“How to Manage Urban School Districts”

Stacey Childress, Richard Elmore and Allen Grossman writing in the Harvard Business Review: One of the biggest management challenges anywhere is how to improve student performance in America’s urban public schools. There has been no shortage of proposed solutions: Find great principals and give them power; create competitive markets with charters, vouchers, and choice; establish … Continue reading “How to Manage Urban School Districts”

Toss Out the PR Playbook

As a senior adviser and former president of Public Agenda, I’m often asked to interpret public-opinion research in relation to the priorities of major education groups. These groups are seeking information that can help them refine their “messaging” strategies to promote a particular agenda. “Messaging,” when it assumes that the solution is a given, merely … Continue reading Toss Out the PR Playbook

If Chartering is the Answer, What was the Question?

Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba, charter school leaders at Education/Evolving urge legislators to expand Wisconsin’s charter school law: “The Importance of Innovation in Chartering” Remarks to the Legislative Study Committee on Charter Schools By Ted Kolderie and Joe Graba, Education/Evolving October 17, 2006 TED KOLDERIE Let me try to set the context for the Legislature’s … Continue reading If Chartering is the Answer, What was the Question?

Significant errors and misconceptions – “Billions for an Inside Game on Reading” by the Washington Post

Robert W. Sweet, Jr. This letter and the enclosure are an appeal to you for help in alerting your readers to significant errors and misconceptions in an article printed in the Post on October 1, 2006 titled “Billions for an Inside Game on Reading” by Michael Grunwald. He asserted that Reading First grants were awarded … Continue reading Significant errors and misconceptions – “Billions for an Inside Game on Reading” by the Washington Post

The State of the City’s Schools

Superintendent Art Rainwater and Madison School Board President Johnny Winston, Jr. discuss the state of Madison’s public schools with Stuart Levitan.Watch the video | MP3 Audio Topics discussed include: School Safety The November 7, 2006 Referendum School funding “Education is not one size fits all” – Johnny during a discussion of the initiatives underway within … Continue reading The State of the City’s Schools

The Politics of K-12 Math and Academic Rigor

The Economist: Look around the business world and two things stand out: the modern economy places an enormous premium on brainpower; and there is not enough to go round. But education inevitably matters most. How can India talk about its IT economy lifting the country out of poverty when 40% of its population cannot read? … Continue reading The Politics of K-12 Math and Academic Rigor

Art Rainwater’s Memo on School Violence

Madison School District Superintendent Art Rainwater: By now, I’m sure you know that last Friday a 15 year old boy entered Weston School in Cazenovia (Sauk County) and allegedly shot and killed the principal. This incident has stirred in all of us the uneasy realization that this can happen anywhere, at anytime. We mourn the … Continue reading Art Rainwater’s Memo on School Violence

Acting White

Donna Ford, Ph.D., and Gilman Whiting, Ph.D., both of Vanderbilt University, are two leading African American education scholars who have dedicated their professional lives to the issue of minority achievement. Professor Ford is a nationally recognized expert in gifted education, multicultural education, and the recruitment and retention of diverse students in gifted education. Professor Whiting … Continue reading Acting White

National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools (2005-06)

Edweek.org: For the third year, The National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools was released to Education Week by Educational Research Service as part of a research partnership. The survey of more than 600 school districts conducted by ERS, a nonprofit organization based in Alexandria, Va., that has been conducting the survey for … Continue reading National Survey of Salaries and Wages in Public Schools (2005-06)

ED.Gov: New Report Shows Progress in Reading First Implementation and Changes in Reading Instruction

US Department of Education: Children in Reading First classrooms receive significantly more reading instruction and schools participating in the program are much more likely to have a reading coach, according to the Reading First Implementation Evaluation: Interim Report, released today by the U.S. Department of Education. The report shows significant differences between what Reading First … Continue reading ED.Gov: New Report Shows Progress in Reading First Implementation and Changes in Reading Instruction

Edwize on the Poor Track Record of Small Learning Communities

Maisie adds notes and links to the recent Business Week interview with Bill and Melinda Gates on their Small Learning Community High School initiative (now underway at Madison’s West High chool – leading to mandatory grouping initiatives like English 10): Business Week has a cover story this week about Bill and Melinda Gates’ small schools … Continue reading Edwize on the Poor Track Record of Small Learning Communities

Similar Students, Different Results: Why Do Some Schools Do Better?

EdSource: What schools do and what resources they have for doing it can make a powerful difference in the achievement of students from low-income backgrounds, according to findings from this two-year EdSource study. Based on a large-scale survey of principals and teachers in 257 California elementary schools serving many low-income students, the initial findings (October … Continue reading Similar Students, Different Results: Why Do Some Schools Do Better?

School Board better, newbies say

Sandy Cullen: “It is a new direction,” said Mathiak, who echoed Kobza’s call for changes in the board’s decision-making and budget processes in unseating 12-year board veteran Juan Jose Lopez. Mathiak had recommended many of the areas in which administrative cuts were made. “It’s a start toward taking ownership and leadership for the types of … Continue reading School Board better, newbies say

June 12th School Board Update – End of School Year

Via a Johnny Winston, Jr. email: The Madison School Board has been (and will be) very busy. At the June 12th meeting the board voted to go to referendum on November 7th for a new elementary school on the far Westside of Madison, Leopold Addition and refinancing of existing debt. The total amount of the … Continue reading June 12th School Board Update – End of School Year

2006 / 2007 Madison School Board & Committee Goals

The Madison School Board meets June 19, 2006 @ 5:00p.m. to discuss their 2006 / 2007 goals for our $332M+ schools. A friend wondered what goals readers have in mind. I thought it might be useful to consider the Board’s goals in light of the District’s strategic plan [450K pdf]: Instructional ExcellenceImproving student achievement Offering … Continue reading 2006 / 2007 Madison School Board & Committee Goals

State Tightening SAGE class size compliance

State tightening class-size initiative Schools receiving funding must get formal waiver to exceed 15-1 ratio By AMY HETZNER, Milwaukee Journal- Sentinel ahetzner@journalsentinel.com Posted: May 31, 2006 In an effort to get a better handle on state money schools use to reduce class sizes, the state Department of Public Instruction plans to tighten its control over … Continue reading State Tightening SAGE class size compliance

State Test Scores Adjusted to Match Last Year

Sandy Cullen: A new statewide assessment used to test the knowledge of Wisconsin students forced a lowering of the curve, a Madison school official said. The results showed little change in the percentages of students scoring at proficient and advanced levels. But that’s because this year’s Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examinations- Criterion Referenced Tests proved … Continue reading State Test Scores Adjusted to Match Last Year

Why Does Elementary Stringed Instrument Instruction Matter? One Reason – Student Demand is Strong

I sent the following letter to the School Board last week after reviewing data and text on elementary strings sent to the School Board by the Fine Arts Coordinator. In late March, I spoke before the School Board about working together on strengthening strings and fine arts education and hoped that we would not see … Continue reading Why Does Elementary Stringed Instrument Instruction Matter? One Reason – Student Demand is Strong

Speak Up For Strings – Starting May 9th

Please Help Save Elementary Strings!!! How: Ask the New School Board – Work with the Community to Build Fine Arts Education! When: Starting May 9th Other districts facing fiscal and academic achievement challenges have had successes maintaining and growing their fine arts education – through strategic planning, active engagement and real partnerships with their communities. … Continue reading Speak Up For Strings – Starting May 9th

LA Not so Confidential

Education Sector:Los Angeles is rightly known as a cultural bellwether because of its diverse population, thriving entertainment industry, and powerful artistic community. But the city is also a harbinger of educational change, as two recent developments suggest. Democratic Mayor Anthony Villaraigosa is seeking substantial control over the Los Angeles Unified School District, while minority parents … Continue reading LA Not so Confidential

Madison Schools, New Population, New Challenges

Sandy Cullen: Twenty-five years ago, less than 10 percent of the district’s students were minorities and relatively few lived in poverty. Today, there are almost as many minority students as white, and nearly 40 percent of all students are considered poor – many of them minority students. And the number of students who aren’t native … Continue reading Madison Schools, New Population, New Challenges

Standards, Accountability, and School Reform

This is very long, and the link may require a password so I’ve posted the entire article on the continued page. TJM http://www.tcrecord.org/PrintContent.asp?ContentID=11566 Standards, Accountability, and School Reform by Linda Darling-Hammond — 2004 The standards-based reform movement has led to increased emphasis on tests, coupled with rewards and sanctions, as the basis for “accountability” systems. … Continue reading Standards, Accountability, and School Reform

23 WI Schools Schedule April, 2006 Referenda

Amy Hetzner: Even though previous years have seen more school districts hold referendums – 42 in April 2001 – never before have so many scheduled referendums asked for an increase in operating revenue, according to information from the state Department of Public Instruction. The DPI has monitored referendum results since 1990, and has recorded whether … Continue reading 23 WI Schools Schedule April, 2006 Referenda

The Road to the Digital School — Education Speakers coming to Wisconsin

Technology Leadership Institute: Join leading edge school districts as we explore what it means to teach and learn in a 21st century instructional environment. Today, the pressure to improve achievement levels is greater than ever before. Recent research has shown that when students have greater access to technology-based learning, the greater their engagement and achievement. … Continue reading The Road to the Digital School — Education Speakers coming to Wisconsin

Leveling the Playing Field: Creating Funding Equity Through Student-Based Budgeting

When the Cincinnati Public Schools devised a reform strategy for improving student performance, it became clear that the district’s traditional budgeting system was inadequate. The authors trace the district’s process of moving to a system of student-based budgeting: funding children rather than staff members and weighting the funding according to schools’ and students’ needs. By … Continue reading Leveling the Playing Field: Creating Funding Equity Through Student-Based Budgeting

Making One Size Fit All: Rainwater seeks board input as schools cut ability-based classes

Jason Shephard, writing in this week’s Isthmus: Kerry Berns, a resource teacher for talented and gifted students in Madison schools, is worried about the push to group students of all abilities in the same classrooms. “I hope we can slow down, make a comprehensive plan, [and] start training all teachers in a systematic way” in … Continue reading Making One Size Fit All: Rainwater seeks board input as schools cut ability-based classes

School Boards Thinking Differently

Madison School Board Seat 1 Candidate Maya Cole: In a report published by the Educational Research Service titled, Thinking Differently: Recommendations for 21st Century School Board/Superintendent Leadership, Governance, and Teamwork for High Student Achievement, recommended that school districts can effectively raise student achievement with strong leadership and teamwork from the school board and superintendent. The … Continue reading School Boards Thinking Differently

Minutes from Board Meeting to Create the Equity Task Force

Thanks for the link to the minutes of the October 31 meeting in the other thread. I found the document fascinating, and am posting it here (with the portion of the meeting devoted to expungement deleted for length reasons) for those who are following the equity task force. The discussion leading up to the charge … Continue reading Minutes from Board Meeting to Create the Equity Task Force

Performance and Achievement Videos available.

Videos of the Performance and Achievement committee meetings of January 30 and February 6 are available in the Performance and Achievement blog. The topics of these meetings were heterogeneous vs. homogeneous classroom instruction. Professor Adam Gamoran, Director of WCER, made a presentation at the January 30 meetng. His Powerpoint presentation and a research paper are … Continue reading Performance and Achievement Videos available.

Good goals, flawed reasoning: Administration Goes Full Speed Ahead on English 10 at West High

At January and February school board meetings, Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater reported on the administration’s plan to go ahead with one English course for all tenth graders at West High School starting in 2006-07. The goal of the plan is to increase academic opportunity for students of color. The mechanism is to teach all students … Continue reading Good goals, flawed reasoning: Administration Goes Full Speed Ahead on English 10 at West High

District Officials Expected Residents to Target them for Budget Cuts

Sandy Cullen: Hardest hit was the area of curriculum research and staff development, which was targeted for reduction by 25 groups, followed by the superintendent’s office and business services. Superintendent Art Rainwater said that in the two groups he worked with, “People first, almost without exception, went to any form of administration.” “We will have … Continue reading District Officials Expected Residents to Target them for Budget Cuts

Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools School-funding update

The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) is a statewide network of educators, school board members, parents, community leaders, and researchers. Its Wisconsin Adequacy Plan — a proposal for school-finance reform — is the result of research into the cost of educating children to meet state proficiency standards. Quality Counts grades are mixed for Wisconsin … Continue reading Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools School-funding update

Program & staffing changes in my $100 budget exercise

$1.74 – Move all employees in Curriculum Research and Staff Development into classroom teaching and school administrative positions that will be vacated through normal attrition. $0.40 – Replace Reading Recovery with Read 180 $0.15 – Move Associated Alternatives to Doyle. (Plenty of room with Curriculum Research & Staff Development leaving. Use UW facilities for gym. … Continue reading Program & staffing changes in my $100 budget exercise

Art Rainwater’s Monthly Column: Current School Finance System Needs to Change: “Advanced Courses May

Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater: School districts across Wisconsin are preparing to begin the yearly ritual of reducing services to their students. Under the current revenue caps there really is no choice for most of us. For most districts the easy choices were made long ago. After twelve years of revenue caps there are only … Continue reading Art Rainwater’s Monthly Column: Current School Finance System Needs to Change: “Advanced Courses May

2006-2007 MMSD Budget Comments

Jason Shepherd writing in the December 29, 2005 Isthmus: Superintendent Art Rainwater: says the “most frustrating” part of his job is knowing there are ways to boost achievement with more resources, but not being able to allocate them. Instead, the district must each year try to find ways to minimize the hurt. Board member Lawrie … Continue reading 2006-2007 MMSD Budget Comments

Public Not Welcome at MMSD Talks about Future Health Insurance Costs

Last August, MMSD parent KJ Jakobson asked “whether the new joint district-union task force for investigating health insurance costs be a truly collaborative effort to solve a very costly problem? Or will it instead end up being a collusion to maintain the status quo?” Collaboration or collusion: What should the public expect from MMSD-MTI Task … Continue reading Public Not Welcome at MMSD Talks about Future Health Insurance Costs

School-funding update from Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES)

The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) is a statewide network of educators, school board members, parents, community leaders, and researchers. Its Wisconsin Adequacy Plan — a proposal for school-finance reform — is the result of research into the cost of educating children to meet state proficiency standards. Washburn joins list of districts in budget … Continue reading School-funding update from Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES)

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: A Look at the Educational Histories of the 29 West HS National Merit Semi-Finalists

Earlier this semester, 60 MMSD students — including 29 from West HS — were named 2006 National Merit Semifinalists. In a 10/12/05 press release, MMSD Superintendent Art Rainwater said, “I am proud of the many staff members who taught and guided these students all the way from elementary school, and of this district’s overall guidance … Continue reading Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due: A Look at the Educational Histories of the 29 West HS National Merit Semi-Finalists

Math, Science and Rigor

Sandy Cullen: Gov. Jim Doyle supports the push to increase the math and science proficiency of high school students, which is primarily coming from business leaders. They say a lack of these skills among those entering the labor pool is putting Wisconsin at risk of losing jobs because there won’t be enough qualified workers to … Continue reading Math, Science and Rigor

06 – 07 Budget Positioning: HR and Business Services Presentation to the Madison School Board

The Madison School Board heard presentations this past Monday from The District’s HR Director, Bob Nadler and Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Roger Price. Both described the functions that their organizations provide to the District. Bob Nadler’s Presentation: Video Roger Price’s Presentation: Video The District’s Budget increases annually ($329M this year for 24,490 students). The … Continue reading 06 – 07 Budget Positioning: HR and Business Services Presentation to the Madison School Board

Excellent data from MMSD on Read 180

Who would believe that I’d call any MMSD data excellent? It’s true! But first, the critical point: I respectfully urge the board of education to approve funding in the next budget to expand Read 180 to West as part of West’s English 9 and English 10. Read 180 would help those students who cannot read … Continue reading Excellent data from MMSD on Read 180

West HS English 9 and 10: Show us the data!

Here is a synopsis of the English 10 situation at West HS. Currently — having failed to receive any reply from BOE Performance and Achievement Committee Chair Shwaw Vang to our request that he investigate this matter and provide an opportunity for public discussion — we are trying to get BOE President Carol Carstensen to … Continue reading West HS English 9 and 10: Show us the data!

They’re off and running: Three new faces seek seats on Madison’s school board

This week is the official start of the spring campaign season, and three local parents are launching bids for Madison’s board of education. Arlene Silveira, 47, the president of Cherokee middle school’s parent-teacher organization, and Maya Cole, 42, an active member of the parent-teacher group at Franklin-Randall, are seeking the open seat being vacated by … Continue reading They’re off and running: Three new faces seek seats on Madison’s school board

Letter to Performance and Achievement Committee

The following letter was hand delivered to Shwaw Vang a week ago, and email copies were sent to the Board, Superintendent Rainwater, and Assistant Superintendent Pam Nash. There so far has been no response. A follow up email was sent yesterday to the Performance and Achievement Committee again asking that they look into why the … Continue reading Letter to Performance and Achievement Committee

Sanderfoot on Ed Lite

Parent Alan Sanderfoot wrote a letter to the Isthmus Editor on Katherine Esposito’s recent article: Ed Lite: Madison Middle Schools Serve Up an Uninspiring Academic Menu: Dear editor, Thank you for publishing Katherine Esposito’s article about Madison’s middle schools (“Ed Lite,” Nov. 11, page 12). Please allow me, however, to correct some mischaracterizations in her … Continue reading Sanderfoot on Ed Lite

Thursday’s Middle School Curriculum Parent Forum

I believe a relevant and challenging curriculum is the #1 priority for any educational organization. There have been a number of questions raised over the years regarding the Madison School District’s curriculum, including Math, English and Fine Arts and the recent controversial changes at Sherman Middle School (more details in Kathy Esposito’s recent Isthmus article). … Continue reading Thursday’s Middle School Curriculum Parent Forum

Questions About West’s Proposed One 10th Grade English Class

Below is the list of questions about 10th grade English that were sent to West Principal Ed Holmes, West English Chair Keesia Hyzer, and Assistant Superintendent Pam Nash (who will be attending the meeting).  We explained — again — that our goals in sending them questions before the meeting are to give them time to … Continue reading Questions About West’s Proposed One 10th Grade English Class

Minority Overrepresentation in Special Ed. Targeted

From Education Week, October 12, 2005 By Christina A. Samuels A new provision of federal law taking effect this school year allows, and in some cases requires, school districts to focus some of their federal special education money on reducing the enrollment of minority students in such programs. The provision, contained in the 2004 reauthorization … Continue reading Minority Overrepresentation in Special Ed. Targeted

Families Leaving West?

Many good things are happening in the Madison Metropolitan School District! This viewpoint and the things we see conflict with the stated concern by some families as they tell us that they will be leaving the district rather than attend West high school. The one reason common to families is that they want their child … Continue reading Families Leaving West?

More on East / West Task Forces

Sandy Cullen: Elementary schools considered most at risk are Emerson, Lapham and Lowell – which are at or below 67 percent of their capacity for students – as well as Lindbergh, Cohen said. “We’re rallying around Lindbergh,” he said, adding that the school serves “probably the most fragile” population of low-income and minority families, including … Continue reading More on East / West Task Forces

My 7th Grader’s Lost Year at Sherman Middle School?

On Monday, August 29, Kate McWhirter, Kari Douglas, Helen Fitzgerald and I met at Sherman Middle School with Ann Yehle, Principal at Sherman, Barb Brodhagen, Learning Coordinator at Sherman, Maria Brown, Spanish Teacher at Sherman, and Pam Nash, Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools. Foreign Language Issues At this meeting, where we were pressed for time, … Continue reading My 7th Grader’s Lost Year at Sherman Middle School?

School-Funding Update from WAES (WI Alliance for Excellent Schools)

Referendum soundly defeated in Phillips School District Greendale voters support $14 million tax levy North Carolina will use lottery proceeds for schools Slot machine revenue not best bet for public schools What’s new in the anti-TABOR toolbox? School-funding reform calendar The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) is a statewide network of educators, school board … Continue reading School-Funding Update from WAES (WI Alliance for Excellent Schools)

School-funding update

Two gubernatorial candidates endorse school-funding reform Check out the school-funding reform calendar What’s new in the anti-TABOR toolbox? School-funding reform calendar The Wisconsin Alliance for Excellent Schools (WAES) is a statewide network of educators, school board members, parents, community leaders, and researchers. Its Wisconsin Adequacy Plan — a proposal for school-finance reform — is the … Continue reading School-funding update

Why not target school ads at adults, not students?

No doubt that the Madison Schools would benefit from revenues that might come through increased advertising, as recently proposed by Johnny Winston Jr., chair of the Board of Education’s Finance and Operations Committee. On the other hand, increasing advertising to our students is undesirable for many reasons. Schools should not treat students as consumers, but … Continue reading Why not target school ads at adults, not students?

Goodbye, Class See You in the Fall: Looping in Ardsley NY Public Elementary School

The New York Times July 11, 2005 Goodbye, Class. See You in the Fall. By ALAN FINDER ARDSLEY, N.Y. – Even though it was his last day of kindergarten, Zachary Gold, a bright, enthusiastic 6-year-old, said he wasn’t scared about moving up to the rigors of first grade. Unlike most kindergartners at the Concord Road … Continue reading Goodbye, Class See You in the Fall: Looping in Ardsley NY Public Elementary School

K-12 Math Curriculum: A Visit With UW Math Professor Dick Askey

UW Math Professor Dick Askey kindly took the time to visit with a group of schoolinfosystem.org writers and friends recently. Dick discussed a variety of test results, books, articles and links with respect to K-12 math curriculum. Here are a few of them: Test Results: Wisconsin is slipping relative to other states in every two … Continue reading K-12 Math Curriculum: A Visit With UW Math Professor Dick Askey

States Report Reading First Yielding Gains, Some Schools Getting Ousted for Quitting

Little solid evidence is available to gauge whether the federal government’s multibillion-dollar Reading First initiative is having an effect on student achievement, but many states are reporting anecdotally that they are seeing benefits for their schools. Among those benefits are extensive professional development in practices deemed to be research-based, extra instructional resources, and ongoing support … Continue reading States Report Reading First Yielding Gains, Some Schools Getting Ousted for Quitting

National Survey on K-12 Salaries Released

A national survey of K-12 salaries appears in a recent issue of Education Week.. Among other things, the Educational Research Service that conducted the survey found that the gap between salaries of teachers and those of education professionals in higher paid positions–principals and superintendents–has steadily widened over the past decade. Local point of interest—the salary … Continue reading National Survey on K-12 Salaries Released

Capital Times Editorial on Kobza’s Win

4.11.2005 Capital Times Editorial: Newcomer Lawrie Kobza surprised a lot of people with her win in Tuesday’s voting for the Madison School Board, which saw her upset incumbent Bill Clingan by a comfortable 53-47 percent margin. Her win is being read as something of a municipal Rorschach test. Some members of the current board majority, … Continue reading Capital Times Editorial on Kobza’s Win

String Orchestra Festival Soars Despite District Administration Annual Assault

The annual string festival is a reminder of how wonderful music education is, and of how important this is for our children’s education. This annual spring event is also a reminder of how badly the existing School Board is failing our children. Lawrie Kobza, school board candidate for Seat 6, wrote, “Fourth and fifth grade … Continue reading String Orchestra Festival Soars Despite District Administration Annual Assault

Elementary Strings is Academic Music Education – Parents and Madison Citizens Need to Ask School Board Why Supt. Is Not Supporting an Academic Curriculum with Direct Postive Benefits on Student Achievement

Madison parents and citizens need to ask the School Board a) why they continue to allow the Superintendent to treat elementary strings separate from the music education curriculum, b) why there is a continued delay in getting a committee together for fine arts, c) why the delay in seeking federal funding for fine arts for … Continue reading Elementary Strings is Academic Music Education – Parents and Madison Citizens Need to Ask School Board Why Supt. Is Not Supporting an Academic Curriculum with Direct Postive Benefits on Student Achievement

Axing the Arts: District (again) proposes cutting popular strings program

Jason Shephard, writing in the 3.11.2005 Isthmus: Music teachers, parents and community activists are already agitating against Madison schools Superintendent Art Rainwater�s call to eliminate the elementary strings program, as part of a proposed slate of budget cuts. �This creates a very disturbing environment in the community,� says Marie Breed, executive director of the Wisconsin … Continue reading Axing the Arts: District (again) proposes cutting popular strings program

Truth-in-Advertising: The Proposed Paired Leopold School is a HUGE Elementary School

On February 21, the district administration presented its recommendations for resolving overcrowding problems at Leopold Elementary School and accommodating children from new and future housing developments on the west side of Madison to the Long Range Planning Committee. During the discussion, I questioned the educational merit of creating a paired K-5 elementary school on the … Continue reading Truth-in-Advertising: The Proposed Paired Leopold School is a HUGE Elementary School

School Board Governance Lacking – Fine Arts

Let the School Board know how you feel about the following at comments@madison.k12.wi.us. Monday, February 7, 2005, I spoke before the School Board during public appearances. The purpose of my statement was to speak about my concern re. the School Board’s ongoing inaction regarding the fine arts curriculum. During the past six years, there have … Continue reading School Board Governance Lacking – Fine Arts

Arts Are a Core Subject Under No Child Left Behind – Flexibility for Federal Funding of the Arts Exists

In an August Letter to ALL superintendents across the country, Secretary Paige (Dept. of Education) stated that the arts are a core subject area of No Child Left Behind, provided research that demonstrates children who are more engaged in the arts do better on tests, and offered guidance on flexibility, funding for arts Noting that … Continue reading Arts Are a Core Subject Under No Child Left Behind – Flexibility for Federal Funding of the Arts Exists

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 … Continue reading MMSD threw away “crackerjack” administrator

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 … Continue reading East Parents Lack Faith In Principal Hiring

A Parent’s Thoughts on Learning to Read – Next Step Considerations

MMSD District Administration will be making a presenation on the MMSD Literacy Program Research tomorrow during the Performance and Achievement Committee meeting. I hope significant time is spent discussing a) results and next steps for MMSD’s Balanced Literacy approach to learning to read and write b) an analysis of alternative reading interventions and c) analysis … Continue reading A Parent’s Thoughts on Learning to Read – Next Step Considerations

WSJ Opinion: Reading between the lines of rigidity

The WSJ Editorial page published a very useful editorial this morning on the Madison School District’s rejection of $2M in federal Reading First funds for reading improvement programs: Taxpayers have the right to ask why the Madison School District would turn its back on a $2 million grant. Read a number of other articles on … Continue reading WSJ Opinion: Reading between the lines of rigidity

Overture Center Soars while MMSD Fine Arts Curriculum Sinks

The following letter was submitted to the Madison papers today. Dear Editor: What joy I experience when I attend performances at the new Overture Center for the Performing Arts! I�ve been to a variety of free and paid performances, including the MSO and Kanopy Dance. Thank you Jerry Frautschi and Pleasant Rowland for your gift … Continue reading Overture Center Soars while MMSD Fine Arts Curriculum Sinks

Cell Phones R Us: Avoiding Fiscal Responsibility the Madison School Board Way

Recently Governor Doyle directed state agencies to �examine all operations to bring accountability and fiscal responsibility to government�. As a result, the state has reduced the use of cell phones and saved thousands of dollars. The Department of Administration characterized the use of cell phones before this change as �part of the carelessness� that marked … Continue reading Cell Phones R Us: Avoiding Fiscal Responsibility the Madison School Board Way

High Schools Nationwide Paring Down

“Whenever you have a reform that has been successful in some places and then it�s scaled up quickly, with a lot of people who only understand it superficially, there�s a lot of danger that some people will do it poorly and that the idea will go down in flames,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford University who is an expert in small-school design.

Schools Chiefs Lead The Way in Pay Trends

From Education Week an article by Catherine Gewertz New data from a survey of more than 500 school districts show the average salary of their superintendents has risen by more than 12 percent over the past decade in inflation-adjusted dollars, and that of their high school principals by more than 4 percent, while the average … Continue reading Schools Chiefs Lead The Way in Pay Trends

2005 Referendums?

Lee Sensenbrenner writes about Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater’s recent comments regarding three possible 2005 referendums: “Facing growing subdivisions on the city’s edges, the expiration of a maintenance fund, and state laws that annually force cuts, the Madison School Board may be looking at three referendums next year.” State laws do not directly “force cuts”. … Continue reading 2005 Referendums?