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August 25, 2011

Our Response to State Education Department's Hold on Madison Prep Grant

Kaleem Caire, via email

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

In the last 48 hours, local media has been abuzz about the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction's decision to put a hold on our charter school planning grant. The grant application was formally endorsed in March 2011 by the Board of Education of the Madison Metropolitan School District.

Last week, DPI officials contacted us to request that our team and the leadership of the Madison Metropolitan School District meet with them to discuss how we intend to address issues related to (a) the 1972 Title IX Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and (b) new federal Title IX regulations on the establishment of single sex classes, extracurricular activities and schools that took effect in 2006. This meeting has been scheduled.

DPI has publicly stated that it is not uncommon for grant awards to be delayed for various reasons. In our case, DPI wants to ensure that all parties - MMSD, DPI and the Urban League of Greater Madison - are on the same page with regard to how Madison Prep will comply with federal and state statutes relative to single sex public schools. We welcome this conversation. MMSD and the Urban League have been working together on this issue since June.

Single Sex Public Schools are Growing in the U.S.

According to the National Association for Single Sex Public Education, there are presently 116 single sex public schools in the United States. The number of single sex public schools continues to grow each year. For example, the Houston (Texas) Independent School District's Board of Education recently approved an all boys and later an all girls college preparatory academy for students in grades 6 - 12. Both campuses opened this week.

There are also public charter schools such as Bluford Drew Jemison S.T.E.M Academy for boys in Baltimore, Maryland that was approved by the Board of Education of Baltimore City Public Schools without approving a similar school for girls at the same time. Bluford Drew Jameson is part of BCPS' bold and aggressive Charter, Innovative and Transformation Schools Plan to revitalize public education in the city. BCPS' efforts are being heralded nationally as they are seeing clear signs of turning around.

With Confidence, Precedent and Support, We Will Succeed

Given the successful growth of single sex public/charter schools across the country, along with our plans to comply with the new Title IX regulations and our publicly stated commitment to establish the 6-12 grade Madison Preparatory Academy for Young Women, we are confident that the issues raised by DPI will be resolved.

With your support and that of DPI and MMSD, Madison Prep will soon provide a long overdue solution to a deeply rooted pattern of academic failure and under-performance, particularly among African American and Latino boys in our community. It will also serve as a learning laboratory that informs the programs, strategies and practices of schools and educators across Greater Madison and the State of Wisconsin.

We look forward to Madison Prep producing hundreds of confident, excited and future-focused young men who are ready for college and committed to promoting the schools values - leadership, excellence, pride and service - in their community, homes, peer groups and daily lives.

Visit the website and sign our petition below.

Madison Prep 2012: Empowering Young Men for Life!
IB interviewed Kaleem a few weeks ago.

Much more on Kaleem Caire and the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school, here.

Posted by Jim Zellmer at August 25, 2011 8:44 AM
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