The Science of Reading

Leila Fletcher (Madison West High School Senior): Simpson Street Free Press is invested in and applies the science of reading with our students. We have for decades. It is true, however, that debates about reading instruction continue. Teachers and reading specialists continually discuss—and dispute—what methods of reading instruction are truly most effective, and ultimately, what … Continue reading The Science of Reading

Madison schools’ happy talk Cheat(ham)s black kids

David Blaska: A crusader has stuck his out out of the foxhole to take on the political correctness that is destroying Madison’s public schools. We introduced him to you Blaska Policy Werkers two weeks ago. He is Peter Anderson, an environmental activist.  Peter has put up a website called “Durable Justice.” Bookmark it. (We’ll wait. Got it?) Anderson … Continue reading Madison schools’ happy talk Cheat(ham)s black kids

Research shows progressive places, like Minneapolis, have the worst achievement gaps

Nekima Levy Armstrong: It is an open secret in Minneapolis and the Twin Cities that black and brown children are being left behind within the public school system. The dominant narrative places the blame on poor children of color and their parents, as well as their communities. When racial stereotypes are used as the default … Continue reading Research shows progressive places, like Minneapolis, have the worst achievement gaps

Notes and Commentary on the Wisconsin School Choice Event

At the Pence rally. A lot of people here with yellow sashes in support of school vouchers. Many nonwhite. — Rocknrolli OneAndOnly (@RocknRocknrolli) January 28, 2020 .@vp mentions @GovEvers‘s absence and a bill to be reintroduced today by @RepBrostoff to phase out school vouchers in Wisconsin: “I know the governor can’t be here with us … Continue reading Notes and Commentary on the Wisconsin School Choice Event

Study: $3.2B in Economic Benefits with the growth of school choice

Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty: On the first day of National School Choice Week, a new study (here) estimates how further growth of Wisconsin’s parental choice programs could result in $3.2 billion in new economic benefits to Wisconsin over the next two decades. Ripple Effect, authored by Will Flanders, PhD, builds upon a recent study which documented … Continue reading Study: $3.2B in Economic Benefits with the growth of school choice

Seattle teacher and activist tells local educators to rebuild school systems to be equitable

Shanzeh Ahmad: The four demands are: end zero-tolerance policies, mandate black history and ethnic studies, hire more black teachers and increase funds for counselors in schools instead of police. There are several ways school communities can take part in the Week of Action, Hagopian said, such as wearing the Black Lives Matter T-shirt, having a … Continue reading Seattle teacher and activist tells local educators to rebuild school systems to be equitable

Madison 2020 Referendum Climate: Taxpayers decide some states aren’t worth it

Ben Eisen and Laura Kusisto: The average property tax bill in the U.S. in 2018 was about $3,500, according to Attom Data Solutions, a real-estate data firm. But many residents in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California had been deducting well over $10,000 a year. In Westchester County, N.Y., the average property-tax bill was … Continue reading Madison 2020 Referendum Climate: Taxpayers decide some states aren’t worth it

Nowhere Is the Hypocrisy of Progressives More Apparent Than in Education

Nikima Levy Armstrong: In the years leading up to my run, progressives talked a good game about their desire for equity, diversity and inclusion. I watched as they marched in the streets with us during Black Lives Matter protests. They put #BlackLivesMatter signs up in their windows and on their lawns. Some of them helped to … Continue reading Nowhere Is the Hypocrisy of Progressives More Apparent Than in Education

Guilty white teacher defends Madison school chaos

David Blaska: This trenchant observation drew a response from one Stan Endiliver, who (contrary to his intention) betrays why virtue-signaling progressives like himself are piping at-risk kids to disaster by playing the victim fife. MMSD teacher here; relax 1. If you are a parent of a student in MMSD, you have nothing to fear.[Blaska: as … Continue reading Guilty white teacher defends Madison school chaos

School Board chooses Matthew Gutiérrez as next Madison superintendent

Scott Girard: Gutiérrez said in the release he was “honored and humbled to be selected,” touting community engagement and support to teachers, students and families as “top priorities.” “During my visit to Madison, I was extremely impressed with the high level of community involvement and how community members hold education as a top priority,” he … Continue reading School Board chooses Matthew Gutiérrez as next Madison superintendent

Cap Times’ Esenberg cartoon takes political left to new lows

Shannon M. Whitworth: As I black man, I have had my fill of the patronizing and condescending self-righteousness of these self-appointed white guardians who justify any gutter tactic in the name of their causes. I am appalled that the irony of publishing the cartoon as we celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. … Continue reading Cap Times’ Esenberg cartoon takes political left to new lows

Why Black People in Madison Wisconsin are Impatient, and Should Be.

Kaleem Caire: With regard to K-12 education, Madison has known about the widespread underperformance of Black children in our city’s public schools for more than 50 years, and the situation has gotten worse. Instead of creating important and transformationl systemic changes, we act like “programs” alone will solve our problems, when we know full well … Continue reading Why Black People in Madison Wisconsin are Impatient, and Should Be.

Commentary on Madison’s K-12 Climate (lacks a substantive look at our long term, disastrous reading results)

Child opportunity index: But the data don’t paint an entirely rosy picture for Madison. In a pattern researchers have mapped across the country, local black and Hispanic children are disproportionately concentrated in “very low opportunity” neighborhoods, and white children have significant advantages. Michael Johnson, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Dane … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s K-12 Climate (lacks a substantive look at our long term, disastrous reading results)

Mission vs organization: leadership of the taxpayer supported ($500m+ annually) Madison School District

David Blaska: Only 8.9% of Madison’s African American high school students are proficient in English, according to 2019 ACT scores. One of every five African American students never graduate. In math, 65% of black students test below basic proficiency, according to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Not to worry, the district now prohibits teachers … Continue reading Mission vs organization: leadership of the taxpayer supported ($500m+ annually) Madison School District

Religious-schools case heads to a Supreme Court skeptical of stark lines between church and state

Robert Barnes: Parents who believe religious schools such as Stillwater absolutely are the places for their children are at the center of what could be a landmark Supreme Court case testing the constitutionality of state laws that exclude religious organizations from government funding available to others. In this case, the issue rests on whether a … Continue reading Religious-schools case heads to a Supreme Court skeptical of stark lines between church and state

“Progressive Cities have higher graduation gaps between students of color and white students than conservative cities”

Brightbeam: Leaders of progressive cities often frame their policy proposals in terms of what’s best for those with the least opportunity and the greatest obstacles. And yet, students in America’s most progressive cities face greater racial inequity in achievement and graduation rates than students living in the nation’s most conservative cities. As you read, keep … Continue reading “Progressive Cities have higher graduation gaps between students of color and white students than conservative cities”

Anti Parent and Student Choice Political Rhetoric

Will Flanders: Conservatives are often accused of being “science deniers” when it comes to issues like climate change. But recent events reveal that those on the left suffer from significant confirmation bias when it comes to a stance that is increasingly central to the liberal education agenda — opposition to charter schools. In December, the … Continue reading Anti Parent and Student Choice Political Rhetoric

Why are Madison middle school principals leaving?

David Blaska: Wanted: More Milton McPikes, fewer guilt mongers  Obsessed with identity politics, Madison school board member Ali Muldrow posts on social media an article headlined:  “The discomfort of white adults should never take priority over the success of our black and brown students.” “I didn’t come here to teach those kinds of kids.” As harmful … Continue reading Why are Madison middle school principals leaving?

Candidate Quotes from Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Pageant

Scott Girard: Behavior Education Plan Vanden Wyngaard: “Just like in previous districts I have been in, it appears we have a perception issue in the community.” Gutiérrez: “What I’ve seen is a rather comprehensive plan. I think it may be a little overwhelming for folks. How can we simplify that to be user-friendly, easy to … Continue reading Candidate Quotes from Madison’s 2020 Superintendent Pageant

Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: middle school governance edition

Chris Rickert: In at least two cases, principals left under a cloud. In 2017, district officials decided not to pursue legal action against former Black Hawk Middle School Principal Kenya Walker, who abandoned her position and oversaw more than $10,000 in spending on the school’s credit card that could not be accounted for. In 2018, … Continue reading Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results: middle school governance edition

We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.

Alvin Chang: Think about your elementary school.  If you attended an American public school, chances are you went to that school because your family lived in that school’s attendance zone. You probably didn’t think twice about it. We tend to assume these are neutrally drawn, immutable borders. But if you take a step back and … Continue reading We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.

Madison School District projects loss of 1,100 students over next five years expected, yet 2020 referendum planning continues

Scott Gerard: Between now and the 2024-25 school year, the district will lose another 1,347 students, according to district projections. Since the 2011-12 school year when MMSD added 4-year-old kindergarten, the district has always had at least 26,000 students. Projections show it will drop below that in 2024-25 for the first time since. Projections from Vandewalle … Continue reading Madison School District projects loss of 1,100 students over next five years expected, yet 2020 referendum planning continues

Commentary on Madison Schools’ Quietly spending taxpayer’s $4M

Logan Wroge: The plan didn’t become publicly available until Friday afternoon, when the meeting agenda was posted online. Does the analysis include space in other facilities? The District expanded some of its least diverse schools (Van Hise and Hamilton) several years ago, when space was available in other nearby schools. The Madison school district is … Continue reading Commentary on Madison Schools’ Quietly spending taxpayer’s $4M

The Whiter, Richer School District Right Next Door

Adam Harris: The Democratic presidential debates, when they have turned to education, have so far focused on busing, college affordability, and school safety. Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, notably, veered away from busing to talk about modern segregation during the second slate of debates, but only for a moment. But the schools trapped within these … Continue reading The Whiter, Richer School District Right Next Door

Commentary on a proposed 2020 Madison K-12 Tax & Spending Increase Referendum

Logan Wroge: If voters were to approve a $150 million referendum, the owner of a $300,000 house — near the median-value home in the district of $294,833 — could have their property taxes increase by $93 annually, according to district estimates. A larger referendum of $280 million is estimated to raise property taxes on a … Continue reading Commentary on a proposed 2020 Madison K-12 Tax & Spending Increase Referendum

K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Commentary on using Madison’s facilities, or create more when space exists

Negassi Tesfamichael: “Whatever recommendations come forward, I want them to include using underutilized space we have in the district,” said School Board member TJ Mertz, Seat 5. Mertz said that redrawing district boundaries could also help find space without having to build an entirely new building. “I think that if we want to be good … Continue reading K-12 Tax & Spending Climate: Commentary on using Madison’s facilities, or create more when space exists

Researcher: School boundaries and segregation are linked

Roger McKinney: He said each instance where schools are rezoned can be an opportunity to address segregation. He said very few districts draw bad boundaries that exacerbate racial segregation. He said many studies show that the achievement gap between black and white students is closed when schools are desegregated and the gap widens when they … Continue reading Researcher: School boundaries and segregation are linked

You find, for example, an obsessive attention to what today we would refer to as ‘literacy’ and ‘critical thinking skills’”

Jeff Sypeck: But when you look at the manuscripts, the classroom texts, and the teaching methods of the early Middle Ages, you find habits and practices that I think would warm the hearts of pretty much everybody in this room. You find, for example, an obsessive attention to what today we would refer to as … Continue reading You find, for example, an obsessive attention to what today we would refer to as ‘literacy’ and ‘critical thinking skills’”

Some Madison schools sign on to Black Lives Matter event that calls for dumping police

Chris Rickert: Some Madison schools will participate next year in a Black Lives Matter event that features a call to “fund counselors, not cops” — despite the School Board’s decision this week to keep police officers in the Madison School District’s four main high schools. Hamilton Middle School said in an email to community members … Continue reading Some Madison schools sign on to Black Lives Matter event that calls for dumping police

Real Talk About Segregation in Boston Public Schools

Keri Rodrigues: Here’s the executive summary: White children are not smarter than black and brown children. Parachuting white families into majority “minority” schools will not automatically improve academic performance. Black and Latino children ARE more than capable of achievement. Just because a school is majority “minority” does not make it a failing school. Student diversity … Continue reading Real Talk About Segregation in Boston Public Schools

Increased segregation of Boston schools could deepen racial, economic divides, say advocates

John Hilliard and Emily Williams : The increase in segregation of the Boston Public School system — decades after court-ordered busing strove to help diversify the city’s schools — will worsen divisions among families along racial and economic lines, parents and education advocates said Sunday. The concerns came a day after the Globe reported that … Continue reading Increased segregation of Boston schools could deepen racial, economic divides, say advocates

What my ‘liberal’ constituents had to say about our district’s plan to increase integration in 2009

Rock the schools: This below is one of the nicer email I received from constituents when my board was attempting to make boundary changes so we could improve school integration. “Because of your changes, there is a very good possibility that he will have to move from a top 5% school to a bottom 5% … Continue reading What my ‘liberal’ constituents had to say about our district’s plan to increase integration in 2009

How The Systemic Segregation Of Schools Is Maintained By ‘Individual Choices’

Nikole Hannah-Jones : Journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross that when it comes to school segregation, separate is never truly equal. “There’s never been a moment in the history of this country where black people who have been isolated from white people have gotten the same resources,” Hannah-Jones says. “They often don’t have … Continue reading How The Systemic Segregation Of Schools Is Maintained By ‘Individual Choices’

‘Apartheid’ schools on the rise in N.J., study says

Kelly Heyboer: The percentage of New Jersey students attending “apartheid schools” — where only between 0 and 1 percent of the pupils are white — has nearly doubled from 4.8 percent to 8.3 percent since 1989, the report concluded. “This report shows that New Jersey has moved another substantial step toward a segregated future with … Continue reading ‘Apartheid’ schools on the rise in N.J., study says

We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.

Alvin Chang: Think about your elementary school. If you attended an American public school, chances are you went to that school because your family lived in that school’s attendance zone. You probably didn’t think twice about it. We tend to assume these are neutrally drawn, immutable borders. But if you take a step back and … Continue reading We can draw school zones to make classrooms less segregated. This is how well your district does.

$pending more on Bricks and Mortar in the Madison School District?

Madison School District Administration (PDF): Build a new neighborhood elementary school in or near the South Allis attendance area, south of the Beltline, to serve all of the South Allis area and a portion of the Leopold area. Invite Verona, Oregon, and McFarland to join with MMSD to rationalize the south border to better serve … Continue reading $pending more on Bricks and Mortar in the Madison School District?

Commentary on Madison Taxpayer Funded Schools’ PTO Budgets and Activity

Chris Rickert: Allis Elementary currently has no active PTO and its fundraising when it did have one last year was “very, very little,” according to interim principal Sara Cutler. Allis’ percentage of economically disadvantaged students last year was 67.9, according to state Department of Public Instruction data, or higher than the district percentage of 46.1. … Continue reading Commentary on Madison Taxpayer Funded Schools’ PTO Budgets and Activity

Commentary On K-12 Governance Rhetoric

Mike Antonucci: In the past two weeks, both support and criticism of Weingarten have centered on whether or not school vouchers actually increase segregation. A different question is whether or not Weingarten’s broadsides against vouchers, privatization, and disinvestment have anything to do with fighting segregation. Elsewhere in the speech Weingarten recounted her joint visit to … Continue reading Commentary On K-12 Governance Rhetoric

Not for Free: Exploring the Collateral Costs of Diversity in Legal Education

SpearIt: This essay examines some of the institutional costs of achieving a more diverse law student body. In recent decades, there has been growing support for diversity initiatives in education, and the legal academy is no exception. Yet for most law schools, diversity remains an elusive goal, some of which is the result of problems … Continue reading Not for Free: Exploring the Collateral Costs of Diversity in Legal Education

“No institution in America has done more to perpetuate segregation than public schools”

Peter Cunningham: No institution in America has done more to perpetuate segregation than public schools. Until 1954, segregated schools were legal in America and it was the standard practice in much of the South. Less recognized, but equally pernicious, is the structural segregation all across America, where zoned school systems maintain racial and economic segregation. … Continue reading “No institution in America has done more to perpetuate segregation than public schools”

Beyond Boundaries: Deeper Reporting on School Attendance Zones

Marquita Brown:: When Baltimore County school officials wanted to move boundary lines in 2015, some parents predicted declining property values and voiced fears of sending their children to school with “those kids.” Liz Bowie, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun, pushed for clarity on the coded language. Doing so, she told a packed room at … Continue reading Beyond Boundaries: Deeper Reporting on School Attendance Zones

PTA Gift for Someone Else’s Child? A Touchy Subject in California

Dana Goldstein: Of all the inequalities between rich and poor public schools, one of the more glaring divides is PTA fund-raising, which in schools with well-heeled parents can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars a year or more. Several years ago, the Santa Monica-Malibu school board came up with a solution: Pool most donations from … Continue reading PTA Gift for Someone Else’s Child? A Touchy Subject in California

Dallas-Fort Worth school districts struggle as need for bilingual classes grows

Holly Yan:

Bilingual education is supposed to be expanding to more languages – such as Vietnamese and Arabic – but many school districts can’t find the teachers to handle the two-language classes.
“The teacher shortage that was there for Spanish now translates to other languages,” said Shannon Terry, Garland ISD’s director of English as a Second Language (ESL) and bilingual education.
Area districts are recruiting for next school year, searching for tough-to-staff areas such as math and science. But bilingual teachers are also in high demand.
The state requires any school district that has at least 20 students in a grade level who speak a language other than English to provide a bilingual program in that language.
In 2007, the State Board for Educator Certification expanded the bilingual program to include Vietnamese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese and Russian. But that doesn’t mean more diverse teachers are lining up for jobs.
“It’s not common knowledge,” said Terry. “The universities aren’t designing programs necessarily yet to support teachers in securing those credentials.”

The Madison School District, in response to Nuestro Mundo’s desire for a middle school charter, plans to implement dual immersion across the District.