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.

We can’t solve problems if our children can’t read

Kaleem Caire: I have grave concern for our children in Dane County and Wisconsin. We face no greater long-term crisis in America than the widespread underperformance, diminishing motivation and poor preparation of children and young people in our nation’s K-12 schools, and the rapidly declining number of educators available to teach our children. Student performance … Continue reading We can’t solve problems if our children can’t read

Civics: “rule making” vs legislation

Mario Loyola and Eric Groten The EPA’s attempt to impose such a scheme on states was particularly bold because Congress had just declined to enact a similar scheme. After the 2008 election, Democrats introduced the Waxman-Markey bill, a sweeping cap-and-trade scheme to reduce carbon emissions dramatically. Even with Democratic supermajorities in both houses, Congress failed … Continue reading Civics: “rule making” vs legislation

High schooler designs new ‘I Voted’ stickers for Madison elections

Scott Girard Katina Maclin won’t be able to vote this fall, but her ideas will be present at every polling place in the city of Madison. The high school junior, who recently moved from Sun Prairie to Glendale, designed two new voting-themed stickers for voters to consider grabbing after filling out their ballot. “It speaks to how … Continue reading High schooler designs new ‘I Voted’ stickers for Madison elections

Notes on renaming Madison’s Jefferson Middle School

Scott Girard: The effort to consider a new name for Madison’s Jefferson Middle School is on pause until October, following low attendance by members of the ad hoc committee appointed for the effort. The School Board appointed the committee in March after Jefferson principal Sue Abplanalp made a renaming request to the board Feb. 28. … Continue reading Notes on renaming Madison’s Jefferson Middle School

Ongoing Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school spending growth: 2022-2023 budget (amidst declining enrollment)

Elizabeth Beyer: An average home valued at $376,765 could see a property tax increase of up to $106, meaning the school portion of the tax bill would be roughly $3,926 in December, compared with $3,820 this past year. The district’s total property tax levy would increase 2.77% over the previous year, to roughly $366.8 million. … Continue reading Ongoing Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school spending growth: 2022-2023 budget (amidst declining enrollment)

Notes on Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 spending plans amidst declining enrollment

Scott Girard: While there is a large influx of federal COVID-19 relief funding, officials have expressed hesitancy at using that one-time money for ongoing operational costs like salaries. “You’re going to hear no argument from us that our teachers and our staff deserve better,” LeMonds said at one of MTI’s rallies in May. “The fiscal … Continue reading Notes on Taxpayer supported Madison K-12 spending plans amidst declining enrollment

Boston slams new state schools plan as moving sides ‘further apart’ as receivership looms

Sean Phillip Cotter: Boston Public Schools, which has narrowed its ostensibly nationwide superintendent search down to one current and one recent former BPS administrator, is beset on all sides by poor student outcomes, yawning socioeconomic achievement gaps, reports of increased violence in and around school buildings, declining enrollment and snarled student transportation strategies. The commissioner … Continue reading Boston slams new state schools plan as moving sides ‘further apart’ as receivership looms

Governance: Cashiered Navy Officers (consequences! No Mulligans?)

Jeff Schogol: The Navy believes it is worth publicly disclosing whenever admirals in particular have been disciplined for misconduct in order to maintain the public’s trust and confidence in the Department of the Navy’s integrity, Mommsen said. Generally, that standard also applies in cases when allegations of misconduct against commanding officers, executive officers, and senior … Continue reading Governance: Cashiered Navy Officers (consequences! No Mulligans?)

Ongoing spending increase discussions in the taxpayer supported Madison Schools (bricks & mortar vs people?), amidst declining enrollment

Scott Girard: Board president Ali Muldrow, who has a conflict of interest in discussing teacher salaries as her husband is a teacher, commented only on the hourly workers’ pay rate Monday, but indicated she strongly supports an increase. “I’m really deeply vested in our ability to substantially shift how we’re compensating hourly wage workers,” Muldrow … Continue reading Ongoing spending increase discussions in the taxpayer supported Madison Schools (bricks & mortar vs people?), amidst declining enrollment

An interview with Madison’s Cherokee Middle School Principle – and recent Secondary Principal of the Year award winner

Scott Girard: One of the biggest things was how we co-created our equity vision. That was a huge piece of it, having our families, our students and our staff really lean in, look at our data, both numerical (and) looking at our interviews with our families, especially families who have not been included in school … Continue reading An interview with Madison’s Cherokee Middle School Principle – and recent Secondary Principal of the Year award winner

“Expert” idiocy on teaching kids to read

Robert Pondiscio: Calkins’s work mostly disregards this fundamental insight, focusing students’ attention in the mirror instead of out the window. For low-income kids who are less likely to grow up in language-rich homes and don’t have the same opportunities for enrichment as affluent kids, the opportunity costs of Calkins’s “philosophy” are incalculable. Endless hours of class time … Continue reading “Expert” idiocy on teaching kids to read

“anti-meritocratic, oriented away from standardized tests, gifted and talented programs and test-in elite schools”

Ruy Teixeira: Finally, there is perhaps the key issue for many Asian voters: education. It is difficult to overestimate how important education is to Asian voters, who see it as the key tool for upward mobility—a tool that even the poorest Asian parents can take advantage of. But Democrats have become increasingly associated with an … Continue reading “anti-meritocratic, oriented away from standardized tests, gifted and talented programs and test-in elite schools”

Mulligans ignored: The U.S. News and World Report rankings don’t consider any of the scores or metrics from Wisconsin’s public schools since then.

Benjamin Yount: “As proficiency has plummeted under his tenure, Governor Evers is forced to point to outdated data to back up his claims that he has been an effective leader on education,” Will Flanders with the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty told The Center Square. Flanders added that Gov. Evers’ approach to public schools … Continue reading Mulligans ignored: The U.S. News and World Report rankings don’t consider any of the scores or metrics from Wisconsin’s public schools since then.

Commentary on Madison’s behavior education plan

Scott Girard: Simkin suggested one example is in the student use of cell phones in classrooms, something teachers have expressed concerns about this school year. The BEP already prohibits the use of unauthorized, non-educationally required devices that disrupt learning, but Simkin said that teachers “don’t have what they need to implement this and it’s greatly … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s behavior education plan

Taxpayer supported Wisconsin DPI and free speech

MD Kittle: The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has long been a haven of leftist thought and policy. Increasingly, the agency has become politically weaponized in the pursuit of its woke diversity, equity and inclusion agenda. Most recently, DPI launched an investigation into a Milwaukee Public Schools counselor whose alleged crime is that she spoke passionately in … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Wisconsin DPI and free speech

New ‘discoveries’ of the harm caused by school closures are as disingenuous and politically motivated as the original policies themselves

Alex Gutentag: The collapse of educational pathways and structures has had a particularly brutal effect on the poorest students, who can least afford to have their schooling disrupted. High-poverty schools had the lowest levels of in-person instruction, causing low-income students to fall even further behind their more affluent peers. The entirely foreseeable ways in which bad COVID-19 … Continue reading New ‘discoveries’ of the harm caused by school closures are as disingenuous and politically motivated as the original policies themselves

“no significant relationship between mask mandates and case rates”

Ambarish Chandra and Tracy Beth Høeg Our study replicates a highly cited CDC study showing a negative association between school mask mandates and pediatric SARS-CoV-2 cases. We then extend the study using a larger sample of districts and a longer time interval, employing almost six times as much data as the original study. We examine … Continue reading “no significant relationship between mask mandates and case rates”

“Little evidence was found that more spending affects student performance”

Will Flanders: Here are the biggest findings: Students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program continue to outperform their public-school peers. Proficiency rates in private choice schools were 4.6% higher in English/Language Arts (ELA) and 4.5% higher in math on average than proficiency rates in traditional public schools in Milwaukee. Charter school students in Milwaukee continue … Continue reading “Little evidence was found that more spending affects student performance”

“Early analyses indicated that Covid-19 health factors had virtually nothing to do with reopening decisions, and partisan politics could explain nearly all the variation”

Rachel Cohen: There were early signs that this narrative didn’t explain the full story. If allegiance to former President Donald Trump (in schools that opened) or teacher unions (in those that stayed closed) were all that mattered, why did support for reopening schools also drop among Republican voters over the summer? And what about the conflicting recommendations coming from … Continue reading “Early analyses indicated that Covid-19 health factors had virtually nothing to do with reopening decisions, and partisan politics could explain nearly all the variation”

“Essentially, that meant kids were not being taught to read at all”

Ronald Kessler: Essentially, that meant kids were not being taught to read at all. Whole language proponents even said that when children guessed wrong, they should not be corrected. “It is unpleasant to be corrected,” Paul Jennings, an Australian whole language enthusiast, said. “It has to be fun, fun, fun.” But reading, like devising algebraic … Continue reading “Essentially, that meant kids were not being taught to read at all”

Parental Rights vs Taxpayer Supported Organs

Eugene Volokh: The claims arise out of “UPMC’s purported disclosure of their confidential medical information to [child protection authorities] for the purpose of targeting them with highly intrusive, humiliating and coercive child abuse investigations starting before taking their newborn babies home from UPMC’s hospitals shortly after childbirth.” Scott Girard: At issue is an April 2018 … Continue reading Parental Rights vs Taxpayer Supported Organs

K-12 tax & spending climate: Madison spending growth amidst declining enrollment

Elizabeth Beyer: Jones told the board that 67 staff members are leaving this year, but the district is only hiring 10 new staff. Prior to the meeting, Jones noted that school districts of all sizes across Wisconsin are offering base wage increases to their teachers that are near or at 4.7% to keep in line … Continue reading K-12 tax & spending climate: Madison spending growth amidst declining enrollment

“The fact that she was disconnected from that research is evidence of the problem.” Madison….

Dana Goldstein: How Professor Calkins ended up influencing tens of millions of children is, in one sense, the story of education in America. Unlike many developed countries, the United States lacks a national curriculum or teacher-training standards. Local policies change constantly, as governors, school boards, mayors and superintendents flow in and out of jobs. Amid … Continue reading “The fact that she was disconnected from that research is evidence of the problem.” Madison….

The report further critiques what it calls school districts’ lack of transparency regarding declining student performance — and it laments parents’ “eroding” confidence in the state’s public schools.

Hannah Natanson and Laura Vozzella “We are not serving all of Virginia’s children and we must,” Youngkin said at a news conference in Richmond, where he and his education team presented the report. “We want to be the best in education. We should be the best in education. And the data that is compiled and … Continue reading The report further critiques what it calls school districts’ lack of transparency regarding declining student performance — and it laments parents’ “eroding” confidence in the state’s public schools.

Advocating transparency in the origins of COVID 19

Neil Harrison and Jeffrey Sachs: This lack of an independent and transparent US-based scientific investigation has had four highly adverse consequences. First, public trust in the ability of US scientific institutions to govern the activities of US science in a responsible manner has been shaken. Second, the investigation of the origin of SARS-CoV-2 has become … Continue reading Advocating transparency in the origins of COVID 19

The excellence gap and underrepresentation at America’s most selective universities

Michael J. Petrilli The connection between the excellence gap and affirmative action should be obvious. College administrators would not have to twist themselves into knots to find ways to admit more Black, Hispanic, and low-income students into highly selective institutions were it not for the pervasiveness of the excellence gap. Consider: In 2015–16, the most … Continue reading The excellence gap and underrepresentation at America’s most selective universities

Race and the Taxpayer Funded Madison School District

David Blaska: If you doubt that the Woke Wobblies have taken over Madison’s public schools, we submit the following: School board president Ali Muldrow and immediate past member Ananda Mirilli are accusing Ismael Ozanne, a black man, of racism most foul. They want him to resign (!!!) because police arrested Freedom Inc. spokesperson Jessica Williams … Continue reading Race and the Taxpayer Funded Madison School District

$pending more for less: K-12 budgets grow amidst declining enrollment

By Shawn Hubler All together, America’s public schools have lost at least 1.2 million students since 2020, according to a recently published national survey. State enrollment figures show no sign of a rebound to the previous national levels any time soon. A broad decline was already underway in the nation’s public school system as rates of birth … Continue reading $pending more for less: K-12 budgets grow amidst declining enrollment

“Low state capacity”: spending more for less

Helen Dale America’s dysfunctional airports are instances of widespread low state capacity. And this is bigger than airports. Low state capacity can only be used to describe a country when it is true of multiple big-ticket items, not just one. State capacity is a term drawn from economic history and development economics. It refers to a government’s … Continue reading “Low state capacity”: spending more for less

Spending more on facilities amidst enrollment decline and long term, disastrous reading results

Scott Girard: Officials outlined a total of $28 million in additional costs to the School Board Monday night. Of that, $11 million is related to high inflation, $9 million is for additional mechanical and electrical work and $8 million for additional environmental projects. MMSD chief financial officer Ross MacPherson said those costs are likely to be … Continue reading Spending more on facilities amidst enrollment decline and long term, disastrous reading results

Restoring pandemic losses will require major changes in schools and classrooms, superintendents say

Paul Hill & Kate Destler: The solutions will require new modes of spending, performance measurement, and school oversight, as well as much greater flexibility in teacher hiring, training, and work. Superintendents and school-board leaders can’t make these changes all by themselves. They’ll need serious help and new thinking from governors, state legislators, the federal government, … Continue reading Restoring pandemic losses will require major changes in schools and classrooms, superintendents say

“We found that districts that spent more weeks in remote instruction lost more ground than districts that returned to in-person instruction sooner,”

Johannes Schmidt: A new study has found that although “high-poverty schools” suffered large losses in achievement by switching to remote learning during the coronavirus lockdowns, districts that remained largely in-person lost relatively little ground. The report, titled “The consequences of remote and hybrid instruction during the pandemic,” was published by a team of researchers from the Center … Continue reading “We found that districts that spent more weeks in remote instruction lost more ground than districts that returned to in-person instruction sooner,”

‘The Vindication of The Great Barrington Three’ Panel Transcript: LLS London Meeting Feb 2022

Link: But what else can you achieve with a lockdown? The supposition of the non-Zero COVID crowd was that you could suppress infection. You can’t: there’s only a few things you can do with any kind of intervention. You can either get rid of the pathogen – unrealistic – or you can try and suppress it. But if you suppress it for a particular period of time, it’s going to come … Continue reading ‘The Vindication of The Great Barrington Three’ Panel Transcript: LLS London Meeting Feb 2022

Howard Fuller on the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce k-12 diversity

Dr Howard Fuller: Let me cite some of the specific concerns I have: First, the proposed rule to demand that charter schools partner with a local district is obviously aimed at ending their independence and forcing them under the control of the traditional public school system. Charters should be free to determine whether partnering with … Continue reading Howard Fuller on the Biden Administration’s efforts to reduce k-12 diversity

Public health has fragmented trust: The problem is not rogue online misinformation; it is errors from CDC, NIAID, and the White House

Vinay Prasad Building trust in institutions is vital to their success, but as we enter the third year of the pandemic, public health still seems hellbent on destroying itself. In recent weeks, we have seen flip flops on major policy proposal: a vaccine passport for domestic air-travel and authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages … Continue reading Public health has fragmented trust: The problem is not rogue online misinformation; it is errors from CDC, NIAID, and the White House

“FDR told us that Pearl Harbor was “a day of infamy,” not an episode in which the US Navy was caught with its pants down”

Antonio: Perspectives on reality of course vary according to the ideals and institutions involved.  It doesn’t matter to the French what the Anglo-Saxons think of Napoleon.  The events of the Napoleonic era have been conformed to the ideals and institutions of French republicanism in a way that frankly seems strange to me (as an honorary … Continue reading “FDR told us that Pearl Harbor was “a day of infamy,” not an episode in which the US Navy was caught with its pants down”

“The fact that everybody else is doing something different, I think that’s OK,” Wald said. “It doesn’t trouble me so much. I think we’re doing the right thing.”

Scott Girard: Districts have varied in their approach to pandemic health and safety measures, with some making decisions at the School Board level and others leaving it to administrators. With a few exceptions, the Madison School Board has mostly left it to administrators, including on the mask mandate. Christina Gomez Schmidt, the School Board member … Continue reading “The fact that everybody else is doing something different, I think that’s OK,” Wald said. “It doesn’t trouble me so much. I think we’re doing the right thing.”

Commentary on the 2022 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Candidates, K-12 Education and prospects

Libby Sobic: Gov. Tony Evers’s recent vetoes put him at a historic rate of total vetoes compared to previous governors. Of the more than 100 vetoes he executed a week ago Friday, about a quarter were related to education. In many veto messages, the governor cited his previous role as state schools superintendent. Yet his … Continue reading Commentary on the 2022 Wisconsin Gubernatorial Candidates, K-12 Education and prospects

Declining student count vs Growing $pending

Mike Antonucci: We have heard a lot about educator shortages recently, but over the past few weeks the media have sounded the alarm over a different shortage: students. The Associated Press, Washington Post, Chalkbeat, Politico and The 74 are national outlets that highlighted steep declines in K-12 public school student enrollment and the dangers of layoffs and deep budget cuts when federal … Continue reading Declining student count vs Growing $pending

“At least 2.4 million students in the United States have participated in Reading Recovery”. Madison?

Emily Hanford & Christopher Peak: The fact that students who participated in Reading Recovery did worse in later grades than similar students who did not get the program surprised May. [study] “Was Reading Recovery harmful? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that,” he said. “But what we do know is that the kids … Continue reading “At least 2.4 million students in the United States have participated in Reading Recovery”. Madison?

Mandates and closed schools: yet another experiment on our children

David Leonhardt Across much of the Northeast, Midwest and West Coast, school buildings stayed closed and classes remained online for months. These differences created a huge experiment, testing how well remote learning worked during the pandemic. Academic researchers have since been studying the subject, and they have come to a consistent conclusion: Remote learning was … Continue reading Mandates and closed schools: yet another experiment on our children

Notes on renaming Madison’s Jefferson Middle School amidst our long term, disastrous reading results

Scott Girard The Madison Metropolitan School District received 42 proposals for names for Thomas Jefferson Middle School on the city’s west side as officials consider a renaming. Four suggest keeping it as “Thomas Jefferson Middle School” and another would make it simply “Jefferson Middle School,” though the submission makes it clear the author wants it to still … Continue reading Notes on renaming Madison’s Jefferson Middle School amidst our long term, disastrous reading results

“First, many states began to emphasize school accountability starting in the 1990s”

David Leonhardt: Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and other states more rigorously measured student learning and pushed struggling schools to adopt approaches that were working elsewhere. The accountability movement went national in the 2000s, through laws signed by George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The timing of the test-score increases is consistent with this story, as … Continue reading “First, many states began to emphasize school accountability starting in the 1990s”

The Countless Failures of Big Bureaucracy

Donald Devine: Ludwig von Mises’ Yale University Press classic Bureaucracy explains in a relatively few pages the difference between public and private-sector bureaucratic management. The private sector can measure what is going on in large hierarchies of bureaucracy below its CEO simply by asking whether each unit is making a profit. The public sector has no equivalent measuring … Continue reading The Countless Failures of Big Bureaucracy

The price of lockdown mandates: “The value to in-person learning was larger for districts with larger populations of Black students”

Rebecca Jack, Claire Halloran, James Okun and Emily Oster: We estimate the impact of district-level schooling mode (in-person versus hybrid or virtual learning) in the 2020-21 school year on students’ pass rates on standardized tests in Grades 3–8 across 11 states. Pass rates declined from 2019 to 2021: an average decline of 12.8 percentage points … Continue reading The price of lockdown mandates: “The value to in-person learning was larger for districts with larger populations of Black students”

Taxpayer Supported Madison School District plans to spend $543M+ during 2022-2023; about $21k/student

Elizabeth Beyer: The district is receiving $70.6 million over the course of three payments. The district’s first installment, ESSER I, was approximately $9.2 million and had been exhausted by the end of the 2020-21 school year. Currently, $39.8 million of the second two installments, ESSER II and III, are written into the 2022-23 preliminary budget. … Continue reading Taxpayer Supported Madison School District plans to spend $543M+ during 2022-2023; about $21k/student

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 system spends $5.6M on literacy curriculum

Scott Girard: In MMSD, 34.9% of students in grades 3-8 scored “proficient” or “advanced” on the statewide Forward Exam in 2018-19, the most recent year the exam was given with a high percentage of students participating. The results were worse for every non-white group of students other than Asians, who had the same percentage as … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 system spends $5.6M on literacy curriculum

Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s “asynchronous learning” scheme

Scott Girard: In a statement last week, Madison Teachers Inc. put the blame on DPI for the last-minute change from the district. “DPI should understand that to us who have to actually implement this additional work, this move signals the prioritization of compliance above compassion,” MTI president Michael Jones wrote. Jones wrote that the other … Continue reading Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s “asynchronous learning” scheme

Notes on politics and the achievement gap

Daniel Lennington and Will Flanders Last week, Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Jill Underly put out a press releasebroadly outlining her plans to address Wisconsin’s racial achievement gap. While it is perhaps a positive to finally see the superintendent addressing the failings of Wisconsin’s public schools, this release offers a disturbing window into the way … Continue reading Notes on politics and the achievement gap

Madison’s literacy disaster, continued: reading recovery’s negative impact on children

Emily Hanford and Christopher Peak The new, federally funded study found that children who received Reading Recovery had scores on state reading tests in third and fourth grade that were below the test scores of similar children who did not receive Reading Recovery.  “It’s not what we expected, and it’s concerning,” said lead author Henry May, director … Continue reading Madison’s literacy disaster, continued: reading recovery’s negative impact on children

Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison school district “equity audit”

Scott Girard “There is a lot of evidence that the state of Wisconsin has the most extreme gaps in opportunity and outcomes based on race and that within Wisconsin, MMSD is often ranked among the worst or the worst in some of these indicators,” MMSD director of research Brianne Monahan said. Jackson said the process … Continue reading Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison school district “equity audit”

Mission vs organization, redux; Madison’s disastrous reading Results

Paul Fanlund: That said, his indictment of liberals in college towns echoes something Gloria Ladson-Billings, a renowned UW-Madison professor emerita, told me for a column last year about liberals and race. “Everyone is for the most part self-interested,” she said. “You can only go so far before people start seeing it as an erosion of something they … Continue reading Mission vs organization, redux; Madison’s disastrous reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 make up “asynchronous” time

Scott Girard: Lessons and coursework will be available through Seesaw and Google Classroom, with paper copies also available.  “Each school will send families follow-up communication with additional details about asynchronous learning time,” the email states. The district has chosen to use asynchronous learning as its solution. According to an email sent to families Wednesday, K-12 … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 make up “asynchronous” time

“I would say Madison schools were definitely a place where you could be yourself more, and you’re able to explore more,” he said.”

Elizabeth Beyer: “That was my first-ever protest,” he said. “It was remarkable to see people outside of Door 1, outside of the Castle (what students call the Collegiate-Gothic style façade that faces East Washington Avenue) all together coming as one. We actually made change from it.” The protests were organized in response to what students … Continue reading “I would say Madison schools were definitely a place where you could be yourself more, and you’re able to explore more,” he said.”

A summary of k-12 reform bills vetoed by Wisconsin Governor Evers

In the last 12 months, WI conservatives had massive ed reform bills vetoed by @GovEvers that would have completely transformed WI K-12 education into a national leader for putting kids and parents first. Here’s a list of some of the K12 bills @GovEvers vetoed: — CJ Szafir (@CJSzafir) April 18, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and Dane … Continue reading A summary of k-12 reform bills vetoed by Wisconsin Governor Evers

Lawsuit seeks to overturn renewed Philadelphia mask mandate

Associated Press: Several businesses and residents have filed suit in state court in Pennsylvania seeking to overturn Philadelphia’s renewed indoor mask mandate scheduled to be enforced beginning Monday in an effort to halt a surge in Covid-19 infections. The lawsuit, filed in Commonwealth Court on Saturday, said Philadelphia lacks the authority to impose such a mandate. Philadelphia … Continue reading Lawsuit seeks to overturn renewed Philadelphia mask mandate

“Some teachers say they’re doing great, others say they can do better.”

Collin Binkley: Early results of data gathering by some of the country’s biggest school districts confirm what many had feared: Groups of students that already faced learning gaps before the pandemic, including Black and Hispanic students and those from low-income families, appear to be behind in even greater numbers now. In Fairfax County, tests given … Continue reading “Some teachers say they’re doing great, others say they can do better.”

Ongoing Mask Mandate in our taxpayer supported K-12 schools (1 of 2 statewide)

Elizabeth Beyer and Emily Hamer: Most other Dane County school districts shifted their masking protocol to strongly recommend, as opposed to require, face coverings while in school buildings on March 1, when the Public Health Madison and Dane County emergency masking order expired. The decision by the city-county health department to lift the mask order … Continue reading Ongoing Mask Mandate in our taxpayer supported K-12 schools (1 of 2 statewide)

Wisconsin Governor Evers Friday Afternoon K-12 Vetoes: parents vs the taxpayer supported system

Molly Beck: Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Friday vetoed legislation that would have dramatically overhauled education in Wisconsin by making all children eligible to receive a taxpayer-funded private school voucher, regardless of their household income.   Parents would have been able to sue school districts for violations of a new “parental bill of rights” under another bill Evers … Continue reading Wisconsin Governor Evers Friday Afternoon K-12 Vetoes: parents vs the taxpayer supported system

The price of Mandates, continued

Typical clinic day now includes a 2-year-old who only has 5 words, an 8-year-old with new-onset obesity, and a preschool-age child with no social skills from being home bound. A disastrous avalanche of child health probs of our own making—not “from the pandemic.” @AmerAcadPeds — elizabeth bennett (@ebennett74) April 13, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and Dane … Continue reading The price of Mandates, continued

A classic education via charters (timely)

Joanne Jacobs: At Ivywood Classical Academy in Plymouth, Michigan, fourth-graders are studying early and medieval African kingdoms, dynasties of China, Europe in the Middle Ages and the founding and spread of Islam. Hillsdale-affiliated schools teach the liberal arts, sciences and the “great works of literature, philosophy, politics, and art” and attempt to “lead students toward … Continue reading A classic education via charters (timely)

A Final Report Card on the States’ Response to COVID-19

Phil Kerpen, Stephen Moore and Casey Mulligan: Almost exactly two years ago COVID-19 spread to the United States and our federal, state and local governments implemented strategies to mitigate the damage from this deadly virus. We now know from the responses across countries that the U.S. federal government (and most governments around the world) made … Continue reading A Final Report Card on the States’ Response to COVID-19

‘So disillusioned”: Mandates, Parents, Students and K-12 Governance

Michael Bender: Democrat Jennifer Loughran spent the pandemic’s early days sewing face masks for neighbors. Last month, as a newly elected school-board member, she voted to lift the district’s mask mandate. That came four months after she voted for the state’s Republican candidate for governor. After a monthslong political identity crisis, Ms. Loughran decided her opposition … Continue reading ‘So disillusioned”: Mandates, Parents, Students and K-12 Governance

Analysis finds average eighth graders may have skills indicative of fifth grade

John Fensterwald: The analysis, which looks at performance over time, shows that students fell behind each year incrementally even before the pandemic, starting in third grade when tests were first given. Progress completely stalled last year, when most students were in remote learning. Eighth graders overall scored at the same level that they did when … Continue reading Analysis finds average eighth graders may have skills indicative of fifth grade

Elections and taxpayer supported education

Will Flanders: Obviously, these results have implications for Wisconsin’s upcoming fall elections. Both of the major candidates for governor on the Republican side, Rebecca Kleefisch and Kevin Nicholson, have expressed support for education reform — both on the public school side and in expansion of school choice. The current governor, Democrat Tony Evers, has rejected several pieces of … Continue reading Elections and taxpayer supported education

Experts warned COVID would hurt students’ mental health. Now, teachers are living that reality

Jocelyn Gecker: “I don’t want to read about another teenager where there were warning signs and we looked the other way,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino, author of a bill that would require all California middle and high schools to train at least 75% of employees in behavioral health. “Teachers and school staff are on the … Continue reading Experts warned COVID would hurt students’ mental health. Now, teachers are living that reality

Madison West high School Curriculum Practice Notes

“CRT is not taught in schools.” West High School in Madison is teaching the basics of CRT once a month to their entire student body. Called “Regent Pride,” the slides explore the basic tenets of CRT. Multiple concerned parents have contacted me. Thread below: pic.twitter.com/qrsRTe65oU — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) April 8, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and … Continue reading Madison West high School Curriculum Practice Notes

“People’s irrational fears are taking over these policy decisions,” says one parent.

Robby Soave: On March 16, Washington, D.C., became one of the very last major metropolitan areas in the country to finally end mask mandates for students. According to Mayor Muriel Bowser, a Democrat, kids who attend D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) no longer have to wear masks. That’s not always what happens in practice, of course. Earlier this … Continue reading “People’s irrational fears are taking over these policy decisions,” says one parent.

Commentary on K-12 Parental Rights and legacy Governance; “we have the children”

Darlene Click: As the saying goes, you catch flack when you’re over target. Disney execs boast about secret queer agendas, teachers boast on social media how they will defy parents and, now, that bastion of inane Leftwing propaganda, Salon states parental rights are harming kids. Across the country, students are struggling to regain a sense of normalcy as they cope with the … Continue reading Commentary on K-12 Parental Rights and legacy Governance; “we have the children”

Literacy Scores by Country, in Reading, Math, and Science

Nathan Yau: Among 15-year-old students, here’s how 77 countries compare in reading, math, and science. Higher scores are better. Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health. The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic” 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks … Continue reading Literacy Scores by Country, in Reading, Math, and Science

Commentary on Competitive school board races

Rory Linnane: In an emailed statement, the Republican Party of Wisconsin touted “flipping” some school boards to conservative majorities and highlighted Manitowoc as now having a “fully conservative board.” “Parents are fed up with far-left school boards who have kept students out of the classroom, implemented divisive curriculum, and put teachers unions over kids,” Republican … Continue reading Commentary on Competitive school board races

Civics: Ongoing Decline in Madison School Board Candidates and Voters; Unhealthy

Scott Girard: This year’s election showed lower interest than recent contested races, in both fundraising for School Board races and voters. The number of votes was less than even last year, which featured two seats up for election with both candidates unopposed. Just over 41,000 people voted in those races. The 2020 election, which included the Democratic … Continue reading Civics: Ongoing Decline in Madison School Board Candidates and Voters; Unhealthy

Always interesting 2022 Madison School Board Election Agitation, via SMS

David Blaska has launched a write-in campaign for this seat, supported by former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz. Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health. The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic” 2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the … Continue reading Always interesting 2022 Madison School Board Election Agitation, via SMS

Transcript study suggests rampant grade inflation and watered down high school coursework

Jill Barshay: Schneider thinks that a lot of so-called rigorous high school classes are now terribly watered down. He pointed to an old 2005 course content study, conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics. It looked at the actual content and curriculum underneath course titles. Analysts concluded only 18 percent of honors algebra I … Continue reading Transcript study suggests rampant grade inflation and watered down high school coursework

Wisconsin DPI Guest Speaker says CRT Is Just the Beginning

MacIver News Wisconsin public school teachers got a crash course in “A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements” during a professional development meeting in February. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) conducts monthly webinars to provide Wisconsin’s public school teachers with advanced training on critical race theory (CRT). CRT is a highly-controversial, divisive, race-based … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI Guest Speaker says CRT Is Just the Beginning

Rather interesting

LinkedIn post. A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board rejected (2011) Kaleem’s proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school. Consider the implications for the many children… Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health. The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if … Continue reading Rather interesting

Biden Administration Proposes increased Charter School Regulatory Spaghetti

Will Flanders: Last month, the Biden Administration announced new regulations on the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP). The CSP is designed to offer a funding source for charter schools to expand access for students to high-quality school options, as well as to help schools fund facilities. The regulations are ostensibly designed to create better oversight. … Continue reading Biden Administration Proposes increased Charter School Regulatory Spaghetti

K-12 Governance and Election Climate: Wisconsin edition “A lack of accountability should concern us all.”

Bill Glauber: One panelist from suburban Milwaukee was critical of the amount of time schoolchildren spend on electronic devices, including computers, claiming that it connects students to pornographic images and affects their learning. Johnson said: “This is their testimony, this is their viewpoint … that is something that should concern parents if that is happening.” … Continue reading K-12 Governance and Election Climate: Wisconsin edition “A lack of accountability should concern us all.”