Notes on absenteeism in the taxpayer funded Madison K-12 system

Scott Girard: In total, nearly 9,000 children in Madison public schools missed more than 10% of the school year, a rate of absenteeism that can indicate broader problems facing children and puts them at risk of a serious, long-term disadvantage in learning. Grelinda Isom’s four children are among those considered chronically absent. Isom herself has … Continue reading Notes on absenteeism in the taxpayer funded Madison K-12 system

“Call it the end of an era for fantasy-fueled reading instruction”

Kendra Hurley: Call it the end of an era for fantasy-fueled reading instruction. In a move that has parents like me cheering, Columbia University’s Teachers College announced last month that it is shuttering its once famous—in some circles, now-infamous—reading organization founded by education guru and entrepreneur Lucy Calkins. For decades, the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project … Continue reading “Call it the end of an era for fantasy-fueled reading instruction”

Notes on Lawfare, taxpayer k-12 $pending and the Minocqua Brewing Company

Quinton Qlabon I feel like when Minocqua Brewing Company turns in homework, it should not have factual errors in it. Anticlimactic. Locally, Madison spends > $25k per student. Corrine Hess: Wisconsin’s choice program serves over 52,000 students and plays a vital role in Wisconsin’s education system,” Esenberg said in a statement. “Unfortunately, far-left interest groups … Continue reading Notes on Lawfare, taxpayer k-12 $pending and the Minocqua Brewing Company

Notes, Politics and our long term, disastrous reading results; Madison + State

Quinton Klabon: 1 year and $1 BILLION in federal relief later, it’s still tragic. •6,000 fewer kids on college track•101,000 kids below grade level•Green Bay, Janesville stuck at pandemic low•Milwaukee Black kids not catching up Scott Girard: In the Madison Metropolitan School District, proficiency rates in both subjects are well above the state for white … Continue reading Notes, Politics and our long term, disastrous reading results; Madison + State

“they set high standards and create a disciplined classroom culture”

David Leonardt Among the reasons the Defense Department schools do so well: “Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.” The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at … Continue reading “they set high standards and create a disciplined classroom culture”

WILL & SCW Report Shows How Choice Programs Serve Students with Disabilities

WILL: The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and School Choice Wisconsin (SCW) released a new report examining amount of special needs students in Wisconsin’s choice schools serve students with disabilities. Serving All: Students with Disabilities in Wisconsin’s Parental Choice Programs shows that schools in Wisconsin choice programs serve far more disabled students than … Continue reading WILL & SCW Report Shows How Choice Programs Serve Students with Disabilities

Commentary on another Madison K-12 Superintendent Search // Priorities

Dave Cieslewicz: I’m not at all surprised.  The executive search group chosen to help find the next Madison schools superintendent reflects the biases of our current school board. The very first statement you see in the About section of the website of Alma Advisory Group out of Chicago is that it is, “is a woman-of-color-led … Continue reading Commentary on another Madison K-12 Superintendent Search // Priorities

9 Citizens at a Madison School District Superintendent Search “roundtable”

David Blaska: Once every blue moon, the Head Groundskeeper does what he says he is going to do. Posing as average citizen “David Blaska,” he sat in with eight other citizens at one of three roundtables coordinated 10-04-23 by the headhunters hired by the Madison public school district to find yet another a new superintendent. … Continue reading 9 Citizens at a Madison School District Superintendent Search “roundtable”

Teacher prep programs not on the same page as Wisconsin’s new reading law

Corrinne Hess: But data shows that most teacher education programs at colleges and universities are still not fully teaching the science of reading.  Instead of learning how to read through pictures, word cues and memorization, children will be taught using a phonics-based method that focuses on sounding out letters and phrases, with the hope of addressing … Continue reading Teacher prep programs not on the same page as Wisconsin’s new reading law

20 October Event: Cara Fitzpatrick, author of “The Death of Public School”

Marquette: Please join us for an “On the Issues” program at 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 20, 2023, at Marquette Law School. A new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning education journalist Cara Fitzpatrick takes up the rise of the school choice movement across the United States. The Death of Public School: How Conservatives Won the War over Education … Continue reading 20 October Event: Cara Fitzpatrick, author of “The Death of Public School”

Notes on K-12 $pending and Governance: Wisconsin Edition

David Blaska: Jill Underly is Wisconsin’s superintendent of public instruction. The position is elected for four years on the Spring non-partisan ballot along with city alders and circuit court judges. We are one of only 12 states to elect them. One of Jill Underly’s predecessors was Tony Evers, now governor of Wisconsin. A Democrat. If … Continue reading Notes on K-12 $pending and Governance: Wisconsin Edition

Repairing the damage Columbia’s Teachers College did to American kids will take years

Robert Pondiscio I’ve come to bury Lucy Calkins, not to praise her. Columbia University’s Teachers College announced this month what once seemed unthinkable: It’s “dissolving” its relationship with Calkins, sending the controversial literacy guru and her cash-cow publishing and consulting empire packing. The divorce came a few months after the New York City Department of … Continue reading Repairing the damage Columbia’s Teachers College did to American kids will take years

Did New York City Forget How to Teach Children to Read?

Caitlin Moscatello At a meeting with parents in May, Elizabeth Phillips, a longtime principal at P.S. 321, a highly sought-after elementary school in Park Slope, didn’t mince words about the new reading curricula being implemented across the city this fall by Mayor Eric Adams’s administration. Not only did she refer to the trio of options selected … Continue reading Did New York City Forget How to Teach Children to Read?

Almost half the students in Fort Worth schools can’t read at grade level

Dang le Fort Worth resident Maria Gonzalez knew her daughter’s grades were off.  Gonzalez’s 8-year-old daughter, Citlalic, got perfect scores at school. Her teacher said she was doing great.  Get to know your community better with our free newsletters. Sign up today so you don’t miss a thing! But Gonzalez knew something else from observation … Continue reading Almost half the students in Fort Worth schools can’t read at grade level

Notes on Mississippi’s reading progress

Bezos WaPo: “[A]n analysis homing in on the inaugural group of Mississippians subject to the state’s rule concluded that repeating third grade resulted in significantly higher reading scores in sixth grade — with Black and Hispanic students showing particular improvement…. [But i]t is impossible to disentangle retention itself from all that comes with it… after-class … Continue reading Notes on Mississippi’s reading progress

DPI ‘equity’ speakers talk revolution; Wisconsin parents just want their kids to be able to read

Patrick Mcilheran: The series of day-long webinars, four per school year, is an initiative of the DPI, the regulator of every Wisconsin school. The agency says it doesn’t necessarily endorse everything said by every one of the academics it invites, but since racial equity is the first quality it mentions in its mission statement, one can see why 2,500 … Continue reading DPI ‘equity’ speakers talk revolution; Wisconsin parents just want their kids to be able to read

“I will get teared up because I think I can’t read,” fourth grader Raven said.

Arthur Jones II, Tal Axelrod, and Jay O’Brien Learning to read isn’t fair. It comes naturally for some students. But for others it’s a frustrating, agonizing process that, if left unaddressed, can cause long-standing academic problems. Ask D’Mekeus Cook Jr., a fourth grader from Louisiana, who was reading at a kindergarten level when he started second grade … Continue reading “I will get teared up because I think I can’t read,” fourth grader Raven said.

Teachers College to ‘Dissolve’ Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing Project

Sarah Schwartz The Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, the instructional consultancy housed at Columbia University and founded by the popular and controversial literacy icon Lucy Calkins, will soon be shutting its doors, Teachers College announced Sept. 1.  The college is dissolving TCRWP and Calkins will step down as director. Calkins, who remains a tenured faculty member … Continue reading Teachers College to ‘Dissolve’ Lucy Calkins’ Reading and Writing Project

Defunding K-12 classrooms and growing bureaucracy

Will Flanders: Total staff in schools has increased since 2017. The number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) in Wisconsin schools has grown by 2.67% over this time frame, even as statewide enrollment declined by 3.6%. Student-teacher ratios have declined across the state. Despite staffing shortages, the dramatic decline in student enrollment over the past five years … Continue reading Defunding K-12 classrooms and growing bureaucracy

Curious, context free school choice commentary

Ruth Conniff: Still, the inequities among public schools in richer and poorer property tax districts are nothing compared to the existential threat to public education from a parallel system of publicly funded private schools that has been nurtured and promoted by a national network of right-wing think tanks, well funded lobbyists and anti-government ideologues. For … Continue reading Curious, context free school choice commentary

‘The Singular Cruelty of America Toward Children’

James Freeman: The best way to prevent politicians and bureaucrats from ever again inflicting on American kids the learning losses, social isolation and staggering financial burden of the Covid lockdowns is to ensure a just reckoning for the destruction they caused. Perhaps this is beginning to happen. John Fensterwald reports in the Bakersfield Californian: This … Continue reading ‘The Singular Cruelty of America Toward Children’

A new madison school amidst declining enrollment

Abbey Machtig: The Madison School District bought the land for $6.4 million and construction was estimated to cost about $25 million, financed by a 2020 facilities referendum. Landscaping and playground construction at Southside Elementary are continuing, according to the district website. The school serves an especially diverse population. Of the students in the area, 81% are … Continue reading A new madison school amidst declining enrollment

Politics, teacher unions and taxpayer $pending

Scott Girard: NEA President Becky Pringle and AFT President Randi Weingarten both spoke at the event as well, thanking the educators for their work and building excitement as the school year approaches. Baldwin thanked both of those leaders for their efforts on behalf of teachers. “In the face of repeated attacks on organized labor in … Continue reading Politics, teacher unions and taxpayer $pending

School choice triumph: Report card analysis shows voucher schools out-perform public schools

Nicholas Kelly: Education was a big winner of a bipartisan agreement in the recently enacted state budget. Public schools will receive an increase of more than $1 billion. Per pupil spending for Wisconsin’s private school choice programs will grow by $2,000 to $3,000 per student.  Even after these historic funding increases, state payments to schools in the … Continue reading School choice triumph: Report card analysis shows voucher schools out-perform public schools

Sweden during the Pandemic: Pariah or Paragon?

Johan Norberg: Sweden was different during the pandemic, stubbornly staying open as other countries shut down borders, schools, restaurants, and workplaces. This choice created a massive interest in Sweden, and never before have the foreign media reported so much about the country. Many outsiders saw it as a reckless experiment with people’s lives. In April 2020 President … Continue reading Sweden during the Pandemic: Pariah or Paragon?

“For some parents, it was a reminder that school policies didn’t reflect their values.”

Rachel Hale: Since it started in January 2021 Moms for Liberty says it has expanded to 285 chapters in 46 states with over 125,000 members. In Wisconsin, chapters in Kenosha, Marathon, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Polk, Rock, St. Croix, Vilas, Washington, Winnebago and Wood County have popped up over the past two years. It’s hard to pinpoint … Continue reading “For some parents, it was a reminder that school policies didn’t reflect their values.”

School Choice Expansion in Milwaukee

Rory Linnane St. Augustine Preparatory Academy unveiled a new $49 million elementary school on Milwaukee’s south side Tuesday, showcasing a major expansion as school leaders also discussed plans for a new north-side branch on the former Cardinal Stritch campus. About 730 students in kindergarten through fourth grade are expected to start school this week in the new … Continue reading School Choice Expansion in Milwaukee

An educational entrepreneur creates a school for kids with reading difficulties.

Danyela Souza Egorov: Tim Castanza admits that he was “triggered.” The year was 2016, and Castanza, then working for the New York City Department of Education, attended a Community Education Council meeting in Staten Island, where several mothers of kids with dyslexia spoke. The public schools didn’t have any programs for their children, they said, … Continue reading An educational entrepreneur creates a school for kids with reading difficulties.

Lawfare and Wisconsin School Choice: Minocqua Brewing Edition

The fight for #SchoolChoice in Wisconsin is not over. Today Minoqua Brewing Co announced an effort to take away educational options for tens of thousands of low-income families. pic.twitter.com/vSl4wT46BR — Will Flanders (@WillFlandersWI) August 20, 2023 notes and links on Minocqua Brewing. “Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at … Continue reading Lawfare and Wisconsin School Choice: Minocqua Brewing Edition

More States Threaten to Hold Back Third-Graders Who Can’t Read

Sara Randazzo & Scott Calvert: In the race to fix a nationwide reading crisis that worsened during the pandemic, more states are threatening to make students repeat third grade to help them catch up. Tennessee, Michigan and North Carolina are among at least 16 states that have tried in recent years to use reading tests … Continue reading More States Threaten to Hold Back Third-Graders Who Can’t Read

Notes on funding school choice

Ameillia Wedward: Janet Protasiewicz’ recent confirmation as a member of the Wisconsin Supreme Court earlier this month has conservatives worried about the possible end of a decade of conservative reforms, from Act 10 to voter ID laws. But another concern receiving less attention is the prospect of challenges to Wisconsin’s school choice programs. School choice has stood … Continue reading Notes on funding school choice

Curriculum and Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results

Benjamin Yount: A new report on reading in Wisconsin shows many schools across the state continue to use reading lessons shown to leave students behind. The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is out with a new report called Trust the Science? The Use of Outdated Reading Curricula in Wisconsin Schools. It looks at how … Continue reading Curriculum and Wisconsin’s long term, disastrous reading results

Millions of kids are missing weeks of school as attendance tanks across the US

BIANCA VÁZQUEZ TONESS Across the country, students have been absentat record rates since schools reopened during the pandemic. More than a quarter of students missed at least 10% of the 2021-22 school year, making them chronically absent, according to the most recent data available. Before the pandemic, only 15% of students missed that much school.  All … Continue reading Millions of kids are missing weeks of school as attendance tanks across the US

Ex-Madison schools spokesman retaliated against employees, report says

Scott Girard: The complaint was made public in May following a public records request by NBC15 reporter Elizabeth Wadas, whom LeMonds allegedly said was “quickly becoming the sleaziest journalist in Madison” and whom he called “a pig of a journalist.” LeMonds tried to fight the release of the complaint, which was responsive to Wadas’ records request, … Continue reading Ex-Madison schools spokesman retaliated against employees, report says

Commentary on yet another Madison k-12 Superintendent Search

Scott Girard: Community members can now weigh in on the type of leader they’d like as the next Madison Metropolitan School District superintendent. The district’s website now includes a “leadership profile” survey that will help the Madison School Board and its consultant on the search, Alma Advisory Group, develop a job description for the position when it’s posted this … Continue reading Commentary on yet another Madison k-12 Superintendent Search

Reducing Rigor: Massachusetts’ teacher union edition

James Vaznis: The Massachusetts Teachers Association’s board of directors voted unanimously Sunday to support a ballot question that would drop the requirement that high school students pass MCAS exams in order to graduate — a move that will allow the union to spend money and other resources to win over voters. The vote came four … Continue reading Reducing Rigor: Massachusetts’ teacher union edition

The tyrany of low expectations: Massachusetts’ Teachers Union Ballot initiative to eliminate high school graduation requirement

James Vaznis: The ballot initiative would allow students to graduate “by satisfactorily completing coursework that has been certified by the student’s district as showing mastery of the skills, competencies, and knowledge contained in the state academic standards and curriculum frameworks in the areas measured by the MCAS high school tests.” A small group of union … Continue reading The tyrany of low expectations: Massachusetts’ Teachers Union Ballot initiative to eliminate high school graduation requirement

K-12 Governance: School Books

EXPLICIT: Osseo parent reads from an explicit book available in Osseo district libraries and is stopped by the school board chair, saying that last time something like that was read, the “language was offensive to some.” pic.twitter.com/W3Cr7E2kOZ — Alpha News (@AlphaNewsMN) July 26, 2023 Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004– “Well, it’s kind of too … Continue reading K-12 Governance: School Books

73% of Businesses Say Students Graduating from the Public K-12 System are Unprepared for the Workforce

Wisconsin Employer Survey A new survey of Wisconsin businesses paints an unflattering picture of the education system in the state. According to the Wisconsin Employer Survey, nearly three-quarters of businesses think students graduating from the public K-12 system are not prepared for the workforce. Making matters worse, 56 percent of respondents said they have employees who … Continue reading 73% of Businesses Say Students Graduating from the Public K-12 System are Unprepared for the Workforce

Wisconsin schools that went remote for longer saw expanded gaps in graduation rates

Baby Vinick: Wisconsin schools that had a longer period of virtual or hybrid learning during the pandemic saw graduation rates rise among wealthier students and fall among those at an economic disadvantage, a new study found. The study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, published in the journal Educational Researcher, analyzed data from 429 public high schools in … Continue reading Wisconsin schools that went remote for longer saw expanded gaps in graduation rates

Shop Class 2.0: Rethinking High School to Accelerate Electrification

Jeff Eiden: But there’s a major problem undercutting our progress. We don’t have nearly enough skilled workers to get this job done at the speed required. It’s estimated that we’re going to need 1 million more electricians and 400 thousand new HVAC technicians in the next ten years.  Tradespeople are the true lifeblood of the clean energy transition — they do … Continue reading Shop Class 2.0: Rethinking High School to Accelerate Electrification

Last parent in lawsuit over Madison Schools gender identity guidance drops appeal

Mitchell Schmidt: The parent, only identified in the ruling as Jane Doe 4, was the last of 14 parents who initially sued the district in 2020 over a policy that’s part of a guidance document on student gender identity. The policy covered topics that include communication with the families of transgender and nonbinary students about … Continue reading Last parent in lawsuit over Madison Schools gender identity guidance drops appeal

Correcting the record on Mississippi’s historic education gains

Carey Wright: Former State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carey Wright rebuts a recent column in the L.A. Times claiming Mississippi “gamed its national reading test scores.” Like educators in Mississippi and across the nation, I was shocked by the deeply cynical column in the Los Angeles Times about Mississippi’s well documented achievements in education over the past … Continue reading Correcting the record on Mississippi’s historic education gains

Wisconsin education officials wrongly label Black students as more ‘at-risk’ “We combed through the dropout prediction formulas for many states and fortunately Wisconsin was the only one where we found race was being considered”

Dan Lennington and Will Flanders Encouraging high-school graduation is a policy that garners broad support, as it paves the way for higher wages and a better quality of life. In 2015, bipartisan majorities passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, a law aimed at reducing dropout rates. Since then, dropout rates have declined about 13%. But now a … Continue reading Wisconsin education officials wrongly label Black students as more ‘at-risk’ “We combed through the dropout prediction formulas for many states and fortunately Wisconsin was the only one where we found race was being considered”

Madison School District has more than 35 school gardens, chickens and all

Abbey Machtig This rural patch on Madison’s West Side is one of more than 35 school gardens around the Madison School District, including Lapham, Midvale and Crestwood Elementary schools, Badger Rock Middle School and East and West High Schools.  Although school is out for the summer, the gardens are far from empty. A network of volunteers and … Continue reading Madison School District has more than 35 school gardens, chickens and all

Notes on Madison’s Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results

Olivia Herken: Madison had some of the worst reading gaps in Dane County. Only 10% of Black students in grades 3 through 8 scored proficient or higher in ELA, and only 21% of Hispanic students, compared to 45% of their white counterparts. Other Dane County schools had similar disparities. In Middleton, 20% of Black children … Continue reading Notes on Madison’s Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results

A realignment of the Madison School District’s vision, strategy and investment is needed to avoid even larger future deficits.

Christina Gomez-Schmidt: An essential duty of any school board is to help plan and approve the annual district budget. Like most budgets, household or business, the goal of a school district budget is to match revenue with expenses to produce a balanced budget. This goal ensures that school districts are managing local, state and federal … Continue reading A realignment of the Madison School District’s vision, strategy and investment is needed to avoid even larger future deficits.

“Of the students who take an initial education course [in Michigan]…. only about one-quarter reach the student teaching stage…”

Education Policy Innovation Collaborative In this report, we combine data about students in Michigan’s K-12 public schools and public universities with educator certification testing, credentialing, and employment records to examine how the pool of prospective Michigan teachers changes as candidates progress through the pipeline and into the workforce. KEY FINDINGS: Commentary. “Well, it’s kind of … Continue reading “Of the students who take an initial education course [in Michigan]…. only about one-quarter reach the student teaching stage…”

K-12 education’s alarming decline and the 2024 election

George Will: Ian Rowe, a charter school advocate, notes thatsince the “nation’s report card” was first issued in 1992, in no year “has a majority of whitestudents been reading at grade level. The sad irony is that closing the black-white achievement gap would guarantee only educational mediocrity for all students.” Mysteriously (or perhaps not), California’s most recent … Continue reading K-12 education’s alarming decline and the 2024 election

Mississippi rules in reading

Joanne Jacob’s: Mississippi students used to rank dead last in learning, writes Phil Bryant, the former governor of the state, on Real Clear Education. Not any more. “Mississippi fourth-graders, when adjusted for demographics, are ranked as the nation’s top performers in reading and second in math,” according to the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress.  Bryant … Continue reading Mississippi rules in reading

Notes on Madison’s $581M 2023-2024 K-12 Budget; property tax increases

Scott Girard In total, the 2023-24 preliminary budget spends $581 million. The board will vote on a final budget in October after enrollment is finalized. The budget includes a deficit of $15 million for this year, but $11.5 million in ongoing costs are covered by one-time federal COVID-19 relief money that won’t be available next fall … Continue reading Notes on Madison’s $581M 2023-2024 K-12 Budget; property tax increases

“We also had to support teachers to actually use those because that is a lift” – interim Madison Superintendent

Abby Machtig; How do you plan to address the achievement gaps between students in Madison schools, specifically around literacy? We put brand new, high-quality standards-aligned materials in every single teacher’s classroom. We also had to support teachers to actually use those because that is a lift. … Do we always get it right the first … Continue reading “We also had to support teachers to actually use those because that is a lift” – interim Madison Superintendent

Legislation and Early Reading: Wisconsin’s odyssey continues

Tyler Katzenberger: The new version of the bill, passed Wednesday afternoon by the Assembly in 67-27 vote, would prescribe an “intensive” personal literacy plan, including summer classes, for incoming fourth graders who failed to meet third-grade reading benchmarks. Students would exit the plan after they pass a grade-level reading test and their parents agree the … Continue reading Legislation and Early Reading: Wisconsin’s odyssey continues

Politics and teaching children to read: Mother Jones Edition

Kiera Butlers Ten years ago, Marilyn Muller began to suspect that her kindergarten daughter, Lauryn, was struggling with reading. Lauryn, a bright child, seemed mystified by the process of sounding out simple words. Still, the teachers at the top-rated Massachusetts public school reassured Muller that nothing was wrong, and Lauryn would pick up the skill—eventually. Surely … Continue reading Politics and teaching children to read: Mother Jones Edition

‘Nation’s Report Card’ (NAEP) shows math skills reset to the level of the 1990s, while struggling readers are scoring lower than they did in 1971

Kevin Mahnken: COVID-19’s cataclysmic impact on K–12 education, coming on the heels of a decade of stagnation in schools, has yielded a lost generation of growth for adolescents, new federal data reveal.  Wednesday’s publication of scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) — America’s most prominent benchmark of learning, typically referred to as … Continue reading ‘Nation’s Report Card’ (NAEP) shows math skills reset to the level of the 1990s, while struggling readers are scoring lower than they did in 1971

Lawfare on Wisconsin School Choice Options

School Choice Under Attack: Minocqua Brewing Company’s $1 million Super PAC just announced plans to file a new lawsuit to eliminate school choice in Wisconsin – citing the new liberal Supreme Court majority. Permalink here: https://t.co/9BTEyAv7da pic.twitter.com/AC4pJVaT3s — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) June 20, 2023 Related: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators (2010) “Well, it’s … Continue reading Lawfare on Wisconsin School Choice Options

Non communication and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Elizabeth Wadas: The Madison Metropolitan School District’s head of communications, Tim LeMonds, is on leave amidst an ongoing investigation. NBC15 Investigates confirmed LeMonds’ employment status with the district’s human resources team Thursday afternoon. Earlier this month, MMSD broke its silence after a complaint alleging harassment and bullying against its head of communications was made public … Continue reading Non communication and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

$pending more amidst declining enrollment (no mention of spending growth over the years, now > $25k/student

Scott Girard But the board also took a big leap of faith, one that will likely require the help of the Madison community, once again, with another operating referendum in fall 2024. It could be the third straight presidential election in which the Madison Metropolitan School District asks voters for more spending authority above state … Continue reading $pending more amidst declining enrollment (no mention of spending growth over the years, now > $25k/student

K-12 Governance Climate: School Choice Rhetoric

There was a lot of good news for #SchoolChoice in WI yesterday, but it was disconcerting to see that some remain either grossly misinformed on the issue or are intentionally misleading. One of the worst offenders was @RepKristina, who made claimed the program is racist (1/x). pic.twitter.com/OrrC3sEHxx — Will Flanders (@WillFlandersWI) June 15, 2023 School … Continue reading K-12 Governance Climate: School Choice Rhetoric

A look at education school literacy prep variation

NCTQ All children deserve to learn to read, and all teachers deserve the preparation and support that will allow them to help their students achieve this goal. Yet more than one-third of fourth graders—1.3 million children1 in the U.S.—cannot read at a basic level.2 Not learning how to read has lifelong consequences. Students who are not … Continue reading A look at education school literacy prep variation

Madison full-day 4k students had gains similar to half-day peers

Scott Girard: A report last month showed that students in Madison schools’ full-day and half-day 4-year-old kindergarten programs had similar academic gains over the 2021-22 school year. The results of the study, which covers the first year of the Madison Metropolitan School District’s full-day 4K program, weren’t a surprise to Director of Early Learning Culleen Witthuhn, … Continue reading Madison full-day 4k students had gains similar to half-day peers

Study Finds School Choice Does Not Harm Student Outcomes in Wisconsin Public Schools

Jeff Zymeri: School choice programs in Wisconsin have not significantly affected outcomes for public school students or led to a decline in their test scores, according to a study released on Monday. Will Flanders, research director at the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, which commissioned the study alongside School Choice Wisconsin, told National Review that this finding goes … Continue reading Study Finds School Choice Does Not Harm Student Outcomes in Wisconsin Public Schools

National Charter School Study III

Center for Research on Education Outcomes: Our third installment: This study examines the academic progress of students enrolled in charter schools compared with the progress of students enrolled in traditional public schools (TPS). How charter school students learned over time Fifteen years of student performance can provide insights into how schools, school operators, K–12 academic … Continue reading National Charter School Study III

Defending “balanced literacy”

Attack on “Balanced Literacy” Is Attack on Professional Teachers, Research https://t.co/O4h4E0ZIxo via @plthomasEdD — Paul Thomas (@plthomasEdD) June 11, 2023 Madison, long tolerating disastrous reading results, embraced “balanced literacy”. “Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to … Continue reading Defending “balanced literacy”

A look at the rigor of our education establishment

Why has public education gone crazy? Understand that all educators have college degrees, but they’re by objective measures the dumbest people who went to college. They’re the ones who went to brainwashing camps but without the intelligence to question anything they learned. pic.twitter.com/pivwZ3vslr — Richard Hanania (@RichardHanania) June 7, 2023 When A Stands for Average: … Continue reading A look at the rigor of our education establishment

Legislation and K-12 reading: 2023 Wisconsin Edition

Corrinne Hess: A bipartisan bill is expected to be released this month that would change the way most public schools in Wisconsin teach reading.  State Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Education, has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on the plan that would move more schools … Continue reading Legislation and K-12 reading: 2023 Wisconsin Edition

Madison: “Without additional revenue, the district faces an estimated more than $30 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2025” amidst declining enrollment

Scott Girard: School Board President Nichelle Nichols said in the release that “the state must increase its support for schools” in the upcoming biennial budget. “Without additional revenue, the district will have to make difficult decisions to realign the impact of this budget over the next several years, including the possibility of pursuing additional sources … Continue reading Madison: “Without additional revenue, the district faces an estimated more than $30 million budget shortfall in fiscal year 2025” amidst declining enrollment

The economics of school choice: political rhetoric on the tree, missing the forest

Jason Bedrick and Corey DeAngelis That $900 mil­lion is barely 2% of to­tal Ari­zona state spend­ing of $80.5 bil­lion in 2022. Ari­zona pub­lic schools spend about $14,000 per pupil, or $1.4 bil­lion for 100,000 stu­dents. If the de­part­ment’s en­roll­ment pro­jec­tion is reached, school choice would serve roughly 8% of Ari­zona’s stu­dents for 6% of the … Continue reading The economics of school choice: political rhetoric on the tree, missing the forest

Customer Ratings Have Become Meaningless. ‘People Hand Out 5 Stars Like It’s Candy.’

Prestika Rana: Mike Johnson has endured some awkward Uberrides. He once held his nose throughout a trip because the driver was carrying chopped-up Durian—the world’s smelliest fruit. Another time, he was stuck in the back seat while a driver bickered with her boyfriend. Yet another driver tried to sell him a Ponzi scheme. When A … Continue reading Customer Ratings Have Become Meaningless. ‘People Hand Out 5 Stars Like It’s Candy.’

Rare media advocacy for Madison K-12 Accountability

Wisconsin State Journal: It’s not just LeMonds’ staff that has struggled to work with him. LeMonds physically blocked a WMTV-TV (Ch. 15) news reporter from posing a question to Superintendent Carlton Jenkins at a public event — even grabbing and pushing down her hand and microphone, as video of the incident shows. He allegedly called … Continue reading Rare media advocacy for Madison K-12 Accountability

New York is the latest large city to join a national push to change how children are taught to read. But principals and teachers may resist uprooting old practices.

Troy Closson: As New York embarks on an ambitious plan to overhaul how children in the nation’s largest school system are taught to read, schools leaders face a significant obstacle: educators’ skepticism. Dozens of cities and states have sought to transform reading instruction in recent years, driven by decades of research known as the “science of reading.” But … Continue reading New York is the latest large city to join a national push to change how children are taught to read. But principals and teachers may resist uprooting old practices.

Commentary on Wisconsin taxpayer funded k-12 spending growth over the years

I’ve long found these posts rather curious in light of I Madison’s “more than most” k-12 tax & spending practices: now > $25k per student, amidst declining enrollment. In 2007, we Madisonians spent 333,101,865 for K-12. Inflation adjusted $486,328,722, today. Yet our current budget is $557,015,538 (it is higher every time I look). Readers interested … Continue reading Commentary on Wisconsin taxpayer funded k-12 spending growth over the years

Taxpayer funded Madison School District‘s “communications” department review

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District is “committed to doing the hard work and restoring the integrity” of its communications team following the release of an employee complaint against spokesperson Tim LeMonds last Friday. In an unsigned statement posted to its website Thursday and sent via email to reporters by Communications Manager Ian Folger, the district said it … Continue reading Taxpayer funded Madison School District‘s “communications” department review

“Mississippi has achieved its gains despite ranking 46th in spending per pupil in grades K-12”

Nicholas Kristof visits flyover country: Mississippi’s success has no single origin moment, but one turning point was arguably when Jim Barksdale decided to retire in the state. A former C.E.O. of Netscape, he had grown up in Mississippi but was humiliated by its history of racism and underperformance. “My home state was always held in … Continue reading “Mississippi has achieved its gains despite ranking 46th in spending per pupil in grades K-12”

More on Wisconsin School Choice Governance, freedom of speech, civil rights and freedom of religion

Phoebe Petrovic: Wisconsin Watch reviewed public materials for about one-third of the state’s 373 voucher schools and found that four out of 10 had policies or statements that appeared to target LGBTQ+ students for disparate treatment. Some had explicitly discriminatory policies, such as expelling students for being gay or transgender.  All 50 of the voucher … Continue reading More on Wisconsin School Choice Governance, freedom of speech, civil rights and freedom of religion

The state capital of reading problems, Milwaukee Public Schools looks at how to turn things around

Alan Borsuk: Year after year, MPS reading scores are abysmal, strong signs of the problems with educational success that lie ahead for many students. There are bright spots; some MPS schools consistently have better results. But overall, in spring 2022 — the most recent results available — more than half (54.1%) of MPS third- through … Continue reading The state capital of reading problems, Milwaukee Public Schools looks at how to turn things around

Dane County Madison Public Health Mandates and the high school class of 2023

Scott Girard: “I’d been looking forward to high school and it was so hyped up,” said West High School senior Alex Vakar. “It felt like this necessary period for growth because people always talk about them being the best days of their lives, and we missed out on half of that.” Dances, sports, time with … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health Mandates and the high school class of 2023

Boston now spends more per student than any other large school district in the nation

James Vaznis: Boston Public Schools spends more per student than any other large school district in the country, according to the latest figures from the US Census Bureau, a new distinction that reflects how BPS’s budget keeps growing even as student enrollment continues to decline. The city’s highest-in-the-nation cost, of $31,397 per student during the 2020-21 school year, represented … Continue reading Boston now spends more per student than any other large school district in the nation

A curious Bezos Washington Post take on homeschooling

Peter Jamison: Across the country, interest in home schooling has never been greater. The Bealls could see the surge in Virginia, where nearly 57,000 children were being home-schooled in the fall of 2022 — a 28 percent jump from three years earlier. The rise of home education, initially unleashed by parents’ frustrations with pandemic-related campus … Continue reading A curious Bezos Washington Post take on homeschooling

Taxpayer funded Open Records Resistance at the Madison School District

Scott Girard: The complaint against Madison Metropolitan School District spokesperson Tim LeMonds that he fought to keep private alleges he bullied and harassed numerous employees under his management as well as members of the local media. Filed in October 2022 by three employees, one of whom has since left the district, the complaint includes a timeline of … Continue reading Taxpayer funded Open Records Resistance at the Madison School District

Open Records and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Scott Girard: The Madison Metropolitan School District can release an employee complaint filed against its spokesperson as part of a response to an open records request, a Dane County judge ruled Thursday. Circuit Court Judge Rhonda Lanford ruled against MMSD’s executive director for communications, Tim LeMonds, who filed a lawsuit against MMSD on March 24 … Continue reading Open Records and the taxpayer supported Madison School District

Notes on legislation and k-12 reading

Christopher Peak: For decades, schools all over the country taught reading based on a theory cognitive scientists had debunked by the 1990s. Despite research showing it made it harder for some kids to learn, the concept was widely accepted by most educators — until recent reporting by APM Reports. Now, state legislators and other policymakers are trying to change … Continue reading Notes on legislation and k-12 reading

Notes on change and education outcomes

Troy Closson: As New York embarks on an ambitious plan to overhaul how children in the nation’s largest school system are taught to read, schools leaders face a significant obstacle: educators’ skepticism. Dozens of cities and states have sought to transform reading instruction in recent years, driven by decades of research known as the “science of reading.” But … Continue reading Notes on change and education outcomes

Long term study of “reading recovery”; Madison was/is a long time user…

Long-Term Impacts of Reading Recovery through 3rd and 4th Grade: A Regression Discontinuity Study https://t.co/Ci34QiBvl9 “the long-term impact of Reading Recovery on students’ reading/ELA test scores in 3rd and 4th grades is statistically significant & substantially negative” — Paul Bruno (@Paul__Bruno) May 24, 2023 the report. Let's make a list of Reading Recovery-based product/program names … Continue reading Long term study of “reading recovery”; Madison was/is a long time user…

Curious (false claims) reporting on legacy k-12 schools, charter/voucher models and special education

Wisconsin coalition for education freedom: Wisconsin Watch has released its third article in a series attempting to discredit the great work choice programs do in Wisconsin. Their latest article misrepresents admission policies of choice schools while ignoring the fact that public schools often engage in admission practices that would be illegal for schools participating in … Continue reading Curious (false claims) reporting on legacy k-12 schools, charter/voucher models and special education

Wisconsin has a higher percentage of prisoners incarcerated for crimes they committed as youth than any state except Louisiana

Alexander Shur: One of them was a bipartisan measure, 2013 Assembly Bill 387, which proposed giving juvenile court jurisdiction over 17-year-olds alleged to have committed nonviolent offenses. The bill received approval in a Senate and Assembly committee then stalled, never receiving a floor vote in either chamber. As it stalled, Thompson, who was no longer in … Continue reading Wisconsin has a higher percentage of prisoners incarcerated for crimes they committed as youth than any state except Louisiana