Scott Girard: Seven years later, Bah had improved her writing and journalism skills enough to receive the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association’s “2023 Wisconsin Journalist of the Year” recognition and is now competing for the title of National High School Journalist of the Year through the national Journalism Education Association. Bah recently spoke with the Cap … Continue reading State’s young journalist of the year grateful for Simpson Street Free Press experience
Kelly Lecker: Daniel Garduno pushed his slight frame into the circle of young adults standing around the newsroom in a Monona storefront and offered me a firm handshake, a business card and a preview of the article he was writing on volcanic activity on Mars. By his own admission and according to his coaches at … Continue reading Simpson Street Free Press fills gaps beyond news
Dave Zweifel: I’ve found the perfect tonic to lift my spirits when I become depressed over this nonsensical and often dysfunctional world. I arrange a visit with the young people who are the brains and brawn behind the Simpson Street Free Press, and then my hope for the future is restored. Ben Reddersen, one of … Continue reading Simpson Street Free Press turns 30
Cris Cruz, 17 & Josepha Da Costa: Negassi Tesfamichael is a former education reporter at The Capital Times. Simpson Street Free Press reporters recently had a chance to catch up with Negassi, who is finishing his first year at the Pritzker School of Law at Northwestern University. In his tenure at the Cap Times, Negassi … Continue reading Simpson Street Free Press talks journalism, law school with former Cap Times reporter Negassi Tesfamichael
LOUISE S. ROBBINS, via a kind reader: As the Madison School District decides which organizations and partners to fund, it should embrace — and support — the Simpson Street Free Press. The Simpson Street student newspaper, unlike some of the district’s attempts to bridge the achievement gap between students of color and white students, has … Continue reading Simpson Street Free Press deserves investment
Wisconsin Watch: Wisconsin’s largest newspaper and a small Madison paper produced mostly by teens are among the honorees of the 2019 Openness Awards, or Opees, bestowed annually by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, along with awards to a Wausau-based citizens environmental group and a state senator who is seeking to end his colleagues’ ability … Continue reading The Simpson Street Free Press was awarded the 2019 Media Openness Award, or “Mopee,” by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council
Simpson Street Free Press: Madison School District Responds to Civil Rights Investigation Are Rising MMSD Grad Rates Something to Celebrate? Madison’s ACT College Readiness Gap City of Madison Initiative Demonstrates Lack of Transparency Impressive. I hope that they continue their work.
Lauren Hill: This summer, Simpson Street Free Press is celebrating 25 years of efforts tackling Madison’s educational achievement gaps through its out-of-school literacy programs. Three assistant editors represented the organization at a Rotary Club of Madison South luncheon Monday, sharing SSFP’s plans for its 25th year. SSFP is a literacy program based in South Madison … Continue reading Simpson Street Free Press At 25
About a dozen children are spread out at tables in the Simpson Street Free Press newsroom. They chat while poring over reference books and old issues of National Geographic to research stories. They jot down notes on large yellow pads.
Nancy GarduAo, a bright teenager whose immigrant parents have an elementary school education, is reading a book. She says she dreams of attending UCLA or Duke after she graduates from high school. She has already applied for more than 20 college scholarships and received a few of them. GarduÃo, 17, has been working at Simpson Street since she was 8 years old and says she struggled in school — especially with writing — before that.
“It really stinks when you’re stuck on a math problem and your friends can just go to their parents and ask for help, whereas I would have to wake up early and ride my bike to school to go talk to my teacher or something,” GarduÃo says.
Simpson Street became the place where GarduÃo could work on her writing, get help with homework and learn how to search for scholarships.
“I know my parents can’t afford it, which is why I didn’t even think I was going to go to college,” GarduÃo says. “But after getting some of those scholarships, it’s looking more realistic now.”
Simpson Street Free Press has been teaching kids to write and report for more than 20 years. The award-winning program started in a room at the Broadway-Simpson Street neighborhood center before moving across the street in 1996 to South Towne Mall. Over the years it has added more newsrooms and diversified its programming. Later this month it will launch Falk Free Press, its fourth newspaper, along with its first bilingual edition, La Prenza Libre de Simpson Street.
The public is warmly invited to the following events at the Simpson Street Free Press: Science, Math, Women and Career Choices: Community Forum Date: Thursday November 4th Time: 6 pm Education, careers and the choice we will make: A community forum. The forum will be hosted by former Free Press editor and columnist Andrea Gilmore. … Continue reading Upcoming events at the Simpson Street Free Press
The Capital Times Madison’s Simpson Street Free Press, the newspaper written and produced by young people for other young people, was recognized Thursday in a White House ceremony as one of the country’s best youth programs. The paper, which was founded in 1992 to help struggling students on the south side of Madison improve their … Continue reading Top national honor goes to Simpson Street Free Press
The current issue of The Simpson Street Free Press includes pieces by both Jazmin Jackson and Andrea Gilmore on the importance of arts education. This issue also has a letter to the editor from School Board member Johnny Winston, Jr. on the arts funding issues facing the District.
Dear Editor: Thank you for your comments regarding the reductions in Madison Metropolitan School District’s 4th and 5th grade elementary strings program and other Fine Arts programs. I personally know the importance of the strings program. I played the violin many years ago as a student at Lindbergh Elementary School. I continue to support Fine … Continue reading Guest Editorial to the Simpson Street Free Press
On Thursday July 21st, I was asked to speak to a group of students at the Simpson Street Free Press regarding the recent budget cuts and threats to music and fine arts programming in the MMSD. I have to say that I really enjoy the opportunity to speak with students. I feel it is very … Continue reading Simpson Street Free Press
Amber Walker: Before she started teaching at Madison’s Black Hawk Middle School this year, Deidre Green developed an attribute all teachers need: eyes in the back of her head. She got them working as managing editor of the Simpson Street Free Press. “From my desk in the back of the room, I could watch the … Continue reading Miracle on Simpson street
High Expectations For All Students is the Way to Beat the Achievement Gaps
Simpson Street Free Press editorial
Chantal Van Ginkel, age 18
Historically, Madison West High School has not had a spotless regard regarding race relations. Before and during the 1990’s, the school was accused by some of segregation. Most white students had their lockers on the second floor, while most minority students used lockers on the ground floor.
To the school’s credit, changes in policies have greatly improved a once hostile environment. Some of these changes include getting rid of remedial classes, and implementing SLC’s or Small Learning Communities.
A more recent change, however, has sparked controversy and heated debate. Madison West High School plans to largely eliminate honors classes. This is part of an attempt to provide equal opportunity for all students by homogenizing their classroom experience.
At one time, this might have been a good step toward desegregation of West’s student body. It is not a good idea now.
To some extent, enrollment in honors courses of all Madison high schools is racially segregated. Affluent students and white students take advanced courses much more frequently than other students.
But in my opinion, the lack of more rigorous courses is a problem. It is a problem for all students at West. Many parents, students and some faculty share this sentiment.
Recently, a petition signed by over a hundred West attendance area parents requested that 9th and 10th grade honors classes be reinstated. When Superintendent Nerad took steps to make this, some members of the West High teaching staff spoke up. They asserted that honors classes are racist. The project to reinstate advanced course offerings for West’s freshmen and sophomores was then abandoned.
Honors classes, in and of themselves, are not inherently racist. Rather, the expectation that only certain students will take these classes is the problem. The fact that too many minority students end up in remedial courses is racist, but eliminating rigorous courses is not the answer.
As writers for this newspaper have said many times, the real racism is the cancer of low expectations. High expectations for all of our students is how we will beat the achievement gaps in local schools. Low expectations will only make our problem worse.
Note: Madison West High School has not had honors classes in 9th and 10th grade for several years. (The only exception to that is the historically lone section of Accelerated Biology, which some West teachers have repeatedly tried to get rid of.) Not only that, but Madison West High School is the only Madison high school that does not have any honors/advanced/accelerated classes in English and Social Studies in 9th and 10th grade. All West 9th and 10th grade students are expected to take regular English 9 and 10 and regular Social Studies 9 and 10, in completely heterogeneous (by ability) classes.
Note: The petition mentioned by the author — the one requesting honors classes in English and Social Studies in 9th and 10th grade — has now been signed by almost 200 current, past and future West community members.
Susan Troller, via a kind reader’s email:
Madison’s achievement gap — driven in large part by how well white students perform on the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam — is significant compared to other urban districts in the state with high minority populations. White students here perform significantly better on the annual tests than students in Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha and Beloit and scores for Madison’s black students are somewhat better than in Milwaukee or Racine. But black students’ scores in Madison are lower than Kenosha’s and, among younger students, lower than Beloit’s, too.
The point spread between the scores of Madison’s white and black sophomore students on the WKCE’s 2008 math test was a whopping 50 points: 80 percent of the white students taking the test scored in the advanced and proficient categories while just 30 percent of the black students scored in those categories. It’s a better performance than in Milwaukee, where just 19 percent of black students scored in the advanced and proficient categories, or Racine, where 23 percent did, but it lags behind Kenosha’s 38 percent. None of the scores are worth celebrating.
Adam Gamoran, director of the Wisconsin Education Research Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is a nationally known expert whose work has often explored issues related to the achievement gap. He says racism, overt or inadvertent, may make school feel like a hostile environment for black students, and that it needs to be recognized as a potential factor in the achievement gap.
“It would be naive to say it doesn’t exist, and that it’s not a problem for a certain number of students,” Gamoran says. He cites disproportionate disciplinary actions and high numbers of black students referred to special education, as indicators of potential unequal treatment by race.
Green, who attended Madison’s public schools, says when black students are treated unfairly it’s a powerful disincentive to become engaged, and that contributes to the achievement gap.
“There’s plenty of unequal treatment that happens at school,” says Green who, while in high school at La Follette, wrote a weekly, award-winning column about the achievement gap for the Simpson Street Free Press that helped her land a trip to the White House and a meeting with Laura Bush.
“From the earliest grades, I saw African-American males especially get sent out of the classroom for the very same thing that gets a white student a little slap on the wrist from some teachers,” she says. “It’s definitely a problem.”
It manifests itself in students who check out, she says. “It’s easy to live only in the present, think that you’ve got better things to do than worry about school. I mean, it’s awfully easy to decide there’s nothing more important than hanging out with your friends.”
But Green advocates a doctrine of personal responsibility. She encourages fellow minority students to focus on academic ambitions, starting with good attendance in class and following through with homework. She also counsels students to take challenging courses and find a strong peer group.
“The bottom line, though, is that no one’s going to get you where you’re going except you,” she says
For the first time in the 35-year history of the School Bell Award, a student journalist will accept an award in the Public Media Category.
The award is given to one Wisconsin reporter, broadcaster or school journalism teacher for excellent coverage of critical education issues. The Wisconsin Education Association Council presents the School Bell Award in two categories: public media and school media.
La Follette High School junior Deidre Green’s “Bridging the Achievement Gap” column was nominated by her teacher, Sarah Schnuelle. Green has reported for the Simpson Street Free Press for four years, focusing on health and education stories.
Video Asking questions are four local education reporters. Olivia Herken of the Wisconsin State Journal, Dylan Brogan of Isthmus and Madison City Cast, Scott Girard of The Capital Times, and Kadjata Bah of Simpson Street Free Press. Candidates in attendance are Nicki Vander Meulen (Seat 7, Running Unopposed), Badri Lankella (Seat 6) and Blair Feltham (Seat … Continue reading Local Journalists Host Q&A Session
with Madison School Board Candidates
Wyatt Bandt: A Madison high school student was named Journalist of the Year by the Wisconsin Journalism Education Association. Kadjtata Bah, a senior from Madison East High School, was given the title for her “outstanding background in journalistic work.” She began writing about topics she was interested in for the Simpson Street Free Press at … Continue reading Madison East High School senior wins Journalist of the Year award
Simpson Street Free Press, via Dylan Brogan: Ali Muldrow largely defended the Madison school district’s current policies while David Blaska levied broad criticism at the district’s focus on “creating anti-racist school culture and curriculum.” “If we stopped telling people that Madison is racist, if we stopped teaching that some kids succeed all because of privilege, I think … Continue reading 2022 taxpayer supported Madisin School Board Candidate Forum
David Blaska: Thanks to the Simpson Street Free Press for hosting a Madison school board debate Thursday 03-17-22. We’ll include the link when it is posted. Must admit, was taken aback by the Wisconsin State Journal’s question. Reporter Elizabeth Beyer asked Blaska which classrooms are teaching critical race theory?Suppose she wanted your write-in candidate for Seat #4 to rat … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported Madison Schools curriculum and media perspective
Amber Walker and Negassi Tesfamichael: “We were glad to see you attempt to rebuild trust with parents on your very first day on the job. MMSD cannot afford to lose any more trust from its parents, students or teachers.” For the past decade, Wisconsin schools have consistently placed first or second in the nation for … Continue reading Now is the time — despite the pandemic — to address the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s racial disparities
via Simpson Street Free Press 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results. My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results “An emphasis on adult employment” Wisconsin … Continue reading Hard Questions: An interview with Madison Superintendent Carlton Jenkins
Scott Girard: While campaign season looks slightly different in a social distancing world, the Madison School Board races have continued this spring. The ballot for the April 7 election includes two contested races and one uncontested seat. The five candidates participated in a virtual forum hosted by Simpson Street Free Press earlier this week. Much more on … Continue reading 2020 Madison School Board Election notes and links
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
Leila Fletcher (Madison West High School Senior): Simpson Street Free Press is invested in and applies the science of reading with our students. We have for decades. It is true, however, that debates about reading instruction continue. Teachers and reading specialists continually discuss—and dispute—what methods of reading instruction are truly most effective, and ultimately, what … Continue reading The Science of Reading
Simpson Street Free Press: Several of the most dynamic and accomplished young journalists working in the Madison media market answer questions from student reporters. Emily Hamer is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She recently took on the criminal justice beat for the paper. Jenny Peek is a digital news editor for … Continue reading Hard Questions: Hear the Voices of Young Journalists
Simpson Street Free Press: On the wall at Simpson Street is a feature editorial from the Wisconsin State Journal. The headline reads “Support State Reading Initiatives” and announces the launch of a bipartisan effort co-chaired by Tony Evers and Scott Walker. The editorial is dated September 12, 2012. Local News and Numbers Recent reports by … Continue reading ANother Lost Decade: Madison’s Reading Crisis Continues
Much more on the 2019 Madison School Board elections, here. The Simpson Street Free Press. “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”.
Simpson Street Free Press: Simpson Street Free Press hosted an MMSD School Board Forum for Seat #5 on Feb. 16, 2019. Candidates fielded questions from MMSD students and parents. Voting for the primary races is on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019. You can find out where your voting poll is by visiting https://myvote.wi.gov/en-US/FindMyPol…. Thank you to … Continue reading Madison School Board Forum Seat #5
Simpson Street Free Press: Today, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction released high school graduation data for the 2017-2018 academic year. Madison Metropolitan School District’s 4-year grad rates declined for both black and white students — to 65.6% and 87.8%, respectively. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, district officials “are pleased with the trajectory of … Continue reading Commentary and Data on Madison’s High School Graduation Data
Laurie Frost and Jeff Henriques 2MB PDF full presentation to the Simpson Street Free Press: Individual slides (tap for larger versions): More here. Related: The Madison School District’s “Strategic Framework”. 2006: “They’re all Rich White Kids, and they’ll do just fine, NOT!” 2013: Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results. Madison spends far more than most … Continue reading Madison Wisconsin High School Graduation Rates, College Readiness, and Student Learning
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”
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
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
Emily Hanford: Balanced literacy was a way to defuse the wars over reading,” said Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive neuroscientist and author of the book “Language at the Speed of Sight.” “It succeeded in keeping the science at bay, and it allowed things to continue as before.” He says the reading wars are over, and science … Continue reading Hard Words: Why aren’t kids being taught to read? “The study found that teacher candidates in Mississippi were getting an average of 20 minutes of instruction in phonics over their entire two-year teacher preparation program”
Molly Beck: But Walker and his campaign accused Evers of flip-flopping on the issue of school funding because Evers once said in an interview with WisconsinEye that improving academic outcomes for students struggling the most could still be achieved even if the state didn’t provide a significant funding increase. Evers in the interview did say … Continue reading Wisconsin Election Commentary on our disastrous reading results
Francis Turner: The argument for public education is that it is good for society as a whole to have its children educated so that they can successfully take their place in it, contribute to it and so on. This has historically been understood to mean that we expect our children to learn the 3Rs, get … Continue reading What We Have Here Is Failure To Educate
Laurie Frost and Jeff Henriques [PDF]: Dear Simpson Street Free Press: Thank you for leading the way in looking more closely at recent reports of an increase in MMSD minority student graduation rates and related issues: http://simpsonstreetfreepress.org/special-report/local-education/rising-grad-rates http://simpsonstreetfreepress.org/special-report/local-education/act-college-readiness-gap Inspired by your excellent work, we decided to dig deeper. We call the result of our efforts … Continue reading Seeing the Forest: Unpacking the Relationship Between Madison School District (WI) Graduation Rates and Student Achievement
Anna Welch and Mckenna Kohlenberg: In the five years since the group’s inception, MOST has not given the public notice of its meetings times, dates, locations, and agendas, allowing little to no oversight. According to an internal document from a 2014 meeting, MOST formalized an “Action Team” that began meeting twice a month starting July … Continue reading City of Madison Initiative Demonstrates Lack of Transparency: MOST fails to provide public with information and access to meetings and records
Anna Welch: According to district data, the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) saw significant jumps in four-year graduation rates in spring 2017. Madison’s overall graduation rate rose five points, and the rate for African American students jumped an eyebrow-raising 15 points in one year. Those rates, however, were not accompanied by corresponding increases in student … Continue reading Madison’s ACT College Readiness Gap
Kelly Meyerhofer: The Madison School District’s new long-term plan looks vaguely similar to its predecessor, a strategic framework produced in 2013. Two of three overarching goals share similar language. The third goal, however, stands out from its 2013 counterpart by explicitly vowing to do better for African-American students. Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said she attended nearly … Continue reading Madison School District vows to do better for African-American students
Annie Waldeman: Under federal law, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Office for Civil Rights is responsible for ensuring equal access to education and investigating allegations of discrimination in the country’s schools and colleges. Families and students can file complaints with the office, which then investigates and determines whether a college or school … Continue reading “The legislation would require the U.S. Department of Education to reveal which schools have been accused of violating students’ civil rights, as well as any corrective actions or other resolutions of its probes”
Simpson Street Free Press: Open records watchdogs and clean government advocates call responses by Madison school officials to open records inquires “ugly.” A recent report distributed by the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council and published in the Wisconsin State Journal says the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) would not fulfill a request for information about … Continue reading Madison School District Response To Open Records Requests Called “Ugly”
Capital Times Podcast: From police in schools to racial disparities in the classroom, there’s no shortage of daunting issues that the Madison School Board is grappling with in 2018. At a forum on the city’s south side earlier this week, three candidates running for the board in this spring’s election weighed in. The Cap Times … Continue reading Madison School Board candidate forum 2018
Amber Walker: Madison School Board Seat 1 candidates Anna Moffit and Gloria Reyes kicked off campaign season with a forum on arts education, the first of four discussions scheduled so far. The forum, held at the Arts and Literature Lab in Madison’s Atwood neighborhood was moderated by Oscar Mireles, Madison’s poet laureate and director of … Continue reading Madison School Board candidates Anna Moffit and Gloria Reyes meet for their first forum
The Simpson Street Free Press will celebrate 23 years of academic success – Sunday, November 2, 12-3pm. Visit Dane County’s first after-school (and summer) youth center dedicated solely to core subject academics. Meet our student writers and see academic achievement in action. Get a newsroom tour from local kids who tackle achievement gaps everyday – with writing and … Continue reading Newsroom Open House
Robin Mwai and Deidre Green Simpson Street Free Press The achievement gap is very prevalent in my school on a day-to-day basis. From the lack of minority students taking honors classes, to the over abundance of minority students occupying the hallways during valuable class time, the continuously nagging minority achievement gap prevails. Upon entering LaFollette … Continue reading The Achievement Gap as Seen Through the Eyes of a Student
By ADAEZE OKOLI and DEIDRE GREEN Okoli, 15, and Green, 18, write for The Simpson Street Free Press, a local newspaper for Dane County teenagers. Who first decided that being intelligent had a direct relation to being white? That may seem like a harsh question. But it’s one many high-achieving minority students face every day. … Continue reading Low expectations result in cancerous achievement gap
The Simpson Street Free Press will be holding a city-wide “Beat the Achievement Gap” conference on Saturday, February 25, at 2:00 p.m. at LaFollette High School, 702 Pflaum Road. At the conference, students will take the following pledge: “I will be an active role model for younger students. I will work to spread a positive … Continue reading “Beat the Achievement Gap” Student Conference
Students, mark your calendars! The Simpson Street Free Press will be holding a city-wide “Beat the Achievement Gap” conference on February 25 at 2:00 p.m. At this conference, students will take the following pledge: “I will be an active role model for younger students. I will work to spread a positive message of engagement at … Continue reading “Beat the Achievement Gap” Student Conference
What I want to know is when did it become cool to not get good grades and to not take advantage of the opportunity to learn? In what year did some kids decide that grade point averages could be sacrificed for popularity?
Kadjata Bah, age 18 new documentary film called The Right to Readadds to growing national debates about literacy and the science of reading. This timely and compelling film is streaming for free until March 9, 2023. Directed by Jenny Mackenzie and produced by LeVar Burton, the film follows a long-time activist, a teacher, and two families … Continue reading Film Review: Review: The Right to Read
Sydney Steidl Alabama policymakers, in a state traditionally known for poor education outcomes, are actively working to increase literacy skills—especially in early education. With Alabama typically falling behind other states in literacy, the pandemic only made matters worse. Research shows students at all grade levels lost ground. For example, in 2021 only about 18% of … Continue reading Alabama Summer Reading Progam
Sandy Flores-Ruiz: Baylor University, based in central Texas, is one of the many institutions that uses a federal loan program called Parent Plus. Among private schools with a minimum of $1 billion endowment, Baylor also had the lowest repayment rate for this particular type of loan. The Parent Plus program offers federal loans to parents … Continue reading Rising College Debt and the “Parent Plus” School Loan Program
Josepha Da Costa, age 16 The rich history of La Follette Basketball began in 1977. They finished 4th in the Big Eight conference that year. While the team finished the regular season with an overall record of 17 wins and 8 losses, they managed only 10 wins against 8 losses during the conference season. Nonetheless, … Continue reading The Rich Basketball History of Madison La Follette High School
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
Leila Fletcher, Kadjata Bah, and Leilani McNeal: Madison school officials will consider hiring an Ohio-based company known for policies that some say hinder the free speech rights of student journalists. Two school board members and Interim Superintendent Jane Belmore met last month with representatives of Ohio-based NEOLA. NEOLA is a policy-writing firm often hired by … Continue reading Madison School Officials Consider Controversial Student Newspaper Policies
Anna Welch and Mckenna Kohlenberg: Local watchdogs and litigators say a City of Madison initiative and its multiple committees should provide the public with greater transparency. In a unanimous 2017 decision, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that committees created by local governmental bodies in Wisconsin are themselves governmental bodies subject to the state’s open meetings … Continue reading City of Madison Initiative Demonstrates Lack of Transparency
Abby Comerford: Walker is a first-generation college student from the south side of Chicago. She attended Oberlin College in Ohio before becoming a K-12 English teacher in Florida. Even though Walker is no longer in the classroom, her ongoing passion for education is prevalent in her work. Walker is joining the rigorous Studio 20 program … Continue reading Beloved Journalist Amber Walker Heads to Grad School
Anna Welch: The Madison District has seen graduation rates improve. But, it remains unclear if those students are prepared for college and career. Students who are not adequately prepared before they graduate often pay the price in college. In 2016, Act 28 took effect requiring the UW Board of Regents to submit an annual report … Continue reading Are Rising Madison School District Grad Rates Something to Celebrate?
Taylor Kilgore: Jim Bradshaw of the Office for Civil Rights’ Washington D.C. office confirmed in an email that “the process is ongoing.” Greg Jones, president of the NAACP says it is important to know “what the district has done to comply with their agreement with Office for Civil Rights.” “Given the urgency of education outcomes … Continue reading Madison School District Responds to Civil Rights Investigation
Bridging the Achievement Gap: Positive Peer Pressure – Just the Push Students Need to Succeed Cydny Black: The decisions we make, especially as adolescents, are influenced by the people who surround us, and by how we feel about ourselves. I’ve found that the encouragement of my friends and family, and the examples they set, have … Continue reading The Gap According to Black
Cydny Black: In high school now, at Madison Memorial, I see this achievement gap more clearly than ever. Where are all the minority students in my advanced placement classes? Or more specifically, where are all the black students? In my advanced classes I can count them on one hand. And of these students, most are … Continue reading The Gap According to Black