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.

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.

50 years ago, ‘The Electric Company’ used comedy to boost kids’ reading skills

Elizabeth Blair: When The Electric Company debuted in October 1971, television hadn’t seen anything quite like it. Psychedelic graphics, wildly creative animation, mod outfits, over-the-top characters and sketch comedy all functioned to serve the same goal: teaching kids to read.  Brought to you by the Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) — the same producers behind Sesame Street, which debuted … Continue reading 50 years ago, ‘The Electric Company’ used comedy to boost kids’ reading skills

The price of teacher mulligans

More can be said. For one, something much like engagement did work with Taiwan & South Korea, as they transitioned to democracy. And arguably the US prosperity of 90s-00s was based *in part* on China doing grueling hard work while America watched Friends. It wasn’t a gimme. pic.twitter.com/o6rvkWeEud — Balaji Srinivasan (@balajis) October 26, 2021 … Continue reading The price of teacher mulligans

8.9% (!) Madison School District Property Tax increase, amidst substantial spending growth… (results?)

Elizabeth Beyer: The total budget increases expenditures by 11.41% over the previous school year, which includes one-time federal and local COVID-19-related funding. The district expects a 4.5% increase in general state aid, or $40.2 million, even though the state provided no increase in the revenue limit. Enrollment, used to calculate the amount of state aid … Continue reading 8.9% (!) Madison School District Property Tax increase, amidst substantial spending growth… (results?)

My question to Ben Wikler & Paul Farrow on Our Disastrous Reading Results and the 2022 Wisconsin Governor Race

October 21 WisPolitics Event (about 41 minutes into the video clip). A followup questioner, at 47:10, mentioned that the response to my question was money and in fact the school districts that spend the most money (Milwaukee and Madison) have among the worst results. mp3 audio Transcript (Machine generated). Related: AB446. Ben Wikler and a … Continue reading My question to Ben Wikler & Paul Farrow on Our Disastrous Reading Results and the 2022 Wisconsin Governor Race

Notes on addressing the politics and substance of Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results

Scott Girard: Other groups that have registered against the bill include the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, League of Women Voters of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rural Schools Alliance and the Wisconsin State Reading Association. Those in support include the Wisconsin Reading Coalition, Decoding Dyslexia-WI and the Wisconsin Branch of The International Dyslexia Association. Dykstra, a … Continue reading Notes on addressing the politics and substance of Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results

Is the Public School System Constitutional?

Philip Hamburger: The public school system weighs on parents. It burdens them not simply with poor teaching and discipline, but with political bias, hostility toward religion, and now even sexual and racial indoctrination. Schools often seek openly to shape the very identity of children. What can parents do about it? “I don’t think parents should … Continue reading Is the Public School System Constitutional?

Madison East High School Fight among 100

Jeff Richgels: More than 10 police officers and a supervisor responded to fights amid a crowd of more than 100 students and parents outside East High School Wednesday afternoon, Madison police said. Police found no one with injuries from the incident, although several people left the scene shortly after police arrived, Officer Ryan Kimberley said in … Continue reading Madison East High School Fight among 100

Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

mp3 audio Transcript (Machine Generated). Representative LaKeshia Myers. Related: Assembly bill AB446 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 … Continue reading Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

Wisconsin Senate SB454 reading readiness assessments: DPI Testimony

I believe the DPI presenters were Barbara Novak and Tom McCarthy. mp3 audio [Transcript: machine generated] Written testimony (PDF): Thank you Chairwoman Darling and committee members for holding a hearing on Senate Bill 154 today. In Wisconsin, 64% of fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, with 34% … Continue reading Wisconsin Senate SB454 reading readiness assessments: DPI Testimony

Flying Blind: majority of taxpayer funded Madison Students opt out of state tests…, wordsmithing at the DPI

Elizabeth Beyer: More than half of Madison School District students opted out of statewide assessments last school year, far more than the unusually high number of students statewide who opted out amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The high opt-out rate makes comparing the test results with those of previous years nearly impossible. The results showed Madison … Continue reading Flying Blind: majority of taxpayer funded Madison Students opt out of state tests…, wordsmithing at the DPI

Teachers unions influenced last-minute CDC school guidance, received copies before public release, emails show

Joe Schoffstahl: The records further show that the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the two largest teachers unions in the U.S., received a copy of the guidance before the CDC released it to the public. The guidance included a phased reopening approach for K-12 schools based on coronavirus cases in the area. “These documents are … Continue reading Teachers unions influenced last-minute CDC school guidance, received copies before public release, emails show

Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)

October 21, 2021 11:00a.m. CST. Watch via Wisconsin Eye. Wisconsin AB 446; SIS links. The list of lobbying organizations (many taxpayer supported!) opposed to Roadmap to Reading Success is remarkable: Association of Wisconsin School Administrators League of Women Voters Wisconsin (!) Pearson NA (!) Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance WIRSA Wisconsin Association of School Boards Wisconsin … Continue reading Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)

Two out of three low-income black and Latino students in California read below grade level.

Joanne Jacobs: The Report Card focuses on low-income Latino third graders, who make up 43 percent of public school students. Only one school district in California — Bonita Unified in Los Angeles County — has more than 60 percent of these students reading at grade level; 12 teach the 50 percent mark. The best-performing districts … Continue reading Two out of three low-income black and Latino students in California read below grade level.

Long-Term NAEP Scores for 13-Year-Olds Drop for First Time Since Testing Began in 1970s — ‘A Matter for National Concern,’ Experts Say

Kevin Mahnken: Thirteen-year-olds saw unprecedented declines in both reading and math between 2012 and 2020, according to scores released this morning from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Consistent with several years of previous data, the results point to a clear and widening cleavage between America’s highest- and lowest-performing students and raise urgent questions … Continue reading Long-Term NAEP Scores for 13-Year-Olds Drop for First Time Since Testing Began in 1970s — ‘A Matter for National Concern,’ Experts Say

Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Transcript (machine generated) mp3 audio Notes and links on AB446. Kelly Butler Barksdale Reading Institute bio. 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 … Continue reading Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

Waunakee (former Madison PTO President) Mom on our Disastrous Reading Results

“Waunakee, they’re getting 65% proficiency. That’s great for Wisconsin. That’s great. Want to keep to doing great. And so we like really, we’re going to move there (from Madison). How are we going to tutor all the kids we’ve missed in Wisconsin?” Machine generated transcript. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board … Continue reading Waunakee (former Madison PTO President) Mom on our Disastrous Reading Results

Donna Hejtmanek Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

“1993: Wisconsin Students #3 in the Nation in Reading 2019: #27 If Mississippi can do it, we can do it”. 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 … Continue reading Donna Hejtmanek Wisconsin AB446 Testimony

“used surveys in early 2020 to assess how students felt in their math classes and what teachers thought about their own efforts to help students feel like they belong”

Scott Girard: Key findings include that classroom and school belonging are distinct and that teachers with more confidence in their ability to teach math had a stronger sense of classroom belonging among their students. The research also found there was no systematic difference in math classroom belonging across racial/ethnic groups or by gender. “I’m heartened … Continue reading “used surveys in early 2020 to assess how students felt in their math classes and what teachers thought about their own efforts to help students feel like they belong”

Showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty isn’t a crime. It’s good parenting and good citizenship.

Maud Maron: I am a mother of four, a criminal defense attorney and a lifelong liberal who is deeply concerned about the direction of New York City’s public schools. I’ve been outspoken about my views, along with an untold number of frustrated parents. For that, the FBI is considering using the PATRIOT Act against me.  … Continue reading Showing up to dress down school boards over their dereliction of duty isn’t a crime. It’s good parenting and good citizenship.

Five foot tall Rhode Island mom is not intimidated by the DOJ or FBI.

Jim Polito: Nicole Solas is fighting CRT indoctrination in schools while being a mom taxi and changing diapers. The Rhode Island mother is being sued by the state’s largest teacher’s union for asking questions about what’s being taught to her kids. Now the Department of Justice and FBI have accepted the premise that she could … Continue reading Five foot tall Rhode Island mom is not intimidated by the DOJ or FBI.

Peng Her Wisconsin Assembly Bill 446 Testimony

mp3 audio: PDF Transcript (Machine generated). Related: Some legislators attempt to address our long term, disastrous reading results. 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 … Continue reading Peng Her Wisconsin Assembly Bill 446 Testimony

The Biden Justice Department’s Lawless Threat against American Parents

Andrew McCarthy: On Monday, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum in which he wailed about the “disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.” Clearing his throat with an empty nod to the inconvenient fact that the Constitution protects “spirited debate,” Garland incorrectly — indeed, outrageously for … Continue reading The Biden Justice Department’s Lawless Threat against American Parents

Rigor: Canadian Marketing vs Wisconsin (Madison)?

“Most educated workforce in the world” Are we (Wisconsin/Madison) in the game? I have my doubts. Mulligans distract us. Two recent scenes at LHR, London Heathrow airport. 80 million people transited the airport in 2018. 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 … Continue reading Rigor: Canadian Marketing vs Wisconsin (Madison)?

Are you sure your kid can read? All too many US public schools won’t tell you the truth

Michael Benjamin: We ask that question of any parent whose child attends a city Department of Education school and more broadly of families (especially urban ones) all across the nation. And not just elementary-school children, but even middle- and high-schoolers. Because all too many public schools not only fail to teach basic skills; they promote … Continue reading Are you sure your kid can read? All too many US public schools won’t tell you the truth

Wisconsin Assembly passes ban on teaching critical race theory

Riley Vetterkind: Teaching public school students and training employees about concepts such as systemic racism and implicit bias would be banned under legislation Republicans passed in the state Assembly Tuesday. GOP lawmakers also approved a bill, 61-37, that would create a statewide civics curriculum that all Wisconsin public and private schools would have to follow. … Continue reading Wisconsin Assembly passes ban on teaching critical race theory

“Funding for K-12 education in Wisconsin is at historic levels”

Representative Robin Vos: “Funding for K-12 education in Wisconsin is at historic levels, and this year our schools received a massive amount of one-time federal dollars. The Democrats’ singular focus to push more money into schools isn’t a winning strategy for our kids. We need to look at improving how they are being taught and … Continue reading “Funding for K-12 education in Wisconsin is at historic levels”

Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Rhetoric, amidst long term, disastrous reading results

Rory Linnane: Though the position is technically nonpartisan, Underly’s campaign was heavily funded by the Democratic Party in a race that saw unprecedented spending. Her campaign spent seven times that of her opponent, former Brown Deer Schools Superintendent Deborah Kerr. The only action Underly announced Thursday was the creation of a literacy task force to … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Rhetoric, amidst long term, disastrous reading results

Wisconsin: spending more on K-12 Government schools, for less

In her State of Education Address, State Superintendent Jill Underly commented on the divestment of schools in WI. But schools don’t have a funding crisis. With COVID aid coming into WI, schools received a record amount of funding in the 21-23 budget. https://t.co/h3IP4iCwYq pic.twitter.com/zHwFCpNTgu — MacIver Institute (@MacIverWisc) September 23, 2021 2017: West High Reading … Continue reading Wisconsin: spending more on K-12 Government schools, for less

How indoctrination shortchanges K-12 students.

Bonnie Snyder At the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education(FIRE), our longstanding concerns about the deteriorating free speech culture in higher education led to the suspicion that many of these pernicious problems originate before students ever set foot on campus. This spurred us to expand our organizational aims to include high school outreach, in order to teach … Continue reading How indoctrination shortchanges K-12 students.

Charter School Enrollment Growth (Wisconsin up 13%)

Erica Pandey: Charter schools picked off hundreds of thousands of public school students across the U.S. during the pandemic, according to a new analysis from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Why it matters: The pandemic has weakened America’s public education system, as Zoom classes, teacher fatigue and student disengagement take their toll. And that hobbled system … Continue reading Charter School Enrollment Growth (Wisconsin up 13%)

Our priorities for public education have shifted—away from academic learning and toward therapy and custody.

Paul Hill: Our priorities for public education have shifted—away from academic learning and toward therapy and custody. The latter objectives were always present, but today’s movement away from “solid” subjects is a big change. In the late nineteenth century, Americans invested in K–12 education for everyone and made attendance compulsory because of the need for … Continue reading Our priorities for public education have shifted—away from academic learning and toward therapy and custody.

Uncontrolled Spread: Science, Policy, Institutions, Infrastructure

Future: One thing’s for sure — with this COVID crisis, we’re at an inflection point between old and new technology — whether it’s in how we make vaccines, or how we apply the fields of synthetic biology and genetic epidemiology in public health response. So now’s the time to look both backward, and forward, to … Continue reading Uncontrolled Spread: Science, Policy, Institutions, Infrastructure

A new study suggests that almost half of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have mild or asymptomatic cases.

David Zweig: At least 12,000 Americans have already died from COVID-19 this month, as the country inches through its latest surge in cases. But another worrying statistic is often cited to depict the dangers of this moment: The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States right now is as high as it has been since the beginning of February. It’s even … Continue reading A new study suggests that almost half of those hospitalized with COVID-19 have mild or asymptomatic cases.

Rhode Island Parent Union

Parents United: In Rhode Island, they have united to form a group of plaintiffs who have filed a lawsuit against Governor McKee for executive overreach regarding his unconstitutional and non-science-based state-of-emergency declaration and school mask mandate. 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 … Continue reading Rhode Island Parent Union

Few say that local schools are doing a good job, and most support school choice and charters. Additionally, just over half of those in America’s fastest-growing metros are wary of critical race theory (CRT) in school curriculum.

Michael Hendrix: Six out of ten say that crime is increasing in their area—including a majority of all racial and ethnic groups. Among those who live in urban cores but who express an interest in moving to a less dense area, crime rates are a top-three motivator. More than two in five respondents also see … Continue reading Few say that local schools are doing a good job, and most support school choice and charters. Additionally, just over half of those in America’s fastest-growing metros are wary of critical race theory (CRT) in school curriculum.

Student test scores drop as predicted during pandemic year in Missouri

Blythe Bernhard: Fewer than half of Missouri students performed at grade level or above in English (45%), math (35%) and science (37%) in the Missouri Assessment Program of standardized tests. In spring of 2019, the last time students were tested before the start of the pandemic, 49% of students scored proficient or advanced in English, … Continue reading Student test scores drop as predicted during pandemic year in Missouri

Wisconsin Legislators (some) attempt to address Our disastrous reading results

Mitchell Schmidt: However, committee chair Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, challenged critics of the bill, including DPI, to come forward with a proposal to address reading readiness. “I’ve got to tell you, I’m getting tired of this. The current way we teach reading in the state of Wisconsin, almost across the entire board, that … Continue reading Wisconsin Legislators (some) attempt to address Our disastrous reading results

Notes and Commentary on a 2021 NEA President’s Madison Visit

Elizabeth Beyer: Jenkins said he strongly encourages vaccination for adults, citing a plan to require the vaccine for teachers and staff that will be presented to the Madison School Board on Monday. For now, he said he prefers to leave the decision on vaccination for children up to parents. “I do think that we have … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on a 2021 NEA President’s Madison Visit

Hearing Tuesday/Wednesday on Wisconsin’s Literacy Disaster

Public hearing is Tuesday at 10am, with the bill likely to be up around 10:30. Catch it on Wisconsin Eye. Lobbying information on Assembly Bill 446. Curiously, the League of Women Voters is against this legislation. Documents: Co-Sponsorship of LRB-1294 & 3781, Relating to: Reading Readiness Assessments and Granting Rule-Making Authority. Current Law vs. Roadmap … Continue reading Hearing Tuesday/Wednesday on Wisconsin’s Literacy Disaster

Notes and Commentary on Madison curricular choices

Should an elementary school give $4,600 to Ibram X. Kendi? Yes in Madison, Wis., where Thoreau Elementary @MMSDschools is purchasing “The Anti-Racist Baby” for 4K-2nd graders & “Stamped” for 3rd-5th graders. These books teach against neutrality, equality, and colorblindness. pic.twitter.com/ijIs6a4tXC — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) September 1, 2021 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on Madison curricular choices

Notes on the Tierney of low expectations; New York edition

Kyle Smith: Excellence. It’s a thing. And to sort out who is excellent requires competition in various tests with measurable outcomes.  Competition sadly exposes failure. But it also steers everyone to the most fitting role for them. I competed and failed at being a baseball player, soccer player and tennis player before I finally found … Continue reading Notes on the Tierney of low expectations; New York edition

Madison’s k-12 enrollment ethnic label commentary

Chris Rickert: The Madison School District is considering whether to remove the word “Karen” from a section of its online student enrollment form where parents can identify their children’s ethnicity, apparently after some expressed concerns about its modern-day connotations. But if it does, the district wouldn’t be able to collect information on more than 30 … Continue reading Madison’s k-12 enrollment ethnic label commentary

Notes and Commentary on K-12 Curriculum

Goldwater Institute: Schools are keeping parents in the dark In too many of our nation’s classrooms, children are being taught that everything should be seen through the lens of race—a divisive and damaging worldview that negates the value of the individual. Instead of reading our country’s founding documents, students are being told that America was … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on K-12 Curriculum

Notes and Commentary on Madison’s 2021-2022 “virtual school” plans

Scott Girard: Madison Teachers Inc. president Michael Jones said earlier Tuesday the union was working with the district on staffing the program. “The discussions for planning have been positive and we’re hopeful that we’ll have a model that’ll meet the needs of our kids, staff, and families,” Jones wrote to the Cap Times. The district … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on Madison’s 2021-2022 “virtual school” plans

“It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience…”; “how are you going to recall me?”

Mike Antonucci: Here are a few of the more pungent quotes from Myart-Cruz: “There is no such thing as learning loss. Our kids didn’t lose anything. It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience. They learned survival. They learned critical-thinking skills. They know the difference between a … Continue reading “It’s OK that our babies may not have learned all their times tables. They learned resilience…”; “how are you going to recall me?”

Mechanisms of airborne transmission

Chia C. Wang, Kimberly A. Prather,, Josué Sznitman, Jose L. Jimenez, Seema S. Lakdawala, Zeynep Tufekci, Linsey C. Marr: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted controversies and unknowns about how respiratory pathogens spread between hosts. Traditionally, it was thought that respiratory pathogens spread between people through large droplets produced in coughs and through contact with contaminated … Continue reading Mechanisms of airborne transmission

Mandates and Masks Commentary

Emily Files Hamilton Superintendent Paul Mielke believes his district is following CDC recommendations. “It still came across as a ‘recommend’ and we are strongly recommending [masks,]” Mielke says. “So we’re actually matching their language. If they would have said schools should mandate, we would have looked at that.” Still, Mielke says the masking decision was … Continue reading Mandates and Masks Commentary

K—12 Governance Priorities & Effectiveness

Contrast the experience of schoolchildren in the Netherlands—no mask mandates or distancing for kids <12, ever—to the widespread US belief that we absolutely must mask kindergartners all day in school for their safety. You owe it to yourself to read the entire thing, I promise. pic.twitter.com/QrLaJSRph5 — Genève Campbell (@bergerbell) August 23, 2021 Related: Catholic schools will sue … Continue reading K—12 Governance Priorities & Effectiveness

Pandemic Learning: Large Increase In Virtual Charter And Homeschooling Enrollment Raises Questions

Steven Potter: A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum found huge increases in student enrollment in virtual charter and homeschooling last year. We discuss what that means for students, parents and school districts. Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees). Molly … Continue reading Pandemic Learning: Large Increase In Virtual Charter And Homeschooling Enrollment Raises Questions

“schools that went strictly remote experienced a 42 percent increase in disenrollment….”

NY Times: An analysis by N.W.E.A., a nonprofit that provides academic assessments, for example, found that Latino third graders scored 17 percentile points lower in math in the spring of 2021, compared to the typical achievements of Latino third graders in the spring of 2019. The decline was 15 percentile points for Black students and … Continue reading “schools that went strictly remote experienced a 42 percent increase in disenrollment….”

Fear of COVID-19 in Kids Is Getting Ahead of the Data

Lucy McBride: A recent peer-reviewed study in Britain of nearly 260,000 children (1,700 of whom showed symptoms) reminds us that for most kids, a coronavirus infection will manifest as the common cold—if anything. Also reassuring is that only 4.4 percent of children diagnosed with COVID-19 in this study had symptoms after 28 days (and 1.8 percent after … Continue reading Fear of COVID-19 in Kids Is Getting Ahead of the Data

The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain

David Zweig: Many of America’s peer nations around the world — including the U.K., Ireland, all of Scandinavia, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy — have exempted kids, with varying age cutoffs, from wearing masks in classrooms. Conspicuously, there’s no evidence of more outbreaks in schools in those countries relative to schools in the U.S., … Continue reading The Science of Masking Kids at School Remains Uncertain

The “noble government lies of COVID 19”

Kerrington Powell and Vinay Prasad: Later in 2020, Fauci participated in a second noble lie. In December, he explained in a phone interview with then–New York Times reporter Donald McNeil that he had been moving the target estimate for herd immunity based in part on emerging studies. But he also said: When polls said only about half of all … Continue reading The “noble government lies of COVID 19”

84% Growth in Wisconsin Virtual School Enrollment

Alyssa Lyons: According to Wisconsin’s Policy Forum, virtual charter enrollment rose 84% in 2020-21. Here in Eau Claire that trend holds true.  Last year, while offering virtual school in addition to the district’s online COVID-19 cohort, the Eau Claire Virtual School had 40 students enrolled in grades four through 12. This year, now offering K-12, that number has … Continue reading 84% Growth in Wisconsin Virtual School Enrollment

Commentary on the ACLU and K-12 Curricular Transparency

Rick Eisenberg: These things — not “talking about race” or teaching American history in full — are why Americans object to CRT. Proposals to limit curriculum or teaching derived from CRT differ and are of varying merit, but the best of them seek to prohibit schools from advocating for or requiring students to assent to a … Continue reading Commentary on the ACLU and K-12 Curricular Transparency

COVID Cases Fell 40% in the UK After Restrictions Were Lifted

Jon Miltimore: Weeks later, however, we have an abundance of empirical evidence that show the prognosticators were once again wrong. Cases did not double or quadruple as Ferguson had predicted. Nor did cases “surge,” as many had warned. On the contrary, cases fell—a lot. Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes and … Continue reading COVID Cases Fell 40% in the UK After Restrictions Were Lifted

Germany’s largest newspaper BILD apologizes for harming society over its coverage of the covid-19 pandemic during the past 18 months

Daniel Levi: In a 5-minute YouTube video, BILD editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt said:“Millions of children in this country, for whom we are all responsible as a society, I would like to say what our Federal Government and our Chancellor have not dare to say so far: We ask your forgiveness. We ask your forgiveness for a … Continue reading Germany’s largest newspaper BILD apologizes for harming society over its coverage of the covid-19 pandemic during the past 18 months

On lagging learning during 2020-2021

McKinsey: Our analysis shows that the impact of the pandemic on K–12 student learning was significant, leaving students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year.” Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. … Continue reading On lagging learning during 2020-2021

K-12 Health Governance: We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states that were slower to implement SIP policies.

Virat Agrawal: As a way of slowing COVID-19 transmission, many countries and U.S. states implemented shelter-in-place (SIP) policies. However, the effects of SIP policies on public health are a priori ambiguous as they might have unintended adverse effects on health. The effect of SIP policies on COVID-19 transmission and physical mobility is mixed. To understand … Continue reading K-12 Health Governance: We failed to find that countries or U.S. states that implemented SIP policies earlier, and in which SIP policies had longer to operate, had lower excess deaths than countries/U.S. states that were slower to implement SIP policies.

Commentary on mask requirements in taxpayer supported K-12 schools

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

Small California school districts will refuse to follow mask mandate

Joe Hong: Some school officials are flouting the updated state rules, saying students will be allowed to return to the classroom with or without a mask. California’s smallest school districts say they will refuse to send kids home for not wearing a mask despite a new state mandate.  Superintendents in these tight-knit and typically more … Continue reading Small California school districts will refuse to follow mask mandate

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

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

Comparing 2020-2021 online vs in person student climate

Bruce Murphy: The study also found a significant racial difference in the percent of students getting full-time, in-person instruction: nationally an average of 75% of non-Hispanic white students were getting in-person instruction as of April versus 63% of Black students and 59% of Hispanic students. In 43 states, access to in-person learning was higher for … Continue reading Comparing 2020-2021 online vs in person student climate

Wisconsin Supreme Court Declares Racine School Closure Order Invalid

WILL: The News: The Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously declared that an order from the City of Racine’s public health officer closing all schools, public and private, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is invalid and lacked proper legal authority. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) filed an original action to the Wisconsin Supreme Court on November 19, on … Continue reading Wisconsin Supreme Court Declares Racine School Closure Order Invalid

Inside the risky bat-virus engineering that links America to Wuhan: China emulated US techniques to construct novel coronaviruses in unsafe conditions.

Rowan Jacobsen: In 2013, the American virologist Ralph Baric approached Zhengli Shi at a meeting. Baric was a top expert in coronaviruses, with hundreds of papers to his credit, and Shi, along with her team at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, had been discovering them by the fistful in bat caves. In one sample of … Continue reading Inside the risky bat-virus engineering that links America to Wuhan: China emulated US techniques to construct novel coronaviruses in unsafe conditions.

Covid: Loneliness a ‘bigger health risk than smoking or obesity’

Catherine Evans: NHS prescriptions for gardening and dancing are “vitally needed” to help tackle rising levels of loneliness after lockdown, people suffering from isolation have said.Social prescribing has been included in the Welsh government’s list of priorities for the next five years. A Mind Cymru pilot project is looking into its impact on mental health. … Continue reading Covid: Loneliness a ‘bigger health risk than smoking or obesity’

At Height of the 1918 Pandemic, NYC and Chicago Schools Stayed Open. Here’s Why

Sarah Pruitt: But for social and educational reformers, it wasn’t enough that children attend school—they also needed to stay safe and healthy when they got there. Schools were renovated and reorganized to allow better ventilation in classrooms and ensure access to fresh drinking water. Beginning in the 1890s, many cities launched medical inspection programs, with … Continue reading At Height of the 1918 Pandemic, NYC and Chicago Schools Stayed Open. Here’s Why

Closing the world’s schools caused children great harm; Governments are going shockingly little to help

The Economist: The immense harm this has done to children’s prospects might be justified if closing classrooms were one of the best ways of preventing lethal infections among adults. But few governments have weighed the costs and risks carefully. Many have kept schools shut even as bars and restaurants open, either to appease teachers’ unions, … Continue reading Closing the world’s schools caused children great harm; Governments are going shockingly little to help

The pandemic has been a catastrophe for school children. But it could inspire reforms to make schools more efficient

The Economist: n the first three months of the pandemic Shawnie Bennett, a single mother from Oakland in California, lost her job and her brother, who died of covid-19. Grief made the trials of lockdown more difficult—including that of helping her eight-year-old daughter, Xa’viar, continue her schooling online. In November Ms Bennett signed her daughter … Continue reading The pandemic has been a catastrophe for school children. But it could inspire reforms to make schools more efficient

Covid Proved the C.D.C. Is Broken. Can It Be Fixed?

Jeneen Interlandi: Scientists there had been far too slow to detect the virus, to develop an accurate diagnostic test for it or to grasp how fast it was mutating. Their advisories on mask-wearing, quarantine and ventilation had been confusing, inconsistent and occasionally dead wrong. And during the Trump administration, agency leaders stood by while politicians … Continue reading Covid Proved the C.D.C. Is Broken. Can It Be Fixed?

Opting Out: Enrollment Trends in Response to Continued Public School Shutdowns

Will Flanders: Research has found that fall 2020 school district reopening decisions appear to be driven more by politics and teachers unions than by the local presence of COVID-19. But what are the implications of those decisions for enrollment trends? Using recently released enrollment data from the state of Wisconsin, this study goes further to … Continue reading Opting Out: Enrollment Trends in Response to Continued Public School Shutdowns

Political Posturing, interests and “adult employment” on taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health ordering schools closed

Wisconsin Supreme Court: For the respondent, there was a brief filed by Remzy D. Bitar, Sadie R. Zurfluh, and Municipal and Litigation Group ̧ Waukesha. There was an oral argument by Remzy D. Bitar. For the petitioners Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, et al., there was a reply brief filed by Richard M. … Continue reading Political Posturing, interests and “adult employment” on taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health ordering schools closed

Teacher Union sues the taxpayer supported Madison School District

BREAKING: Madison Teachers Inc. leaders, including union president Michael Jones, have filed a lawsuit against @MMSDschools over the ongoing teacher contracts dispute. Here’s a story from yesterday updating where things were: https://t.co/eiyGBlS8Ps — Scott Girard (@sgirard9) June 9, 2021 Lester Pines (Pines Bach law firm) has long represented local and state Teacher unions. Related: Catholic schools will sue … Continue reading Teacher Union sues the taxpayer supported Madison School District

K-12 Governance and Curriculum climate

This speech at the #loudouncounty school board meeting was absolute 🔥🔥🔥 #alldayeveryday #mustseetv pic.twitter.com/UQuwEjNAWZ — Ian Prior (@iandprior) June 9, 2021 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 … Continue reading K-12 Governance and Curriculum climate

Civics: Only 40% of Voters Think Dr. Fauci Told the Truth About Virus Research

Rasmussen: The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 40% of Likely U.S. Voters believe Fauci has told the truth about U.S. government funding for so-called “gain-of-function” virus research. Forty-six percent (46%) of voters believe Fauci has not told the truth about U.S. funding of such research, and 15% are not sure. … Continue reading Civics: Only 40% of Voters Think Dr. Fauci Told the Truth About Virus Research