WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Steven Walters

ow much do election-year firewalls cost to build? For the state’s largest teachers union, $1.57 million.
That’s how much the Wisconsin Education Association Council said last week it will spend trying to make sure four Democratic state senators are re-elected – enough, WEAC hopes, to keep a Democratic majority in the 33-member state body.
Although there are 15 Democratic candidates running for the state Senate, and 80 Democrats running for the state Assembly, the latest WEAC report shows that the teachers union is placing what amounts to an “all in” bet on saving just four Democratic senators who are finishing their first terms.
In an Oct. 25 report to the Government Accountability Board, the 98,000-member union reported that it will independently:
• Spend the most – $440,044 – to try to re-elect Democratic Sen. Jim Sullivan of Wauwatosa in the 5th district. WEAC’s pro-Sullivan spending will total $327,939; the remaining $112,105 will be used against Sullivan’s Republican challenger, Republican Rep. Leah Vukmir, also from Wauwatosa.

Amazing and something to consider when school spending is discussed.

Wisconsin falls from a tie for 18th to 32nd in fourth grade reading when demographics are accounted for.

Will Flanders: Recently, results from the National Assessment for Educational Progress (NAEP) have caused shockwaves around the country. At least partially-related to teachers’ union-led shutdowns that kept schools closed well past when it was reasonable to do so,[i] decades of progress in scores were erased over the course of three years.[ii]   Despite declining scores across the … Continue reading Wisconsin falls from a tie for 18th to 32nd in fourth grade reading when demographics are accounted for.

The drops in test scores were roughly four times greater among the stu­dents who were the least pro­fi­cient in both math and read­ing

Ben Chapman and Douglas Belkin: Scores re­leased Thurs­day show un­prece­dented drops on the long-term trends tests that are part of the Na­tional As­sess­ment of Ed­u­ca­tional Progress, known as the “Na­tion’s Re­port Card.” The tests are ad­min­is­tered to U.S. stu­dents age 9. The test scores re­flect more than a pan­demic prob­lem, with ex­perts say­ing it could … Continue reading The drops in test scores were roughly four times greater among the stu­dents who were the least pro­fi­cient in both math and read­ing

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

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

Former WEAC leader and longtime teachers advocate Morris Andrews dies

Mitchell Schmidt: Andrews became executive director of WEAC, the state’s largest teachers union, in 1972. At the time, the association of 40,000 teachers had little involvement in state politics or lobbying efforts. But that soon changed. Andrews was considered a force to be reckoned with in the statehouse halls and advocated for teachers, bus drivers, … Continue reading Former WEAC leader and longtime teachers advocate Morris Andrews dies

Financial Status of NEA Affiliates, WEAC Membership Declines

Mike Antonucci: Financial Status of All NEA State Affiliates. In-depth analysis will follow in the weeks to come, but for now here is the table containing total membership, total revenues, surplus or deficit status and net assets for all 52 National Education Association “state” affiliates for 2012-13 Related: $1.57M for four State Senators.

Local boards key to WEAC’s fate

Wisconsin State Journal:

Good teachers are more important than good teachers unions.
That’s worth noting as the Wisconsin Education Association Council loses membership and explores a possible merger.
WEAC has been hurt by Act 10, Gov. Scott Walker’s strict limits on collective bargaining for most public workers. Act 10 means most teachers across Wisconsin are no longer required to pay dues to a union. The legislation also prompted many aging teachers to retire sooner than planned.
WEAC membership has fallen from nearly 100,000 two years ago to around 70,000, with further decline expected as contract extensions in cities such as Madison, Janesville and Milwaukee expire.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators.

After Act 10, WEAC sees hope in local teacher advocacy

Erin Richards:

Unions actively reorienting themselves – even in states without Act 10-like legislation in place – are mobilizing teachers around curriculum and instruction issues. That could mean organizing teachers to champion what’s working best in the classroom by bringing new ideas to the school board, or working to get the community to support specific practices.
It means working more collaboratively, and offering solutions.
But collaboration can break down over ideological differences regarding what’s best for kids. Or teachers.
For example, while WEAC has supported a statewide evaluation system for educators in recent years, it has resisted emphasizing test scores in such evaluations. Others argue that robust data on test-score performance can say a lot about a teacher’s quality and should be used to make more aggressive decisions in termination or promotion.
Asking teachers to take a more active role in their union could also become an additional stress.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators.

Weaker WEAC meets new reality

Wisconsin State Journal:

The conversation covered much ground, but mostly we talked about WEAC’s new reality, and the daunting task facing a union that just lost a huge political battle in a decisive way.
Some highlights:

  • Did WEAC make a mistake in endorsing Kathleen Falk so early in the process? “She was a strong and viable candidate,” Bell said. “And we needed to make sure there was another voice in the arena.”
  • What does the future hold for WEAC? “Every election has lessons,” she said. “Scott Walker is going to be in office for at least two more years, and we have to figure out how we can work with that.”
  • Can WEAC sustain its membership in a post-Act 10 world? Burkhalter said membership was about 90,000 before Walker’s strict limits on collective bargaining for most public workers kicked in. Once all the current teacher union contracts expire and individual teachers are free to choose whether to pay dues or not, WEAC hopes to retain 60,000 to 70,000 of that base, he said.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators. Much more on WEAC.

WEAC has no regrets about failed Walker recall

Meg Jones:

Since the collective bargaining measure was enacted last year, WEAC’s membership has dropped from around 90,000 to 70,000, but the remaining membership became energized by the recall. Union leaders are hopeful that passion will continue as the union rallies around issues such as public school funding. The union is working on membership drives this summer.
“I think we will be smaller but stronger,” Bell said.
Burkhalter estimated 25% to 30% of WEAC members voted for Walker in 2010 while on Tuesday about 5% voted for the governor.
“He really united our membership,” said Burkhalter.
Bell said Walker prevailed in the recall partly because many voters don’t like recall elections and some believed recalls should only be used in cases of malfeasance. She admitted public employees were easy targets for the governor and Republican lawmakers because of generous pensions and benefits, which Bell noted were mostly a result of former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson’s qualified economic offer law that gave better benefits in return for salary concessions to public school employees several years ago.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators.

Recall WEAC “When School Children Start Paying Union Dues, I’ll Start Representing Schoolchildren” – Al Shanker

the Recall WEAC website is live, via a kind reader’s email:

Reforming Education And Demanding Exceptional Results in Wisconsin (READER-WI) is a non-partisan organization devoted to reforming and improving the education system in Wisconsin.
We are facing a critical time here in Wisconsin. Where is education going in the 21st century? Will we have an educational system designed to improve educational outcomes for all children in all income brackets and of all ethnicities? Or will we have an educational system designed to maximize Big Labor revenues, and designed to protect the worst teachers while driving out the best?
Click on the tabs at the top of this page to learn more about the crisis we are in. Then, join us in our fight to reform education. Children can no longer be used as political pawns. Let’s make a real, positive difference.

More, here, including the beltline billboard due tomorrow.
Al Shanker: Blekko or Clusty.
Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators, Sparks fly over Wisconsin budget’s labor-related provisions and Teachers Union & (Madison) School Board Elections.
Joe Tarr:

The quote has been repeated many times, often by conservatives attacking unions as the bane of public education. Joe Klein used it in a June 2011 article in The Atlantic.
However, the Albert Shanker Institute made an extensive effort to find the source of the quote but failed. In a blog post, the Institute concluded: “It is very difficult — sometimes impossible — to prove a negative, especially when it is something like a verbal quotation…. So, we cannot demonstrate conclusively that Albert Shanker never made this particular statement. He was a forthright guy who was known for saying all manner of interesting and provocative things, both on and off the record. But we believe the quote is fiction.”
The Institute speculates that the quote might be a distortion of a speech Shanker gave in the 1970s at Oberlin College, where he said, “I don’t represent children. I represent teachers… But, generally, what’s in the interest of teachers is also in the interest of students.”
The Wikipedia entry lists other quotations from Shanker that are not disputed, including some that would fit perfectly with the stated goals of READER-WI.
Such as this one: “A lot of people who have been hired as teachers are basically not competent.”
And this one: “It is as much the duty of the union to preserve public education as it is to negotiate a good contract.”

School choice advocates spend freely on politics, WEAC Spending

Susan Troller

A rural legislator who received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from out-of-state school choice advocates took flak back home for supporting expansion of a Milwaukee voucher program when his own school district is struggling financially.
According to a story in the Sauk Prairie Eagle last week, an aide to Rep. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, had to use a gavel to bring order back to a budget listening session at Sauk Prairie Memorial Hospital on May 6.
Marklein, a freshman Republican legislator, was asked if campaign contributions were influencing his support for two pieces of recent school choice legislation which provide public tax dollars for families to spend in private schools in Milwaukee. This, at the same time that the River Valley School District, which Marklein represents, has been forced to cut programs and staff and is facing more cuts in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators by Steven Walters:

How much do election-year firewalls cost to build? For the state’s largest teachers union, $1.57 million.
That’s how much the Wisconsin Education Association Council said last week it will spend trying to make sure four Democratic state senators are re-elected – enough, WEAC hopes, to keep a Democratic majority in the 33-member state body.
Although there are 15 Democratic candidates running for the state Senate, and 80 Democrats running for the state Assembly, the latest WEAC report shows that the teachers union is placing what amounts to an “all in” bet on saving just four Democratic senators who are finishing their first terms.

Wisconsin Teachers Union Tops Lobbying Expenditures in 2009, more than Double #2

Missing Wisconsin senators rely heavily on union campaign dollars

Daniel Bice and Ben Poston:

The 14 Wisconsin Democratic senators who fled to Illinois share more than just political sympathy with the public employees and unions targeted by Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill.
The Senate Democrats count on those in the public sector as a key funding source for their campaigns.
In fact, nearly one out of every five dollars raised by those Democratic senators in the past two election cycles came from public employees, such as teachers and firefighters, and their unions, a Journal Sentinel analysis of campaign records shows.
“It’s very simple,” said Richard Abelson, executive director of District Council 48 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We have interests, and because of that, we attempt to support candidates who support our interests. It’s pretty hard to find Republicans who support our interests these days.”
Critics of Walker’s budget-repair bill say it would mean less union money for Democrats. That’s because the legislation would end automatic payroll deductions for dues and would allow public employees to opt out of belonging to a union.

Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators.

K-12 Governance – Wisconsin DPI; all about the Money…

We also discussed state report cards with @DrJillUnderly. More kids performed at ‘below basic’ levels than pre-pandemic. In MKE and Beloit, about 2/3 students are ‘below basic.’ Dr. Underly says the solution is more funding. “Revenue, honestly, is what creates opportunities.” pic.twitter.com/JaRX6bXPGQ — A.J. Bayatpour (@AJBayatpour) November 27, 2022 Complete interview. Complete Interview. The data clearly … Continue reading K-12 Governance – Wisconsin DPI; all about the Money…

Taxpayer supported Madison School District’s open records non responses

Scott Girard: In May, Wisconsin Transparency Project president and founder Tom Kamenick wrote in an email to the Cap Times that he has “received more complaints about MMSD than any other government agency.” “I’m frequently seeing lengthy delays, exorbitant fees, and downright illegal denials from the district,” Kamenick wrote. “The district seems to make transparency … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Madison School District’s open records non responses

Teacher union$ and $chool Board Governance: Californian edition

Mine Antonucci: The California Teachers Association spent heavily on school board races in the state, distributing $1.8 million to 125 local affiliates, which were required by union policy to add almost $1 million more to the total. That investment seems to have mostly paid off. California election results take weeks to finalize, but union-backed candidates are leading … Continue reading Teacher union$ and $chool Board Governance: Californian edition

2023 Madison Mayoral election: School governance makes a rare appearance?

Scott Girard: As mayor, she would not have unilateral authority to put officers in schools. The school resource officer program, originally begun in the 1990s, operated on a contract between the city of Madison and the Madison Metropolitan School District. Both sides voted to terminate it in summer 2020 amid nationwide and local protests over police brutality of … Continue reading 2023 Madison Mayoral election: School governance makes a rare appearance?

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: “record-high spending” in Madison

Allison Garfield: On top of the record-high spending proposed in the original budget — like $21.6 million to reconstruct John Nolen Drive and $23 million in federal funding to secure a fully electric, 46-bus fleet — the council also: The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: “record-high spending” in Madison

“But Dr. Copeland decided to do something different. He put the needs of the students first. He made the decision to place someone that was qualified in front of the students,”

Olivia Herken: Others agreed, saying Copeland was known for “speaking plainly.” “As an educator, when I’ve had the opportunity to speak and interact with Dr. Copeland, I can say that he’s always had respect for me and my interests, as well as my culture,” said Marlene Patiño. She’s a bilingual dual-language seventh-grade science teacher, whose … Continue reading “But Dr. Copeland decided to do something different. He put the needs of the students first. He made the decision to place someone that was qualified in front of the students,”

Fifty-eight educators say ‘Sold a Story’ podcast series sells incomplete story about reading instruction

Posted at the Hechinger Report: Re “A company has made millions selling books on reading instruction rooted in bad science” (Nov. 10, 2022) We are educators who have devoted our lives to the cause of helping children read and write with power. We’re dismayed that at this moment in our history, when all of us … Continue reading Fifty-eight educators say ‘Sold a Story’ podcast series sells incomplete story about reading instruction

Wisconsin DPI veracity: 84% exceed expectations

Rory Linane: Milwaukee Public Schools was among 84 school districts that received a lower star-rating than last year. Giving two stars, DPI said the district “meets few expectations.” Last year, the DPI gave the district three stars and said it met expectations. Most school districts, about 270, were given the same star rating they got … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI veracity: 84% exceed expectations

“So Now What? The Path Ahead for Education in Wisconsin and the Nation.” November 17, 2022 Event

Marquette Law School: Please join us on Thursday, November 17, for a program, “So Now What? The Path Ahead for Education in Wisconsin and the Nation.” In Wisconsin, the outcome of the November elections, particularly for governor, will be an important marker in setting the course of education policy going forward, as a new state … Continue reading “So Now What? The Path Ahead for Education in Wisconsin and the Nation.” November 17, 2022 Event

Commentary on the 2023 Madison School Board elections (2 seats). Achievement?

Scott Girard Vander Meulen has faced an opponent in each of her two previous campaigns. In 2017, Ed Hughes was on the ballot but dropped out of the race following a health issue in his family and in 2020, the late Wayne Strong ran against her, but suspended his campaign amid his own health issues before returning … Continue reading Commentary on the 2023 Madison School Board elections (2 seats). Achievement?

“I’ll just note here in passing that traditionalists believe that the ability to communicate is an important skill for a teacher”

Dave Cieslewicz: To which I think I can safely say that I share a widespread reaction among Madisonians: Huh? Again, we could use a whole lot more context here and it would be useful if Copeland would speak to reporters to clarity just exactly what was going on. But from what’s currently on the record … Continue reading “I’ll just note here in passing that traditionalists believe that the ability to communicate is an important skill for a teacher”

Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 Governance climate: “could barely communicate with me” and that “they’re just giving people damn jobs.”

Chris Rickert: Attempts to reach Copeland Thursday night were not successful. Copeland filed a grievance seeking to recover his job on Oct. 12. Attempts to reach his attorney in that matter also were not successful. Many Sennett parents and staff were dismayed by Copeland’s sudden firing. During a School Board meeting shortly after he was … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 Governance climate: “could barely communicate with me” and that “they’re just giving people damn jobs.”

Madison K-12 Governance & School Safety

David Blaska: Because our Woke school boss confuses correlation with causation. Like all good critical race theorists, he’s big on disproportionality. If A doesn’t equal B, he goes all Al Sharpton.  Today’s subject is time outs in an empty room for troublemakers or, rarely, restraint. Restraint being just holding back a kid so he doesn’t bust another … Continue reading Madison K-12 Governance & School Safety

Wisconsin drops from 200 to 186, 2nd worst in Reading (NAEP, African American Students)

Students of all backgrounds are having academic success in Mississippi. Our state is in the top of the nation in 4th grade reading gains for black students! Thank you to our teachers, parents, and students for working so hard to get us here. pic.twitter.com/7Jw3wkj47H — Governor Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) November 4, 2022 The data clearly indicate … Continue reading Wisconsin drops from 200 to 186, 2nd worst in Reading (NAEP, African American Students)

Madison East’s April van Buren shares passion for high school journalism

Scott Girard: A St. Louis-area native, van Buren spent five years teaching there and five more in New Mexico before she arrived in Madison and began working at La Follette. Her jobs have included a mix of teaching English, being a school librarian and now teaching a mix of design and technology classes. At all … Continue reading Madison East’s April van Buren shares passion for high school journalism

Commentary on status quo K-12 governance in Wisconsin

Molly Beck: “The proposal appears to be largely more of the same with some targeted funds at special education,” Bender said of Evers’ proposal. “After surprisingly vetoing bills on reading improvement last year, a bit unexpected that there are not more resources aimed at improving not only the low proficiency rates, but the nation’s worst … Continue reading Commentary on status quo K-12 governance in Wisconsin

School climate: 2022 election edition

“Perhaps the gravest injustice of our time is the imprisonment of minority kids in substandard public schools… The real culprits are union collective-bargaining agreements and state laws that put teachers unions’ interests ahead of students’.”https://t.co/P2Qj2XTUA6 — Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVos) November 1, 2022 The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for … Continue reading School climate: 2022 election edition

$pending a lot more for Madison’s k-12 school district

Scott Girard: The new budget totals $597.9 million in spending, up from the $515.7 million spent in 2021-22 and the $482.9 million the year prior. It’s also up from the June preliminary budget, which called for $561.3 million in spending. The tax rate, however, is down to $9.97 per $100,000 of property value from the … Continue reading $pending a lot more for Madison’s k-12 school district

Madison West high school fight: 25 students and a strong-arm robbery in which police recovered marijuana, fake IDs, fake currency and a spent shell casing.

Chris Rickert: Officers searching the vehicle the suspects arrived in found the marijuana and other items, the blog said. Lisko said that while no charges have been filed, a detective has been assigned to the matter. Principal Dan Kigeya said in an email home to parents Thursday afternoon that “staff responded to the incident quickly, … Continue reading Madison West high school fight: 25 students and a strong-arm robbery in which police recovered marijuana, fake IDs, fake currency and a spent shell casing.

Priorities amidst long term, disastrous reading results: Madison’s Jefferson Middle School renaming committee restarts work

Scott Girard After stalling out earlier this year, a Madison School Board ad hoc committee considering a new name for Jefferson Middle School reconvened Tuesday evening. The School Board originally appointed the committee in March after then-Jefferson principal Sue Abplanalp made a renaming request to the board Feb. 28. The district received 42 proposals for new … Continue reading Priorities amidst long term, disastrous reading results: Madison’s Jefferson Middle School renaming committee restarts work

Tell parents truth: Enough with the happy talk

Joanne Jacobs: Tell parents the unpleasant truth about learning loss, writes Andrew Rotherham in a story on the state NAEP scores in the The 74. “The disaster and inequity of pandemic policies is now in clear focus,” he writes. Despite a few outliers — Department of Defense and Catholic schools — “it’s an across-the-board disaster … Continue reading Tell parents truth: Enough with the happy talk

Eliminating Advanced Courses in Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools, Redux. ““The problem is most of the parents are not that much involved, and they don’t even know what’s going on,” he said.”

Olivia Herken: “Historically, the concept of advanced learning and honors has served to segregate students based on race, socioeconomic status and special education status,” School Board member Savion Castro said. And when these students do access the advanced classes, they often report feeling “isolated, feeling tokenized and experiencing a white-washed curriculum.” “I think we all … Continue reading Eliminating Advanced Courses in Madison’s Taxpayer Supported K-12 Schools, Redux. ““The problem is most of the parents are not that much involved, and they don’t even know what’s going on,” he said.”

“all of them stressed the importance of more funding for public schools”

Scott Girard: “This means a lot to me because I don’t want students who are younger than me to lack various resources and opportunities that will be offered,” La Follette’s Yoanna Hoskins said. “I want my teachers to be well compensated and respected for all the hard work they put in every single day.” Adding … Continue reading “all of them stressed the importance of more funding for public schools”

Wisconsin students’ math, reading scores drop from 2019

Scott Girard: In reading, Wisconsin eighth graders saw their average score drop by five points compared to a three-point drop for the nation. Wisconsin students hadn’t had an average score this low in NAEP data going back to 1998. The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, … Continue reading Wisconsin students’ math, reading scores drop from 2019

“American Experiment’s polling indicates that by a wide margin, Minnesotans want the public schools to prioritize academic excellence, not politics, “equity” or culture war issues”

John Hindraker: Minnesota, as in other states, concerned parents have banded together to try to wrest control of the public schools away from teachers’ unions, in order to improve the quality of education and to stop left-wing indoctrination. Earlier this year, we started a 501(c)(4) organization called the Minnesota Parents Alliance to lead those efforts … Continue reading “American Experiment’s polling indicates that by a wide margin, Minnesotans want the public schools to prioritize academic excellence, not politics, “equity” or culture war issues”

Effects of Maturing Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students

David N. Figlio Cassandra M.D. Hart and Krzysztof Karbownik Using a rich dataset that merges student-level school records with birth records, and leveraging a student fixed effects design, we explore how a Florida private school choice program affected public school students’ outcomes as the program matured and scaled up. We observe growing benefits (higher standardized … Continue reading Effects of Maturing Private School Choice Programs on Public School Students

Commentary on K-12 tax and spending increases amidst stagnant or declining enrollment

Olivia Herken: The La Crosse School District has the largest referendum in the state this fall, asking voters to approve nearly $195 million to consolidate its two high schools due to declining enrollment and aging facilities. Some Oregon residents who oppose the referendum doubt it would have a big impact. Some question whether they’ve been … Continue reading Commentary on K-12 tax and spending increases amidst stagnant or declining enrollment

Yes, Critical Race Theory Is Being Taught in Schools
A new survey of young Americans vindicates the fears of CRT’s critics.

Zach Goldberg Eric Kaufmann We began by asking our 18- to 20-year-old respondents (82.4 percent of whom reported attending public schools) whether they had ever been taught in class or heard about from an adult at school each of six concepts—four of which are central to critical race theory. The chart below, which displays the … Continue reading Yes, Critical Race Theory Is Being Taught in Schools
A new survey of young Americans vindicates the fears of CRT’s critics.

Former education journalist: How I missed the phonics story

Maureen Downey: Patti Ghezzi covered education for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1996 until 2006. In a guest column today, Ghezzi writes about the big story she says she missed while covering Georgia schools — the phonics story. It wasn’t until years after she left the beat that Ghezzi said she realized widespread problems with how … Continue reading Former education journalist: How I missed the phonics story

The states where teachers still hit students — and more reader questions!

Andrew Van Dam: You might want to look at corporal punishment of children in schools. — Lucien Lombardo, New York As a means of controlling classrooms or improving academic performance, corporal punishment has an uninspiring track record. Last year, a review of 69 studiespublished in the medical journal the Lancet found “physical punishment is ineffective in … Continue reading The states where teachers still hit students — and more reader questions!

“The Madison school district’s 2022-23 budget has increased from the preliminary $561 million budget adopted in June”

Olivia Herken: We have extended ourselves beyond a balanced budget with this calculated use of fund balance to make this historical investment in our hourly staff,” board member Christina Gomez Schmidt said, “which we have heard is very important. “I do want to recognize that our obligation in the next year’s planning and budget is … Continue reading “The Madison school district’s 2022-23 budget has increased from the preliminary $561 million budget adopted in June”

Notes on Taxpayer Supported K-12 Wisconsin and Madison Enrollment Declines

Rory Linnane: The picture isn’t complete, as the count excludes homeschooling and students who pay tuition in private schools. And the numbers released by the Department of Public Instruction on Friday are unaudited.  According to the preliminary numbers, the decline for public school districts is less dramatic than earlier years of the pandemic but continues a downward … Continue reading Notes on Taxpayer Supported K-12 Wisconsin and Madison Enrollment Declines

The Remediless Reading Right

Shana Hurley: Lawmakers nationwide are trying to improve reading by embracing a scientific consensus regarding literacy acquisition and enacting robust regulatory regimes touching every part of the learning process. For most actors, “Right to Read” laws establish clear accountability rules and noncompliance remedies. However, students who are not provided with statutory reading entitlements have inconsistent … Continue reading The Remediless Reading Right

Commentary and advocacy on Wisconsin K-12 Redistributed taxpayer funds

Scott Girard: In the Madison Metropolitan School District, the formula meant $2,068 per student of unfunded special education costs in the 2019-20 school year, according to a district-by-district map that accompanies the report. MMSD spent $80.7 million on special education in the 2019-20 school year and received $19 million in state reimbursement, plus $6.1 million in … Continue reading Commentary and advocacy on Wisconsin K-12 Redistributed taxpayer funds

“Mississippi’s rise from having some of the nation’s lowest-performing reading scores to its most improved — required nearly a decade of new laws, strategic planning and fresh thinking”

David Kaufman: Indeed, 32 percent of Mississippi students hit literacy targets in 2019, up from 27 percent in 2017 and just 17 percent in 1998, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Despite the successes so far, Ms. Wright — who retired from education this year — believes there are plenty of challenges left to … Continue reading “Mississippi’s rise from having some of the nation’s lowest-performing reading scores to its most improved — required nearly a decade of new laws, strategic planning and fresh thinking”

Madison public charter school mostly mum on gun found in employee’s backpack

Chris Rickert: A state-authorized public charter school in Madison initially refused to work with police after a student found a gun in a school employee’s backpack, according to a recently released police report, and the employee refused to answer questions about the incident. Police ultimately closed their investigation of the June 1 incident involving Milestone Democratic … Continue reading Madison public charter school mostly mum on gun found in employee’s backpack

Thin Madison K-12 Commentary (Achievement?)

Scott Girard: Two years into the job, Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent Carlton Jenkins received praise from the Madison School Board for his handling of the district’s 2022-23 budget and leadership. A summary of the board’s annual performance review of the district’s top staff member was released Wednesday evening. While most of the review was … Continue reading Thin Madison K-12 Commentary (Achievement?)

Notes on taxpayer supported censorship

Just the news: The Stanford Internet Observatory, University of Washington’s Center for an Informed Public, think tank Atlantic Council, and social media analytics firm Graphika claimed their consortium had a 35% success rate getting flagged content removed, throttled or labeled.  The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the State Department, and liberal groups … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported censorship

Commentary on Wisconsin K-12 Governance and the November 2022 elections

Alan Borsuk: But the results for MPS were terrible. They were bad before the pandemic, and they’re worse now. The percentages of students proficient in reading and math were in single digits in many schools. What can be done about that? Would the plans either candidate is advocating bring real change in how thousands of … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin K-12 Governance and the November 2022 elections

K-12 Literacy Governance Climate

Has Biden EdSec Cardona ever addressed literacy reform, much less pushed schools to make changes? Have national education teams and outlets been asking him about his position? https://t.co/45kID7plxW — Alexander (@alexanderrusso) October 2, 2022 The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black … Continue reading K-12 Literacy Governance Climate

“with little consideration for the staff or other customers, she said”

Daniela Jaime: Torres said she’s had to tell students repeatedly not to smoke or vape indoors and be courteous towards patrons, but the response has been so negative that on one occasion, she said, a student threw food at her after being kicked out. Torres no longer allows students to dine in, posting signs at … Continue reading “with little consideration for the staff or other customers, she said”

$pending on the 2022 Wisconsin Governor election: Evers and Michels; education climate

Molly Beck and Daniel Bice: Evers entered the final two months of the race with about $5 million more in cash than Michels. The first-term governor received $20,000 donations from 10 individuals, including Andrea Soros, daughter of liberal billionaire George Soros. Others who maxed out were Abigail Dow, an instructional coach in New York City; … Continue reading $pending on the 2022 Wisconsin Governor election: Evers and Michels; education climate

Commentary on legacy taxpayer supported K-12 Governance outcomes

Leah Triedler: But in a statement after the speech, Republican Sen. Alberta Darling, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said Wisconsin students’ poor performance stems from Gov. Tony Evers “refusing to reform education in Wisconsin” despite Republican efforts, including a literacy bill Evers vetoed twice. Darling said Underly is following in his footsteps. “The DPI Secretary … Continue reading Commentary on legacy taxpayer supported K-12 Governance outcomes

Notes on the pros and cons of single payer (K-12 taxpayer models…)

summarised via Tyler Cowen: But going forward, I think the old metrics that showed large advantages for single payer are going to continue to slide. Unions (formal or otherwise) are going to militate for higher pay. Governments are going to have to deal with one side of the political spectrum going into hoc to the … Continue reading Notes on the pros and cons of single payer (K-12 taxpayer models…)

School Choice Politics and elected officials who attended private school

This isn’t a thing. If students’ families can pick where they go, there is no segregation. In the current setup, unless you can afford to live in the neighborhoods with nice schools, you’re locked out. https://t.co/D9ETr84Bfj — Mister Vigilante (@MisterVigilante) September 16, 2022 The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement … Continue reading School Choice Politics and elected officials who attended private school

Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

Mitchell Schmidt: A new coalition of conservatives, policy groups and advocacy organizations has begun developing a package of education goals for the coming legislative session — with expanded school choice as a top priority — that could play a considerable role in the upcoming race for governor this November. Officials with the Wisconsin Coalition for … Continue reading Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

Mitchell Schmidt: A new coalition of conservatives, policy groups and advocacy organizations has begun developing a package of education goals for the coming legislative session — with expanded school choice as a top priority — that could play a considerable role in the upcoming race for governor this November. Officials with the Wisconsin Coalition for … Continue reading Elections, K-12 Governance and Parent Choice

Taxpayer Funded Wisconsin DPI Preschool Gender Documents

🚨🚨GROOMING ALERT! The Wisconsin Dept. of Public Instruction has created a guide for “gender expansive” PRESCHOOLERS The guide dubs parents “trolls” and “jerks” if they refuse to use “they/them” pronouns or allow their kids to read books about trans toddlers pic.twitter.com/TrQ5BVc1Yw — Chrissy Clark (@chrissyclark_) September 13, 2022 DPI Commentary: “The Wisconsin Department of Public … Continue reading Taxpayer Funded Wisconsin DPI Preschool Gender Documents

Where is the federal taxpayer k-12 “windfall” being spent?

Charley Locke: Some have been pushed to take more inventive approaches to solve the staffing shortages. In Philadelphia, during a districtwide bus-driver shortage, the district paid families $300 a month to drive their kids to and from school. Atlanta Public Schools used nearly $2.2 million to provide on-site child care for 1,800 teachers to enable … Continue reading Where is the federal taxpayer k-12 “windfall” being spent?

“Because I can be smart, and I don’t have to pretend”

Wishkub Kinepoway I wanted diversity. I wanted my children to see, like, different nationalities. I wanted them to feel included. And I also wanted, like – I’m an educator, so I have an education background with early childhood, and I just wanted intentional learning experiences for my children. I was actually unfamiliar with what a … Continue reading “Because I can be smart, and I don’t have to pretend”

Schoolchildren Are Not ‘Mere Creatures of the State’

Robert Pondiscio In 1925, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned an Oregon law requiring that parents or guardians send their children to public school in the districts where they lived. The Society of Sisters, which ran private academies, claimed that the law interfered with the right of parents to choose religious instruction for their children. The … Continue reading Schoolchildren Are Not ‘Mere Creatures of the State’

“Wisconsin, on the other hand, has barely moved the needle on NAEP scores in 30 years” mulligans reign…

Charles Smith: The percentage of students who performed at or above the proficient level in reading was 36% in 2019, 35% in 2017 and 34% in 1998. While Wisconsin’s numbers remain higher than Mississippi’s, the trend line is flat. Further, Black fourth-graders in Mississippi are outperforming Black fourthgraders in Wisconsin in reading, portending what’s to … Continue reading “Wisconsin, on the other hand, has barely moved the needle on NAEP scores in 30 years” mulligans reign…

Did Woke Madison help murder Beth Potter and Robin Carre?

David Blaska: This Wednesday 09-07-22, Khari Sanford will be sentenced in Dane County Circuit Court for the execution-style slaying of Dr. Beth Potter and her husband Robin Carre. They were murdered by a person they had tried to help,” their memorial obituary reads. Khari Sanford was 18 years old on March 30, 2020 when he entered the … Continue reading Did Woke Madison help murder Beth Potter and Robin Carre?

Incumbent Wisconsin Governor proposes $2B in additional K-12 tax & Spending….

Rory Linnane: Evers said his plan for the 2023-25 budget would draw on the state’s projected $5 billion budget surplus while “holding the line” on property taxes.  Evers’ opponent in the November election, Tim Michels, called Evers’ plan “more money and more bureaucracy.”  “The tired, old Evers approach has not worked,” Michels said in a … Continue reading Incumbent Wisconsin Governor proposes $2B in additional K-12 tax & Spending….

Madison School Board approves $2-per-hour wage increase for education assistants

Elizabeth Beyer: Legislative Republicans have defended their decision to keep revenue limits flat by noting Wisconsin schools will be getting $2.3 billion in federal COVID relief aid, known as Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER funds. Madison is anticipating its share will be roughly $66.7 million. School officials have not laid out how … Continue reading Madison School Board approves $2-per-hour wage increase for education assistants

Lower Black and Latino Pass Rates Don’t Make a Test Racist

John McWhorter The Association of Social Work Boards administers tests typically required for the licensure of social workers. Apparently, this amounts to a kind of racism that must be reckoned with. There is a Change.org petition circulating saying just that, based on the claim that the association’s clinical exam is biased because from 2018 to … Continue reading Lower Black and Latino Pass Rates Don’t Make a Test Racist

Notes on taxpayer supported Madison High School Construction projects

Elizabeth Beyer: Here are highlights of the work being done currently at Madison’s four main high schools, according to the Madison School District. Notes and links on the recent Madison tax and spending increase referendum The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported Madison High School Construction projects

“That’s very different than what you’re peddling to a sixth or seventh or eighth grader, where a teacher’s word is law.”

Adam Wren: “If you look down your nose at someone long enough, one day they will punch you in it.” And I think that’s what happened. I sat there that night — I don’t watch much television — but these national network commentators are talking to each other incredulously. What happened here? Well, these under-educated … Continue reading “That’s very different than what you’re peddling to a sixth or seventh or eighth grader, where a teacher’s word is law.”

Mandates, School Closures and Student Academic Outcomes: Virginia Edition

Moria Balingit: While students saw across-the-board gains in the 2021-2022 school year compared to the previous academic year, state education officials said the progress was not enough, and pinned some of the good news on lowered standards — not on better student performance. “Despite the scores being up from last year, they are down from … Continue reading Mandates, School Closures and Student Academic Outcomes: Virginia Edition

History: A look back at Wisconsin Governor Tony Ever’s 1997 DPI campaign

Heather Smith: During his rough and tumble 1997 campaign Evers directly criticized fellow Democrat Benson saying he had failed to call attention to the problems in our state’s education system, and that continual promotion of the good without sounding the alarm on the bad “wrecks our credibility.”  Evers said students and districts were in trouble … Continue reading History: A look back at Wisconsin Governor Tony Ever’s 1997 DPI campaign

59.9% of Black students in the Madison Metropolitan School District who were enrolled in an AP course in 2017-18 did not take the test.

Wisconsin Policy Forum: Scott Girard: That was the fourth-highest percentage among the 10 districts in the state with the most Black students enrolled in AP courses, behind only Beloit (83.7%), Wauwatosa (82%) and Racine (68.9%). Milwaukee Public Schools, the only Wisconsin district larger than MMSD, saw all student groups have lower rates of opting out … Continue reading 59.9% of Black students in the Madison Metropolitan School District who were enrolled in an AP course in 2017-18 did not take the test.

“For seven years in a row, Oakland was the fastest-gaining urban district in California for reading,” recalls Weaver. “And we hated it.”

Marginal Revolution: The teachers felt like curriculum robots—and pushed back. “This seems dehumanizing, this is colonizing, this is the man telling us what to do,” says Weaver, describing their response to the approach. “So we fought tooth and nail as a teacher group to throw that out.” This is one of the most crazy things … Continue reading “For seven years in a row, Oakland was the fastest-gaining urban district in California for reading,” recalls Weaver. “And we hated it.”

Officials made public-health bets that students will have to pay for

Nat Malkus: What Weingarten conveniently leaves out is the reason for “two years of disruption.” Time and again, cautious state and school leaders — disproportionately Democrats in concert with teachers’ unions — extended school closures or strict Covid protocols, demonstrated little responsiveness as new evidence on Covid emerged, and minimized the trade-offs. Many red-state leaders … Continue reading Officials made public-health bets that students will have to pay for

“What we know for certain is that schools have been lousy at teaching kids how to read”

Dale Chu: In the 1840s, Horace Mann, known as the “father of American education,” argued that children should be taught to read whole words instead of individual letters, which he described as “skeleton-shaped, bloodless, ghostly apparitions” that make children feel “death-like, when compelled to face them.” This malformed opinion morphed into the broader whole-language theory, … Continue reading “What we know for certain is that schools have been lousy at teaching kids how to read”

An update on Madison’s Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results

Administration Slides for the School Board (PDF): Forward LA Proficiency (3-5) Participation increased to 87% from 50% in 20-21, nearing pre-pandemic ranges.Overall, 40% of students grades 3-5 scored proficient on Forward ELA While a decrease from 20-21 (43%), scores that year likely inflated by non-random low participation– trends in ELA scores fairly steady or increasing … Continue reading An update on Madison’s Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results

Inside the Massive Effort to Change the Way Kids Are Taught to Read

Belinda Luscombe: As a teacher in Oakland, Calif., Kareem Weaver helped struggling fourth- and fifth-grade kids learn to read by using a very structured, phonics-based reading curriculum called Open Court. It worked for the students, but not so much for the teachers. “For seven years in a row, Oakland was the fastest-gaining urban district in … Continue reading Inside the Massive Effort to Change the Way Kids Are Taught to Read

Salary increase discussions in the Madison School District

Scott Girard: Jones’ questions included specific suggestions for using available funding for further increasing the salary schedule instead of what’s currently planned, including new positions like the Village Builders initiative, and cutting district and administrative staff positions that were “difficult to fill for the 2021-22 school year.” District leaders have continually blamed a challenging state budget that … Continue reading Salary increase discussions in the Madison School District

Notes on teacher compensation amidst Madison K-12 tax & spending growth

Elizabeth Beyer: The Madison School Board voted 6-1 in June to adopt the district’s $561.3 million preliminary budget for next school year, which included the 3% base wage increase. Negotiations began in May with MTI requesting the 4.7% increase — the annual inflationary amount and the maximum allowed in bargaining under state law. The district … Continue reading Notes on teacher compensation amidst Madison K-12 tax & spending growth

Universal school choice would help all Wisconsin families

Shannon Whitworth: Nowhere can you see self-proclaimed “progressives” more in opposition to progress than on the issue of school choice in the state of Wisconsin. Over 30 years ago, Wisconsin created the first school choice program in the nation, liberating thousands of families from failing public schools and giving many children, particularly those in our … Continue reading Universal school choice would help all Wisconsin families

Notes on Wisconsin Governor Evers’ 2022 K-12 Education Campaign Advertisement

MacIver: Claim 1: Tony Evers has Taken Wisconsin Schools into the Top 10 in the U.S. The ad repeats a brag Evers has been making for months.  The top 10 ranking issued by US News, shows Wisconsin’s rank improved 10 places since the 2018 list.  Evers has been taking credit for the improvement although the … Continue reading Notes on Wisconsin Governor Evers’ 2022 K-12 Education Campaign Advertisement

a comprehensive argument that education cannot close academic gaps

Freddie deBoer: We can express the static nature of relative educational outcomes quantitatively, in a variety of ways. The simplest is to observe that by far the most consistently effective predictor of future academic performance is prior performance. This paper summarizes the reality simply: The present study shows that individual differences in educational achievement are highly stable … Continue reading a comprehensive argument that education cannot close academic gaps

Notes on reduced confidence in taxpayer supported K-12 schools

Colin Carroll: That is exactly right. And you can see that more clearly when Rufo’s correct quote is put into full context. “To get universal school choice, you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust. I think that the public schools have done a remarkable job at doing just that, specifically, … Continue reading Notes on reduced confidence in taxpayer supported K-12 schools