … Continue reading Madison School Board leans toward deductibles instead of switching health insurers
Scott Girard: The Madison School Board will discuss the potential November referenda and proposed employee health insurance changes Monday. The Operations Work Group meeting, which begins at 5 p.m. at the Doyle Administration Building, 545 W. Dayton St., is likely the last opportunity for board members to ask for broad changes ahead of anticipated votes … Continue reading Employee health insurance, referenda discussions on Madison School Board agenda Monday
Scott Girard: Voters will have several opportunities this month to hear from candidates for Madison School Board beginning this weekend. The East Side Progressives will hold a forum Sunday, March 8, at Lake Edge Lutheran Church, 4032 Monona Drive. It’s the first of four forums currently planned for the month before the Tuesday, April 7, … Continue reading Madison School Board candidate forums begin this weekend, continue throughout March
NBC 15: Under a new pilot program the lowest grade students could get on assignments is 40 or 50 percent, not a zero. Studies show freshman year is the most important year in high school and Geoffrey D. Borman, UW-Madison Education Policy Professor, said it can make or break you. The modern A-F grading system … Continue reading Madison School District High School “Grade Flooring” continues….
Logan Wroge: According to MTI’s memo, health insurance changes under consideration include: Moving future retirees from health insurance plans offered through the district to the state Department of Employee Trust Funds’ Local Annuitant Health Program, a relatively new program for retired public employees. Increasing employee premium contributions for teachers and other employees from 3% to … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District’s healthcare costs
David Blaska: Today’s blog excerpts Kaleem Caire’s social media thread in the wake of his letter, co-signed by other local black leaders, expressing disappointment that Matthew Gutierrez of Texas was chosen as new superintendent of Madison WI schools over their preferred candidate, Taylor Eric Thomas of Georgia. Caire expresses frustration over the virulent Progressive Dane/Madison Teachers … Continue reading Is this the best Madison’s (taxpayer supported) public schools can do?
David Blaska: In a school district that is 18% black, 57% of students suspended from school the first semester of the current school year (2019-20) were African-American. White students, 43% of the student body, accounted for 11% of out-of-school suspensions. To school board member Ali Muldrow, the data showed more about school staff than about … Continue reading Commentary on the Madison School District’s teacher climate
Scott Girard: “Teachers are ready to do this work, but for whatever reason there’s a barrier set up in front of them,” Ball said. “A goal is to have no gap. I know we can do it in this community.” School Board candidate Ball wants to ‘get out of the way of people doing their … Continue reading 2020 Madison School Board Candidate Forum – 100 Black Men
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” (!)
Scott Girard: Every Madison Metropolitan School District site had staff participating in the Black Lives Matter At School Week of Action this year. The national movement to hold a week of support for black students ran Feb. 3-7 this year, culminating Thursday night in Madison with a sold-out staff showing of the movie “Just Mercy” and a … Continue reading ‘This work is so crucial’: Madison School District staff lead conversations about Black Lives Matter At School Week
Logan Wroge: Three candidates for an open Madison School Board seat aligned on several issues facing the school district while offering their own solutions to other topics during a forum Tuesday. The trio seeking the board’s Seat 6 — Karen Ball, Christina Gomez Schmidt and Maia Pearson — spoke of rebuilding trust between the community … Continue reading Commentary on a 2020 Madison School Board Candidate appearance
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
Logan Wroge: In the first semester of this school year, 1,524 out-of-school suspensions were issued. That’s up from 910 in the fall of 2015 — a 67% increase — and the number of fall semester suspensions has steadily increased during the past five years. “If we say this is about how black kids behave, I … Continue reading As suspensions rise, Madison School Board unhappy with racial disparities
Scott Girard: WILL wrote in its December letter that it was representing a group of 15 parents with students in the district and that the guidance “contains certain policies that violate our clients’ constitutional rights as parents.” “Specifically, the Policy allows children of any age to change gender identity at school without parental notice or … Continue reading WILL plans to sue Madison schools over gender identity guidance
Scott Girard: Williams then provided the backpack to Creech, and told one of the other officers there was a gun inside. The complaint states Creech found a semi-automatic firearm in the laptop compartment of the backpack. The magazine was loaded but no rounds were housed within the chamber when the gun was found. Williams faces … Continue reading Complaint: Gun found at Madison West High School last week followed armed robbery on Saturday
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
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
Scott Girard: A Memorial High School student was arrested Thursday morning while allegedly trying to bring a “long fix-bladed kitchen knife” into the school, according to the Madison Police Department. An incident report states a plow driver called 911 after seeing the student walking near the school with the knife around 9:21 a.m. “The witness … Continue reading Madison Memorial student arrested after trying to bring knife into school
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
Logan Wroge: West High School student was arrested Tuesday after he brought a loaded handgun to the Near West Side school, Madison police said. Tyrese T. Williams, 18, was arrested on a tentative felony charge of possession of a firearm in a school zone, Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said. West High’s school resource officer … Continue reading Madison West High School student found with loaded handgun in school, police say
David Blaska: Wanted: More Milton McPikes, fewer guilt mongers Obsessed with identity politics, Madison school board member Ali Muldrow posts on social media an article headlined: “The discomfort of white adults should never take priority over the success of our black and brown students.” “I didn’t come here to teach those kinds of kids.” As harmful … Continue reading Why are Madison middle school principals leaving?
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
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”
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.”
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
Scott Girard: When he initially filed papers to run, Strong said he considers school safety and racial disparities in discipline and achievement to be the top issues facing MMSD. “We have to make sure that our schools are safe and that they’re safe learning environments for our kids to learn and for our teachers to … Continue reading 2020 Madison school board election: Candidate “suspends campaign”
Mary Lynn Smith: The largest organization representing Minnesota educators announced Wednesday that it opposes a plan to change the state Constitution in an effort to narrow the state’s persistent academic achievement gap. Education Minnesota, the union representing 80,000 members who work in pre-K and K-12 schools and higher-education institutions, announced its opposition as the authors … Continue reading Minnesota teachers union opposes constitutional amendment to address achievement gap
Scott Girard: For the past seven months, Strong has been a program associate with the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. Strong said in an interview Thursday he considers school safety and racial disparities in discipline and achievement to be the top issues facing MMSD. “We have to make sure that our schools are safe … Continue reading Madison School Board races starting to emerge as filing deadline approaches
Scott Girard: The Madison School Board seat left open by incumbent Kate Toews choosing not to run for re-election has a candidate. Maia Pearson, a Madison native who has three children in Madison schools, will run for Seat 6. She filed her declaration of candidacy and campaign registration statement with the city clerk Monday and … Continue reading Maia Pearson becomes first newcomer to announce 2020 Madison School Board campaign
Anne Tergesen and Gretchen Morgenson: The pitch from the president of the Indian River County teachers union couldn’t have been clearer. Liz Cannon, who heads the Indian River chapter of the Florida Education Association, urged union members to buy retirement investments from Valic Financial Advisors Inc. through a firm owned by the union. That way … Continue reading Teachers Pay High Fees for Retirement Funds. Unions Are Partly to Blame.
Amber Northern & Michael Petrilli: As we were putting the final touches on our new report, The Supplemental Curriculum Bazaar: Is What’s Online Any Good?, Amazon unveiled a “new storefront” called Amazon Ignite. The site will allow educators to earn money by publishing—online, of course—their original educational resources (lesson plans, worksheets, games, and more). The e-commerce … Continue reading Dear teachers, most of the popular lessons you found online aren’t worth using
Natalie Wexler: In recent months, thanks largely to journalist Emily Hanford, it’s become clear that the prevailing approach to teaching kids how to decipher words isn’t backed by evidence. An abundance of research shows that many children—perhaps most—won’t learn to “decode” written text unless they get systematic instruction in phonics. As Hanford has shown, teachers … Continue reading To ‘Get Reading Right,’ We Need To Talk About What Teachers Actually Do
This meeting was held at Lakeview public library. Asking attendees to leave would have been a violation of the Madison Public Library’s rules of use, which require that “meetings be free and open to the general public at all times.” pic.twitter.com/BRgxOnbSmk — Chan Stroman (@eduphilia) December 13, 2019 It was nonetheless made quite apparent that … Continue reading Mission vs. Organization: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results
David Blaska: Julie Marburger was a school teacher at Cedar Creek, Texas, a suburb of Austin. She posted this on social media (H/T Greg L.) shortly before the end of the 2019-2020 school year: I left work early today after an incident with a parent left me unable emotionally to continue for the day. I … Continue reading Teachers and Low Expecations
Wisconsin State Journal: We’re not convinced lowering standards for grading is the answer. Yet offering students more chances to retake tests and get some credit for late work sounds fair and could help more freshmen advance. A smooth transition from middle to high school is crucial. So is good attendance. High-quality teaching through professional development, peer coaching … Continue reading “We’re not convinced lowering standards for grading is the answer.”
Dana Kozlov: The Chicago Teachers Union did not budge during its 11-day strike. “We should return to work in the schools pending one thing – and that one thing is a return-to-work agreement,” CTU President Jesse Sharkey said on the 11th and last day of the strike on Oct. 31. The union and Mayor Lori Lightfoot agreed … Continue reading How Are Chicago Public Schools’ Teachers Getting Post-Strike Makeup Days Off?
Scott Girard: With no Madison Metropolitan School District policy on grading at the four comprehensive high schools, administrators and teachers have room to implement their own practices. Bottom-up decisions can help get buy-in from the teachers and staff carrying out any changes, but also mean that changes happen on different timelines, like the recent change … Continue reading Grading inconsistencies ‘not new’ with West ‘grading floor,’ Madison School District officials say
Scott Girard: MTI staff member Kerry Motoviloff helped organize the monthly Racial Justice Summit gatherings, which are part of the union’s equity focus. They began last year, and were in development a year earlier as MTI received a grant funded through national teachers’ union dues. The sessions’ popularity amid the district’s Black Excellence push made … Continue reading ‘It’s just really important to learn’: Madison Teachers Union holds racial justice summits for MMSD staff
Logan Wroge: In an effort to keep students who fail early in their high school careers from falling completely out of school, ninth grade teachers at Madison’s West High School are planning to assign classroom grades of no less than 40%, eliminate extra credit and allow up to 90% credit for late work in required … Continue reading Madison West High School to test ‘grading floor’ as part of district examination of freshman grading
Scott Girard: An anonymous Madison School District resident is suing the district over its refusal to provide records in response to 26 requests made over a three-and-a-half month period earlier this year. The John Doe is being represented by attorney Tom Kamenick, the president and founder of the Wisconsin Transparency Project. The lawsuit filed Nov. 14 … Continue reading Transparency in Madison’s $500M+ Taxpayer Supported K-12 School District: Open Records Suppression edition
Mitchell Schmidt: Andrews became executive director of WEAC, the state’s largest teachers union, in 1972. At the time, the association of 40,000 teachers had little involvement in state politics or lobbying efforts. But that soon changed. Andrews was considered a force to be reckoned with in the statehouse halls and advocated for teachers, bus drivers, … Continue reading Former WEAC leader and longtime teachers advocate Morris Andrews dies
Logan Wroge: To help students make the transition to a higher-intensity setting, two Madison School District teachers spend time at Goodman South instructing courses with solely STEM Academy students and some with a mix of traditional college and high school students. “We thought it was really important to have high school teachers be part of … Continue reading Deja vu: 2008 – 2019 Credit for non MadIson School District Courses and Adult Employment
Logan Wroge: In addition to a higher base wage, the district has said that, on the average, employees will receive another 2% salary increase this year based on a salary schedule that awards experience and education. But MTI has said about 1,000 employees, including some of the lowest paid, won’t receive more money through the … Continue reading COMMENTARY on Madison k-12 teacher compensatioN: 2 + 2.44 + benefits