Jay Matthews: Bill Rhatican spent nine years teaching government and history at West Potomac High School in Fairfax County, Va., before he retired in June. He had been a journalist before that, and learned the power of getting his students’ papers published in some form. Seeing their words in print lent an excitement to their … Continue reading “The Ed School Disease: Part One”
Alan Borsuk: It’s the fourth time in three months that a national study has accused state officials of shirking their responsibilities, particularly to minority students and those from low-income homes. Two national education reformers said Monday that Department of Public Instruction officials have misled citizens about their work to improve the quality of education in … Continue reading Fordham Foundation: Wisconsin DPI Academic Standards = D-
Sam Dillon: Some 55 million youngsters are enrolling for classes in the nation’s schools this fall, making this the largest group of students in America’s history and, in ethnic terms, the most dazzlingly diverse since waves of European immigrants washed through the public schools a century ago. Millions of baby boomers and foreign-born parents are … Continue reading In Schools Across U.S., the Melting Pot Overflows
Lisa Belkin: By any health measure, today’s children are in crisis. Seventeen percent of American children are overweight, and increasing numbers of children are developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes, which, until a few years ago, was a condition seen almost only in adults. The obesity rate of adolescents has tripled … Continue reading Improving School Food
Philip Ross: He thus put in a nutshell what a century of psychological research has subsequently established: much of the chess master’s advantage over the novice derives from the first few seconds of thought. This rapid, knowledge-guided perception, sometimes called apperception, can be seen in experts in other fields as well. Just as a master … Continue reading The Expert Mind
WKOW-TV: The catch phrase is financial literacy… the understanding of money and it’s meaning in our society. And according to Michael Gutter, UW Extension Financial Specialist, “Wisconsin, like almost every other state, is failing the grade.” With young people having more access to money and credit, it’s become painfully evident that many of them don’t … Continue reading Financial Literacy
Hara Estroff Marano: Maaybe it’s the cyclist in the park, trim under his sleek metallic blue helmet, cruisin along the dirt path… at three miles an hour. On his tricycle Or perhaps it’s today’s playground, all-rubber-cushioned surface where kids used to skin their knees. And… wait a minute… those aren’t little kids playing. Their mommies—and … Continue reading “A Nation of Wimps?”
Joseph Epstein: And child-centered we indubitably are, like no other people at no other time in history. A major enticement for parents to move, for example, is good schools. Private schools, meanwhile, flourish as never before, heavy though the expense usually is. Parents slavishly follow their children around to their every game: soccer, little league, … Continue reading Kids Come First
Jeffrey Goldfarb: What began as a long-shot attempt last year by Pearson Plc to sell California educators digital materials to teach history and politics, collectively known in U.S. schools as social studies, has become reality in what could be the first large-scale step to eliminate books from classrooms. Pearson, the world’s biggest publisher of educational … Continue reading Digital Curricula
Robin Good: Question: What big idea of 2006 will be extinct in 2036? Answer: Modern teacher training By 2036, the forms of teacher preparation that currently prevail in Western nations will have sunk into oblivion. We will have discarded schools of education, the pedagogies they teach, and the certification apparatus that they serve. Such schools, … Continue reading “Training Teachers Is Our Society’s Achille’s Heel: The Demise Of Schools Of Education”
Diana Jean Schemo: Just how similar passages showed up in two books is a tale of how the largely obscure $4 billion a year world of elementary and high school textbook publishing often works, for these passages were not written by the named authors but by one or more uncredited writers. And while it is … Continue reading Schoolbooks Are Given F’s in Originality
Peter Wood (Provost of New York City’s Kings College): By 2036, the forms of teacher preparation that currently prevail in Western nations will have sunk into oblivion. We will have discarded schools of education, the pedagogies they teach, and the certification apparatus that they serve. Such schools, pedagogies, and certifications have clung to life stubbornly … Continue reading No More Teacher Ed?
The Economist: FOR all the glories of its ancient civilisation, India has “a despicable history of inequity”. So says Pratap Bhanu Mehta, a leading political scientist and, until this week, a member of the National Knowledge Commission, appointed by India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, to advise his government. The phrase featured in Mr Mehta’s eloquent … Continue reading We Have a Few Reservations
Let the Dialogue Begin Bridging Differences A Dialogue Between Deborah Meier and Diane Ravitch May 24, 2006 By Deborah Meier & Diane Ravitch In the course of the last 30 years, the two of us have been at odds on any number of issues – on our judgments about progressive education, on the relative importance … Continue reading Unlikely Allies (“against” NCLB)
28 minute video excerpt of this evening’s discussion of the MMSD’s food service budget (the food service budget is evidently supposed to break even, but the operating budget has apparently been subsidizing it by several hundred thousand dollars annually). This sort of excellent citizen oversite is essential to any publicly financed organization, particularly one that … Continue reading 2006 / 2007 MMSD Food Service Budget Discussion
A reader emailed this article: Verona High School Student Kristen Zubke visits Madison West High School for a day [April 2006: full student newspaper 25MB]: On Monday, March 27th, I took it upon myself to shed a little light on our neighboring rivals, the Madison West Regents. I was shadowing a friend, but I guess … Continue reading A day as a Regent sparks new pride
Liam Julian: Last month, the Washington Post’s David Broder wrote a column trumpeting the value of teaching civics to American students. He interviewed Sandra Day O’Connor and former Colorado Governor Roy Romer (now serving as Superintendent of Los Angeles’s schools), both of whom are spokespersons for the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools (CMS). … Continue reading Civics Education in Schools
A good teacher friend emailed this article: Nicholas Kristof: Suppose Colin Powell tires of giving $100,000-a-pop speeches and wants to teach high school social studies. Suppose Meryl Streep has a hankering to teach drama. Alas, they would be “unqualified” for a public school. Elite private schools would snap them up, of course, but public schools … Continue reading Opening Classroom Doors
From the latest Teacher’s College Record. It looks like a solid study, but I have one caveat. One of the findings is that successful schools are aligned with the State Standards and success is then measured by these standards. This does raise questions about the content of these standards. The creation of these standards has … Continue reading Similar Students, Different Results
I recently posted a comparative list of the English courses offered to 9th and 10th graders at Madison’s four high schools. The list showed clearly that West High School does not offer its high achieving and highly motivated 9th and 10th grade students the same appropriately challenging English classes that are offered at East, LaFollette … Continue reading MMSD Cross-High School Comparison — continued
Sara Reed: Voters in Denver, Colo., in 2005 overwhelmingly approved a $25 million tax increase to fund a new, nine-year performance-based pay system for the city’s teachers. Brad Jupp taught in Denver’s public schools for 20 years, and was the lead DCTA negotiator on the team that negotiated the pilot project in 1999, and for … Continue reading Teachers Unions as Agents of Reform
AP:In a move decried by some as state-sponsored segregation, the legislature voted Thursday to divide the Omaha school system into three districts — one mostly black, one predominantly white and one largely Hispanic. tate Sen. Pat Bourne of Omaha decried the bill, saying, “We will go down in history as one of the first states … Continue reading Omaha Schools Split Along Ethnic Lines
Jay Matthews: Like many journalists, I love to read other people’s mail. West Potomac High School parent John Dickert kindly sent me an exchange of messages with Ann Monday, assistant superintendent for instructional services for the Fairfax County public schools. Their dialogue shows why Fairfax County educators disagree with many parents over the new policy … Continue reading A Parent’s Questions About the Elimination of Honors Courses
A forum hosted by Progressive Dane and The Edgewood College Human Issues Program. Thursday, April 6th 6:30 to 8:30 at Edgewood College’s Anderson Auditorium, in the Predolin Humanities Center. Access to health insurance has become a national crisis, but there are bold, creative proposals to fix it. Please join us to hear four great proposals … Continue reading Affordable Health Care: Four Wisconsin Proposals
Under the headline, Mathiak for School Board, the Capital Times editors, wrote: Lucy Mathiak sounds in many ways like a veteran member of the Madison School Board. She knows the budget, she is well versed regarding major debates about boundaries, curriculum, construction and referendums, and she well understands the complex personal and political dynamics of … Continue reading Mathiak wins Capital Times endorsement
Greg Toppo: Despite nearly 30 years of improvements in U.S. children’s overall quality of life, their basic academic skills have barely budged, according to research led by a Duke University sociologist. The “educational flatline,” as measured by scores on math and reading exams, defies researchers’ expectations, because other quality-of-life measures, such as safety and family … Continue reading Educational Flatline in Math and Reading Bedevils USA
Will the Madison district sink or swim? April 4th elections could prove pivotal At the end of an especially divisive Madison school board meeting, Annette Montegomery took to the microphone and laid bare her frustrations with the seven elected citizens who govern Madison schools. “I don’t understand why it takes so long to get anything … Continue reading The fate of the schools
Wayne Bigelow: Dear Editor: On March 8, almost 100 members of the Dane County Democratic Party endorsed Arlene Silveira for Madison School Board. Although it had been more than a decade since the Democratic Party made an endorsement in a School Board race, we felt that Silveira was an extraordinarily well-qualified candidate who will be … Continue reading Bigelow: County Democrats Support Silveira
Madison School Board candidates Juan Jose Lopez and Lucy Mathiak look at what is happening in schools here in very different ways, but on at least one issue they are in complete agreement: Public education here and throughout the Badger State is at a critical crossroads. But the two candidates vying for School Board Seat … Continue reading Candidates agree education is at crossroads
Madison Alder Brenda Konkel: No, I’m not talking about the residents who live there, I’m talking about the City of Madison. So, we’re probably going to bid at the auction for the “Hauk Properties”. (It still needs council approval.) That is likely a very responsible decision given the alternatives. I feel comfortable with that decision. … Continue reading Konkel on Madison’s Planned Allied Drive Building Purchases
Susan Troller: Female students at East High School learned in one morning how to be happy in love, what their rights and responsibilities are as young voters, and where to find a skilled, independent job that pays $30 to $50 an hour plus benefits. The presentations were part of a new event at East called … Continue reading Learning from Leaders
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
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
Paul Soglin makes a great point: We went wrong in the 1970’s. That was when the core curriculum in America’s public schools changed and the the classical civics classes were dropped. I had no problem with expanding the curriculum, particularly given the absence of ‘real’ history. I had and still have a problem that most … Continue reading What First Amendment?
Jay Matthews: Now, a series of competing, sometimes contradictory studies have begun to look at the effectiveness of AP and IB in meeting their central purpose — preparing students such as Palma for college. Some parents and students are questioning whether the college-level courses are placing too much strain on children and supplanting useful honors … Continue reading As AP Expands, Studies Disagree on Its Value
Ms. Cornelius (an anonymous AP History high school teacher): All of my grades are based on percentages. I’m not one of these teachers who wants to convert someone’s scores in my head, so I just weight grades differently. But all grades are based on 100 possible points. I can tell at a glance how a … Continue reading Lost in Numbers
Video and audio from Wednesday’s Math Forum are now available [watch the 80 minute video] [mp3 audio file 1, file 2]. This rare event included the following participants: Dick Askey (UW Math Professor) Faye Hilgart, Madison Metropolitan School District Steffen Lempp (MMSD Parent and UW Math Professor) Linda McQuillen, Madison Metropolitan School District Gabriele Meyer … Continue reading Math Forum Audio / Video and Links
This is not meant as a suggestion that MMSD should take this approach but I do think that we should be aware of what similar districts are considering and doing. See also: http://www.evanstonroundtable.com/roundtable022206/schools.html TJM Schools consider Afrocentric curriculum Evanston-Skokie district’s proposal targets achievement gap between blacks and whites By Lolly Bowean, Tribune staff reporter. Freelance … Continue reading Schools consider Afrocentric curriculum
By Susan Troller Although Madison School Board candidate Arlene Silveira’s 48 percent showing in Tuesday’s primary has established her as the front runner in the race for a Madison School Board seat, an opponent’s supporter says a primary win does not assure a general election victory, especially when the turnout is very low. School Board … Continue reading School board candidates Silveira and Cole face off in April
Joanne Jacobs rounds up a number of links: Mathphobe Richard Cohen advises a girl who’s flunked algebra six times that the subject is useless in later life since “most of math can now be done by a computer or a calculator,” while “no computer can write a column or even a thank-you note — or … Continue reading Life Without Algebra
Jay Matthews: The first Toolbox provided the most powerful argument by far for getting more high school students into challenging courses, my favorite reporting topic. Using data from a study of 8,700 young Americans, it showed that students whose high schools had given them an intense academic experience — such as a heavy load of … Continue reading Secrets of Graduating from College
Maria Glod: “You don’t learn if you don’t listen,” Gundersen said, quieting the pair just a little. “We have to respect each other,” Erin acknowledged, nodding his head. Gundersen, a 30-year veteran of the State Department who comes to Birney one afternoon each week to talk with Erin about history or homework or life, is … Continue reading Knowledge of Elders Stream Into Area Classrooms
Madison school politics make for some strange bedfellows. Take the case of the Feb. 21 primary race for the School Board, in which three candidates are vying for the seat left open by incumbent Bill Keys’ decision not to seek re-election. The marketing manager of a Madison-based biotechnology giant has been endorsed by the powerful … Continue reading Alliances Are Unconventional In School Board Primary Race
Rosalind Rossi: More African-American kids at Morgan Park passed their AP exams in two courses — English language/composition and European history — than at any other high school in the nation offering AP courses last year, AP officials said. The number of Morgan Park students required to achieve that feat was 32 in English language … Continue reading Schools Top Scores No Accident
Fordham Foundation criticizes focus on ‘discovery learning.’ More than two-thirds of states have science standards that earn a C grade or worse for their quality, in part because they overemphasize “discovery learning,” the idea that students should be encouraged to acquire knowledge through their own investigation and experimentation, a study issued last week concludes. Too … Continue reading Science Standards Mediocre, Study Finds
On Wednesday, January 11, representatives of Madison Teachers, Inc. (MTI) and the Madison school district met at the union’s headquarters for three hours. MTI Executive Director John Matthews chaired the meeting. It was the first of two meetings at which MTI and MMSD will supposedly explore the potential for savings on health insurance costs for … Continue reading Very disappointing start for MTI-MMSD health insurance task force
Andrew J. Coulson: Unlike previous school-choice cases, Bush v. Holmes did not hinge on the use of public funds at religious schools. Instead, five of the seven presiding justices ruled that school vouchers violate the “uniformity” clause of Florida’s Constitution. Far from being an arcane and forgotten technicality, this clause was amended and reapproved by … Continue reading “War Against Vouchers”
John Stossel: And while many people say, “We need to spend more money on our schools,” there actually isn’t a link between spending and student achievement. Jay Greene, author of “Education Myths,” points out that “If money were the solution, the problem would already be solved … We’ve doubled per pupil spending, adjusting for inflation, … Continue reading Stossel: How the Lack of School Choice Cheats Our Kids Out of A Good Education
Cydny Black: In high school now, at Madison Memorial, I see this achievement gap more clearly than ever. Where are all the minority students in my advanced placement classes? Or more specifically, where are all the black students? In my advanced classes I can count them on one hand. And of these students, most are … Continue reading The Gap According to Black
Two of the most popular — and most insidious — myths about academically gifted kids is that “they’re all rich, white kids” and that, no matter what they experience in school, “they’ll do just fine.” Even in our own district, however, the hard data do not support those assertions.
When the District analyzed dropout data for the five-year period between 1995 and 1999, they identified four student profiles. Of interest for the present purpose is the group identified as high achieving. Here are the data from the MMSD Research and Evaluation Report from May, 2000:
Group 1: High Achiever, Short Tenure, Behaved
This group comprises 27% of all dropouts during this five-year period.
Characteristics of this group:
- Grade 5 math scores – 84.2 percentile
- Male – 55%
- Low income – 53%
- Minority – 42%
- African American – 31%
- Hispanic – 6%
- Asian – 5%
Joanne Jacobs: Close the education schools writes George Will in Newsweek: The surest, quickest way to add quality to primary and secondary education would be addition by subtraction: Close all the schools of education. Will doesn’t think much of requiring would-be teachers to have the politically correct “disposition” for teaching. “The permeation of ed schools … Continue reading What Are They Teaching the Teachers?
Tamar Lewin writes in the New York Times January 8, 2006, about Advance Placement Classes – students and parents believe AP classes are important preparation for college, colleges have mixed feelings about students who take AP classes. “We’ve been put off for quite a while about the idea of teaching to the test, which is … Continue reading The Two Faces of Advance Placement Courses
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
Neenah Ellis: One-room schools still exist in America. They are a legacy of a less mobile, more rural time in American history. Mostly serving isolated communities, the remaining schools require one teacher to educate children of varying ages at the same time in a single classroom.
Tim Olsen’s email to Madison Board of Education Member Ruth Robarts: And below are the specifics you requested re calculating an estimated value for the Doyle site. You are welcome to share this email with anyone interested. And thanks for the opportunity to speak to the Board, for your comments, and for including Lucy Mathiak’s … Continue reading Tim Olsen on Generating Cash from the Doyle Administration Land/Building
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
Below is an excerpt from the book entitled: THE HANDBOOK OF SCHOOL COUNSELING: COUNSELING THE GIFTED AND TALENTED. It has not yet been published (so you get to read it first). It is written for school counselors, who I believe are very integral to student success. The authors of this book are Corissa C. Lotta, … Continue reading THE HANDBOOK OF SCHOOL COUNSELING: COUNSELING THE GIFTED AND TALENTED
Or, What Is This Old Building Worth? Photo of Washington Public Grade and Orthopedic School, 545 W. Dayton St., Madison Trust for Historic Preservation. To see where it is located, click here. Complex problems require creative solutions. But what happens when innovative ideas don’t get serious consideration? This fall, the Madison School Board assembled two … Continue reading PAGING RANDY ALEXANDER?
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!
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
Wall Street Journal Review and Outlook: The Texas Supreme Court did the expected last week and struck down the statewide property tax for funding public schools. But what was surprising and welcome was the Court’s unanimous ruling that the Texas school system, which spends nearly $10,000 per student, satisfies the funding “adequacy” requirements of the … Continue reading WSJ: Texas School Finance Lesson
Sam Dillon, New York Times writes: “After Tennessee tested its eighth-grade students in math this year, state officials at a jubilant news conference called the results a “cause for celebration.” Eighty-seven percent of students performed at or above the proficiency level.” The WKCE test taken in Fall 2005 (reported in Spring 2005) shows statewide percent … Continue reading Students Ace State Tests, but Earn D’s From U.S.
Early in my career, I had to make a paradigm shift. Starting out, I thought my job was to tell people how to eat and I expected that they would eat as they “should”. Now I know that eating is a matter of taste and style and depends, for most people, to a lesser extent … Continue reading Are school lunches helping kids develop a healthy relationship with food as well as a healthy body?
“Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms” is a book by Diane Ravitch. On September 11, 2000, the Brookings Institute invited Ravitch for a discussion and public forum. Introductory remarks by Donna Shalala, then Secretary of HHS, and William Bennett, former Secretary of Education, preceded Ravitch’s presentation, and the question/answer session that followed. Here … Continue reading Educational Reform Movements
Click to view the Video MP3 audio only Barb Schrank, Videographer Principal Ed Holmes, English department chair Keesia Hyzer, and teacher Mark Nepper presented information on the planned single English curriculum for all 10th graders at West this past Monday evening. Watch the video or listen to the audio by clicking on the links just … Continue reading West High School Presentation on 10th Grade English: Same Curriculum for All Students
This anonymous entry is from a current 9th grader at West who shares their thoughts about the proposed changes in 10th grade English as well as lets us know how the current 9th grade core is experienced by students. I am writing from the viewpoint of a gifted and talented 9th grader at West High … Continue reading West’s Core Program: Enrichment, or Deprivation?
Some 70 parents were in attendance at Monday evening’s PTSO meeting to hear about West High School’s plans for 10th grade English. This was the largest turnout for a PTSO meeting in recent history. Approximately one-third of those there were parents of elementary and middle school students who will be attending West at some point … Continue reading Report from West High PTSO Meeting
Matt Pommer: Under the new program targeted for fall 2006, all sophomores will take the same English program in the first semester focusing on the American Dream. In the second semester, students will be able to select from the themes of justice or identity, according to Keesia Hyzer, chair of the school’s English department. In … Continue reading One English Program for West’s Sophomores
Dear La Follette Parents & Taxpayers, I am writing because I am greatly distressed about conditions at La Follette High School under the 4-block system. I strongly believe that as parents and taxpayers you have the right to be included in the debate about your child’s education. Because I believe the future of the 4-block … Continue reading I am Greatly Distressed About La Follette High School’s Four Block System
A recent editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal claims that the Madison school board rejected Superintendent Art Rainwater’s “painstaking” analysis of known problems with local bus companies when it granted long-term contracts to transport our students to locally owned companies. According to the editorial, the administration informed the Board about safety and reliability problems with … Continue reading Eyewitness Report: School Board Decisions on Bus Contracts
Here is a listing of the AP courses taught at each Madison high school: East (8 AP courses) — Calculus I, Calculus II, French, Macro Economics, Micro Economics, Music Theory, Psychology, Spanish LaFollette (13 AP courses) — Calculus I, Calculus II, Chemistry, Computer Science, European History, French, Literature and Composition, Macro Economics, Micro Economics, Psychology, … Continue reading AP Courses Taught in Four Madison Public High Schools
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?
Madison Metropolitan School District: The third most students in Madison history — 60 — have qualified as semifinalists in competition for the 2006 National Merit Scholarship Awards. Three Madison students earned National Merit Achievement semifinalist status. This is the sixth straight year that at least 56 Madison students have achieved semifinalist status, a number not … Continue reading 60 Madison Students Named National Merit Scholars
The Economist via Tom Barnett: Wooldridge says three reasons account for this: 1) the Fed plays a limited role, unlike in a France or Germany; 2) schools compete for everything, including students and teachers; and 3) our universities are anything but ivory towers, instead being quite focused on practical stuff (Great line: “Bertrand Russell once … Continue reading Secrets of Success: America’s system of higher education is the best in the world. That is because there is no system
Last night was parent night at the MMSD middle schools. My daughter is in 8th grade at Hamilton Middle School, so I spent the evening going to her different classes to learn about what the syllabus was for each of her five academic classes – algebra I accelerated, english, history, Spanish and science. She also … Continue reading Parents at Hamilton Heard that Students Cannot Perform Basic Math Calculations
Tyler Cowen takes a quick look at William St. Clair’s new book: The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period. This book, so interesting on many levels looks at: During the four centuries when printed paper was the only means by which texts could be carried across time and distance, everyone engaged in politics, education, religion, … Continue reading The Changing Value of Shakespeare
In a recent letter to the editor of Isthmus, KJ Jakobson asks “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?” Here is the full text of … Continue reading Collaboration or collusion: What should the public expect from MMSD-MTI Task Force on Health Insurance Costs?
Fred Wade questions Governor Doyle’s vetoes that recently provided more funds for Wisconsin Schools by moving funds and increasing state debt: There are at least six reasons why the most important vetoes that Gov. Jim Doyle made in the 2005-07 state budget are unconstitutional. The text, history, design and structure of the Wisconsin Constitution all … Continue reading Wade Questions Constitutionality of Doyle Budget Vetoes
Joan, since you don’t allow response comments to your posts, I am forced to post here. I’m sorry that I misread your editorial comments about what you imagine the PEOPLE program and its students to be about, to constitute a larger set of questions about fairness and access to UW-Madison. So, to keep it short … Continue reading PEOPLE, cont.
In a rather quick followup to Governor Doyle’s recent budget line item changes (details), WEAC is running TV ads supporting his budget changes. Colin Benedict has more: The first thing you notice about a new ad touting Gov. Jim Doyle’s work in the budget is that it feels like a Doyle campaign ad. But it … Continue reading WEAC Paying for Doyle TV Ads
“The greatest asset of the American, so often ridiculed by Europeans, is his belief in progress,” Victor Vinde, in 1945 Mary Kay Battaglia recently wrote about the virtual non-existence of electronic communication with parents in the Madison School District. I agree with Mary Kay’s comments. Having said that, I believe that any District technology investment … Continue reading K-12 Schools & Technology
From the FightingBob website comes this piece by a Milwaukee school teacher: http://www.fightingbob.com/article.cfm?articleID=402 His thesis: “Education spending alone cannot eliminate the educational advantages that affluent children have over poor children, but that does not mean we should not try.” I sympathize with him and admire his dedication, but wonder still if there are reliable data … Continue reading The Other 82%
100 Black Men of Madison seeks individual golfers/foursomes for it’s 5th Annual Golf Outing on Monday July 25th at Cherokee Country Club.
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
The current issue of Fortune (2nd of a 2 part 75th anniversary edition) includes some fascinating examples of leadership and decision making. Jerry Useem summarizes the article. If surmounting your anxieties is step one, step two is letting go of your inner perfectionist because there is no such thing as a perfect decision-maker. Even if … Continue reading Great Decision Making
Roger Schank spoke at iLaw today: i had to retire before i could talk about this stuff! Charles Eliot was the president of harvard 1869-1909 is the most evil man in the history of harvard — he set up the high school curriculum that is still in place TODAY. If you ever wondered why you … Continue reading Education Gets the Schank
Please write/call legislatures ASAP – the legislature plans to take up the proposed budget this coming week, and the proposed budget for education is a disaster for our children’s future and our state’s economic health. Schultz (WI State Senator, Republican Leader in the Senate): http://www.legis.state.wi.us/senate/sen17/sen17.html Gard (WI State Representative, Wi State Assembly Speaker): http://www.legis.state.wi.us/assembly/asm89/asm89.html Doyle: … Continue reading WI State Budget Republican K-12 Proposed Funding – Bad for Children and WI’s Economic Future
If there is no money, cut arts education is the decisions administrators make – often, though, without first looking at the impact on student’s achievement (using readily available data) or without consideration of the impact on who will stay/leave a school. Couldn’t decisions made in the absence of examining data and listening to parents cost … Continue reading Music Education – Learn About the Benefits Before Cutting Curriculum
Well-reported story on the realities of school choice in Milwaukee. Vouchers are the lifeblood of religious schools in Milwaukee and religion permeates instruction. http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jun05/333800.asp
Suzy Grindrod writes that Madison school bureaucrats’ decisions are short-sighted and are Stringing the kids along So they make the arts unworkable in early elementary school, they gut the incredibly successful elementary strings program, they remove band and orchestra from core curriculum in middle school … and then they are going to complain that there … Continue reading There is Something Seriously Wrong with Music Education in MMSD
David Brooks: The educated elites are the first elites in all of history to work longer hours per year than the exploited masses, so voracious is their greed for second homes. They congregate in exclusive communities walled in by the invisible fence of real estate prices, then congratulate themselves for sending their children to public … Continue reading David Brooks on The Educated Class
On Thursday, based upon Superintendent Rainwater’s recommendation, the Madison School Board approved 20 FTEs for layoff. These layoffs included 60% of the elementary string staff – the largest percentage of one academic personnel group ever laid off in the history of the Madison Metropolitan School District. How come a program that cost less than 1/10 … Continue reading MMSD Teacher Layoffs Target Elementary String Teachers
In the aftermath of the votes on the May 24th Madison School referenda, it is critical that the Madison School Board not rush to vote on layoffs of teachers and other staff. Currently, the Board is scheduled to vote on layoffs at noon on Thursday, May 26. This deadline for layoff votes is self-imposed by … Continue reading Madison Board of Education Should Not Rush to Vote on Layoffs
Michael Winerup: So it was a surprise to see the photograph in the weekly paper, The Quincy Sun. There, on Page 7, was the Quincy High math club, and 17 of 18 members were Asian. Mathematically, it made no sense. Quincy High is 22 percent Asian; why is the math club 94.4 percent Asian? Evelyn … Continue reading For Immigrant Students, Math is One Road to Success
Beth Zurbuchen isn’t the only pro-referenda advocate who cannot understand referenda opponents who support quality schools but will vote no to force the board and administration to consider better budgeting, management, and curriculum. Bill Keys said, quoting a Cap Times article: To school board member Bill Keys, “the people who have doubts about the referendum … Continue reading Others also demonize opponents
Click to view the charts in further detail After an eight year absence from analyzing data from the Madison School District, C.A.R.E., Citizens Advocating Responsible Education, has returned to the local scene with updates to the data profiles which it prepared through 1997. Current reports include a Ten Year Profile, 1994 through 2004, of MMSD’s … Continue reading Citizens Advocating Responsible Education C.A.R.E
The proposed 05-06 budget distributed on May 3, 2005 projects 70 less FTE for the next year. Once again, the comparison raises questions: General Administration: 5 FTE increase Elementary Education: no change in FTEs (so why such a big hit to elementary specials? – still not explained and continues to appear punitive in light of … Continue reading How Does Staffing Compare from Year to Year?
Mary Van de Kamp:A fascinating article in Milwaukee Magazine compares two elementary schools with black principals and low-income black students. At one school, students outperform the district’s white students; at the neighboring school, students do far worse. Last year, 81 percent of Hawthorne�s black fourth-graders scored proficient or above in math and 79 percent proficient … Continue reading The Lesson: Minority Achievement in Two Milwaukee Schools
Direct Instruction frequently enters discussions of reading in Madison’s schools. Strictly speaking, Direct Instruction (with a capital D and a capital I) is a copyrighted program. Direct instruction (little d, little i) refers to a variety of programs that use direct systematic instruction and other principles of Direct Instruction. Additionally, direct instruction works to teach … Continue reading Some Direct Instruction Curricula