Frederick Hess & Coby Loup:
In the era of No Child Left Behind, principals are increasingly held accountable for student performance. But are teacher labor agreements giving them enough flexibility to manage effectively? The Leadership Limbo: Teacher Labor Agreements in America’s Fifty Largest School Districts, answers this question and others.
The main findings:
- Thirty, or more than half, of the 50 districts have labor agreements that are ambiguous. The collective bargaining agreements and the formal board policies in these districts appear to grant leaders substantial leeway to manage assertively, should they so choose.
- Fifteen of the 50 districts are home to Restrictive or Highly Restrictive labor agreements. Nearly 10 percent of the nation’s African-American K-12 students population attend school in the 15 lowest-scoring districts-making these contracts major barriers to more equal educational opportunity.
- The study also found that districts with high concentrations of poor and minority students tend to have more restrictive contracts than other districts-another alarming indication of inequity along racial and class lines.
Madison’s collective bargaining agreement can be found here.teachercba07-09.pdf
Time was that a fifth grader’s greatest concern about gym was whether he or she would be picked last for the kickball team. Now, in schools in Hartford, that 10-year-old would-be athlete is being graded on how he or she “establishes and maintains a healthy lifestyle by avoiding risk-taking behavior.” In music class, students are being graded on how they make “connections between music and other disciplines through evaluation and analysis of compositions and performances.” That is pretty far from just trying to sing “Yankee Doodle” on key.
These examples come from a new report card, introduced last November in all of Hartford’s elementary schools. It measures 58 academic, social and behavioral skills and, including other information, can run as long as seven pages.
Not surprisingly, the language was produced by a committee. Some of the wording is clear; anyone can understand “shows courtesy and respect toward others.” But the academic measurements, which are designed to grade areas of student performance that are also measured on state standardized tests, seem more likely to confuse than illuminate.
Christopher Leone, the spokesman for the Hartford school district, said that the goal was to give parents more detailed information about the progress of their children. He says that so far the response from parents has been overwhelmingly positive. The district hasn’t surveyed the teachers, but the report card made me appreciate, as nothing else has ever done, why teachers say they are buried in paperwork.
Much more on Madison’s proposed report card changes here.
ED Hirsch, Jr:
Consider the eighth-grade NAEP results from Massachusetts, which are a stunning exception to the nationwide pattern of stagnation and decline. Since 1998, the state has improved significantly in the number of eighth-graders reading at the “proficient” or “advanced” levels: Massachusetts now has the largest percentage of students reading at that higher level, and it is No. 1 in average scores for the eighth grade. That is because Massachusetts decided in 1997 that students (and teachers) should learn certain explicit, substantive things about history, science and literature, and that students should be tested on such knowledge.
E.D. Hirsch Jr. is an author, most recently of “The Knowledge Deficit,” and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation.
Michael Maguire, via email:
I’m interested in gathering more information on this topic, as outlined in a message I received from a neighbor and PTO member. I appreciate more background info, if you have it (or a suggestion of where else I can go/with whom I can speak) to find out more: [“On Wednesday, February 20, at 7 pm Dr. Pam Nash and Lisa Wactel from MMSD will present the new format for middle school report cards. The meeting is in the LMC at Hamilton Middle School [Map].
The district is changing the middle school report cards to the same as the elementary: proficient, at grade level, needs improvement (or whatever those categories are). They will eliminate the letter grades: A, B, C, etc.
Another factor in the report cards is that homework will not count toward the grade. Teachers can still assign homework, but that will not count toward your child’s assessment.”]
I’ve heard that this model is also intended for the high schools. Related posts by Mary Kay Battaglia, “Can We Talk?
A School Board-supported task force is calling on the community to step up their support for arts education or risk losing vital programs to budget
audio. More here from a UW Journalism class coverage of the Madison School District.
The state’s projected two-year budget shortfall has doubled to a hefty $652.3 million, the Legislature’s budget office reported today.
The potential deficit, up from last month’s estimates of $300 million to $400 million, represents a much greater challenge for lawmakers and Gov. Jim Doyle as they attempt to balance the state’s books in the face of a looming national recession and falling state tax revenues.
The red splashed across the state’s books also increases the chance that officials might have to cut programs, raise taxes or raid other state funds to cover the shortfall.
The state’s January 2008 report on tax collections — which includes key sales from the holiday retail season — and the forecasts for this month point to “further weakness” in tax revenues, the report from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau found.
That means a $586.5 million projected decrease in state collections and a $34.9 million decrease in interest income and other revenue to state agencies, the report found.
2008_02_13_Revenue estimates.pdf 84KThese deficits, along with a number of other issues, make it unlikely that we’ll see meaningful new state redistributed tax dollars for the Madison School District. Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s website.
Greg Bump has more.
Bob Lefsetz pays a visit (via email):
After breakfast at Mother’s, Marty, Felice and myself took a cab deep into the French Quarter to the McDonogh School, where the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation was presenting the music program with a slew of instruments. That’s what the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation does, grant instruments to school music programs. It was started by Michael Kamen, who composed the music for the movie. He wanted students to have the same opportunity he had, to learn an instrument in school, to be fulfilled, to be enriched. Felice runs the Foundation.
I’d been hearing about all the great work the Foundation had been doing in New Orleans for two years. And on a site visit a couple of months back, Tricia had encountered Kelvin Harrison and his program. She believed they were worthy, they deserved the instruments. The program had started after Katrina with no instruments. Mr. Harrison had taught his students on recorders when the ordered instruments hadn’t arrived. But now he was up and running, he needed more. And that’s why we were there.
The environment in the building was completely different from my educational experience. Instead of sterility, I found vibrancy. Silhouettes graced the cafeteria, with explanations of each. One student said his creation was as big as the 24″ rims on his older brother’s car. That cracked me up. But I loved the banner on the far side of the room: “Climb the mountain to college.” There were aphorisms all over the place. Informing the students to pay attention now, to apply themselves now, to prepare, for otherwise, in the future, they’d be left out.
And after reading the display about Black History Month, learning exactly who Booker T. Washington was, we ascended the stairs to the third floor, where Mr. Harrison was warming up the band. Brass members were playing notes. I prepared myself. This was going to be awful. An endurance test. You know what it’s like being in the vicinity of someone learning an instrument. You want to support them, but the sound is grating, you can’t read, you can’t watch television, you just want the noise to stop.
After quieting everybody down, Mr. Harrison looked at the assembled multitude and said the band was going to play a couple of numbers. They were going to start with “Oye Como Va”.
Oh, I know it wasn’t a Santana original. But that’s where I heard it. Coming out of John “Muddy” Waters’ room in the dorm all of freshman year. I’ve come to love “Abraxas”. I bought it on vinyl. And have a gold CD. I’ve got all the MP3s. I love “Oye Como Va”. I was trepidatiously excited. Then the two players on keys rolled out the intro, the drummers started hitting the accents, the horn players lifted their instruments to their lips and the band started to swing!
I couldn’t believe it! Fifth graders? My high school’s band wasn’t this good. This was good enough for college! The flutes are wailing. I notice the drummer is a girl. And yes, that tiny figure behind the keyboard, she’s hitting every note. Trombone players got up and soloed. Tears started coming to my eyes. This was education! If I could play in a band like this, I’d want to come to school!
And when they finished, there was raucous applause. And then they lit into Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man”. These little kids, they had soul!
Continue reading KIPP: McDonogh 15 School For the Creative Arts
College Board [1.5MB PDF]:
More than 15 percent of the public high school class of 2007 achieved at least one AP® Exam grade of 3 or higher1—the score that is predictive of college success. This achievement represents a significant and consistent improvement since the class of 2002 when less than 12 percent of public school graduates attained this goal.
Out of all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, Vermont captured the largest increase in the percentage of high school graduates who scored a 3 or higher on an AP Exam.
In its fourth annual “AP Report to the Nation,” the College Board (the not-for-profit membership association that owns and administers the AP Program), focuses on educators’ quantifiable successes in helping a wider segment of the nation’s students gain access to and achieve success in college-level work. Of the estimated 2.8 million students who graduated from U.S. public schools in 2007, almost 426,000 (15.2 percent) earned an AP Exam grade of at least a 3 on one or more AP Exams during their high school tenure, the report documents. This is up from 14.7 percent in 2006 and 11.7 percent in 2002.
Earning a 3 or higher on an AP Exam is one of “the very best predictors of college performance,”2 with AP students earning higher college grades and graduating from college at higher rates than otherwise similar peers in control groups, according to recent reports from researchers at the University of California at Berkeley,3 the National Center for Educational Accountability,4 and the University of Texas at Austin.5,6
New York, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Massachusetts and Connecticut all saw more than 20 percent of their students graduate from high school having earned an AP Exam grade of 3 or higher. AP achievements for each state’s class of 2002, class of 2006 and class of 2007 are detailed in the report. (See “The 4th Annual AP Report to the Nation,” Table 1, page 5.)
“Educators and policymakers across the nation should be commended for their sustained commitment to helping students achieve access to and success in AP courses and exams” said College Board President Gaston Caperton. “More students from varied backgrounds are accomplishing their AP goals, but we can’t afford to believe equity has been achieved until the demographics of successful AP participation and performance are identical to the demographics of the overall student population.”
Though 75 percent of U.S. high school graduates enter college,7 dropout rates and the fact that about half of all college freshmen are taking at least one remedial course indicate that secondary schools must dedicate themselves to more than college admission,8 the report asserts.
“Remedial course work in college costs taxpayers an estimated $1 billion a year,”9 Caperton said. “To shrink the gap between those who enter college and those who complete a degree, we must target the divide between high school graduation standards and the skills that all students need to be prepared for the rigors of college. The critical reasoning, subject-matter expertise and study skills students must develop to succeed on the three-hour college-level AP Exams fortify high school graduates for a successful transition into their freshman year at college. This makes providing better readiness for—and access to—AP courses absolutely essential.”
Related: Dane County, WI High School AP Course Comparison. The Madison School District received a grant in 2005 to increase the number of AP classes available to students. Madison High School AP offerings, according to the College Board: East 11, Edgewood 11, LaFollette 10, Memorial 17 and West 5.
Mitchell Landsberg digs into the report here.
Susan Troller on retiring Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater:
Later this month, a new contract between Dr. Daniel Nerad and the Madison Metropolitan School District will signal the end of an era. For over a decade, Art Rainwater has been at the helm of Madison’s public schools, guiding the district during a period of rapid demographic change and increasingly painful budget cutting. Both admirers and critics believe Rainwater has had a profound impact on the district.
Retiring Madison schools superintendent Art Rainwater may have the name of a poet, but his first ambition was to be a high school football coach.
“I grew up loving football — still do — especially the intellectual challenge of the game. I was obsessed with it,” Rainwater explained in a recent interview.
In fact, during his early years as an educator, Rainwater was so consumed by his football duties for a Catholic high school in Texas he eventually switched from coaching to school administration for the sake of his family.
In some ways, Rainwater has been an unusual person to lead Madison’s school district — an assertive personality in a town notorious for talking issues to death. His management style grows out of his coaching background — he’s been willing to make unpopular decisions, takes personal responsibility for success or failure, puts a premium on loyalty and hard work and is not swayed by armchair quarterbacks.
A few related links:
Much more on Art here. Like or loath him, Art certainly poured a huge amount of his life into what is a very difficult job. I was always amazed at the early morning emails, then, later, seeing him at an evening event. Best wishes to Art as he moves on.
After a round of “meet and greets” with the three finalists for the job of Madison schools superintendent, insiders were divided on two favorites. Leaders who’ve pushed for greater educational reforms spoke highly of Miami’s Steve Gallon, while key institutional players favored Green Bay’s Dan Nerad.
Nerad, 56, the most battle-tested of the finalists, delivered a solid introductory speech that struck the right notes. He stressed his consensus-building record, cautioned against embracing reform for its own sake, and drew applause by blasting state revenue controls.
In contrast, Gallon seemed bolder but less experienced. He ventured into dangerous territory by saying inadequate funding shouldn’t be used as an excuse for educational failures. A 38-year-old black single father, Gallon attended the same Miami public school system where he now runs alternative programs, and many saw his potential as a visionary leader.
In the end, picking a replacement for Art Rainwater, who is retiring in June after eight years in the top job, was not hard to do. The night before school board deliberations, Gallon dropped out after finding a job on the East Coast. The Madison board unanimously made an offer to Nerad, Green Bay’s school superintendent since 2001.
Those who lobbied for Gallon behind the scenes say privately they’re over any disappointment they initially felt. And school board members say they’re excited — if not relieved — to find someone like Nerad. “It feels right. It feels good,” says board president Arlene Silveira.
Much more on Dan Nerad here
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Rudy Crew rolled out a proposal Thursday to provide students throughout the county with greater access to specialty programs such as magnet schools, International Baccalaureate programs and K-8 Centers.
The proposed plan, dubbed the Equity & Access Plan, will create rigorous, specialized academic programs in areas that don’t yet have them, Crew said. It would run for three years, beginning in 2008, and cost about $6 million.
”When you look at the map, what you’ll essentially see is that the distribution [of programs] here has been at best, or possibly at worst, random,” Crew said. “This conversation was based largely on the need to change that map so you have more children having access to high-demand programs.”
Currently, most K-8 centers are clustered in the southern half of the county or near Aventura. Many urban neighborhoods, other than downtown Miami, do not have magnet programs nearby.
And the lone specialty school for math and science, the Maritime and Science Technology Academy, is tucked away on Key Biscayne.
Among Crew’s recommendations:
- Develop 10 new International Baccalaureate programs, to join the 14 existing programs. Hialeah-Miami Lakes Senior, Miami Carol City Senior, and Miami Beach Senior would be among the host schools.
- Open two new mathematics and science senior high school programs. One would be a senior high school for medical technologies at the former Homestead Hospital. The other would be in northwest Miami-Dade County.
- Develop six new magnet programs, four of which would be housed in schools in the southern part of the county.
While Crew said he is prepared to raise money to fund future projects, likely through federal and state grants, he said his initial goal was to take a strategic look at the placement of academic programs.
One of the three finalists for the Madison Superintendent position, Steve Gallon, hailed from Miami-Dade.
Madison parents in the Valley Ridge subdivision who objected to seeing their neighborhood split and some of their children moving to Falk Elementary may be pleased with the latest developments in planning for new west side school boundaries.
Likewise, parents who expressed concern about proposed school pairing plans that would join Falk and Stephens, or Falk and Crestwood schools, may also be breathing easier.
Those potential boundary plans might be off the table following the School Board’s long-range planning committee on Monday.
Carol Carstensen, chairwoman of the board’s planning committee, said the administration was asked this week to refine what’s become known as Plan B, which keeps more children in their current schools than previous plans. As part of Plan B, children in areas surrounding Channel 3 on the city’s western fringe may be moved to Falk Elementary, which is in a contiguous neighborhood, Carstensen said.
The boundary changes are necessary because of the need to balance student enrollments at west side elementary schools in anticipation of opening a new far west side elementary school next fall. The new school, located west of Highway M, is now under construction.
School boundary changes try to balance the use and capacity of school buildings with the distance and cost of transporting students. In addition, there is an effort to provide an economic mix of students, Carstensen said.
Background: boundary changes.
Madison School Board members voted Monday night to halt the practice of using race as a reason to deny transfers by white students to other school districts for the current open enrollment period, which began Monday and continues through Feb. 22. [About open enrollment: Part and Full Time]
The decision was made by unanimous vote during the board’s regular meeting, following a closed-door session with district superintendent Art Rainwater and the district’s legal staff.
Last year, the portion of the district’s open enrollment policy focusing on achieving racial balance in district schools affected about 120 students whose requests for transfer were denied, Rainwater said in a short interview following the meeting.
He said he had no idea how many students might be affected during the current enrollment period.
He also said that the Madison district has been closely following state statute regarding open enrollment, although it is the only district in the state to have denied transfers based on race.
“We take the laws of the state of Wisconsin very seriously,” Rainwater said. “I guess I’d question why in the past the other districts weren’t following the law as it’s written.”
Background: Madison Schools’ Using race to deny white student transfers to be topic for the School Board by Andy Hall
Half a dozen Indiana school boards are considering whether to take on the new responsibility of authorizing police officers.
The move could create a minefield of issues from issuing badges to setting policies. So far, Pike Township Schools may be the only district to use a new law that allows school boards to appoint officers.
Previously, school districts could not grant police powers, although several have long said they have “police departments” that derive authority from a local sheriff or police chief.
In districts that convert, students will see little difference. A badge or uniform may change, but few officers will change duties.
The change affects school boards, which will have greater responsibility for making police policy regarding training, firearms use, police chases and various protocols.
Any school police policy entrusted to mayors and sheriffs would rest with school boards, too.
Pike Township Schools became the first school district to launch its own police department in July. Brownsburg, Center Grove and Indianapolis Public Schools are among those considering the change.
Related: Gangs & School Violence Forum audio / video.
A provocative title for a must read. It addresses a number of issues, from local outsize influence on school boards to Wisconsin’s low state standards:
Congress erred big-time when NCLB assigned each state to set its own standards and devise and score its own tests … this study underscores the folly of a big modern nation, worried about its global competitiveness, nodding with approval as Wisconsin sets its eighth-grade reading passing level at the 14th percentile while South Carolina sets its at the 71st percentile.
Matt Miller via a kind reader’s email:
It wasn’t just the slate and pencil on every desk, or the absence of daily beatings. As Horace Mann sat in a Leipzig classroom in the summer of 1843, it was the entire Prussian system of schools that impressed him. Mann was six years into the work as Massachusetts secretary of education that would earn him lasting fame as the “father of public education.” He had sailed from Boston to England several weeks earlier with his new wife, combining a European honeymoon with educational fact-finding. In England, the couple had been startled by the luxury and refinement of the upper classes, which exceeded anything they had seen in America and stood in stark contrast to the poverty and ignorance of the masses. If the United States was to avoid this awful chasm and the social upheaval it seemed sure to create, he thought, education was the answer. Now he was seeing firsthand the Prussian schools that were the talk of reformers on both sides of the Atlantic.
In Massachusetts, Mann’s vision of “common schools,” publicly funded and attended by all, represented an inspiring democratic advance over the state’s hodgepodge of privately funded and charity schools. But beyond using the bully pulpit, Mann had little power to make his vision a reality. Prussia, by contrast, had a system designed from the center. School attendance was compulsory. Teachers were trained at national institutes with the same care that went into training military officers. Their enthusiasm for their subjects was contagious, and their devotion to students evoked reciprocal affection and respect, making Boston’s routine resort to classroom whippings seem barbaric.
Mann also admired Prussia’s rigorous national curriculum and tests. The results spoke for themselves: illiteracy had been vanquished. To be sure, Prussian schools sought to create obedient subjects of the kaiser—hardly Mann’s aim. Yet the lessons were undeniable, and Mann returned home determined to share what he had seen. In the seventh of his legendary “Annual Reports” on education to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, he touted the benefits of a national system and cautioned against the “calamities which result … from leaving this most important of all the functions of a government to chance.”
Mann’s epiphany that summer put him on the wrong side of America’s tradition of radical localism when it came to schools. And although his efforts in the years that followed made Massachusetts a model for taxpayer-funded schools and state-sponsored teacher training, the obsession with local control—not incidentally, an almost uniquely American obsession—still dominates U.S. education to this day. For much of the 150 or so years between Mann’s era and now, the system served us adequately: during that time, we extended more schooling to more people than any nation had before and rose to superpower status. But let’s look at what local control gives us today, in the “flat” world in which our students will have to compete.
The United States spends more than nearly every other nation on schools, but out of 29 developed countries in a 2003 assessment, we ranked 24th in math and in problem-solving, 18th in science, and 15th in reading. Half of all black and Latino students in the U.S. don’t graduate on time (or ever) from high school. As of 2005, about 70 percent of eighth-graders were not proficient in reading. By the end of eighth grade, what passes for a math curriculum in America is two years behind that of other countries.
Dismal fact after dismal fact; by now, they are hardly news. But in the 25 years since the landmark report A Nation at Risk sounded the alarm about our educational mediocrity, America’s response has been scattershot and ineffective, orchestrated mainly by some 15,000 school districts acting alone, with help more recently from the states. It’s as if after Pearl Harbor, FDR had suggested we prepare for war through the uncoordinated efforts of thousands of small factories; they’d know what kinds of planes and tanks were needed, right?
When you look at what local control of education has wrought, the conclusion is inescapable: we must carry Mann’s insights to their logical end and nationalize our schools, to some degree. But before delving into the details of why and how, let’s back up for a moment and consider what brought us to this pass.
Three things to know about Mohammad Mohammad:
He’s a senior at Milwaukee’s Rufus King High School, he’s a good student, and he’s a big sports fan.
You can serve all that on a silver platter.
At least that’s what Mohammad did this week at a program honoring him and 92 fellow students for completing lengthy research papers as part of their work at the school.
The 3,000- to 4,000-word papers – “extended essays” – are required for students who want to receive the International Baccalaureate diploma. For those who complete such a paper – a process that begins in the spring of their junior years – it is a tradition to present the final product on a silver platter to the teacher who advised the student along the way, followed by the student and the teacher each commenting on what was learned.
The silver platter ceremony was held this week, and the 93 who presented their work are the largest group to complete the formidable research project in King’s nearly 30-year history as an IB school.
The topics they researched included matters from the worlds of science, history, art, religion and beyond. Daniel Gatewood, one of the advisers, said as he commented on one of his student’s papers, “I didn’t learn to write like this until graduate school.”
Mohammad said, “Every time I get one of these papers, I try to incorporate sports into it.” He chose as his topic the effects on American and Soviet psyches of the “Miracle on Ice” victory of the U.S. hockey team over the Russians at the 1980 Winter Olympics.
Links: International Baccalaureate website, Milwaukee Rufus King High School and Clusty search on the school.
Five months after taking over as Boston public schools superintendent, Carol R. Johnson last night proposed a shakeup in her administration to close the achievement gap among students and ensure “graduation for all.”
Under her plan, a new office will focus on closing the achievement gap between black and Hispanic students and their white and Asian peers, as well as the performance gaps between rich and poor, between male and female, and between English and non-English speaking students.
The superintendent also announced a reorganization of the district’s administration, including the appointment of a new chief academic officer and five academic superintendents to supervise and support school principals.
James McIntyre, currently Boston’s Chief Operating Officer, was a finalist for the Madison Superintendent position.
The article includes quite a few local comments.
Kayce Ataiyero & Carlos Sadovi:
No school district in the nation has yet managed what Chicago officials proposed last week: a sweeping, simultaneous overhaul of a cluster of failing schools.
Experts say the plan to fire the staffs of eight schools and replace them with better qualified educators is somewhat of a gamble, one that will require an almost perfect alignment of stellar principals, committed teachers and re-invigorated curriculum and programs to succeed.
But that’s no guarantee.
“No one knows if turnarounds work,” said Andrew Calkins of the Mass Insight Education and Research Institute. “We spent two years looking at turnarounds and could not find a single example of turnaround work that was successful and sustained and done on scale, not just one school.”
As Chicago parents began to digest the proposal first reported in the Tribune on Thursday, many seemed willing to roll the dice — in part, an acknowledgment that even partial success is better than what their children face now.
Fara Bell, a Morton Career Academy parent, said turning around both Orr High School and Morton, an elementary school that feeds into it, is the only way to guarantee wholesale change.
Teachers at a school in northeast Denver seeking freedom from union and district rules will move forward with their autonomy plan, despite failing to get wholesale approval from their union.
Teachers and administrators at Bruce Randolph School want control over the school’s budget, teacher time, incentives and hiring decisions and to be free from union and district red tape that they say is impeding student progress.
Denver’s school board last month agreed to the Bruce Randolph autonomy proposal, but the teachers union balked Tuesday at permitting much of the school’s request — which sought waivers from 18 articles of the union contract and parts of six other articles.
Joanne has more information. Los Angeles recently set a few schools “free” as well.
“Certainly I feel excitement about this possibility, but I also want you to know that this has not been an easy process for me, ” Nerad told reporters Monday night at a Green Bay School Board meeting as he confirmed he was ending a 32-year career in the district where his two children grew up.
“My hope is that I have been able to contribute to the well-being of children in this community — first and foremost, regardless of what the role is. ”
Nerad conditionally accepted the position Monday, pending a final background check, successful contract negotiations and a visit by a delegation from the Madison School Board, President Arlene Silveira said at a news conference in Madison.
Green Bay schools Superintendent Daniel Nerad has been chosen to succeed Art Rainwater as head of the Madison Metropolitan School District.
School Board President Arlene Silveira said Monday night that Nerad, 56, was the board’s unanimous top choice. She said they offered him the job on Saturday, following board interviews with finalists last week and deliberations on Saturday morning.
Silveira said Nerad asked the board to delay announcing its choice until he was able to meet with members of the Green Bay School Board Monday at 6 p.m. Silveira made the announcement at 7 p.m. in Madison.
“This is a very, very exciting choice for the district, and for the Board,” Silveira said.
“Dr. Nerad overwhelmingly met every one of the desired superintendent characteristics that helped guide the hiring process,” she added.
Many of Nerad’s challenges as Madison schools chief will mirror those he has faced in Green Bay, Silveira said, including changing student demographics and working within the confines of the current state funding formula.
Both the Green Bay and Madison school districts are members of the Minority Student Achievement Network, a nationwide coalition of schools dedicated to ensuring high academic achievement for students of color.
Network membership is one way Nerad and Rainwater became acquainted, Rainwater said in an interview earlier this month.
Nerad said Monday he regrets that more progress hasn’t been made in advancing the achievement of minority students during his tenure. But he believes it will happen, he said.
The next head of the Green Bay schools also will inherit the aftermath of a failed 2007 referendum for a fifth district high school and other projects.
A community-based task force charged with next steps has been working since summer, and its work will continue regardless of who’s at the helm, School Board vice president and task force member Katie Maloney said Monday.
Still, Maloney said it won’t be easy to see him go.
Audio, video, notes and links on Daniel Nerad’s recent Madison public appearance.
I wish Dan well in what will certainly be an interesting, challenging and stimulating next few years. Thanks also to the Madison School Board for making it happen.
Andy Hall, via a reader’s email:
high-ranking Miami-Dade Public Schools official says he withdrew his candidacy to become superintendent of the Madison School District, leaving just two educators from Green Bay and Boston in the running to head Wisconsin’s second-largest school district.
“My withdrawal is in no fashion any reflection on the people of Madison or the school district,” Steve Gallon III, who oversees Miami-Dade’s alternative education schools and programs, said Monday afternoon.
Gallon said he believes the School Board was notified of his decision before it began its deliberations Saturday to name its top pick to succeed Superintendent Art Rainwater, who is retiring on June 30.
Gallon, a Miami native, said “people in Wisconsin were great” last week during his visit. He said it would be “presumptuous” of him to discuss his reasons for stepping aside, and Board President Arlene Silveira “would be a better position to share” the details.
Silveira said according to the school board’s consultant Gallon took another superintendent’s job.
Related: WKOW-TV report on the MMSD’s offer to Dan Nerad.
I just received an e-mail from a parent stating the Middle School report cards are converting to the elementary format of 1 – 4 and they are dropping the A – F grading system. She spoke to Lisa Wachtel, Head of Teaching and Learning to confirm that this is the direction the district is headed.
DO any of you have any info on this? They claim it is on the website but other than the Standards Base System info, which is pretty general I can not locate this info. This greatly concerns me if it is true.
Related: Can We Talk 3: 3rd Quarter Report Cards.
Protests from this small school district nestled in the Texas Hill Country are reverberating across the state’s school finance landscape.
School board members – backed by parents and local business owners – have decided to say “no” when their payment comes due next month under the state’s “Robin Hood” school funding law.
Wimberley is one of more than 160 high-wealth school districts – including several in the Dallas area – that are required to share their property tax revenue with other districts. But residents here insist that their students will suffer if they turn the money over to the state.
“We’re not going to pay it,” said Gary Pigg, vice president of the Wimberley school board and a small-business owner. “Our teachers are some of the lowest-paid in the area. Our buildings need massive repairs. We keep running a deficit – and they still want us to give money away.
“It’s unconstitutional – and I’m ready to go to jail if I have to.”
Mr. Pigg and the rest of the Wimberley school board voted last fall to withhold the payment of an estimated $3.1 million in local property taxes – one-sixth of the district’s total revenue – that was supposed to be sent to the state under the share-the-wealth school finance law passed in 1993. The law was passed in response to a series of court orders calling for equalized funding among school districts.
Wisconsin’s school finance system takes a similar approach: High property assessement values reduce state aids. Unlike Texas, Wisconsin simply redistributes fewer state tax dollars to Districts with “high” property values, such as Madison. Texas requires Districts to send some of their property tax receipts to the state to be redistributed to other districts. School finance has many complicated aspects, one of which is a “Robin Hood” like provision. Another is “Negative Aid“: If Madison increases spending via referendums, it loses state aid. This situation is referenced in the article:
Regarding the possibility of a tax hike, Mr. York noted that an increase would require voter approval – something that is not likely to happen with residents knowing that a big chunk of their money will be taken by the state.
One of the many ironies in our school finance system is that there is an incentive to grow the tax base, or the annual assessment increases. The politicians can then point to the flat or small growth in the mill rate, rather than the growth in the total tax burden.
Finally, those who strongly advocate for changes in Wisconsin’s school finance system must be ready for unintended consequences, such as reduced funding for “rich” districts, like Madison. Madison’s spending has increased at an average rate of 5.25% over the past 20 years, while enrollment has remained essentially flat (though the student population has changed).
As the opening of a new school is coming close, I was surprised to some extent that the plans were changed with such a short amount of time left before the new year.
So………..I dug up my West Side Long Term Planning Binder and reviewed all the data presented to us, as a member of that committee, and remembered the HOURS we spent debating and reviewing the pros and cons of each plan. I believe this is a very hard process and I am sad it is being altered at this late date.
I think one thing many of us felt on the Long Range Planning Committee was even with the new school and addition to Leopold we did not devise a Long Term Plan. My #1 suggestion to the board would be to revisit the plan of “making the map look better” and balancing the income levels but TO MAKE IT A LONG TERM plan and say in 6 years this is what we are going to do. (and stick to it) I think when you spring it on families that in a few months Johnny has to switch schools, we parents are too invested and comfortable with the school and protest the change. But if a 6 Year Plan was in place with some options to start at the new school, grandfather for a couple of years the protest would be great but families would have lots of time to accept the change and deal with it. It would also be a LONG TERM PLAN.
Continue reading On Madison Boundary Changes
The Madison School Board will meet behind closed doors this morning to begin determining which of the three finalists it’d like to hire to replace Superintendent Art Rainwater, who retires June 30.
Three men from Miami, Boston and Green Bay who share an obsession for education but offer sharply differing backgrounds visited Madison this week to compete for the job of heading Wisconsin’s second-largest school district.
Candidate details, including links, photos, audio and video:
We’ll soon see what the smoke signals from the Doyle building reveal.
Watch a 28 minute question and answer session at Monona Terrace yesterday, download the .mp4 video file (168mb, CTRL-Click this link) or listen to this 11MB mp3 audio file. Learn more about the other candidates: Steve Gallon and Jim McIntyre.
I spoke briefly with Dan Nerad yesterday and asked if Green Bay had gone to referendum recently. He mentioned that they asked for a fifth high school in 2007, a $75M question that failed at the ballot. The Green Bay Press Gazette posted a summary of that effort. The Press Gazette urged a no vote. Clusty Search on Green Bay School Referendum, Google, Live, Yahoo.
- Dr. Daniel Nerad, Superintendent of Schools — Green Bay Area Public School District, Green Bay, Wisconsin [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search ]
- Desired Superintendent Characteristics
- Five Candidates Named
- Learn more about the three candidates
- Hire the best
- Susan Troller:
Dan Nerad believes it takes a village to educate a child, and after three decades of being a leader in Green Bay’s schools, he’d like to bring his skills here as the Madison district’s next superintendent.
Nerad, 56, is superintendent of the Green Bay public school system, which has just more than 20,000 students.
At a third and final public meet-and-greet session for the candidates for Madison school superintendent on Thursday at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, Nerad spoke of his passion for helping students and his philosophies of educational leadership.
Speaking to a crowd of about 70 community members, Nerad began his brief remarks by quoting Chief Sitting Bull, “Let us put our minds together and see what kind of life we can make for our children.”
“I believe the ‘us’ must really be us — all of us — working to meet the needs of all children,” he said. Several times during his remarks, he emphasized that education is an investment in work force development, in the community and in the future.
He also said that he believes it’s a moral commitment.
Nerad talked about his efforts to create an entire district of leaders, and the importance of a healthy, collaborative culture in the schools. He said he saw diversity as “a strong, strong asset” because it allows kids to learn in an atmosphere that reflects the world they are likely to live in.
Emma Carlisle and Cora Wiese Moore provided music during the event. Both attend Blackhawk Middle School.
Watch a 28 minute question and answer session at Monona Terrace yesterday, download the .mp4 video file (195mb, CTRL-Click this link) or listen to this 12.3MB mp3 audio file. Watch [64MB mpeg4 download – CTRL-Click]or listen to a short, informal chat. Learn more about the other candidates: Steve Gallon and Dan Nerad
- Dr. James McIntyre, Chief Operating Officer – Boston Public Schools, Boston, Massachusetts [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search]
- Desired Superintendent Characteristics
- Five Candidates Named
- Learn more about the three candidates
- Hire the best
- Susan Troller:
The students in an alternative high school in East St. Louis inspired Jim McIntyre when he was their teacher and continue to inspire him today as an administrator in the Boston public school system.
McIntyre, 40, spoke late Wednesday afternoon at Monona Terrace to a crowd of around 50 people at the second of three public meet-and-greet sessions for the final candidates vying for the job of Madison school superintendent.
“Teaching in East St. Louis was a life-changing experience,” McIntyre explained.
“Many of my students were children who lived under very, very difficult circumstances. When you were able to eliminate some of the distractions they faced and get them engaged in school, they were smart, talented students,” he said.
But for some, the odds were so difficult, and their lives so daunting that hope was hard to maintain.
“My brightest student, my best student, took his own life because he just didn’t see any future. It’s with me every day,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre, 40, is currently the chief operating officer of the Boston public school system, which has an operating budget of about $800 million. Before becoming chief operating officer about two years ago, McIntyre was budget director of the district, which serves about 57,000 students, for 8 years.
He says he tries to bring a student-centered focus to his job managing facilities, food service, safety, transportation and all other aspects of his job.
Watch a 28 minute question and answer session at Monona Terrace yesterday, download the .mp4 video file (175mb, CTRL-Click this link) or listen to this 11.3MB mp3 audio file. Learn more about the other candidates: Jim McIntyre and Dan Nerad.
- Dr. Steve Gallon, District Administrative Director – Miami/Dade Public Schools, Miami, Florida [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search]
- Desired Superintendent Characteristics
- Five Candidates Named
- Learn more about the three candidates
- Hire the best
- Susan Troller:
As a life-long resident of southern Florida, school superintendent candidate Steve Gallon III grimaced, then grinned, when asked about how he liked Wisconsin weather.
Known as a motivational speaker as well as a top teacher, principal and administrator in the Miami/Dade County public school system, Gallon quickly got back on message: He sees his experiences as an educator and a leader as a good match for the school district here, especially given its rapidly changing demographics and challenges in funding.
He said the issue of underperforming students is not so much one of ethnicity but of economics.
“What we have to do is embrace the reality that gaps in achievement exist,” Gallon said. Much of it, he said, has to do with economic disadvantage.
“It’s the 800-pound gorilla in the room. You must acknowledge that work needs to be done before you’re going to be successful in dealing with it,” he said.
Gallon, 39, is one of three finalists for the position of school superintendent here. He talked with community members and the media in a meet and greet session late Monday afternoon at Monona Terrace. There will be similar sessions today and Wednesday for candidates James McIntyre, chief operating officer for the Boston public schools and Daniel Nerad, superintendent of the Green Bay district.
In responses to questions from the audience, Gallon applauded the notion of working closely with the resources of the University of Wisconsin, said he believed in the least restrictive environment for special education students and cautioned that problems facing schools in terms of funding weren’t likely to be solved easily.
Collections of the three most important Wisconsin taxes increased less than 1% in the second half of 2007 – falling far short of the 3% assumed growth needed to cover state expenditures this year and raising fears that deep spending cuts will be necessary.
Preliminary state Department of Revenue totals show the personal and corporate income tax and the sales tax brought in $5.13 billion from July through December, an increase of only 0.8% over the same period in 2006.
Those three taxes account for $9 out of every $10 in general-fund taxes.
Every unexpected 1% drop in collections from those taxes means state government will have $120 million less a year to spend. If tax collections don’t pick up, the shortfall would quickly wipe out the projected $67 million surplus Capitol leaders had hoped for this fiscal year and force reductions across state government.
Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle said he will warn of the economic downturn in his sixth “state of the state” message Wednesday. Many states are facing economic slowdowns, and California must fix a $14.5 billion shortfall, Doyle noted.
In his speech, Doyle said, “I’m going to talk pretty directly that this is a challenge that we have ahead of us, and we have to face up to it. Unless the national economy just totally goes into the tank, this is something we can manage and get through. But it’s going to be pretty tough.”
A reduction in the rate of State tax receipt increases makes it unlikely that there will be meaningful reform in redistributed state tax dollars flowing back to local school districts.
Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater and Rafael Gomez held an interesting discussion on school models recently [Announcement].
Read the transcript
Watch the Video
or listen to the event (41mb mp3 audio)
Madison Board of Education:
Following a first round of interviews with the five semifinalists, the Board of Education has selected three candidates as finalists for the position of Superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District.
In alphabetical order, the three candidates are:
Dr. Steve Gallon, District Administrative Director – Miami/Dade Public Schools, Miami, Florida [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search]
Dr. James McIntyre, Chief Operating Officer – Boston Public Schools, Boston, Massachusetts [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search]
Dr. Daniel Nerad, Superintendent of Schools – Green Bay Area Public School District, Green Bay, Wisconsin [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search ]
The Board interviewed the candidates last evening and today.
Each of the three finalists will spend a day in Madison on January 22, 23 or 24. In addition to a second interview with the Board, the candidates will visit some schools and see parts of Madison, talk to attendees at the Community Meet and Greet, and speak with district administrators.
The community is invited to the Meet and Greets scheduled from 4:00 to 5:15 p.m. at the Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center on January 22, 23 and 24. In the first hour, attendees will be able to briefly meet and greet the candidate as part of a receiving line. From 5:00 to 5:15 p.m. each day, the candidate will make a brief statement and might take questions. The session will end promptly at 5:15 p.m.
The schedule for visits by the finalists:
Tuesday, January 22 Steve Gallon
Wednesday, January 23 James McIntyre
Thursday, January 24 Daniel Nerad
On January 26 or 27, the Board will identify a preferred finalist. To ensure the Board’s research will be as comprehensive as possible, a Board delegation is expected to visit the finalist’s community during the week of January 28. The announcement of the appointment of the new Superintendent is scheduled for early February.
Continue reading And Then There Were 3: Finalists for the Madison Superintendent Job
And then there will be three.
Members of the Madison School Board will narrow the field of candidates for the next superintendent of the school district from five to three late today. School Board President Arlene Silveira said she expected that the three final candidates would be named sometime late this afternoon or early evening, following three candidate interviews today and two on Friday.
The five candidates are: Bart Anderson, county superintendent of the Franklin County Educational Service Center in Columbus, Ohio; Steve Gallon, district administrative director of the Miami/Dade Public Schools; James McIntyre, chief operating officer of the Boston Public Schools; Daniel Nerad, superintendent of schools, Green Bay Public Schools and Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, chief academic officer, Racine Public School District.
The Capital Times asked candidates why they would like to come to Madison and what accomplishments have given them pride in their careers. Anderson, McIntyre and Vanden Wyngaard were interviewed by phone, and Nerad responded by e-mail. Steve Gallon did not respond to several calls asking for his answers to the two questions.
Continue reading Madison School Superintendent Finalists Named Later Today
The Racine Unified School Board wants to have a new superintendent in place by early May, and will host a series of community forums this month to gauge what district residents want in the new hire.
Five forums are scheduled for the mornings and evenings of Jan. 29 and Jan. 30, and the board is hoping that parents, students, staff and other district residents show up.
One of the 5 candidates for Madison’s Superintendent position is from Racine: Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard.
Racine Unified’s academic director heads into her next round of interviews for the Madison Schools superintendent job on Friday.
Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, who joined Racine Unifed in November 2006 after a stint as an assistant superintendent in Ann Arbor, Mich., is one of five semi-finalists for the Madison job, she said Monday.
Vanden Wyngaard and Green Bay Schools Superintendent Daniel Nerad are the two Wisconsin-based educators in the running, the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported last week. Schools officials from Miami, Fla. and Boston have also made it to the semi-final round. The Madison school board will next narrow the field to three candidates, Vanden Wyngaard said.
Sue Kutz, vice president of Racine Unified’s school board, said she was shocked to hear that Vanden Wyngaard was interested in the Madison job. Racine Unified is on the hunt for a replacement for interim superintendent Jackson Parker, who stepped in after Tom Hicks resigned in August.
“She has expressed to me several times that she wanted to be superintendent of Racine Unified, so I was kind of surprised,” said Kutz, who is chairing the search committee for the district’s new leader.
Vanden Wyngaard said she still plans to throw her hat in the ring for the Racine job and will meet the February 20 application deadline. She acknowledged that her interviews in Madison could be viewed as a lack of commitment to her current employer, but said she’s trying not to worry much about whatever speculations might be afloat.
“I have a mission for urban education, so I’m looking to be in a place that will help me fulfill that goal,” Vanden Wyngaard said Monday. “If the community and the board believe that my candidacy here is important and that I can lead the district toward strategic change, then it won’t matter. If I’m the person for the job in Racine, it’ll happen.”
Vanden Wyngaard is one of five candidates for the Madison Superintendent postion.
An update to Barb Schrank’s November, 2005 post:
Comments from a reader:
At $6,000 per child that’s about $16 million per year. At $9,000 per child, that’s about $23 million per year. If we kept 332, that would be $2-3 million more per year.
Also, MMSD not only lost students, which has a negative effect on what the district gets under revenue caps, we’ve increased our low-income population, which means that for every dollar the district gets, more of those dollars need to be spent on non-instructional services.
If the district does not consider the economic development implications of its decisions, we’re likely to
- see more go to school outside MMSD, or
- for the non-low income students who go to school here increased family dollars will be spent on private aspects of education- lessons, tutoring, etc.
Madison’s population in 2000 was 208,054 and is estimated to be 223,389, according to the census bureau. Madison’s poverty rate is estimated to be 13%, according to the Small Area Estimates Branch [Website].
|Per Student Spending (06/07 Budget)
||ACT % Tested (05-06)
||ACT Comp Score
Thanks to a number of readers for the updated information.
via email (with an opportunity to sign on below):
As you make your selection for the next Superintendent of MMSD, we ask you to choose a candidate that will be able to address the needs of all students, including those of gifted and talented (GT) students. We strongly urge you to hire a candidate that is knowledgeable of and open to the special needs of gifted learners.
The following are reasons this is necessary. References for these points are attached.
Approximately 1 out of every 5 drop-outs is gifted.
Giftedness occurs in all racial and socioeconomic groups. It is short-sighted to ignore the needs of the gifted as we increase in low-income enrollment, and creates even more disparity as those who have resources have other choices.
The statistics for Madison’s gifted low-income and minority student drop-outs may be significantly higher than 1 out of 5.
GT students may learn poorly when taught at standard grade level and rate.
It may be thought that the experience of gifted in heterogeneous classrooms is that of the pleasure of excelling above everyone. However, as one GT teacher at Appleton’s gifted school observed, it is the experience of a 5th grader whose teacher inexplicably teaches 1st grade curriculum.
Continue reading To the Superintendent Selection Committee of Madison Metropolitan Schools
Props to the Madison School Board for a process that has resulted in five interesting candidates. We’ll see how it plays out. Susan Troller on the current process:
The pool of five candidates for Madison’s top school district job includes two superintendents and high-level administrators from some of the largest and oldest school districts in America.
The candidates — four men and one woman — all have experience working in urban school districts. All have doctoral degrees, two are minorities, and three come from out of state. The out-of-staters have administrative experience in the Boston Public Schools in Massachusetts, the Miami/Dade school system in Florida and a combined district that includes schools in Columbus, Ohio.
The two candidates from Wisconsin include Green Bay’s current superintendent and the chief academic officer of the Racine Unified School District.
The semifinalists, chosen by the Hazard, Young and Attea national executive search firm, come from an original pool of 25 candidates from 11 states.
The districts where the candidates are currently working range in size from Green Bay and Racine, which have about 20,000 students, to districts like Miami/Dade, which has about 350,000 students.
Chris Murphy, writing in January, 1999:
The way is almost clear for Art Rainwater to be the nextsuperintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District.
Rainwater was the only applicant for the permanent post at the head of theMadison schools as of 11 a.m. today. The application deadline is 4:15 p.m.today.The School Board will meet tonight to discuss the applicants, but membershave said they will make no hiring decisions because one of their number,JoAnn Elder, is out of town. The board planned to interview the superintendentcandidates on Feb. 1 and possibly make a decision that night.
“Of course, one could make the case that we’ve been interviewing Art forthe past five years, but another few questions probably won’t bother him atall,” said School Board member Deborah Lawson. She is one of three boardmembers who have been pushing to hire Rainwater since this summer withoutconducting a nationwide search.
The board reached a compromise last month in which only employees would beeligible to apply for the job. About a dozen district employees have thecertification to be a superintendent.
Rafael Gomez is hosting a discussion of school models (traditional, charter, magnet) with Madison School District Superintendent Art Rainwater.
When: 6:30p.m. Tuesday January 8, 2008.
Covenant Presbyterian Church
318 South Segoe Rd
Madison, WI 53705 [Map]
Many communities offer a growing number of K-12 educational options. Learn about Madison’s current offerings and the climate for future charter/magnet initiatives.
Question and Answer
Rafael has hosted a number of previous forums, including those that address:
Madison School District Press Release:
Following their meeting this evening with Superintendent search consultants from Hazard, Young and Attea & Associates, Ltd., the Board of Education has selected five applicants as semifinalists for the position of Superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District.
In alphabetical order, the five applicants are:
- Dr. Bart Anderson, County Superintendent – Franklin County Educational Service Center, Columbus, Ohio [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search]
- Dr. Steve Gallon, District Administrative Director – Miami/Dade Public Schools, Miami, Florida [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search]
- Dr. James McIntyre, Chief Operating Officer – Boston Public Schools, Boston, Massachusetts [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search]
- Dr. Daniel Nerad, Superintendent of Schools – Green Bay Area Public School District, Green Bay, Wisconsin [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search ]
- Dr. Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard, Chief Academic Officer – Racine Unified School District, Racine, Wisconsin [Clusty Search / Google Search / Live Search / Yahoo Search]
The semifinalists were chosen from among 25 persons who sought the position currently held by Art Rainwater. Rainwater will retire on June 30, 2008, with the new Superintendent scheduled to begin on July 1.
Wisconsin State Journal Editorial:
If there ‘s one institution in Madison that needs strong leaders to tackle huge challenges, it ‘s the city ‘s school district.
Unfortunately, only two people are seeking two open School Board seats in the coming spring election. The deadline for declaring a candidacy was Wednesday.
That means voters won ‘t have any choice in who will serve, barring any late write-in campaigns.
That ‘s a shame — one that Madison can ‘t afford to repeat.
he rigors of a campaign test potential board members and help the community choose which direction to take the district.
Competitive School Board campaigns also draw considerable and much-needed attention to huge local issues, such as the increasing number of children who show up for kindergarten unprepared, rising health insurance costs for school employees, shifting demographics, school security and tight limits on spending.
Local school districts continued to turn to the unrestricted community service levy this school year, boosting taxes paid to the fund by 10%, almost twice the increase in their total property tax income.
For the 2007-’08 school year, the 60 public school districts in the five-county metro Milwaukee area plan to raise nearly $22.6 million through the community service levy, which has grown rapidly since the state Legislature removed it from under revenue caps seven years ago.
Statewide, school systems will receive about $66.6 million in community service funds through property tax increases this school year, according to information from the state Department of Public Instruction. That compares with just over $17 million raised by Wisconsin school districts for community service activities in 2000-’01, the first year the fund came out from under the state revenue controls.
When legislators first removed community service activities from under the strictures of revenue caps, they said they did so because school districts that run recreational departments for their communities should not be forced to cut educational services to fund outside activities.
Tax and spending growth in Madison’s Fund 80 has also been controversial.
The latest plan will be presented to the public with an opportunity for comment early next year, said Sue Abplanalp, assistant superintendent for elementary schools.
Known as Plan A, it moves fewer children and brings building capacities and numbers of low-income students at all schools into closer alignment, said Kurt Kiefer, Madison schools’ director of research.
Continue reading Boundary Plan for New West Side Elementary School
Via a kind reader email: Martin Haberman:
For many urban youth in poverty moving from school to work is about as likely as having a career in the NBA.While urban schools struggle and fail at teaching basic skills they are extremely effective at teaching skills which predispose youth to fail in the world of work.The urban school environment spreads a dangerous contagion in the form of behaviors and beliefs which form an ideology.This ideology “works” for youngsters by getting them through urban middle and secondary schools.But the very ideology that helps youth slip and slide through school becomes the source of their subsequent failure.It is an ideology that is easily learned, readily implemented, rewarded by teachers and principals, and supporting by school policies.It is an ideology which schools promulgate because it is easier to accede to the students’ street values than it is to shape them into more gentle human beings.The latter requires a great deal of persistent effort not unlike a dike working against an unyielding sea.It is much easier for urban schools to lower their expectations and simply survive with youth than it is to try to change them.
The ideology of unemployment insures that those infected with it will be unable to enter or remain in the world of work without serious in-depth unlearning and retraining.Urban youth are not simply ill prepared for work but systematically and carefully trained to be quitters, failures, and the discouraged workers who no longer even seek employment.What this means is that it is counterproductive to help urban schools do better at what they now do since they are a basic cause of their graduates living out lives of hopelessness and desperation.
The dropout problem among urban youth–as catastrophic as it is–is less detrimental than this active training for unemployment.We need be more concerned for “successful” youth who graduate since it is they who have been most seriously infected.They have been exposed longest, practiced the anti-work behaviors for the longest period, and been rewarded most.In effect, the urban schools create a pool of youth much larger than the number of dropouts who we have labeled as “successful” but who have been more carefully schooled for failure.
Clusty Search on Martin Haberman. Haberman is a Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
At the November 26, 2007 meeting of the MMSD BOE’s Performance and Achievement Committee [18MB mp3 audio], the District’s Attorney handed out a draft of a policy for the District’s Youth Options Program dated November 20, 2007. It is a fine working draft. However, it has been written with rules making it as difficult as possible for students to actually take advantage of this State-mandated program. Thus, I urge all families with children who may be affected by this policy now or in the future to request a copy of this document, read it over carefully, and then write within the next couple of weeks to all BOE members, the District’s Attorney, Pam Nash, and Art Rainwater with suggestions for modifications to the draft text. For example, the current draft states that students are not eligible to take a course under the YOP if a comparable course is offered ANYWHERE in the MMSD (i.e., regardless of whether the student has a reasonable method to physically access the District’s comparable course). It also restricts students to taking courses at institutions “located in this State” (i.e., precluding online courses such as ones offered for academically advanced students via Stanford’s EPGY and Northwestern’s CTD).
The Attorney’s memorandum dated November 21, 2007 to this Committee, the BOE, and the Superintendent outlined a BOE policy chapter entitled “Educational Options” that would include, as well, a policy regarding “Credit for Courses Taken Outside the MMSD”. Unfortunately, this memo stated that this latter policy as one “to be developed”. It has now been almost 6 years (!) since Art Rainwater promised us that the District would develop an official policy regarding credit for courses taken outside the MMSD. A working draft available for public comment and BOE approval has yet to appear. In the interim, the “freeze” the BOE unanimously approved, yet again, last winter has been ignored by administrators, some students are leaving the MMSD because of its absence, and chaos continues to rein because there exists no clearly written policy defining the rules by which non-MMSD courses can be taken for high school credit. Can anyone give us a timetable by which an official BOE-approved policy on this topic will finally be in place?
The Data Quality Campaign and the National Center for Educational Accountability (NCEA):
conducted a survey in September 2007, with the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, about state data systems to determine the number of states that have built the infrastructure to tap into the power of longitudinal data. Similar surveys were conducted by NCEA in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. This website provides an overview of the findings of the survey in addition to a state-by-state analysis of the policy implications of each state’s data system.
The Power of Longitudinal Data
Longitudinal data matches individual student records over time, from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade and into post secondary education. States are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve student achievement. But without quality data, they are essentially flying blind. Policymakers need to act now to put in place the policies and resources to ensure that each state has a longitudinal data system and the culture and capacity to translate the information into specific action steps to improve student achievement. When states collect the most relevant data and are able to match individual student records over time, they can answer the questions that are at the core of educational effectiveness. Longitudinal data (data gathered on the same student from year to year) makes it possible to:
State specific results.
The Madison School viewed a presentation from the Administration Monday evening on their proposed High School redesign. Listen via this mp3 audio file (or watch the MMSDTV Video Archive).
“Sometimes institutional history can be a weight around your neck,” Rainwater noted. “This can be an opportunity to bring in new ideas, and new blood,” he added.
Rainwater has said change is necessary because high schools today look and feel much like they have for generations but that students will live and work in a world that has changed dramatically, and which demands new skills and abilities.
He acknowledged that the path was likely to be bumpy, and noted that the plan — which has been developed thus far without public input — recognizes that there are major concerns in the community regarding changes to Madison’s school system.
Some of those concerns include worries about trying to balance resources among students of widely varying abilities, about “dumbing down” the curriculum with inclusive classrooms, the potential for the high schools to lose their unique personalities and concerns that addressing the broad ranges of culture in the district will not serve students well.
A group of parents will be gathering to discuss developing a public school charter (or other educational alternatives) for middle schoolers who need an advanced level and faster pace of instruction (curriculum acceleration). Our first meeting will be Monday, November 26 at 11:30 am for lunch at the Sun Print Cafe, 1 South Pinckney Street [Map], in the US Bank building. If interested, please email Bonnie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Madison School Board: Monday evening, November 12, 2007: 40MB mp3 audio file. Participants include: Superintendent Art Rainwater, East High Principal Al Harris, Cherokee Middle School Principal Karen Seno, Sennett Middle School Principal Colleen Lodholz and Pam Nash, assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools.
A few notes:
- First 30 minutes: The City of Madison has agreed to fund police overtime in the schools. Johnny Winston, Jr. asked about supporting temporary “shows of force” to respond to issues that arise. Maya Cole asked what they (Administrators) do when staff choose not to get involved. East High Principal Al Harris mentioned that his staff conducts hall sweeps hourly. Sennett Principal Colleen Lodholz mentioned that they keep only one entrance open during recess.
- 52 minutes: Al Harris discussed the importance of consistency for staff, students and parents. He has named an assistant principal to be responsible for security. East now has data for the past year for comparison purposes. Additional assistant principals are responsible for classrooms, transitions and athletics.
- 55 minutes: Art Rainwater discussed District-wide procedures, a checklist for major incidents and that today parents are often informed before anyone else due to cell phones and text messaging.
- Recommendations (at 60 minutes):
- Pam Nash mentioned a strong need for increased communication. She discussed the recent West High School community forums and their new personal safety handbook. This handbook includes an outline of how West is supervised.
- 68 to 74 minutes: A discussion of the District’s equity policy vis a vis resource allocations for special needs students.
- 77 minutes – Steve Hartley discusses his experiences with community resources.
- 81+ minutes: Steve Hartley mentioned the need for improved tracking and Art Rainwater discussed perceptions vs what is actually happening. He also mentioned that the District is looking at alternative programs for some of these children. Student Board Representative Joe Carlsmith mentioned that these issues are not a big part of student life. He had not yet seen the new West High safety handbook. Carol Carstensen discussed (95 minutes) that these issues are not the common day to day experiences of our students and that contacts from the public are sometimes based more on rumor and gossip than actual reality.
I’m glad the Board and Administration had this discussion.
The “Wisconsin Way” recently held a forum in Waukesha. The local Taxpayer’s League posted some notes [website].
A schedule of forums appears on their website (Madison is 12/6/2007). More:
Welcome to the Wisconsin Way! You’ve made the first step to helping lower Wisconsin’s property taxes, while protecting our services and maintaining Wisconsin’s quality of life.
A groundswell of public concern about the affordability of property taxes on the one hand and the need to maintain Wisconsin’s critical infrastructure on the other has prompted several statewide leadership groups to join forces in a historic search for solutions called The Wisconsin Way.
In the coming months, the original conveners of the Wisconsin Way—the Wisconsin Counties Association, the Wisconsin Education Association Council, Wisconsin Realtors Association, Wisconsin Transportation Builders Association and Wood Communications Group—will host a series of public gatherings around the state in an effort to engage Wisconsin citizens in a constructive, solution-oriented conversation about what we can do to make Wisconsin taxes fairer and reduce the property tax burden without sacrificing the quality of public services that have made Wisconsin a special place to live and work.
There are casual days at Milwaukee College Preparatory School when it comes to what students can wear. Polo shirts (red for almost all the students and yellow for standouts who have earned privileges) are the uniform for those days. Other days, students have to wear blazers and ties.
But there are no casual days at the school when it comes to academics, even down to the kindergartners.
“Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go,” eighth-grade math teacher Edward Richerson exhorts his students as a half dozen head toward the blackboard to solve some equations. They’re not moving fast enough for him.
A couple of them falter in their explanations. “What I’ve told you not to do is get lazy on these equations, which is what you’ve done,” Richerson says. If you’re not getting them, it’s not because you’re not smart enough, he says. “Since we are overachievers,” he begins as he tells them why they have to be as picky about the details of the answers as he is.
In a 5-year-old kindergarten class, children do an exercise in counting and understanding sequences of shapes. Four-year-olds are expected to be on the verge of reading by Christmas.
In national education circles, phrases such as “no excuses” and names such as “KIPP” have come to stand for a hard-driving approach to educating low-income urban children, and that includes longer days, strict codes of conduct, an emphasis on mastering basics and a dedication among staff members approaching zeal. The Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, operates 57 schools in cities around the country and has a record that is not perfect but is noteworthy for its success.
Milwaukee College Prep, 2449 N. 36th St., is the prime example in Milwaukee of a no-excuses school. The charter school, which is publicly funded and was chartered through the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, is not formally a KIPP school, although it is affiliated with the KIPP movement.
Milwaukee College Preparatory School’s website.
The word “mediation” usually isnt all that menacing. But these days, and in this district, “mediation” packs plenty of punch.
A few weeks ago the Waukesha School Board announced it had taken its teachers to mediation. That means a neutral party will try to negotiate a settlement between the teachers union (the Education Association of Waukesha) and the board.
Whats most significant about the boards action is the mediator can declare an impasse and send the proposals to an arbitrator. And that, my friend, is a big deal.
Why? First, because arbitration is the labor-relations version of high-stakes poker. Its a winner-take-all proposition. Both sides present their proposal to a (supposedly) neutral third party, who picks the plan he or she believes fairest. There is no in-between – you win or you lose.
Arbitration also is a big deal because its hardly ever done, at least when state public schools are involved.
“Yes, its significant,” said David Schmidt, superintendent of the School District of Waukesha for the past 10 years. “Its the first time weve done it since Ive been here.”
Schmidt says he is fine with the teachers union, that the real trouble is in Madison. (The EAW is very much in agreement.) But right now, the problem has to be fixed closer to home. “What we can control locally are our expenditures,” Schmidt says.
Links and notes on Madison’s recent teacher’s contract.
Will the board continue to be weak — letting the super set the agenda and following along? Or, will the board exert some leadership?
Via a reader email – Daniel de Vise:
In a notebook on her desk at Rock View Elementary School, Principal Patsy Roberson keeps tabs on every student: red for those who have failed to attain proficiency on Maryland’s statewide exam, an asterisk for students learning English and squares for black or Hispanic children whose scores place them “in the gap.”
Roberson and the Rock View faculty are having remarkable success lifting children out of that gap, the achievement gap that separates poor and minority children from other students and represents one of public education’s most intractable problems.
They have done it with an unusual approach. The Kensington school’s 497 students are grouped into classrooms according to reading and math ability for more than half of the instructional day.
The technique, called performance-based grouping, is uncommon in the region. Some educators believe it too closely resembles tracking, the outmoded practice of assigning students to inflexible academic tracks by ability.
Educators say Rock View, however, is using the same basic concept to opposite effect, and the results have been positive. While some other Montgomery County schools serving low-income populations have posted higher test scores, few have shown such improvement or consistency across socioeconomic and racial lines.
Joanne has more.