All posts by Ed Blume

Stoughton Won’t Renew Superintendent’s Contract

I found the story on the Stoughton superintendent interesting because the school board conducts an evaluation twice a year. Madison’s board has failed to evaluate the MMSD superintendent for years!
Bill Clingan, chair of the MMSD’s human resources committee responsible for evaluating Superintendent Art Rainwater, admits that Lawrie Kobza, his opponent in the upcoming election, is right to highlight an oversight in the superintendent’s evaluation, according to a story in Isthmus.
The story on the Stoughton board’s action in the Wisconsin State Journal says:
“According to the board’s policy, the superintendent is evaluated twice each year, the first during an informal session in the fall. The second evaluation is a formal session before the board’s April reorganizational meeting and includes written evaluation statements from each board member.
The president of the board then writes a composite evaluation based on the written work of the board members, and it is then reviewed by the board.”

Read the full story here.
Ed Blume
ps The comment option below is open for anyone with thoughts on how the Madison school board could evaluate the superintendent.

I’d like to ask more about rejecting $2 million for reading

Barb Schrank started a discussion below about questions people would like to ask the board and superintendent during the MMSD’s budget deliberations. Here post actually hasn’t generated much discussion, so I’m re-posting the questions that I’d like to ask:
I’d like the Board and Superintendent to tell the community more about why the Superintendent choose not to use the Reading First funds ($2 million approximately) to expand Read 180 which is currently used and supported by the district.

Continue reading I’d like to ask more about rejecting $2 million for reading

Blog is good for democratic decision-making

I’m volunteering with a conservation group in Mexico, so I don’t have a lot of time to write a post. Nonetheless, I feel compelled to take a few minutes to respond to (Madson School Board Member) Juan Lopez who said of www.schoolinfosystem.org, “I think this kind of forum is destructive.” See the story in the Wisconsin State Journal
I respectfully disagree.
A healthy democracy requires healthy debate. The tradition dates back to the Roman forums where citizens debated freely, and support for the necessity of public debate runs through the writing of our country’s founders and our constitution.
Mr. Lopez and other board members might sense an unusual flurry of spirited commentary on this forum, because the board may not have provided a forum for the honest exchange of ideas. Suddenly, this blog provides the opportunity. Granted, the board holds public hearings, but they are rarely discussions. Instead, people speak and the board listens. It is most unusual from my experience when the board engages the speaker in a real discussion.
I encourage Mr. Lopez and the other members of the board to debate issues vigorously at board meetings, as well as post on this blog, which represents the best of what democracy offers for free and open debate.
Ulimately, the exchange of ideas on any pending school district decison will produce a better outcome than a decision without debate.
Ed Blume
The comments section is open on this post. Please feel free to agree or disagree. I welcome any comments.

Q and A with MMSD school staff

MAFAAC (Madison Area Family Advisory/Advocacy Coalition)
PO Box 5311
Madison, WI 53705
836-0616 for more information
What: Q and A with MMSD school staff, Valencia Douglas, Jane
Belmore and Marcy Peters-Felice
Subject: How can parents and other community members get involved in school issues; Who is welcome in our schools; How
are decisions made about important issues involving our children;
And how do we file a complaint when we feel wronged???
When: Saturday, February 12th
Time: 1:00-3:00 PM
Where: South Madison Health and Wellness Center, 2202 S. Park St.
This meeting is free and open to the public. We strongly encourage you to come and ask questions of the school representatives.
Snacks will be provided.

Report on Rainwater meeting about East principal selection

An author, asking to remain anonymous, prepared a summary of the meeting on January 18, when Superintendent Rainwater met with community members and discussed the process for selecting a new principal at East High School. The author concluded:
“If you believe that our superintendent cares about East and wants to get it right this time (like he finally did at Sherman and Black Hawk), then you left the meeting feeling good. If you question the process and his decision-making ability given some of his poor choices in the past, you probably left the meeting feeling disappointed, which is mostly what I heard. Nothing has changed.”
“It was not said, but we pay for the mistakes for a very long time. A great principal can turn a school around in weeks, but a bad principal or several principals for several years can really hurt the students going through those schools. It is not just failing to master academics, but their feeling of connection gets hurt as well. It could be argued that some of the problems East is having today stem not only from the void at the top at East, but also from the fact that two of its feeder middle schools and some of its feeder elementary schools have been struggling due to poor leadership.”
You can read the full report by clicking
Report on meeting with Rainwater on East Principal Selection.
Ed Blume
ps. No I didn’t write the report. I didn’t attend the meeting. Ed

There�s something deeply wrong here.

In a letter to the editor of Isthmus UW Psychology Professor Mark Seidenberg wrote, “There�s something deeply wrong here. The educational establishment has embraced methods for teaching reading that have a weak scientific basis and are counterproductive for many beginning readers. They then develop a very expensive remedial reading program to fix the problems created by these instructional methods. Why not do it right the first time?” To read the full text of the letter go to
Dr. Seidenberg’s letter

Kobza announces for school board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2005
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Lawrie Kobza 608 283-1788
KOBZA ANNOUNCES FOR MADISON SCHOOL BOARD
Seeks Improved District Decision-Making
MADISON�Lawrie Kobza, a school activist for over a decade,
announced her candidacy for the Madison Metropolitan School District
Board District 6 seat today. Submitting the maximum 200 nomination
signatures, Kobza launched her campaign with a promise to improve
District decision-making.
“When resources are limited, it is especially important to make good
decisions “, Kobza said. “My professional and community experience
has taught me that the best decisions come from listening to a variety of views, asking tough questions, and carefully considering the possible alternatives. I think the School Board needs to do a better job of this.”
A first-time candidate, Ms. Kobza served as President or Vice
President of the Sherman School parent group since 1998; she was a
2004 recipient of the North Star Award from the Northside Planning
Council for her service to schools on Madison’s north side.
Ms. Kobza has three children in the Madison schools: two sons attend
East High School and her daughter attends Sherman Middle School. With husband Peter Oppeneer, she is an active supporter of Northside youth soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball.
“In allocating our limited resources, I want to be sure services
for our kids are preserved while taking a fresh look at how we might
be more efficient and effective,” Kobza said. “I will seek
out the best information with an open mind to make sure we have a
clear picture of all available alternatives in these tight economic
times.”
Ms. Kobza is an attorney and partner with the Boardman Law Firm in
Madison, concentrating in municipal law with an emphasis on utility
and environmental issues. She is a graduate of UW-Madison Law School
and the UW-Madison Business School. Madison Magazine named her a top
attorney in environmental law for 2005.
END
Authorized and paid for by Lawrie Kobza for School Board, Barbara
Schrank, Treasurer

MMSD threw away “crackerjack” administrator

Capital Times Editor Dave Zweifel recently praised former Lapham principal Barb Thompson, calling her a “crackerjack school superintendent” for the astonishingly successful commuity-wide holiday luncheon in New Glarus, just as she organized a similar and equally popular holiday luncheon at Lapham.
By contrast MMSD Superintendent Art Rainwater passed over Thompson in the search to replace East High Principal Milt McPike, instead hiring and then firing a woman who could not lead East.
Read Zweifel’s article at New Glarus shows spirit of the season.

East Parents Lack Faith In Principal Hiring

Wisconsin State Journal
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
East Parents Lack Faith In Principal Hiring
by Sandy Cullen
Parents of East High School students say they lack confidence that the School District will hire a principal who can successfully lead what one described as a school “under siege.”
About 50 people attended a meeting at the high school Tuesday with Assistant Superintendent Valencia Douglas to discuss the process for hiring a successor to Catherine Tillman.
“We all know what a successful candidate is,” parent Lenny Alston told Douglas. “We want to make sure you guys know.”
Soon after the start of the school year, Tillman was abruptly reassigned to an administrative position. She recently reached a settlement with the district, and her resignation becomes effective March 31.
Alston was one of several parents who said they had no confidence in the selection process that resulted in Tillman’s hiring in September 2002. The district hasn’t disclosed the reason for reassigning Tillman, but some parents were concerned early on that she lacked experience to lead the school’s diverse population of 2,100 students, 40 percent minorities.
“I can’t get over the fact that this place is under siege. We’ve got problems over here galore,” said Alston, a parent of two East graduates and one freshman. “It isn’t just a black problem, and it isn’t just a race problem … You guys aren’t listening to us, that’s the problem.”
Other parents wanted to know what would be different from the last time. “It just has to be done right,” said parent Pam Cross-Leone. “We cannot afford to fail this time.”
Parents advocated for more input earlier in the selection process, before the search is narrowed to eight candidates who are interviewed by a 12-person committee of parents, students, teachers and other high school principals. That group selects three finalists to be interviewed by Douglas and other administrators.
Douglas said the process has resulted in the hiring of many successful principals. She agreed there are problems at the school and pledged that “there will be a very, very good pool of candidates.”

Reading Recovery reduces overall performance for African American kids

American-American students fare badly in Reading Recovery. Only 43% successfully discontinue, compared to 49% for Asian students, 56% for Hispanic students, and 57% for white students.
According to one of the district�s report on Reading Recovery (p. 14), �Discontinued Reading Recovery students [that is, students who �graduate�] outperform the comparison group by 1.2 text reading levels while all other Reading Recovery students score almost 4 text reading levels less than their comparison group.�
In other words, for every 43 discontinued African-American Reading Recovery students who advance 1.2 text reading levels, 57 fall behind by 4 text reading levels relative to their comparison group. The net impact of Reading Recovery reduces overall reading success for the African-American students in the district.
Ed Blume

School-Community-Parent Partnerships – Conference, Dec. 11

Madison Area Family Advisory/Advocacy Coalition presents:
School-Community-Parent Partnerships
Saturday December 11, 2004
Noon-3:00 PM
at
The Bahai Center
324 W. Lakeside Street, across from Franklin School
Join us as we explore
What’s working
What needs improving
Who is welcome in our public schools
Who feels unwelcome
What rights do parents and district citizens have in our schools
How can parents of students of color influence the CLIMATE and LEARNING environment
What can you do if you are treated poorly at a school
When should parents seek outside help
How can parents and ordinary citizens of color share in decision making
How to organize parents at your school
Parents and district residents are invited to attend this meeting. The emphasis is on making schools a more welcoming place for adults and students of color.
Co-sponsored by MEP (Money, Education, Prisons Taskforce)
And UW-MAFAAC chapter
For more information call 836-0616 or visit the MAFAAC Web site.

East hosts meeting to discuss principal selection

The head of the East parent network e-mailed the letter below to people who’d signed up to get news about East.
Ed
November 22, 2004
Dear East High School Parent, Family or Community Member,
You are invited to attend a special meeting to discuss the selection and hiring of the next principal of East High School. The meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 14 at 6:30 PM in the forum at East High School. Valencia Douglas, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education for the Madison Metropolitan School District will be facilitating the meeting.
This meeting is the first step in the formal process that will culminate with the hiring of the new principal. Your input is important. If you have any questions, please contact the main office at East School at 204-1600.
Sincerely yours,
Loren J. Rathert
Interim Principal

Closing a Madison school is possible

“Madison School District parents could face a difficult community discussion next spring over whether to close one of the district’s 30 elementary schools.
Superintendent Art Rainwater said Thursday that all options, including closing a school, must be considered to deal with an expected shift in student population from the city’s East and North sides to the South and West sides.”
Story continues at the State Journal.

Carstensen & Clingan to run again

An article in the Wisconsin State Journal on Tuesday, November 16, reports that Carol Carstensen and Bill Clingan will run for re-election to the school board.
A lively debate during school board elections will help shape better policies and improve programs for Madison�s children. A lively debate, of course, requires a candidate to challenge the incumbents.
You can be a candidate!
You can begin circulating nomination papers on Sunday, December 1, barely three weeks from now! You need only 100 signatures by January 7, 2005, to get your name on the ballot! You can get full details at the Web pages of the city clerk.
You won�t be alone. A strong network of experienced activists from all across the city will help with research, organizing, fundraising, and all the other necessities of running a campaign.
As a candidate, you would run city-wide for a one of two numbered seats currently held by Bill Clingan (Seat 6) and Carol Carstensen (Seat 7).
If you�d like to know more about how to run, you can find the details on the Web site of the city clerk. Or, feel free to contact Jim Zellmer, webmaster of www.schoolinfosystem.org, (608)271-9622, zellmer@mac.com; Don Severson, Active Citizens for Education, (608)238-8300, donleader@aol.com; Ed Blume, (608)225-6591, edblume@mailbag.com.

Run for school board

A lively debate during school board elections will help shape better policies and improve programs for Madison�s children. A lively debate, of course, requires more than one candidate in a race. You can be one of those candidates!
You can begin circulating nomination papers on Sunday, December 1, barely three weeks from now! You need only 100 signatures by 5:00 p.m. on January 4, 2005, to get your name on the ballot! You can get full details at the Web pages of the city clerk.

You won�t be alone.
A strong network of experienced activists from all across the city will help with research, organizing, fundraising, and all the other necessities of running a campaign.
As a candidate, you would run city-wide for a one of two numbered seats currently held by Bill Clingan (Seat 6) and Carol Carstensen (Seat 7).
If you�d like to know more about how to run, you can find the details on the Web site of the city clerk. Or, feel free to contact Jim Zellmer, webmaster of www.schoolinfosystem.org, (608)271-9622, zellmer@mac.com; Don Severson, Active Citizens for Education, (608)238-8300, donleader@aol.com; Ed Blume, (608)225-6591, edblume@mailbag.com.

Reading program not worth cost; Rainwater pledges that it will continue

This week’s Isthmus includes a damning internal assessment of Reading Recovery, “a remedial first-grade reading program considered a cornerstone of Madison’s school iteracy efforts.”
“The district would be ‘well-served to investigate other methods’ to reach struggling reaaders, says the report.”
One of those other methods will be presented Sunday, at 1:00 p.m., at the Madison Community Center.
You can link to the Isthmus article.
The notice of Sunday’s meeting follows.

Could Madison Use Milwaukee�s Successful Reading Programs?

Norm and Dolores Mishelow
1:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 7
Madison Senior Center
330 W. Mifflin
Madison
Principal Norm Mishelow will discuss how academic achievement excels at Barton, because the school teaches reading using Direct Instruction (DI), a program that provides a detailed script for teacher-student interaction. The program focuses on small group learning and emphasizes phonics. The school also uses a math curriculum that focuses generally on building basic arithmetic skills.
Norm�s wife Dolores is a former principal of 27th Street School which was a failing school before she took over. She started DI, and their test scores soared. She used to believe in all the whole language and warm fuzzy teaching until, of course, she saw the light with DI. Norm was not using DI until Dolores nudged him to try it (after she retired) and his scores, though decent without DI, hit the stratosphere once DI got humming.
The same curriculum in MMSD elementary schools could help close the achievement gap, cut instructional costs, reduce special ed referrals, and raise achievement overall.
You can read more by connecting to Barton School.
Sponsored by www.schoolinfosystems.org and Active Citizens for Education (ACE).

Insights into Rainwater’s comment on MMSD’s 80% success in reading

Ruth Robarts wrote, “In his memo [to reject $2 million in Reading First funds]Superintendent Rainwater argues that MMSD should refuse to make the proposed changes at the five schools because we are a “successful” district. He states that our reading program is a success because more than 80% of all third graders score at grade level or above (“proficient or advanced”) on the Wisconsin Reading Comprehension Test. Unfortunately, that’s not true for the schools that qualified for Reading First grants. As Rainwater admits, more than 30% of the third graders in these schools fell below “proficient or advanced” scores in recent years. See “Madison Superintendent Declines $2M in Federal Funds Without Consulting the Board” below.”
The superintendent’s interprestion of the 80% success rate doesn’t seem to appreciate what Reading First consultants recommend for the other 20%.
To see what a complete reading program looks like, you can link to presentations by the Institute for the Development of Educational Achievement.
The presentation on the Center to Improve Reading Competence Using Intensive Treatments Schoolwide is especially revealing in showing how a reading program can address 80% of a school population, but the program needs a secondary prevention program to assist 15% of the school’s kids and a tertiary intervention for the 5% with severe, sustained reading difficulty.
From my experience, the MMSD does not appear to have consistent, effective intervention for either the 15% or the 5%.
Ed Blume

Could Madison Use Milwaukee�s Successful Reading Programs?

Please plan to attend a presentation by two principals of Milwaukee elementary schools that use a curriculum that won Barton Elementary federal recognition as a Blue Ribbon school, the only one in Wisconsin:
Could Madison Use Milwaukee�s Successful Reading Programs?
Norm and Dolores Mishelow
1:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 7
Madison Senior Center
330 W. Mifflin
Madison

Principal Norm Mishelow will discuss how academic achievement excels at Barton, because the school teaches reading using Direct Instruction (DI), a program that provides a detailed script for teacher-student interaction. The program focuses on small group learning and emphasizes phonics. The school also uses a math curriculum that focuses generally on building basic arithmetic skills.
Norm�s wife Dolores is a former principal of 27th Street School which was a failing school before she took over. She started DI, and their test scores soared. She used to believe in all the whole language and warm fuzzy teaching until, of course, she saw the light with DI. Norm was not using DI until Dolores nudged him to try it (after she retired) and his scores, though decent without DI, hit the stratosphere once DI got humming.
The same curriculum in MMSD elementary schools could help close the achievement gap, cut instructional costs, reduce special ed referrals, and raise achievement overall.
You can read more about Barton School.
Ed Blume

Details on Reading Program Rejected by Superintendent

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction hosts a Web site of information on Reading First, which Superintendent Rainwater said would have “injured” Madison students.
On the Web site DPI says, “Wisconsin is proud to assist teachers in the 65 Reading First schools in the areas of professional development in reading; implementation of the essential components of reading instruction; and the selection and/or administration of screening, diagnostic, progress monitoring, and outcome assessments.”
Does the DPI endorse injuring the students in 65 schools?
See more at the DPI Web site.
Ed Blume

Reactions to statement on new school on Leopold site

Here’s a copy of the statement I used to address the Long Range Planning Committee on October 18.
After my statement, discussions with and among the Committee clarified that the annual additional cost of operating a new school falls in the range of $300,000 to $400,000 annually, not $2.4 million as I had calculated. The cost isn’t so high, according to the discussion, because the district already spends money on teachers and supplies that would simply move into a new building. Even with an annual operating cost increase of $300,000, no one pointed to a specific plan to cover the expense and no backup should a referendum fail to allow spending above the state-imposed revenue cap.
The student representative on the Board acknowleged at West might be crowded but it wasn’t a major concern. [I’m sorry that I don’t remember his exactly words, but I think I have the meaning of what he said.] District officials said that more detailed five-year enrollment projections would be available on the MMSD Web site in November.
Carol Carstensen agreed with the suggestion for more hearings across the city.
From Board members’ comments at the meeting and in news reports, the Board appears ready to approve a referendum.
Ed Blume

Continue reading Reactions to statement on new school on Leopold site

MMSD has excess capacity

In researching the need for the MMSD to build a new elementary school on the Leopold site, I compared an MMSD analysis of elementary school capacity with current enrollment.
Existing Madison elementary schools could accomodate more than 1,600 new students. An MMSD official says only Hawthorne is over capacity.
You can see the school-by-school analysis in the table MMSD Excess Capacity 2004.
Ed Blume
ps. Feel free to post comments by clicking below.

Staffing shortage at LaFollette

The problem of insufficient staffing at LaFollette makes me wonder how Dr. Rainwater will find enough staff for a new school.
Here’s the beginning of an article from the WSJ:

“Tseoin Ayalew says her dreams of becoming a doctor are in jeopardy because a shortage of teachers at La Follette High School means she’s wasting 90 minutes a day in a study hall instead of taking an advanced physics or chemistry class.
“I want to get into a really good college, so I think it’s probably going to affect the scholarships,” the junior said Thursday. “They probably want to see I’m challenging myself in the science world.”
Jade Cramer, a La Follette freshman, says she’s scheduled to take two 90-minute study halls – half of the school day – beginning in November. She’s in one study hall right now, although she’d prefer to be taking a class.
“I’m trying to get rid of my study hall, but all of the classes are full,” Jade said.
Tseoin and Jade are among a growing number of La Follette students who find themselves diverted to study halls or other non-class activities this fall because, according to some students and teachers, there aren’t enough teachers.
The reason for the crunch: The school’s enrollment this fall climbed to 1,741, compared to last year’s count of 1,659, but staff levels remained virtually unchanged.”

The article continues at In study-hall limbo at LaFollette.
The Cap Times also has an article at Four block now a 3 block?

Ed Blume
ps If you have any comments, you can click on “comment” below to post them.

Response to “What’s Missing from the ‘Strategic Plan’ for Madison Schools?”

Ruth Robarts raises very valid issues about the goals of the MMSD.
As we all know, goals are supposed to be measurable and time specific, among other things. Not even the “goals” for academic achievement meet those criteria, let alone the other goals.
Each goal for academic achievement should be written something like this one on reading (with the added italics giving them more specificity) and they might have intermediate goals/steps leading to the final goal:
All students complete 3rd grade reading at grade level or beyond by the end of the school year in 2007;
a. Scores for reading at grade level will increase by a minimum of 5 percentage points a year until all students read at grade level.

Without putting numbers and timelines on the goals, they aren’t very useful. For instance, the MMSD can claim that it’s closing the achievement gap in reading between white and minority students, but it’s closing at a fraction of a percentage point a year. At the current rate, it will take decades before “all students complete 3rd grade reading at grade level or beyond.”
Ed Blume

School Capacity Figures for Long Range Planning

The MMSD Web site has the materials posted for the September 27, 2004, meeting of the Long Range Planning Committee’s consideration of recommending a new school building.
The materials aren’t self-explanatory, so maybe someone can help make sense of them.
For instance, the table titled Elementary School Potential Maximum Physical Capacity Worksheet shows 2004-2005 K-5 Enrollment, but it shows more than one enrollment figure for each school. The table shows enrollment at Allis as 501, 549, 513. Do the three figures mean different things? A separate table titled Unofficial Third Friday in September K-5 enrollment shows enrollment at Allis at 452. Sooooooo, how many kids are enrolled at Allis?
These are critical figures to determining whether the MMSD has sufficient capacity or needs a new school. It would be nice to know what they mean.
You can view the materials on the MMSD web site
Ed Blume

Smart, knowledgeable, independent thinkers need not apply for East principal

�. . . the loss of Barb Thompson highlights a major Rainwater weaknesses. In filling key administrative jobs, he�s gravitated to loyalists, or looked outside for the district for candidates who will fit comfortably into Team Rainwater.
Smart, knowledgeable internal candidates with deep understanding of Madison and its problems, but who like Thompson are independent thinkers, are passed over.
. . .�She�s a bulldog, but that ain�t bad, � observes the blunt-talking [Milt] McPike [former East High Principal}. �Some people can�t handle that. Do you understand what I�m saying? I was a bulldog for my school, too.� �
Marc Eisen�s opinion piece Isthmus, June 13, 2003

Principal Removed at East

“Madison East High School Principal Catherine Tillman has been relieved of her duties and reassigned to a central office position for the remainder of the school year.”
Like Tillman the newly named interim principal at East was transferred to an administrative position after serving a couple of reportedly unsuccessful years at West.
Is the change just going from one failed principal to another?
Read the story in the Wisconsin State.
Ed Blume

Charter school meeting – July 7, Madison

“Charter Schools: A New Vision of Public Education in Wisconsin.”
Date: July 7, 2004 (Wednesday morning)
Time: 9:00 am to 11:30 am
Site: Madison – Concourse Hotel (Capital Ballroom A – 2nd Floor)
Concourse Hotel
Purpose: Discuss the significance of the evolving charter schools sector as an institutional innovation within Wisconsin’s public education system. You and your colleagues are invited to participate in the discussion, sponsored by the Wisconsin Charter Schools Association, along with:
JOHN WITTE — John Witte bio
John is a UW-Madison Professor of Political Science & Public Affairs. He directs a major study of charter schools in Wisconsin — LaFollette Insitute
JOE GRABA — Joe Graba bio
Joe is a Senior Policy Fellow at Education/Evolving in Saint Paul. His
career in public education spans forty years and an impressive array of leadership positions including teacher, union leader, state legislator and higher education administrator.
COMMENTERS – Moderated by Jonathan Gramling
JONATHAN GRAMLING, Editor, The Madison Times
TONY EVERS, TALC, Milwaukee
MAI SEE THAO, Student, Madison
CHARITY ELESON, Executive Director, Council on Children & Families
BARBARA GOLDEN, Madison Area Family Advisory/Advocacy Council
DANERYS RIOS & DONTE HOLIFIELD, Students, Milwaukee
JUAN JOSE LOPEZ, Member, Madison Board of Education
DOUG & DEE THOMAS, Gates-EdVisions Project & MN New Country School
TOM SCULLEN, Superintendent, Appleton Area School District
REGISTRATION: This invitational meeting is FREE. Please register in advance by sending your name and contact info to:
Senn Brown, Secretary, Wisconsin Charter Schools Association
PO Box 628243, Middleton, WI 53562
Email: sennb@charter.net Tel: 608-238-7491
Barbara G.
608.836.0616
Madison Area Family Advisory/Advocacy Council
MAFAAC~Closing the achievement gap through information, advocacy & support
mafaac@aol.com
Join MAFAAC and be part of the solution

Isthmus articles

Two articles of interest appear in the issue of Isthmus dated June 15, 2004.
A small article on page 6 says “Several Madison elementary schools, including Thoreau and Glenn Stephens, will begin teaching Singapore Math next year. The change comes amid concerns that the district’s preferred math program, TERC Investigations, which stresses self-guided problem solving, does not teach students enough basic math skills.”
A lengthier article reviews the “difficult transiton at East High.” As “faculty vent deep discontent,” the article headline asks “is new princiapl to blame?” One source doubts, says the article, that “Tillman’s contract will be renewed” beyond next year.”
Ed Blume

“Debacle” at East High School

Highly respected East High School biology teacher Paul de Vair, who chairs the school’s National Honor Society Selection Committee, wrote a two-and-a-half page memo to Principal Catherine Tillman on May 7.
It starts, “I am writing this letter to formally protest the debacle involving six honor students who were elected to the National Honor Society by the Selection Committee and who were denied membership on the day of the induction ceremony.”
He goes through the details of “the mess you (Tillman) created,” resigns as chair of the Selection Committee, and concludes in italics, ” Never in my 40 years in education (which includes MTI and WEAC presidencies and terms on the NEA Board of Directors) have I seen a faculty’s spirit and enthusiasm plunge so rapidly as it has in the last 2 years at East High School.”
Mr. du Vair’s memo seems to be a public document, so I assume that I’m not violating any confidences by quoting it. He copied it to President, Board of Education; Superintendent of Schools; NHS Selection Committee; East High School Administration; EHS Faculty and Staff.
Ed Blume

Four votes for new budget process

Ruth Robarts offered an excellent model for rationally crafting a goal-specific budget for the MMSD, and we all surely support it. But how are we going to make it happen? The Superintendent won’t adopt it willingly, so we’re faced with requiring the Superintendent to use the process. That means getting four board members to vote for the requirement. How are we going to make that happen? We’d need some sort of campaign to get the four votes. Would we need a big public splash like a one-day conference to learn about the budget model? Could we get the job done by privately talking with board members? Again, how do we proceed to get the board to adopt the budet model proposed by Ruth?
Ed Blume

88 Years to Close Achievement Gap!

Based on a recent front-page story in Isthmus and other data provided by MMSD, here are some conclusions about closing the achievement gap at the advanced level of the third grade reading tests.
1. Eight schools increased the percentage of African American kids scoring advanced between the 1997-1998 and 2002-2003 school years.
Nine schools showed a decrease.
Seven schools showed no change.
2. Twelve schools had no African-American students in the advanced category in the 1997-98 year.
Nine had no students in advanced in 2002-2003.
Five school had none in 1997-98 and 2002-03.
3. Between the 1997-98 school year and the 2002-2003 school year, the percentage of African-American students scoring advanced rose from 8.03% to 10.08% — an increase of .4% per year.
4. At the current rate of increase, it will take almost 88 years to close the achievement gap at the advanced level! (In 2002-2003, 45% of the white students scored advanced. (45% – 10% = 35 divided by .4 = 88.)

Reading Instruction Workshop

2004 DIRECT INSTRUCTION TRAINING AND CONFERENCE
August 9-10, 2004
Edgewood College Campus
Madison, Wisconsin

  • Direct Instruction Training for both Beginning and Advanced
  • Sessions Specially Designed for Deaf/Hard of Hearing Teachers
  • College Credit Available
  • Great New Location

KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Sara Tarver, Ph.D., Professor, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Issues and Debates about Direct Instruction
FEATURED PRESENTER
Terry Dodds, Author of the new High-Performance Writing Program
OTHER PRESENTERS
Tonja Gallagher, M.S., Doctoral Student and Teaching Assistant, University of Wisconsin, Madison
Jane Jung , Ph.D., Second Grade Teacher, Lapham School, Madison,WI
Dolores Mishelow, former principal in Milwaukee, WI
Norm Mishelow, principal of Barton School in Milwaukee, U.S. Dept. of Ed. Blue Ribbon Award Winner
Beverly Trezek, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison
Chris Uelmen, M.S., Curriculum Coordinator, Core Knowledge Charter School, Verona, WI

Continue reading Reading Instruction Workshop