Taxpayer supported Dane County Board joins the Madison School Board in ignoring open meeting laws

Chris Rickert: Groups of Dane County Board members have since 2014 been meeting privately and without any public notice to discuss government business — a practice that echoes private caucus meetings the liberal-dominated board has conducted in years past. Meetings between the board’s leadership and leaders of some of its key committees, first reported by … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Dane County Board joins the Madison School Board in ignoring open meeting laws

Madison schools test limits of open government with private board member meetings

Chris Rickert: Individually or in pairs, Madison School Board members spend hours each year in private “board briefings” with Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham, discussing matters soon to come before the full board for votes that must be held in public. Cheatham instituted the briefings after she was hired in 2013, and district administrators and some board … Continue reading Madison schools test limits of open government with private board member meetings

Open Meetings And School Board Governance: The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling

Wisconsin Supreme Court: ¶27 Applying these principles, we conclude that CAMRC was a committee created by rule under Wis. Stat. § 19.82(1). First, it qualifies as a “committee” for purposes of the open meetings law because it had a defined membership of 17 individuals upon whom was conferred the authority, as a body, to review … Continue reading Open Meetings And School Board Governance: The Wisconsin Supreme Court’s Recent Ruling

Steamboat Springs School Board Settles Open Meeting Lawsuit with Newspaper

Jack Weinstein:

The Steamboat Springs School Board formally accepted a lawsuit settlement offer from the Pilot & Today on Monday.
The settlement was tentatively approved by board members last month on the heels of a March ruling by the Colorado Court of Appeals that the previous School Board violated the state’s Open Meetings Law by not properly announcing the intention of its executive session at a Jan. 8, 2007, meeting. As a result of the ruling and settlement offer, the district will pay $50,000 of the newspaper’s attorney fees and release the transcripts from the illegal meeting.
The motion to accept the settlement offer was approved 4-1 on Monday, with a couple of board members expressing satisfaction that the lawsuit is now behind them. Board member John DeVincentis was the only dissenting vote, but he wasn’t the only one displeased with the outcome.

Shorewood School District fires administrators over “deficit based” language

Alec Johnson: The Shorewood School Board decided unanimously Wednesday to fire the district’s director of instructional technology after a hearing over how he handled what he said were messages with “deficit-based and racist language” found on a district laptop. “Deficit-based language” is language that reinforces negative stereotypes. Board members voted, 5-0, to end Michael Chavannes’ … Continue reading Shorewood School District fires administrators over “deficit based” language

“Secret” open records discussions at the Wauwatosa School Board

Amanda St. Hilaire: A Wauwatosa School Board member says the board president punished him after he revealed a secret conversation about a FOX6 public records request. Board member Mike Meier’s attorney sent the school board a letter this week, warning the matter could go to litigation. FOX6 shared documents related to the case with additional … Continue reading “Secret” open records discussions at the Wauwatosa School Board

Madison school district hits ‘pause’ on plan to end standalone honors classes

Dylan Brogan: The Madison school district is delaying its plan to eliminate standalone honors classes at its high schools. The district hasn’t publicly announced the policy shift or if it’s considering scrapping the plan entirely. At its Dec. 6 meeting, school board members were told by Director of Advanced Learning Sharon Alexander that the district … Continue reading Madison school district hits ‘pause’ on plan to end standalone honors classes

Lobbying, Influence, Self Destruction and the National School Board Assocation

Laura Meckler: Email correspondence from the time suggested that the NSBA might have been acting at request of the White House, according to documents released through open records requests filed by a conservative group called Parents Defending Education. Slaven and the White House said that isn’t true. In one email, an NSBA board member wrote that … Continue reading Lobbying, Influence, Self Destruction and the National School Board Assocation

Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported closed K-12 schools

Scott Girard: Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m., includes a public comment portion, a chance to summarize written public comments and an “update on safe return to school buildings for in-person learning.” The last item will be a discussion, but will not include a vote of any kind. Those interested in speaking during the meeting … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported closed K-12 schools

Restoring our public schools and empowering parents

Dan Lennington and Dr. Will Flanders: At the top of the list of legitimate parental grievances was the decision to keep many schools closed during the 2020-21 school year, despite strong scientific evidence that it was safe to reopen. Research by our own organization, the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL), found that it was … Continue reading Restoring our public schools and empowering parents

Enemies of the School Board: Parents in some school districts find their input suppressed—and their dissent criminalized.

Christopher Rufo: The school board was able to do this because the Round Rock Independent School District has its own police force, with a three-layer chain of command, patrol units, school resource officers, a detective, and a K-9 unit. The department serves under the authority of the board and, through coordination with other agencies, apparently has … Continue reading Enemies of the School Board: Parents in some school districts find their input suppressed—and their dissent criminalized.

Parents in some school districts find their input suppressed—and their dissent criminalized.

Christopher Rufo: The school board was able to do this because the Round Rock Independent School District has its own police force, with a three-layer chain of command, patrol units, school resource officers, a detective, and a K-9 unit. The department serves under the authority of the board and, through coordination with other agencies, apparently has … Continue reading Parents in some school districts find their input suppressed—and their dissent criminalized.

Online Systems and the Madison School District’s Remote Capabilities/Results (infinite Campus)

The lengthy 2020-2021 remote experience that Madison’s K-12 students endured made me wonder how the taxpayer funded school district is performing with online services. I was part of a group that reviewed the District’s acquisition of “Infinite Campus” software in the 2000’s. Having been through many software implementations, I asked the District’s then IT/Chief Information … Continue reading Online Systems and the Madison School District’s Remote Capabilities/Results (infinite Campus)

One-third of students stay home following Monday fights at Madison East High School

Logan Rude, Brad Hamilton More than 600 students did not show up for classes on Tuesday, the district said, more than one-third of the total 1,717 students enrolled at East. As of noon, 277 were excused and 325 had not shown up and were not excused, though secretaries were still updating records at that time. … Continue reading One-third of students stay home following Monday fights at Madison East High School

School closures haunt Democrats as frustrated parents cast their votes

Alexander Nazaryan: The father was furious. “Figure it out, or get off the podium,” he shouted at school board members in Loudoun County, Va. He was not irate about critical race theory, which would come to dominate the state’s gubernatorial race, with the Northern Virginia exurbs at the center of that battle over how to teach … Continue reading School closures haunt Democrats as frustrated parents cast their votes

Civics: Lawfare, Citizen Activism and taxpayer funded schools

Bradley Thompson: Garland’s letter is a moral, political, and constitutional abomination. To say there are serious problems with the Attorney General’s Orwellian letter would be an understatement. The letter asserts, for instance, that “there has been a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” It … Continue reading Civics: Lawfare, Citizen Activism and taxpayer funded schools

Lowell got rid of competitive admissions. New data shows how that’s impacted the school’s diversity

Emma Talley: But opponents argue the move is hurting Asian American students and taking away a springboard to achievement for low-income families. Opponents also charge that it was done without proper public input and that the school was already diverse. Attorney Harmeet Dhillon, a critic of the new admissions policy, noted that before the change … Continue reading Lowell got rid of competitive admissions. New data shows how that’s impacted the school’s diversity

Mission vs Organization: Milwaukee’s taxpayer supported K-12 Schools vs successful charters

Alan Borsuk: So why does the education system — especially Milwaukee Public Schools — treat them the way it does? Each of these schools has a long and discouraging history of getting hassled (or worse) by the system. You want to know what’s wrong with Milwaukee’s overall response to its education crisis? Start with looking … Continue reading Mission vs Organization: Milwaukee’s taxpayer supported K-12 Schools vs successful charters

Commentary on mask requirements in taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Elizabeth Beyer: The DeForest, Middleton-Cross Plains, Monona Grove, Mount Horeb, Stoughton, Verona and Wisconsin Heights school districts have not yet made a decision regarding mask requirements in school buildings for the 2021-22 school year. Most of the Dane County districts that responded to requests for comment said they plan to finalize safety plans in August. … Continue reading Commentary on mask requirements in taxpayer supported K-12 schools

A parent’s account of how the relatively well-staffed education team at the Seattle Times failed to hold the school district accountable.

Alexandra Olins: On March 11, 2020, a few months after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in the United States, Seattle Public Schools (SPS) was the first large school district in the country to close. First, we were told there would be no school during the closure because the district couldn’t distribute laptops to everyone — despite … Continue reading A parent’s account of how the relatively well-staffed education team at the Seattle Times failed to hold the school district accountable.

Proposal to rename Madison Memorial High School generates 88 pages of public comment

Scott Girard: The committee that will make recommendations on renaming James Madison Memorial High School already has its hands full as its first meeting approaches. The Citizens’ Naming Committee will convene virtually at 5 p.m. Wednesday to begin the next step in the renaming process, 10 months after the School Board received a proposal from a Memorial graduate to … Continue reading Proposal to rename Madison Memorial High School generates 88 pages of public comment

N.J. district reverses course, will add holiday names back onto school calendar

Chris Sheldon: The Randolph Board of Education did an about-face Monday evening on its decision to remove holiday names from the school calendar following tremendous backlash from the public. Following the board’s action, all holidays will be listed by name on the school calendar, including Columbus Day. At its May meeting, the board voted to refer to Columbus Day as … Continue reading N.J. district reverses course, will add holiday names back onto school calendar

School Board Parent Legal Posturing

William Jacobson: Last Friday, June 4, 2021, I filed a public records request with the South Kingstown school district seeking, among other things, records of communications with the Superintendents Association and public sector unions regarding Nicole and/or PDE, and records as to how Cummiskey’s statements were approved. My suspicions were confirmed, in part, last night … Continue reading School Board Parent Legal Posturing

Some higher-income families leaving Philly public schools in search of in-person learning

Miles Bryan: When the Philadelphia Board of Education devoted its entire March 18 meeting to public comment, it was flooded with children and parents pleading for one thing: open classrooms for all kids, as soon as possible. “This is hard to say, but it’s been tough for me to make friends. Trying to get to … Continue reading Some higher-income families leaving Philly public schools in search of in-person learning

One City Schools expands – in Monona (Governor Evers’ proposed budget would once again abort this school, by eliminating the UW charter office)

Logan Wroge: With a $14 million donation from American Girl founder and philanthropist Pleasant Rowland, One City Schools announced plans on Tuesday to purchase an office building in Monona that will become a new home for the fast-growing independent charter school. One City will use the donation to buy a 157,000-square-foot office building on the … Continue reading One City Schools expands – in Monona (Governor Evers’ proposed budget would once again abort this school, by eliminating the UW charter office)

Commentary on proposed Taxpayer Supported Madison School District Layoff Policies

Scott Girard: A slate of controversial proposed changes to teacher layoff rules in the Madison Metropolitan School District was back in front of the School Board Monday night. District administration has proposed making seniority just 10% of the decision of who to lay off, a significant change from the current system that relies entirely on seniority. The … Continue reading Commentary on proposed Taxpayer Supported Madison School District Layoff Policies

Reading Meetings

Mark Seidenberg: Reading researcher and author Dr. Mark Seidenbergtalks with people working to improve literacy outcomes in the US and other countries. Teachers, school system administrators, activists, parents—and readers!—confront the hard questions about how to address low literacy outcomes, especially among children with other risk factors, such as poverty and development conditions such as dyslexia. Dr. Molly … Continue reading Reading Meetings

School Reopening Pits Parents Against Teachers: “Is There a Word Beyond ‘Frustrating’?”

Kris Maher and Jennifer Calfas: Patrick Cozzens had never spoken up at a school board meeting until he stood in front of a crowd of angry parents earlier this month to read a statement his 16-year-old daughter helped him to write. “I’ve watched her go from a child that has loved school, thrived at school … Continue reading School Reopening Pits Parents Against Teachers: “Is There a Word Beyond ‘Frustrating’?”

Entire school board resigns after accidental public livestream

BBC: An entire California school board has resigned after making disparaging remarks about families in an online meeting which they did not realise was being publicly live-streamed. “They want to pick on us because they want their babysitters back,” one member said about parents. Another implied that parents wanted their children out of the house … Continue reading Entire school board resigns after accidental public livestream

Sun Prairie selects new middle and high school boundary lines; district apologizes for claiming partnership with YWCA

Emily Hamer: Some middle and high school students in Sun Prairie will get shuffled around to different schools within the district come fall 2022 because of a new boundary-line map approved Monday. The Sun Prairie School Board voted unanimously to adopt a map that will have middle schoolers on the north and south sides of … Continue reading Sun Prairie selects new middle and high school boundary lines; district apologizes for claiming partnership with YWCA

‘Spirit Murder,’ Neo-Segregation and Science Denial in American Schools

Bari Weiss: One wonders where biracial families are slotted in? Maybe they just said screw it and went with “Latinx?” And did the Jewish lesbians go with the other Jews or with the “LGBTQIA+”?  If you are relying on the legacy media, like The Washington Post and The New York Times, for your news it’s … Continue reading ‘Spirit Murder,’ Neo-Segregation and Science Denial in American Schools

S.F.’s elite Lowell High School would permanently switch to lottery admission under fast-track proposal

Jill Tucker: San Francisco’s elite academic public high school would no longer admit students based on top grades and test scores, and instead use a random lottery system for admission, if the school board approves a measure fast-tracked for a vote. The controversial proposal will head to the school board during a special meeting Tuesday, … Continue reading S.F.’s elite Lowell High School would permanently switch to lottery admission under fast-track proposal

For schoolchildren struggling to read, COVID-19 has been a wrecking ball

Sarah Carr: Yet Daniel’s progress came to an abrupt halt after Medford schools closed down in mid-March in response to the spread of COVID-19. The tutoring came to an end. The intensive, small group classes in reading disappeared, as did all meaningful instruction, from what Ronayne could tell. Daniel, who is being referred to by … Continue reading For schoolchildren struggling to read, COVID-19 has been a wrecking ball

Chicago Teachers Union board member facing criticism for vacationing in Caribbean while pushing remote learning

Ben Bradley: A Chicago Teachers Union leader is facing criticism for vacationing in the Caribbean while at the same time claiming it’s unsafe for teachers to return to the classroom. Sarah Chambers is on the union’s executive board and is an area vice president. As recently as Thursday, she tweeted to rally special education teachers not … Continue reading Chicago Teachers Union board member facing criticism for vacationing in Caribbean while pushing remote learning

Middleton-Cross Plains School Board votes to return grades K-4 to in-person classes with blended model

Elizabeth Beyer: The Middleton-Cross Plains School Board voted unanimously Monday to return grades K-4 to in-person instruction with a blended learning model in February. The board will revisit a vote to bring back students in older grades during their Feb. 8 meeting after they’ve had the opportunity to observe virus mitigation measures in school buildings. … Continue reading Middleton-Cross Plains School Board votes to return grades K-4 to in-person classes with blended model

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

As Madison schools’ safety and security committee considers recommendations, some want more time

Scott Girard: The group tasked with recommending policy changes for Madison schools without police officers stationed there wants more time. But it’s also approaching a deadline of sorts, as Madison Metropolitan School District staff soon will begin building the 2021-22 budget, which could include funding toward any of the Safety and Security Ad Hoc Committee’s recommendations. The 29-member … Continue reading As Madison schools’ safety and security committee considers recommendations, some want more time

Police-free schools: Security staff step up as Madison strategizes safety

Ben Farrell, Lauren Henning and Anna Walters: Editor’s note: This story came about through a partnership between the Cap Times, Local Voices Network and a University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism class. Students analyzed the Cap Times People’s Agenda and chose to report on non-police solutions for community issues, one of the topics readers identified as a priority. Specifically, the student … Continue reading Police-free schools: Security staff step up as Madison strategizes safety

Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’

Elizabeth Beyer: She said the curriculum offered to students was not intended to be delivered digitally and her children now have online meetings with their teachers for five hours each week compared to 30 hours of live teaching prior to the pandemic. “We need to give parents options so those who feel safe sending their … Continue reading Frustrated Middleton-Cross Plains parent group calls (school board) recall effort a ‘last resort’

Commentary on Taxpayer supported Madison Schools’ compensation practices (and budget)

Scott Girard: The budget vote this summer took place in a June 29 public meeting, and district spokesman Tim LeMonds pointed to a mention in the June 26 staff newsletter, which he called “the primary mechanism used for communicating to all staff.” In that newsletter, a “Budget Update” section on page two includes a mention … Continue reading Commentary on Taxpayer supported Madison Schools’ compensation practices (and budget)

Dane County Board continues to duel with the University of Wisconsin; budget assumes status quo (!)

Kelly Meyerhofer: Brenda Gonzalez, director of community relations at UW-Madison who spoke during the County Board meeting in opposition of the resolution, said testing and protocol put in place should keep the number of positive cases on campus low. She said Public Health Madison and Dane County is monitoring possible transmission of cases from campus … Continue reading Dane County Board continues to duel with the University of Wisconsin; budget assumes status quo (!)

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

Parents Press For Dane County Schools To Teach In-Person During Pandemic

Shamane Mills: Dane County parents upset over online instruction at schools that were intending to hold classes in-person are speaking out following a recent emergency order by the local health department, which restricted all public and private schools to virtual instruction for grades 3-12 because of COVID-19. Parents and their children carried signs outside city … Continue reading Parents Press For Dane County Schools To Teach In-Person During Pandemic

Fall 2020 Madison School District Referenda Notes & Links

Taxpayers have long supported the Madison School District’s far above average spending, while tolerating our long term, disastrous reading results. The district has placed substantial tax and spending increase referendums on the November, 2020 Presidential ballot. A presenter [org chart] further mentioned that Madison spends about $1 per square foot in annual budget maintenance while … Continue reading Fall 2020 Madison School District Referenda Notes & Links

Quincy Local Refuses to Endorse Massachusetts Teachers Association Reopening Statement

Mike Antonucci: The Massachusetts Teachers Association has been active since the COVID-19 shutdown — surveying members, holding meetings and issuing guidelines and policies. The state union hasn’t been shy about providing bargaining instructions to local affiliates, some of which go beyond the standard problems associated with reopening. Last week the MTA board of directors approved a policy statement, … Continue reading Quincy Local Refuses to Endorse Massachusetts Teachers Association Reopening Statement

Waunakee school board reverses decision on all-virtual start to school year

WKOW-TV: The Waunakee Community School District Board of Education voted to reverse its decision on an all-virtual start to the school year. During a meeting Monday night [video], members of the board talked about recent coronavirus numbers and learning options that would best fit the community. In a 4-3 vote, the board was in favor … Continue reading Waunakee school board reverses decision on all-virtual start to school year

Watertown School District looks to open Sept. 1 with face-to-face learning

Ed Zagorski: Imagine a world where Johnny needs a ride every morning and afternoon to and from Webster Elementary School to alleviate the number of children on the school buses. And once Johnny arrives at the his elementary school, he must wait for a a teacher or another staff member to takes his temperature. If … Continue reading Watertown School District looks to open Sept. 1 with face-to-face learning

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?)

Milwaukee plan for bringing students and teachers back to classrooms would start school year with virtual learning, cost $90 million

Annysa Johnson: Tens of thousands of students who attend Milwaukee public schools would start the school year online and gradually return to the classroom once the threat of the coronavirus has subsided, under a $90 million plan proposed by the administration on Monday.  MPS school board members are expected to take up the proposal at … Continue reading Milwaukee plan for bringing students and teachers back to classrooms would start school year with virtual learning, cost $90 million

“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

“The (taxpayer supported Madison School) district paid for $11,607.45 in legal fees as part of the settlement, but did not admit any wrongdoing.

Scott Girard: An open records lawsuit filed anonymously against the Madison Metropolitan School District last fall was settled in May after the district released the records sought. A “John Doe” filed the lawsuit against the district last November represented by attorney Tom Kamenick, the president and founder of the Wisconsin Transparency Project. “My client and I are … Continue reading “The (taxpayer supported Madison School) district paid for $11,607.45 in legal fees as part of the settlement, but did not admit any wrongdoing.

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

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

Madison City Council members warned about illegal meetings

: In a memo to council members on Wednesday, which mentions a local political party but doesn’t name Progressive Dane, May wrote, “I was deeply disturbed to hear reports this week that seven or eight alders met privately to discuss matters on the City Council agenda. Such meetings almost certainly involve negative quorums on some … Continue reading Madison City Council members warned about illegal meetings

Madison School District superintendent-hire Gutiérrez rescinds acceptance

Scott Girard: Gutiérrez was chosen from a group of three finalists in January. They each visited and held a “Day in the District” including a public question and answer session. He visited again after being given the job and a $250,000 contract in March during Seguin’s spring break. While here on that trip, Gutiérrez spoke about … Continue reading Madison School District superintendent-hire Gutiérrez rescinds acceptance

Christina Gomez Schmidt and Wayne Strong for Madison School Board

Wisconsin State Journal: With a pandemic closing schools, protesters disrupting board meetings and a new superintendent starting June 1, the Madison School District needs stability and experience. That’s what Christina Gomez Schmidt, seeking Seat 6, and Wayne Strong, running for Seat 7, will provide on the Madison School Board. The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board … Continue reading Christina Gomez Schmidt and Wayne Strong for Madison School Board

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

The Taxpayer Supported Madison School District offers info session on Behavior Education Plan Tuesday

Scott Girard: Those with questions about the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Behavior Education Plan have a chance to get them answered Tuesday. District staff will hold a session from 6-7:30 p.m. to discuss, “What is the BEP? How does it work? What should I know?” at the Goodman South Public Library, 2222 S. Park St. Speakers at … Continue reading The Taxpayer Supported Madison School District offers info session on Behavior Education Plan Tuesday

Employee health insurance, referenda discussions on Madison School Board agenda Monday

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

Madison School Board candidate forums begin this weekend, continue throughout March

Scott Girard: Voters will have several opportunities this month to hear from candidates for Madison School Board beginning this weekend. The East Side Progressives will hold a forum Sunday, March 8, at Lake Edge Lutheran Church, 4032 Monona Drive. It’s the first of four forums currently planned for the month before the Tuesday, April 7, … Continue reading Madison School Board candidate forums begin this weekend, continue throughout March

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

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

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’

Nearly half of the Palmyra-Eagle school board quits following the ruling that the district won’t dissolve

Bob Dohr: Three of the seven members of the Palmyra-Eagle Area School Board, including the president and vice president, have resigned following the state’s denial of the district’s dissolution attempt. School board president Scott Hoff, vice president Tara Bollmann and clerk Carrie Ollis announced their resignations at the Jan. 14 board meeting, effective at the … Continue reading Nearly half of the Palmyra-Eagle school board quits following the ruling that the district won’t dissolve

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

Administrative Commentary on the taxpayer supported Palmyra-Eagle School District (and the relevance of many smaller districts)

Chris Rickert: Five of the six other board members, all representing other local school districts, agreed. Only the state superintendent of public instruction’s designee to the board, David Carlson, voted against keeping the district open. District employees, students and community members packing the district’s middle school gymnasium where the board was meeting erupted in applause … Continue reading Administrative Commentary on the taxpayer supported Palmyra-Eagle School District (and the relevance of many smaller districts)

Commentary on 2020 Madison School Board Election Candidates

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 Commentary on 2020 Madison School Board Election Candidates

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

Schools Spy on Kids to Prevent Shootings, But There’s No Evidence It Works

Todd Feathers: It was another sleepy board of education meeting in Woodbridge, N.J. The board gave out student commendations and presented budget requests. Parents complained about mold in classrooms. Then, a pair of high schoolers stepped up to the podium with a concern that took the district officials completely off guard. “We have students so … Continue reading Schools Spy on Kids to Prevent Shootings, But There’s No Evidence It Works

Notes and links: Police and the Taxpayer supported Madison School District

David Blaska: “Mainstream education is an oppressive institution,” says one supporter If I read this right, Madison police will continue to provide security and positive role models in Madison’s four main public high schools for two more school years. That is because the Madison Board of Education is not considering evicting the school resource officer … Continue reading Notes and links: Police and the Taxpayer supported Madison School District

Open Records vs the taxpayer funded Madison school board

Chris Rickert: Nicki Vander Meulen, who was elected to the board in 2017 and serves as the board’s clerk, said that in response to the union’s push, district administrators in a private “board briefing” Monday with her and another board member said acceding to the union’s demand would set a “bad precedent.” “That’s virtually telling … Continue reading Open Records vs the taxpayer funded Madison school board

Texas Education AGency (DPI) investigative report cites (open Meetings) misconduct, recommends replacement of HISD board

Jacob Carpenter: Texas Education Agency officials have recommended that a state-appointed governing team replace Houston ISD’s locally elected school board after a six-month investigation found several instances of alleged misconduct by some trustees, including violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, inappropriate influencing of vendor contracts and making false statements to investigators. The recommendation and … Continue reading Texas Education AGency (DPI) investigative report cites (open Meetings) misconduct, recommends replacement of HISD board

Madison’s school board vacancy

Jeffrey Spitzer-Resnick: Thus, I actively participated when MMSD crafted the Behavior Education Plan (BEP). Indeed, I was the person who suggested that it should carry that name instead of simply MMSD’s Discipline policy, because moving away from zero tolerance also requires MMSD to actively engage in teaching children with challenging behaviors how to behave properly. … Continue reading Madison’s school board vacancy

Madison School District facilities plan recommends selling Downtown administrative building

Logan Wroge: The plan suggests that within the next two years, the district begin to identify potential buyers for the building and search for a new location that “meets our operational and instructional support needs, has sufficient parking, is near public transportation, and is somewhat centrally located.” The building — renamed in 1990 for longtime … Continue reading Madison School District facilities plan recommends selling Downtown administrative building

Commentary on madison high school “resource officers”

Negassi Tesfamichael: Under a newly proposed contract between the city and the Madison Metropolitan School District, MMSD has the ability to move away from having an officer in each of the city’s four high schools starting in the 2020-21 school year. Under the new language in the contract, MMSD would have until Sept. 15 to … Continue reading Commentary on madison high school “resource officers”

Madison K-12 Superintendent’s School Board “weekly Update” – via open records (!)

Jennifer Cheatham: Dear Board Members: As you know, we have already begun on boarding our three new board members who will be sworn in later this month. Congratulations to each of them! I want to thank TJ, Dean and James for their service to the Board all these years. I appreciate you so much…your time, … Continue reading Madison K-12 Superintendent’s School Board “weekly Update” – via open records (!)

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’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

Madison schools superintendent pens open letter following Whitehorse incident, calls for action

Negassi Tesfamichael: In an open letter to the community released Thursday morning, Madison School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham acknowledged that the district “cannot be silent” on issues of racial justice. The letter comes eight days after media reports surfaced regarding an alleged assault at Whitehorse Middle School. In that incident, which is still being investigated … Continue reading Madison schools superintendent pens open letter following Whitehorse incident, calls for action

Madison school board’s chickens are roosting

David Blaska: Tony Gallli, dean of the Madison’s broadcast journalists at WKOW-TV27, asked our favorite candidate for Madison School Board Seat #4: Any concerns over using a live feed into the MMSD auditorium Monday evening to satisfy the Open Meetings requirement, as the school board met in a room closed to the public? Blaska answered: … Continue reading Madison school board’s chickens are roosting

San Antonio ISD is weighing multiple partnerships to run schoolsV

Alia Malik: Jason Mims speaks during an SAISD board meeting last year that appoved a contract with Democracy Prep, a New York-based charter school network, to operate Stewart Elementary School. The district is considering Photo: Billy Calzada /San Antonio Express-News Image 2 of 2 Shelley Potter, right, president of the SAISD teachers union, walks with … Continue reading San Antonio ISD is weighing multiple partnerships to run schoolsV

K-12 Governance Diversity: the 2019 Madison School Board Election, Parental Choice and our long term, disastrous reading results

Chris Rickert: Endorsements in this month’s School Board primary from the influential Madison teachers union include one for a candidate who sends her two children to the kind of charter school strongly opposed by the union. Madison Teachers Inc. this week endorsed Ali Muldrow over David Blaska, Laila Borokhim and Albert Bryan for Seat 4; … Continue reading K-12 Governance Diversity: the 2019 Madison School Board Election, Parental Choice and our long term, disastrous reading results

2019 Madison School Board Candidate Events; Kaleem Caire on Accountability

I’ve added the following audio recordings to the 2019 Madison School Board Candidate page. WORT FM Candidate discussion 2.5.2019 Cris Carusi and Kaleem Caire [mp3 audio] Mr. Caire: “If we don’t reach our benchmarks in five years, they can shut us down”. There is no public school in Madison that has closed because only 7 … Continue reading 2019 Madison School Board Candidate Events; Kaleem Caire on Accountability

Meet the ‘crazy’ moms saying one of Pa.’s top-rated school districts can’t teach reading

Avi Wolfman-Arent: The small parent rebellion forming in one of Pennsylvania’s wealthiest school districts began at a Starbucks in suburban Chester County. Over coffee, three moms — Kate Mayer, Jamie Lynch, and Wendy Brooks — swapped stories about how their kids struggled to read as they moved through the Tredyffrin/Easttown school district, located about 30 … Continue reading Meet the ‘crazy’ moms saying one of Pa.’s top-rated school districts can’t teach reading

Advocating status quo, non diverse K-12 Madison Schools Governance

Negassi Tesfamichael: MTI cited Carusi’s opposition to voucher and independent charter schools in its endorsement. “Carusi is opposed to vouchers and independent charter schools and strongly believes that we need to continuously work to improve our public schools, rather than support alternatives,” MTI’s endorsement said. Caire’s One City Schools, which expanded from One City Early … Continue reading Advocating status quo, non diverse K-12 Madison Schools Governance

UW rejects application for independent Madison charter school

Chris Rickert: According to emails released to the State Journal under the state’s open records law, Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham on Sept. 10 asked her chief of staff, Ricardo Jara, and other front-office officials whether Arbor was “worth trying to stop? Or change somehow? If so, how?” Cheatham expressed the district’s opposition to the school in … Continue reading UW rejects application for independent Madison charter school

2019 Madison School Board Election: Madison Teachers Union Candidate Questions

Negassi Tesfamichael: Nearly all current candidates for the Madison School Board have started to make their case to voters and potential endorsers as the primary election heats up. That included answering questions from Madison Teachers Inc., the city’s teachers’ union. Nine candidates are running for three seats on the seven-person School Board. MTI executive director … Continue reading 2019 Madison School Board Election: Madison Teachers Union Candidate Questions

Kaleem Caire adds to political diversity in Madison School Board races (2019)

Chris Rickert: Caire, 47, is a Madison native who in 2011 mounted a contentious and ultimately unsuccessful attempt to get the School Board to approve what was initially conceived as an all-male public charter school serving those who have long struggled in Madison’s traditional public schools: poor children and children of color. In an interview, … Continue reading Kaleem Caire adds to political diversity in Madison School Board races (2019)

Cris Carusi announces run for Madison School Board 2019

Negassi Tesfamichael: Carusi, who has been a district parent for more than a decade and was an active parent-teacher organization member, will seek to unseat incumbent School Board member Dean Loumos, who currently holds Seat 3. Carusi ran in the 2017 primary for Seat 6, which opened up after current mayoral candidate Michael Flores decided … Continue reading Cris Carusi announces run for Madison School Board 2019

“Yes, to Year Around School” Podcast Transcript (Not in the Madison School District)

Scoot Milfred and Phil Hands: Usual mumbo-jumbo, we do on this podcast. Why don’t we invite in today some experts to talk about our topic which is around school. Which Madison is finally going to give a try this fall to experts. I know very well we have all hands on deck here. We have … Continue reading “Yes, to Year Around School” Podcast Transcript (Not in the Madison School District)

Does D.C. Charter Schools’ Autonomy Come at the Cost of Public Accountability? (How does this compare with traditional school governance?)

Rachel Cohen: On a Monday night in late April, the D.C. Public Charter School Board convened for its monthly meeting with plans to vote on new charter school applications. One network, DC Preparatory Academy, submitted two requests for expansion: one to increase their student enrollment ceiling, and one to open a new elementary and middle … Continue reading Does D.C. Charter Schools’ Autonomy Come at the Cost of Public Accountability? (How does this compare with traditional school governance?)

Madison School Board Continues Non Diverse Governance Practices with Proposed Montessori Academy School

Amber Walker: In a 5-2 decision on Monday, the Madison School Board voted to postpone the charter approval of Isthmus Montessori Academy. The board wanted more clarity around the school’s proposed attendance area, financial and academic accountability standards at their three-year mark, and language in the proposal that asks for waivers that apply to early … Continue reading Madison School Board Continues Non Diverse Governance Practices with Proposed Montessori Academy School

Deja Vu: Madison School District Agreement with the US ED Office of Civil Rights

Last October, Madison Superintendent Jen Cheatham signed a resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights regarding OCR’s compliance review of access to advanced coursework by Hispanic and African-American students in the District. The resolution agreement was presented at the December 5, 2016 Instruction Workgroup meeting (agenda item 6.1): http://www.boarddocs.com/wi/mmsd/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=AFL2QH731563 The … Continue reading Deja Vu: Madison School District Agreement with the US ED Office of Civil Rights

Madison’s Schwerpunkt: Government School District Power Play: The New Handbook Process is worth a look

Wisconsin’s stürm and drang over “Act 10” is somewhat manifested in Madison. Madison’s government schools are the only Wisconsin District, via extensive litigation, to still have a collective bargaining agreement with a teacher union, in this case, Madison Teachers, Inc. The Madison School Board and Administration are working with the local teachers union on a … Continue reading Madison’s Schwerpunkt: Government School District Power Play: The New Handbook Process is worth a look

Local Newspaper Adds Sunshine to Madison Schools Budget Process via an Open Records Request…

Molly Beck Even so, “I don’t think they followed the law,” Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council president Bill Lueders said after reviewing minutes from the meetings. “I think they interpreted the (open meetings law) exemption overbroadly. The idea of an open meetings law is that exemptions are supposed to be for extraordinary circumstances and narrowly … Continue reading Local Newspaper Adds Sunshine to Madison Schools Budget Process via an Open Records Request…

“The Plight of History in American Schools”

Diane Ravitch writing in Educational Excellence Network, 1989: Futuristic novels with a bleak vision of the prospects for the free individual characteristically portray a society in which the dictatorship has eliminated or strictly controls knowledge of the past. In Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, the regime successfully wages a “campaign against the Past” by banning … Continue reading “The Plight of History in American Schools”

Charter Deja Vu in Madison: Isthmus Montessori Academy proposes Madison charter school to focus on achievement gap

Seth Jovaag: Melissa Droessler tries not to flinch when she tells people her dream of opening a charter school in Madison. “Even the word ‘charter’ in Madison can be emotionally charged,” she says. But Droessler, director of Isthmus Montessori Academy, is steadfast in her belief that a century-old pedagogy created in the slums of Rome … Continue reading Charter Deja Vu in Madison: Isthmus Montessori Academy proposes Madison charter school to focus on achievement gap