Art Rainwater Retires

Channel3000:

Madison school Superintendent Art Rainwater is officially off the clock. After 14 years of work in Madison, Rainwater stepped down from his post at noon on Monday.
“This will be the first year that I haven’t been involved with school since 1948, so it’s been my whole life,” Rainwater told WISC-TV.
Rainwater came to Madison in 1994 as deputy Superintendent.
He said all it took was a visit to the farmers’ market on the Saturday before his interview for him to realize he was home.
He took the helm as superintendent in 1999.
“I always felt it was a position that I could do the most, with the most children,” said Rainwater. “I think that’s certainly what drove me to be a superintendent.”

Much more on Art Rainwater here.

Art Rainwater: the great communicator

Capital Times Editorial:

Superintendent Art Rainwater attended his last Madison School Board meeting Monday night, and everything seemed so collegial and functional that it was easy to imagine it had always been this way.
But, of course, it was not.
Art Rainwater took over a school district that was in crisis.
When he succeeded former Superintendent Cheryl Wilhoyte a decade ago, the administration was at odds with much of the School Board, the community and, most seriously, with unions representing teachers and other school employees.
Much of the trouble had to do with Wilhoyte’s unwillingness — perhaps inability — to communicate in a straight-forward manner.
Rainwater changed things immediately.
He was frank and accessible, never spoke in the arcane jargon of education bureaucrats and set up a regular schedule of meetings with board members, community leaders and Madison Teachers Inc. executive director John Matthews.

Related: MMSD Today feature on Art Rainwater. Notes and links on Madison’s incoming Superintendent, Dan Nerad
Much more on retiring Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater.
Tamira Madsen covers Art’s last school board meeting.
Time Flies by Art Rainwater.
The Madison School District’s budget was $200,311,280 (24,710 enrollment) in 1994 and is $367,806,712 for the 2008/2009 (24,268 enrollment) school year.

Retiring Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater’s Reign, A Look Back

NBCTV-15:

On June 30th, Art Rainwater is stepping down as superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District.
It’s a position the 65-year-old never expected to fill, in Madison or anywhere else.
“My only career goal was to be a high school football coach,” says Rainwater.
He was in 1965. Rainwater’s career kicked off in Arkansas. The teacher-coach then moved to Texas. Next, Rainwater took a principal job in Alabama. His path eventually led to administrative work in Missouri. Then, in 1994, Rainwater became deputy superintendent in Wisconsin’s Capitol City.
“I’ve served at almost every level of the K-12 education system that you can serve,” he says.
In 1998, he added interim superintendent to his resume, replacing Cheryl Wilhoyte. During her tenure the district hit plenty of road bumps. Tensions were high.
“I think there was a lot of dissatisfaction, across the community, with the school district, at that time,” says Rainwater. “So, the damage control was pretty obvious, (it) was going to happen.”
Rainwater came in with three immediate goals. Smooth things over with the teachers union. Repair the district’s relationship with the UW. And, gain the support of the business community.
“I thought by doing those three things, it would put the new superintendent, in place, to come in and hit the ground running,” he adds.

Many notes and links on Art Rainwater can be found here.

Rainwater (Nerad) Adds 2 to Madison Staff

The Capital Times:

Superintendent Art Rainwater will add a longtime Madison-area educator and a staff member new to the district to his Madison Metropolitan School District staff, pending approval at next week’s School Board meeting.
Ann Yehle will assume the post of executive director of educational services and Erik Kass will take over as assistant superintendent for business services. If these major positions are approved by the Board, Yehle and Kass are expected to be named to the jobs May 5 and will begin their jobs July 1.
Yehle, who currently works as an administrator in the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Division of Reading and Student Achievement, was the principal at Sherman Middle School for six years.

Clusty Search: Ann Yehle / Erik Kass

Looking Back With Retiring Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater

Neil Heinen:

Before he leaves his post as head of the Madison Metropolitan School District, Art Rainwater reflects on the past, present and future of public education for all in a city and a school system that look and feel very different than the ones he was introduced to a decade-and-a-half ago
For an Arkansas native who grew up professionally in Kansas City–and who still looks like he’d be right at home on a Southern high-school football field–it’s hard to imagine Madison schools without Art Rainwater at the helm. The guy’s right up there with Soglin and Alvarez: They hail from somewhere else but if you didn’t know it you’d think they’ve been Madisonians all along.
But just as our collective recollection of his predecessor Cheryl Wilhoyte’s tumultuous term as schools superintendent has faded, so too will our familiarity with the large and at times imposing personality of Rainwater, sixty-five, after he retires in June. What will fade more slowly is the impact he has had on the Madison school district.
While it remains one of the best school districts in America, MMSD faces profound challenges that the next superintendent will inherit from Rainwater, who arrived in Madison almost fourteen years ago to design and implement the district’s first magnet school. He came from the Kansas City, Missouri School District, where he started as a principal in 1987 and finished as special assistant to the superintendent, the number-two position in the district. If Rainwater has seemed comfortable in the eye of the storm, it’s because his career matured amid the extremely difficult and sometimes ugly stress of one of America’s most bitter desegregation battles–a battle that in 1994 looked like it might flare anew.

“Rainwater’s reign: Retiring school superintendent has made big impact”

Susan Troller on retiring Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater:

Later this month, a new contract between Dr. Daniel Nerad and the Madison Metropolitan School District will signal the end of an era. For over a decade, Art Rainwater has been at the helm of Madison’s public schools, guiding the district during a period of rapid demographic change and increasingly painful budget cutting. Both admirers and critics believe Rainwater has had a profound impact on the district.
Retiring Madison schools superintendent Art Rainwater may have the name of a poet, but his first ambition was to be a high school football coach.
“I grew up loving football — still do — especially the intellectual challenge of the game. I was obsessed with it,” Rainwater explained in a recent interview.
In fact, during his early years as an educator, Rainwater was so consumed by his football duties for a Catholic high school in Texas he eventually switched from coaching to school administration for the sake of his family.
In some ways, Rainwater has been an unusual person to lead Madison’s school district — an assertive personality in a town notorious for talking issues to death. His management style grows out of his coaching background — he’s been willing to make unpopular decisions, takes personal responsibility for success or failure, puts a premium on loyalty and hard work and is not swayed by armchair quarterbacks.

A few related links:

Much more on Art here. Like or loath him, Art certainly poured a huge amount of his life into what is a very difficult job. I was always amazed at the early morning emails, then, later, seeing him at an evening event. Best wishes to Art as he moves on.

Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater’s Presentation on the Proposed High School Redesign and Small Learning Community Grant

June 11, 2007 35 Minute Video | MP3 Audio Background Links: High School Redesign SIS Search [rss] Learning from Milwaukee, MPS leads the way on Innovation MMSD High School Redesign Committee Selected High School Redesign Notes Public comments and links. Important new information about credit for non-mmsd courses West HS English 9 and 10: Show … Continue reading Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater’s Presentation on the Proposed High School Redesign and Small Learning Community Grant

Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater on Budget Season

Art Rainwater: Budget season is not as much fun as the other seasons. We approach budget season with anxiety because each new budget season means that we will again reduce the services that our students need. Under the current revenue cap law, yearly service reductions are a fact of life for most school districts in … Continue reading Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater on Budget Season

Notes on Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater’s Reign

Marc Eisen: I could rattle off a half-dozen reasons why it’s a good thing that Art Rainwater is resigning as Madison’s school superintendent in 18 months. But I won’t. I wish instead that he was staying on the job. Rainwater’s lame duck status and the uncertainty over his replacement come at a particularly bad moment … Continue reading Notes on Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater’s Reign

Madison Superintendent Rainwater Tells MTI about Resignation Plans Before He Tells the School Board?

In a guest editorial in The Capital Times on January 10, 2007, MTI leader John Matthews explains that Madison school superintendent Art Rainwater unveiled his plan to resign at the end of 2007-08 to the teachers union leader long before he told the Madison Board of Education in an executive session on Monday, January 8, … Continue reading Madison Superintendent Rainwater Tells MTI about Resignation Plans Before He Tells the School Board?

Art Rainwater on Principals

Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater: Over 20 years ago Dr. Ron Edmonds, a Harvard researcher, first reported the critical role that a school principal’s instructional leadership plays in creating successful learning opportunities for all students. That fundamental proposition has borne the test of further research and time and is now included in almost all school … Continue reading Art Rainwater on Principals

Video of 29-Nov-2006 MUAE Meeting with Supt. Rainwater

The Madison United for Academic Excellence (MUAE) meeting of 29-November-2006 offered a question and answer session with Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater. After opening remarks by Jeff Henriques, the Superintendent summarized his goals, rationale and approach to the high school redesign project, and discussed his prior experience as a teacher and principal. The video of the … Continue reading Video of 29-Nov-2006 MUAE Meeting with Supt. Rainwater

Supt. Rainwater requests reinstatement of Reading First grant funds

MMSD Feds seek Reading First probe by Joe Quick, Legislative Liaison/Communication Specialist Sens. Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold, along with Rep. Tammy Baldwin have requested that the U.S. Department of Education investigate Madison Schools’ loss of an estimated $3.2 million after the district refused to dismantle its successful reading program two years ago, and seek … Continue reading Supt. Rainwater requests reinstatement of Reading First grant funds

Board’s goals for Superintendent Rainwater in 2006-07

On Monday, November 20, 2006, the Madison Board of Education voted unanimously to approve four goals for Superintendent Art Rainwater for 2006-07. (Carstensen, Kobza, Mathiak, Robarts, Silviera, Vang voting yes; Winston absent) The goals require the superintendent to do the following: 1. Initiate and complete a comprehensive, independent and neutral review and assessment of the … Continue reading Board’s goals for Superintendent Rainwater in 2006-07

Superintendent Rainwater: “We need to dramatically change our high schools.”

On Monday, November 27, the Madison School Board will begin to address rumors about major changes coming to our high schools. There are some realities behind the rumors. For example, West High School substantially reduced the English courses for tenth graders this year. The principal at East High School met with parents last week. He … Continue reading Superintendent Rainwater: “We need to dramatically change our high schools.”

Keep an eye on math, board tells Rainwater

The Madison School Board has given Superintendent Art Rainwater a set of specific orders to accomplish in the coming year, including several directives to take an in-depth look at the district’s entire math curriculum. In the past several years, area math educators have expressed concern about the effectiveness of the Madison district’s reliance on a … Continue reading Keep an eye on math, board tells Rainwater

Art Rainwater’s Memo on School Violence

Madison School District Superintendent Art Rainwater: By now, I’m sure you know that last Friday a 15 year old boy entered Weston School in Cazenovia (Sauk County) and allegedly shot and killed the principal. This incident has stirred in all of us the uneasy realization that this can happen anywhere, at anytime. We mourn the … Continue reading Art Rainwater’s Memo on School Violence

Superintendent Rainwater’s Reply Regarding the Math Coordinator Position

Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Art Rainwater replied via email to our “Open letter about Math Coordinator position at MMSD“: On Wed, 31 May 2006, Art Rainwater wrote: Dear Steffen and others; Thank you for sharing your concens. The District has always employed outstanding curriuclum leaders in our Teaching and Learning Department. Mary Ramberg has … Continue reading Superintendent Rainwater’s Reply Regarding the Math Coordinator Position

Making One Size Fit All: Rainwater seeks board input as schools cut ability-based classes

Jason Shephard, writing in this week’s Isthmus: Kerry Berns, a resource teacher for talented and gifted students in Madison schools, is worried about the push to group students of all abilities in the same classrooms. “I hope we can slow down, make a comprehensive plan, [and] start training all teachers in a systematic way” in … Continue reading Making One Size Fit All: Rainwater seeks board input as schools cut ability-based classes

Art Rainwater’s Monthly Column: Current School Finance System Needs to Change: “Advanced Courses May

Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater: School districts across Wisconsin are preparing to begin the yearly ritual of reducing services to their students. Under the current revenue caps there really is no choice for most of us. For most districts the easy choices were made long ago. After twelve years of revenue caps there are only … Continue reading Art Rainwater’s Monthly Column: Current School Finance System Needs to Change: “Advanced Courses May

Barbara Golden: Is Art Rainwater Doing a Good Job?

Barbara Golden: The Madison Metropolitan School District HAS NOT CLOSED THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP. Black third graders are still not reading at the same level as white students, most school arrests involve African Americans and the graduation gap is as wide as ever. Black students are disproportionately referred to special education (and once in, rarely get … Continue reading Barbara Golden: Is Art Rainwater Doing a Good Job?

Illinois Teacher Calls Art Rainwater’s Recent Message “Misquided”

Bruce Allardice, a public school teacher in Des Plains, ILL wrote a letter to the Capital Times in response to Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater’s recent article on the need for public education: Dear Editor: If I was grading the Tuesday guest column of Madison School District Superintendent Art Rainwater titled “Free public education is … Continue reading Illinois Teacher Calls Art Rainwater’s Recent Message “Misquided”

Letter from Art Rainwater to Sherman Parents About Changes at Sherman and Plans for all Madison Middle Schools

In response to inquiries from Sherman Middle School parents, Art Rainwater wrote a letter to parents/guardians dated June 27, 2005. In that letter he mentioned District plans to revisit the core courses taught middle school students – “…we will revisit this document [Common Expectations for All Middle Schools] again, beginning this summer, and address each … Continue reading Letter from Art Rainwater to Sherman Parents About Changes at Sherman and Plans for all Madison Middle Schools

Superintendent Rainwater’s Letter to Governor Doyle

Madison School Superintendent Art Rainwater via WisPolitics : Thank you for making public education in Wisconsin a priority in the budget you presented to the Legislature – a proposal that protected Wisconsin’s overburdened property tax payers and the children of the state. Unfortunately, the budget before you resembles little of what you offered for our … Continue reading Superintendent Rainwater’s Letter to Governor Doyle

Superintendent Rainwater: It doesn’t matter what Johnny thinks

In Thursday’s Capital Times article titled “Strings program is still not safe” by Lee Sensenbrenner, the Superintendent said, “It doesn’t matter what Johnny thinks!” Mr. Winston responded strongly. “I would like to see the strings program continued somehow, some way,” Winston added. “I think the community wants that. I think that’s loud and clear.” Mr. … Continue reading Superintendent Rainwater: It doesn’t matter what Johnny thinks

Superintendent Art Rainwater- Public Doesn’t Care

I watched the school board last Monday talk about the process for the “budget” up until the referendum. The original timeline had public hearings being completed prior to release of the 2005-2006 budget. Why? As Superintendent Rainwater says people don’t care about the budget; they only care about the programs, courses and services they want … Continue reading Superintendent Art Rainwater- Public Doesn’t Care

Mr. Rainwater, I am looking at you. And I�m more than disappointed.

Dear Editor, I just returned from the annual Madison Strings Festival with a warm feeling in my heart. It wasn�t the warmth of joy, however, despite the lasting echoes of 1,000 children playing music. It was the embers of rage beginning to kindle. For the fourth time, the Strings Festival was tainted by rumblings of … Continue reading Mr. Rainwater, I am looking at you. And I�m more than disappointed.

Lawrie Kobza Leads the School Board – Superintendent Art Rainwater’s goals

Good for Lawrie! She’s leading the School Board and showing Bill Clingan how a board member needs to lead. At the Northside Planning Council candidates’ forum, Lawrie Kobza emphasized that she would have public discussions to set annual measurable goals and objectives for the Superintendent. The last time his goals were set with the School … Continue reading Lawrie Kobza Leads the School Board – Superintendent Art Rainwater’s goals

Superintendent Art Rainwater Proposes to Decimate Fine Arts: Turns Back on Curriculum and Academic Achievement Benefits of Fine Arts Education – Fails to Work with the Community, Year After Year

Superintendent Art Rainwater proposes (2005-2006 Budget Discussion Items)to cut another $1 million in elementary music and art education once again this year without any prior curriculum review and assessment of impact on children’s learning and achievement – that would have involved teachers and the community. MADISON SCHOOL BOARD CONTINUES TO IGNORE CHILDREN’S, PARENTS’, TEACHERS’ AND … Continue reading Superintendent Art Rainwater Proposes to Decimate Fine Arts: Turns Back on Curriculum and Academic Achievement Benefits of Fine Arts Education – Fails to Work with the Community, Year After Year

Rainwater pushes a new school: He’s told to prepare a contingency plan

Lee Sensenbrenner writing in The Capital Times on February 22, 2005: “You’re manipulating my vote,” said Mary Kay Battaglia, who has children at Crestwood Elementary and Jefferson Middle School. “You’re giving me a choice to move my child and 1,100 others or to vote for a referendum I don’t think is necessary.”… …Board member Bill … Continue reading Rainwater pushes a new school: He’s told to prepare a contingency plan

Report on Rainwater meeting about East principal selection

An author, asking to remain anonymous, prepared a summary of the meeting on January 18, when Superintendent Rainwater met with community members and discussed the process for selecting a new principal at East High School. The author concluded: “If you believe that our superintendent cares about East and wants to get it right this time … Continue reading Report on Rainwater meeting about East principal selection

Update on Hiring MMSD Fine Arts Coordinator – Art Rainwater Briefs Board on Ongoing Delay and Reposting of Position with Fewer Requirements

Art Rainwater informed MMSD School Board members on January 10, 2005 that the Fine Arts Coordinator position would be reposted. Why? It’s unclear, as the following quicktime movie shows. There were about 9 candidates. Members on the committee, who included MMSD and public representatives, said they forwarded two qualified candidates for the next step toward … Continue reading Update on Hiring MMSD Fine Arts Coordinator – Art Rainwater Briefs Board on Ongoing Delay and Reposting of Position with Fewer Requirements

Art Rainwater’s Email regarding Reading First

Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater sent me an email today regarding this paper. Here’s his email: Dear Jim I received a copy of your email to Diane Mayerfeld regarding reading in the Madison Schools. I would like to set straight the misinformation that is contained in the document that you included with your email. First … Continue reading Art Rainwater’s Email regarding Reading First

Superintendent Art Rainwater’s recent comments on the Budget and the Reading First rejection

I recently received a copy of the minutes of the November 3, 2004 Superintendent’s Faculty Committee meeting. During this meeting Superintendent Art Rainwater discusses a variety of topics, including the recent rejection of $2M in Reading First funds and the district’s budget. The minutes are available in this 350K pdf document. Highlights: On Declining Federal … Continue reading Superintendent Art Rainwater’s recent comments on the Budget and the Reading First rejection

Reading program not worth cost; Rainwater pledges that it will continue

This week’s Isthmus includes a damning internal assessment of Reading Recovery, “a remedial first-grade reading program considered a cornerstone of Madison’s school iteracy efforts.” “The district would be ‘well-served to investigate other methods’ to reach struggling reaaders, says the report.” One of those other methods will be presented Sunday, at 1:00 p.m., at the Madison … Continue reading Reading program not worth cost; Rainwater pledges that it will continue

Insights into Rainwater’s comment on MMSD’s 80% success in reading

Ruth Robarts wrote, “In his memo [to reject $2 million in Reading First funds]Superintendent Rainwater argues that MMSD should refuse to make the proposed changes at the five schools because we are a “successful” district. He states that our reading program is a success because more than 80% of all third graders score at grade … Continue reading Insights into Rainwater’s comment on MMSD’s 80% success in reading

Superintendant Rainwater turns down $2m in Federal Reading Funds

Lee Sensenbrenner on Art Rainwater’s recent decision to turn down up to $2M in federal reading funds. I have several comments: 1. I have no doubt that some state and federal regulations are non-sensical. 2. I have to agree with Ruth Robarts that this issue should have come before the board. 3. I find it … Continue reading Superintendant Rainwater turns down $2m in Federal Reading Funds

LaGuardia High School in NYC in uproar over ‘equitable’ academics

Mary Kay Linge The sabotage is ongoing,” another parent said — recalling that Vasconcelos previously made waves for suggesting that AP tests “reflect systemic racism” and tried to scale back LaGuardia’s AP offerings. Draft schedules circulating among the faculty show the instructional day being shaved down by nearly two hours for the Fall 2022 semester.  While 10 periods would … Continue reading LaGuardia High School in NYC in uproar over ‘equitable’ academics

New data shows shift at Lowell High School: More students given failing grades after admissions change

Ricardo Cano, Nanette Asimov Teachers at San Francisco’s Lowell High School gave freshman students significantly more D and F grades this past fall, the first semester after the school board eliminated the merit-based admissions it had relied on for decades. The lower grades, while expected by many, are likely to become part of a fervid … Continue reading New data shows shift at Lowell High School: More students given failing grades after admissions change

Open Records Response: “Community Leader & Stakeholder” meeting with Madison Superintendent Candidates

On January 21, 2020, I sent this email to board@madison.k12.wi.us Hi: I hope that you are well. I write to make an open records request for a list of invitees and participants in last week’s “community leader and stakeholder” meetings with the (Superintendent) candidates. Thank you and best wishes, Jim Hearing nothing, I wrote on … Continue reading Open Records Response: “Community Leader & Stakeholder” meeting with Madison Superintendent Candidates

As long as Montgomery County fails to teach children to read, it will have gaps

Karin Chenoweth: In the words of the report, Montgomery County’s curriculum does “not include the necessary components to adequately address foundational skills.” If you’re not immersed in these issues, you might not recognize just how scathing this language is. Montgomery County fails to do what just about all cognitive scientists and most reading researchers agree … Continue reading As long as Montgomery County fails to teach children to read, it will have gaps

Madison K-12 incoming Superintendent Gutiérrez Commentary

Scott Girard: Tuesday afternoon, he spent 15 minutes taking questions from the press and another 15 minutes answering questions from seven students at Glendale Elementary School, where the press conference was held. “There is some division in the community, so we’ve got to bridge that gap,” Gutiérrez said. “There is some division between the Doyle … Continue reading Madison K-12 incoming Superintendent Gutiérrez Commentary

Madison School Board 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

A Conversation About the Science of Reading and Early Reading Instruction with Dr. Louisa Moats

Kelly Stuart & Gina Fugnitto: Dr. Louisa Moats: The body of work referred to as the “science of reading” is not an ideology, a philosophy, a political agenda, a one-size-fits-all approach, a program of instruction, nor a specific component of instruction. It is the emerging consensus from many related disciplines, based on literally thousands of … Continue reading A Conversation About the Science of Reading and Early Reading Instruction with Dr. Louisa Moats

“The achievement rate has gotten worse. The failure rate of kids has gotten worse. We would keep thinking that we were solving the problem, the United Way and all of these organizations jump on it, but it doesn’t change a thing.”

Steven Elbow: The problem, some say, is that disparities impact a population that has little political or economic clout. And white people, who control the levers of commerce and government, address only pieces of an interconnected web of issues that include child development, education, economics and criminal justice. Brandi Grayson co-founded Young, Gifted and Black … Continue reading “The achievement rate has gotten worse. The failure rate of kids has gotten worse. We would keep thinking that we were solving the problem, the United Way and all of these organizations jump on it, but it doesn’t change a thing.”

Deja vu: 2008 – 2019 Credit for non MadIson School District Courses and Adult Employment

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

Gifted Education in Massachusetts: A Practice and Policy Review

Dana Ansel: Last year, the Massachusetts Legislature decided that the time had come to understand the state of education that gifted students receive in Massachusetts. They issued a mandate for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to review the policy and practices of education in public schools for gifted students as well as for … Continue reading Gifted Education in Massachusetts: A Practice and Policy Review

At a Loss for Words How a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers

Emily Hanford: For decades, schools have taught children the strategies of struggling readers, using a theory about reading that cognitive scientists have repeatedly debunked. And many teachers and parents don’t know there’s anything wrong with it. “THE DATA CLEARLY INDICATE THAT BEING ABLE TO READ IS NOT A REQUIREMENT FOR GRADUATION AT (MADISON) EAST, ESPECIALLY … Continue reading At a Loss for Words How a flawed idea is teaching millions of kids to be poor readers

Madison Superintendent Search Commentary; Groundhog Day, in some ways

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

A crack in Madison’s non diverse K-12 governance model: independent charter One City Schools

Logan Wroge: In a previous attempt at a charter school, Caire proposed the Madison Preparatory Academy, which would have served a similar population as One City Schools, but would have been for grades 6-12. The Madison School Board rejected the idea in December 2011. Caire sought to bring his “change-maker” approach to the Madison School … Continue reading A crack in Madison’s non diverse K-12 governance model: independent charter One City Schools

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

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

Commentary on Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 School Discipline and Achievement Climate

Kaleem Caire: Our School District has an obligation to learn from these incidents and to ensure that our staff, students and parents have clear guidelines about how to address similar situations when they arise, and how they can also avoid such challenges as well. After reading the police reports, it is clear to me that … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 School Discipline and Achievement Climate

Commentary on Wisconsin Department of Instruction Superintendent Stanford Taylor

Logan Wroge: Stanford Taylor said the two-year education spending package is an “equity budget” meant to target Wisconsin’s achievement gaps between races, children with or without disabilities, low-income students and limited-English learners. “We have to be very intentional about how we’re going to go about making sure that we’re lifting all of those students up, … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin Department of Instruction Superintendent Stanford Taylor

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

Minnesota’s persistent literacy gap has lawmakers looking for ways to push evidence-based reading instruction

Erin Hinrichs: “Minnesota has a state of emergency regarding literacy. I’m very disappointed with where we’re at right now with the persistent reading success gap between white students and students of color,” he said Wednesday. “We are not making adequate progress, and the future of tens of thousands of our students is seriously at risk … Continue reading Minnesota’s persistent literacy gap has lawmakers looking for ways to push evidence-based reading instruction

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

“One issue state officials say they have detected as they monitor the effectiveness of the READ Act is that not all teachers are up to date on how best to teach reading.”

Christopher Osher: But districts are free to use their READ Act per-pupil funds on whatever curriculum they want, even on interventions researchers have found ineffective. “Typically, as with any education policy, we’re only given so much authority on what we can tell districts to do and what we monitor for,” Colsman said in an interview … Continue reading “One issue state officials say they have detected as they monitor the effectiveness of the READ Act is that not all teachers are up to date on how best to teach reading.”

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

deja vu: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results

Laurie Frost and Heff Henriques: Children who are not proficient readers by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school. Additionally, two-thirds of them will end up in prison or on welfare. Though these dismal trajectories are well known, Madison School District’s reading scores for minority students remain unconscionably low and … Continue reading deja vu: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results

2019 Election: Why are all of the Madison School Board seats at-large? (Curious statute words limiting legislation to Madison)

Negassi Tesfamichael m: Why are all of the Madison School Board seats at-large? The answer lies in state law. Tucked into a section of state statutes about how school boards and districts are organized is a requirement that applies directly to MMSD. The requirement says that unified school districts — such as MMSD — “that … Continue reading 2019 Election: Why are all of the Madison School Board seats at-large? (Curious statute words limiting legislation to Madison)

Re-thinking integration, Parents and the Madison Experience

The Grade: There are two main reasons why Eliza Shapiro’s New York Times piece, Why Black Parents Are Turning to Afrocentric Schools, is this week’s best. The first is that it’s a really well-written piece of journalism. The second is that it addresses an important and previously under-covered topic: parents of color interested in alternatives … Continue reading Re-thinking integration, Parents and the Madison Experience

Madison Teachers Union and the 2019 school board election: Commentary, Spending and Academic Results

Chris Rickert: The questionnaire also includes several questions about teachers’ ability to have a say in their compensation and working conditions, and asks whether the candidates “support the reinstatement of collective bargaining rights for all public employees (currently prohibited by Act 10)?” Act 10 is the controversial 2011 law passed by Republicans that stripped most … Continue reading Madison Teachers Union and the 2019 school board election: Commentary, Spending and Academic Results

Skylar Croy withdrawing from 2019 Madison School Board race, name will still appear on ballot

Negassi Tesfamichael: Madison School Board candidate Skylar Croy said in an interview with the Cap Times Friday that he would suspend his campaign and withdraw from the Seat 3 race, citing personal reasons. Because Croy turned in his verified nomination signatures on Wednesday to the city clerk’s office, the third-year University of Wisconsin law student’s … Continue reading Skylar Croy withdrawing from 2019 Madison School Board race, name will still appear on ballot

“Perhaps the real pipeline is that the Madison School District is unable to teach too many students of color basic reading skills”

Merrilee Pickett: I attended a Madison City Council police oversight committee meeting and was surprised that I was one of only a handful of citizens in attendance. The others in attendance were the usual people who are quoted in the local media, and who evidently have great influence over members of the City Council. Was … Continue reading “Perhaps the real pipeline is that the Madison School District is unable to teach too many students of color basic reading skills”

2019 Madison School Board Candidates; Competitive Races!

Seat 3 Kaleem Caire, 7856 Wood Reed Drive, Madison Cristiana Carusi, 5709 Bittersweet Place Skylar Croy, 502 N. Frances St., Madison Seat 4 David Blaska, 5213 Loruth Terrace, Madison Laila Borokhim, 2214 Monroe St., Madison Albert Bryan, 4302 Hillcrest Drive, Madison Ali Muldrow, 1966 East Main St., Madison Seat 5 TJ Mertz, 1210 Gilson St., … Continue reading 2019 Madison School Board Candidates; Competitive Races!

“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”

Laurie Frost and Jeff Henriques: Dear Editor: We read “The new math: how data is changing the way teachers teach” with great interest. We learned that for freshmen at East High School, coming to school 90 percent of the time, having a 3.0 grade point average, and having no more than two failing grades is … Continue reading “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”

School Board member James Howard not running for re-election (2019)

Negassi Tesfamichael: The three-term School Board member said he is most proud of helping further MMSD’s work on diversity and inclusion. Howard said he wished the School Board could have approved several more major initiatives that he said would have helped students of color. Howard, the only black man on the School Board, is currently … Continue reading School Board member James Howard not running for re-election (2019)

Who’s running for Madison School Board (so far)? 2019

Negassi Tesfamichael: The Madison School Board’s general election is still nearly five months away, but candidates have been jumping into the race the past few weeks at a rapid pace. Three seats on the seven-person School Board will be on the ballot this spring, and each seat will be contested. Here’s what you need to … Continue reading Who’s running for Madison School Board (so far)? 2019

Madison School Board needs Blaska’s voice (2019 election)

Gary L. Kriewald: It appears we are headed toward a School Board election that promises something new: a candidate whose voice will do more than add sound and fury to the liberal echo chamber that is Madison politics. David Blaska has the background, experience and most importantly the courage to expose the abuses and neglect … Continue reading Madison School Board needs Blaska’s voice (2019 election)

Organization vs Mission: Madison’s legacy K-12 Governance model vs Parent and Student choice; 2018

Chris Rickert: Meanwhile, in a sign of how the Madison district is responding to subsequent charter applications, former Madison School Board member Ed Hughes said he went before the Goodman Community Center’s board on the district’s behalf on Sept. 24 to express the district’s opposition to another proposed non-district charter school, Arbor Community School, which … Continue reading Organization vs Mission: Madison’s legacy K-12 Governance model vs Parent and Student choice; 2018

TJ Mertz to run for re-election to Madison School Board (2019)

Negassi Tesfamichael: Mertz said he will look to highlight his record during the campaign, and also talk about building trust and accountability in the Madison Metropolitan School District. “In order for us to provide our students the education they deserve, we need to work to repair the breakdowns of trust we see manifested in the … Continue reading TJ Mertz to run for re-election to Madison School Board (2019)

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)

Kaleem Caire announces run for Madison School Board (2019)

Negassi Tesfamichael: “I’ve been working in the field ever since,” Caire said in an interview with the Cap Times. “The number one thing is that I’ve been really frustrated about how little attention is focused on young people in our city and country.” One City Schools, which expanded from One City Early Learning Center, is … Continue reading Kaleem Caire announces run for Madison School Board (2019)

Civics, K-12 Governance & Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: The Smart Technocats And Benevolent Dictators Always Fail

Points and figures Have you heard of Bill Easterly? He is an economics professor at NYU. He wrote a book, The Tyranny of Experts. I’d suggest that you read it. It seems as though everyone is quoting from Hillbilly Elegy these days and I think I’d rather see them pick up the ethos of this … Continue reading Civics, K-12 Governance & Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: The Smart Technocats And Benevolent Dictators Always Fail

Outspoken conservative blogger to run for seat on liberal Madison School Board (2019)

Chris Rickert: It starts with safety and discipline,” said Blaska, who on his blog has been sharply critical of the district’s deliberations over whether to continue stationing Madison police officers in the high schools. Despite raucous protests by the activist group Freedom Inc., a committee of the board recommended on Sept. 26 that the police … Continue reading Outspoken conservative blogger to run for seat on liberal Madison School Board (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

Ananda Mirilli is running for Madison School Board (2019)

Negassi Tesfamichael:
 A second candidate has announced that she will run for a seat on the Madison School Board this spring.
Ananda Mirilli, who first ran for School Board in 2013, filed paperwork with the city clerk’s office Wednesday announcing she will run for Seat 5, which is currently held by TJ Mertz.
Mirilli finished third in … Continue reading Ananda Mirilli is running for Madison School Board (2019)

On Madison: “It was a lot of talk”

Cathleen Draper: “It was a lot of talk,” Johnson said. “[There’s] a lot of good people doing a lot of good things, but systemically, when you look at the data, things are not getting better. Systemically, we’re still operating in silos.” Before leaving Madison, Johnson called for greater funding and committed community leadership. He cited … Continue reading On Madison: “It was a lot of talk”

Madison Schools’ 4th Grade Reading: 2005-2016

Madison has long spent far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, now around $20k per student. Yet, we have long tolerated disastrous reading results. 2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before: On November 7, Superintendent Art … Continue reading Madison Schools’ 4th Grade Reading: 2005-2016

Commentary on Madison’s K-12 spending, curriculum, rhetoric and governance practices “Plenty of Resources (2013)”

Steven Elbow: To make their point, the couple traced reading and math proficiency rates for the class of 2017 through the years, finding that the black and Hispanic cohorts saw little if any improvements between grades three to 11 and trailed white students by as many as 50 percentage points. “Both of these things suggest … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s K-12 spending, curriculum, rhetoric and governance practices “Plenty of Resources (2013)”

“We are 10 steps behind”: Detroit students seek fair access to literacy

CBS News: Our series, School Matters, features extended stories and investigations on education. In this installment, we’re looking at a lawsuit winding its way through the federal appeals process that questions whether access to literacy is a constitutional right. A federal judge in Michigan recently ruled it wasn’t when he dismissed a 2016 case. That … Continue reading “We are 10 steps behind”: Detroit students seek fair access to literacy

The Harsh Truth About Progressive Cities; Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results

David Dahmer: How can this be, in a “unversity town”? It’s true, some more affluent people reside in this city due to the existence of a large, world-class university. People with more money do create disparities. Does that explain the exodus of brown and black professionals when they complete their four years at the university … Continue reading The Harsh Truth About Progressive Cities; Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results

“We weren’t teaching phonics consistently in the early grades”

Paul Fanlund: For example? “If you’re looking for the simplest examples, we weren’t consistently teaching students the fundamentals of reading in the earliest grades. We weren’t teaching phonics consistently in the early grades, and then you wonder why students aren’t attaining the skills, the basic skills … the foundational skills of reading. We still have … Continue reading “We weren’t teaching phonics consistently in the early grades”

Mission Vs Organization: Shades Of Cutting Strings….

Valerie Strauss: “Their priorities are distorted. We need to make a decision to put kids first. Especially when they’re savings is about $500,000 to $750,000, when they’re paying out a million dollars on, on public relations specialists and on lobbyists, a million dollars.” Former Superintendent Art Rainwater frequently attempted to kill Madison’s strings program. Like … Continue reading Mission Vs Organization: Shades Of Cutting Strings….

K-12 Math Rigor? Are High School Graduates Capable Of Basic Cost/Benefit Calculations…

Kevin Carey: The problem, from a regulatory standpoint, is that they borrow a lot of money to obtain the degree — over $78,000 on average, according to the university. The total tuition is $62,593. And because it’s a graduate program, students can also borrow the full cost of their living expenses from the federal government, … Continue reading K-12 Math Rigor? Are High School Graduates Capable Of Basic Cost/Benefit Calculations…

Big bang for just a few bucks: The impact of math textbooks in California

Cory Koedel and Morgan Polikoff, via a kind Dan Dempsey email: Textbooks are one of the most widely used educational inputs, but remarkably little is known about their effects on student learning. This report uses data collected from elementary schools in California to estimate the impacts of mathematics textbook choices on student achievement. We study … Continue reading Big bang for just a few bucks: The impact of math textbooks in California