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November 22, 2006

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

On Monday, November 27, the Madison School Board will begin to address rumors about major changes coming to our high schools. There are some realities behind the rumors.

For example, West High School substantially reduced the English courses for tenth graders this year. The principal at East High School met with parents last week. He delivered a message that many parents understood as an explanation that decisions on curriculum changes at EHS have already been made and would be carried out. Period. He has since said that he welcomes student and parent viewpoints. End of Gifted Class Drawing Protest And last month there was--to say the least--confusion and misinformation about when students can opt to take college courses for high school credit.

However, the main source of community comment and concerns may be Superintendent Rainwater's October editorial announcing his commitment to redesign of the high schools. Changing our high schools The editorial that went sent to homes across the district via student backpacks is long on generalities and short on specifics, giving rise to the kinds of questions that I have been hearing at work.

In my opinion, now is the right time for the school board to set parameters and goals for changes in the high schools. That's our role. We should hear the ideas coming from the schools and their communities as well as those coming from central administration before any process to redesign the schools goes forward.

I welcome both an on-going board discussion and community public discussion of possible changes to our high schools, particularly changes that could raise academic goals for all students and ensure a wide range of academic challenging courses and activities.

Posted by Ruth Robarts at November 22, 2006 10:46 AM
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