Since 1999, the Madison School Board has had a written employment contract with Superintendent Art Rainwater. It contains a job evaluation process that is fair to the superintendent and that requires the Board to perform its most important function, setting clear goals for the district.
Before the first day of each school year, the Board must set performance goals that are “measurable to the extent possible”. By July 30 of the next year, the Board must meet with the superintendent, review his progress toward meeting the performance goals, review his self-evaluation, and review confidential evaluations by other administrators in the district.
If the Board followed the contract, the superintendent and the public would know what’s expected of the most powerful employee in terms of “improvement in programs, projects and activities to be undertaken” during the upcoming year.
According to the MMSD Human Resources department, the last time the Board evaluated the superintendent was in 2002. It did not follow all of the requirements of the contract in that evaluation.
The first day of the school year is September 1. The Board has not set measurable performance goals for the superintendent for 2005-06, although it has had two discussions on the subject.
When the evaluation does occur, I suggest that we all compare the provisions of the contract with the evaluation. If the Board does not set measurable performance goals for the superintendent in 2005-06, it will again fail in its duty under the contract.It will again fail to inform the public about its priorities for our children and fail to hold the superintendent accoutable under the priorities.
- Amy Hetzner:
Underheim argues that technology could save schools money if they used it more creatively. Instead of funding two classes of 10 students apiece with both an algebra and a geometry teacher, he asks, why not combine the classes, give every student a computer with software for the specific subject they are trying to learn and keep just one math teacher available to help with special problems?
- Matt Richtel:
Yet in less than five years, that entire market has come undone. By 2004, sales of educational software – a category that includes programs teaching math, reading and other subjects as well as reference works like encyclopedias – had plummeted to $152 million, according to the NPD Group, a market research concern.
“Nobody would have thought those were the golden days,” Warren Buckleitner, editor of Children’s Technology Review, said of the late 1990’s. “Now we’re looking back and we’re saying, ‘Wow, what happened?'”
- Troy Dassler, Larry Winkler, Tim Schell and Ed Kowieski posted a number of useful comments and links regarding Technology & Schools.
UPDATE: Hetzner posts the 3rd and last part of her series on Technology & Schools here:
University Lake School in Delafield has enough wireless laptop computers for every student and teacher in grades six through 12 — a 5-year-old venture that is part of an experiment known in education circles as one-to-one, or ubiquitous, computing.
No doubt that the Madison Schools would benefit from revenues that might come through increased advertising, as recently proposed by Johnny Winston Jr., chair of the Board of Education’s Finance and Operations Committee.
On the other hand, increasing advertising to our students is undesirable for many reasons. Schools should not treat students as consumers, but as learners. Our students already live in an environment saturated with encouragements to consume. In addition, many of the advertisers with strong incentives to advertise to young people sell food products that are not in the kids’ best interest.
My hope is that the Finance and Operations Committee will consider limiting any expansion of advertising opportunities to ads that target adults, not students.
Below is my proposal to this committee.
“We don’t have a lot of proof that this works,” said Neah Lohr, the former director of the informational media and technology team for the state Department of Public Instruction. “Certainly students like the technology. That’s not the question.”
Research results are mixed. But most studies conclude that for computers and other technology to have much effect on student performance, a number of conditions are necessary: Teachers have to be technologically adept; classroom assignments have to allow for exploration; and curricula have to abandon breadth for depth.
Although schools have made changes in some of those areas, particularly increasing teachers’ technical proficiency, the predominant uses of computers remain word processing, heavily filtered Internet searches and the occasional PowerPoint presentation. In addition, with pressure rising to improve test scores, more schools have embraced skill-drilling software that contributes little to long-term student learning, observers say.
My view is that technology is simply another tool that may be part of a successful learning process. Critical thinking, rigor and general inquisitiveness are far more important than learning Word 2003 (which will be obsolete by the time our students reach the workforce). Successful technologists are capable of learning and using any tool. I was reminded of our priorities yesterday while visiting Sun Prairie’s CornFest: a teen could not make change (1.50 change was given for a 2.50 purchase from a $5.00 bill). More posts on this subject.
Teachers say creating a PowerPoint presentation captivates students and gives them background using a technological tool common in business.
Critics say PowerPoint requires students to do little more than assemble outlines and is a poor replacement for age-old standards such as essays.
Edward Tufte, professor emeritus at Yale University, has been one of the most vocal opponents, such as in an opinion piece called “PowerPoint is Evil” carried in the September 2003 edition of Wired.
“Rather than learning to write a report using sentences, children are being taught how to formulate client pitches and infomercials,” Tufte wrote.
With 10 to 20 words and a piece of clip art for each PowerPoint slide, with only three to six slides per presentation, that amounts to only 80 words for a week’s work. “Students would be better off if the schools simply closed down on those days and everyone went to the Exploratorium or wrote an illustrated essay explaining something,” he wrote.
More on Powerpoint and schools here.
Since May I’ve been asking the administration and board members, collectively and individually, whether the budget for this school year includes funding for a promising middle school remedial reading program called Read 180. The headline on a State Journal story on January 29, 2005, read: District Eyes Reading Program For Expansion. The subheadline said: Teachers Want More Students In The Read 180 Program, Which Has Raised Reading Levels Quickly.
But NO ONE seems to know whether the program received any funding at all in the budget!
According to a story in the Capital Times, the University of Wisconsin may scrap software that the MMSD is attempting to use. Like the UW, which spent 6 years and millions beyond the budget for the software, the MMSD devoted “16 hours a day” to get the software to generate a budget for the board to consider in the spring of 2005.
Word for word, these are my original goals:
- 1. Keep our school in our community. Make the school a focal point in our community. Create opportunities for community involvement in our school. Maintain and increase school pride.
- 2. Balance the budget. Keep looking for costs savings that do not negatively affect the education of our students. Continue plans to balance the budget after the referendum money ends.
- 3. Provide the best education possible within the budget. Educate the most students possible for the dollars allocated by the revenue cap.
- 4. Improve test scores. Results must improve in every area tested. Hold the administration and teachers accountable for the test scores. Find ways to obtain test scores that make our students, parents, teachers, administrators, and members of our community proud.
- 5. Improve teachers. Reward the good teachers. Retrain, eliminate, or replace any ineffective teachers. Increase morale. Require accountability.
- 6. Improve administration. Reward the good administrators. Retrain, eliminate, or replace any ineffective administrators. Review and recommend updates to school procedures. Require accountability.
- 7. Improve the school board. Seek responsible board members. Hold the school board accountable for reaching the goals of the board.
- 8. Work with the parents of home-schooled and parochial school students to see if our school can find ways to help the students achieve a well-rounded education.
- 9. Listen & Learn. Listen to the concerned members of our community, students, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff. Implement the constructive suggestions of the Steering Committee and Action Teams for Long Range Planning that relate to board goals.
- 10. Pay attention to details. Review and update board policies and school procedures. Update union contracts. Require a day’s work for a day’s pay. Monitor expenses. Protect the assets of the school district.
(Print Friendly PDF version – 280K).
More on the Florence School District. Loehrke is President of the Weyauwega Fremont School District. [Map]
Loehrke referenced some results, such as:
- Raised the wages of our teachers, administrators, and every employee in the district.
- As of June 30, 2004, our fund balance (sometimes called Reserve Account) was $3,042,726
- Our mill rate was reduced from the highest in our area to the lowest.
The Sun Prairie School District’s increasingly active weblog:
On August 9, 2005, a public hearing was held on the proposed high school facilities in Sun Prairie. At the hearing a question was asked regarding the high school drop-out rates for all Wisconsin public high schools. Drop out rates refer to the percent of students who do not complete a high school education We have compiled information for three years for all public school districts except the Milwaukee Public Schools. The data is the latest information available from DPI. A clear pattern is evident over the three years. It is apparent that as high schools grow above 1500 students, the percentage of drop-outs doubles and triples over that of high school with enrollments between 1000-1500.
Sun Prairie is planning to construct two new, smaller higher schools rather than one very large facility.
With strong bi-partisan support, a bill providing that Wisconsin school districts may use federal funds to cover the difference between the price of standard diesel fuel and the price of biodiesel for school buses recently passed the Wisconsin state legislature. On August 17, Governor Jim Doyle signed the bill into law.
American Beverage Association:
Under the new policy, the beverage industry will provide:
- Elementary Schools with only water and 100 percent juice.
- Middle Schools with only nutritious and/or lower calorie beverages, such as water, 100 percent juice, sports drinks, no-calorie soft drinks, and low-calorie juice drinks. No full-calorie soft drinks or full-calorie juice drinks with five percent or less juice until after school; and
- High Schools with a variety of beverage choices, such as bottled water, 100 percent juice, sports drinks, and juice drinks. No more than 50 percent of the vending selections will be soft drinks.
The American Beverage Association is asking beverage producers and school districts to implement the new policy as soon as possible. Where school beverage contracts already exist, the policy would be implemented when the contract expires or earlier if both parties agree. The success of the policy is dependent on voluntary implementation of it by individual beverage companies and by school officials. The policy will not supercede federal, state and local regulations already in place. ABA’s Board of Directors, which unanimously approved the policy, represents 20 companies that comprise approximately 85 percent of school vending beverage sales by bottlers.
Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the U.S., and the responsibility for finding common-sense solutions is shared by everyone, including our industry. We intend to be part of the solution by increasing the availability of lower-calorie and/or nutritious beverages in schools,” said Susan K. Neely, ABA president and chief executive officer.
Pepsi Statement | Coke Statement (not yet online). Betsy McKay has more (click the link below).
Alan Borsuk (69% of Wisconsin’s Class of 2005 took the ACT):
Wisconsin kids in the Class of 2006 averaged 22.2 on a scale of 36 on the ACT, the same score for Wisconsin for the sixth straight year. But the average score in Minnesota moved up a tenth of a point to 22.3, breaking last year’s tie for the best record among 25 states where the ACT is the dominant exam.
Wisconsin officials said 10.2% of the 45,700 students in the Class of 2005 who took the ACT were from minority groups, up from 9.8% in 2004.
However, the gap between white students and some minority groups, particularly African-Americans, remained a major concern, both Ferguson and Burmaster said, and the new results presented little evidence that the gap was closing.
The composite score of black students in Wisconsin was 16.9 this year, compared with 17.2 a year ago. The composite score of white students stayed the same at 22.6.
ACT officials also report results based on whether students took what is considered a “core curriculum” for getting ready for college – at least four years of English and three years of math, natural sciences and social sciences.
Wisconsin students who did that had an average score of 22.9 while those who took less than the core program averaged 20.9. Both figures were a point or better than the comparable national averages.
ACT data and results are available here.
Milwaukee Public Schools – PDF:
With 95,600 students enrolled in its facilities, and room for 122,000 students, MPS has too much vacant space. To save money and more prudently use MPS resources, the administration, working with consultants, developed the draft guidelines for public input. After the public has had the opportunity to provide feedback, the guidelines will be finalized and sent to the school board for final approval this fall.
Getting school supplies, adjusting to a new morning routine, doing homework again, meeting new friends, and joining sports teams and after school clubs: it all adds up to make heading back to school a busy time for children and families. But Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Madison School Board member Johnny Winston, Jr., and a working family who gets its health care through BadgerCare are urging parents to set aside a few minutes to explore their options for free or low-cost quality healthcare.
If you can help please contact Renita Evans at 274-9001 or email@example.com. Thank you.
The 100 Black Men of Madison Annual Back To School Picnic will be held on Saturday August 27th from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Demetral Park on Commercial and Packers Ave. This event will be held rain or shine. Now in its ninth year, this event will distribute 1,800 backpacks filled with much needed school supplies for “at-risk” elementary and middle school students.
Wisconsin Department of Revenue, via WisPolitics. Madison’s equalized values increased 9.28% in 2004.
Kristian Knutsen covers Johnny Winston, Jr.’s Streetball & Block Party over at the Daily Page. More about the Streetball & Block Party. Kristian steps it up by including some mp3 audio clips of his chat with Johnny.
One of the issues affecting decisions on attendance boundaries for Leopold Elementary School is whether the Ridgewood Country Club Apartments, located across the street from the school, will continue to house large numbers of low income families.
The following article from The Capital Times provides an update on the ownership and future plans for the apartment complex.
Werner, who is 17, was one of seven Wisconsin high school students who posted a 36 on the ACT during the 2004-’05 testing cycle, according to data released by ACT Inc. on Friday. They were among 251 students nationwide who averaged a top score on the battery of English, reading, science and math tests during that time.
In addition to Werner, Astrid Stuth of Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee and Kent Rosenwald of Waukesha North High School represent the Milwaukee area. Corey Watts of Madison West High School and Dan Gerber of Onalaska High School got perfect scores, too. All of the students, except for Gerber, were juniors when they got their 36s. Gerber was a sophomore.
68% of Wisconsin students took the ACT (national average is 40). Those taking the test scored slightly higher than the national average composite score (22.2 vs. 20.9). State comparisons can be found here and here.
Washington Post Editorial Page:
The results are almost unanimous: Standards are low, teacher training is poor and unless something is done right away, there will be an enormous teacher shortage, particularly in math and science, within the next decade. The Teaching Commission — a group whose board includes former IBM chief executive Louis V. Gerstner Jr. and former first lady Barbara Bush — concluded that rigid rules for teacher pay have failed to attract teachers to more difficult schools and more difficult subjects; that education schools needed higher standards; and that teacher licensing should be more rigorous. Last May the National Academy of Education issued a set of recommendations designed to deal with precisely the same problems: performance-linked teacher pay, incentives to teach in urban and poor rural schools, higher standards for teacher training, and more support for beginning teachers. The Education Trust, which has studied the extraordinarily weak content of teacher training curriculums, advocates rigorous quality standards that will make the entire teaching “market” more effective by identifying better teachers and allowing them to command higher salaries.
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 the letter, published on August 10, 2005, and her challenge to the Madison School Board.
In recent months the major food companies have been trying hard to
convince Americans that they feel the pain of our expanding waistlines,
especially when it comes to kids. Kraft announced it would no longer
market Oreos to younger children, McDonald’s promoted itself as a salad
producer and Coca-Cola said it won’t advertise to kids under 12. But
behind the scenes it’s hardball as usual, with the junk food giants
pushing the Bush Administration to defend their interests. The recent
conflict over what America eats, and the way the government promotes
food, is a disturbing example of how in Bush’s America corporate
interests trump public health, public opinion and plain old common sense.
The latest salvo in the war on added sugar and fat came July 14- 15,
when the Federal Trade Commission held hearings on childhood obesity and
by Gary Ruskin and Juliet Schor
The Nation, August 29, 2005
The MMSD Board of Education approved the charges to the task forces which will look at attendance issues.
Link to the East charge here.
Link to the West-Memorial charge here.
From the Associated Press and the Wisconsin State Journal:
A Survey Finds High School Students Want More Demanding Coursework To Prepare For Work And College.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
BEN FELLER Associated Press
The campaign to make high school more demanding seems to be picking up support from the people who have the biggest stake in the matter: the students.
Almost nine in 10 students say they would work harder if their high school expected more of them, a new survey finds. Less than one-third of students say their school sets high academic expectations, and most students favor ideas that might add some hassle to their life, such as more rigorous graduation standards and additional high-stakes testing.
“The good old times in high schools are being replaced by good old hard work,” said Peter Hart, whose Peter D. Hart Research Associates conducted the survey for the “State of Our Nation’s Youth Report,” released Tuesday. “There’s a recognition among students that they have to be more ready to compete.”
The nonprofit Horatio Alger Association, which provides college scholarships and mentoring to needy students, issued the annual report on youth attitudes. The findings are based on a phone survey of 1,005 students in high school last May.
The Middleton-Cross Plains and Sun Prairie School Districts are both planning building referenda this fall. Learn more here:
- Middleton-Cross Plains, October 11, 2005: $53 Million to finance the construction and operation of a K-8 school, a new transportation center, and improvements to several elementary schools
- Sun Prairie: Construction of 2 new high schools.
Lee Rainie and Paul Hitlin (PDF version):
The internet is an important element in the overall educational experience of many teenagers. Schools are a common location where online teens access the web, although very few online teenagers rely exclusively on their school for that web access. Further, there is widespread agreement among teens and their parents that the internet can be a useful tool for school. However, 37% of teens say they believe that “too many” of their peers are using the internet to cheat. And there is some disagreement among teens and their parents about whether children must be web-literate by the time they begin school. Additionally, large numbers of teens and adults have used the web to search for information about colleges and universities.
The most recent Pew Internet Project survey finds that 87% of all youth between the ages of 12 and 17 use the internet. That translates into about 21 million people. Of those 21 million online teens, 78% (or about 16 million students) say they use the internet at school. Put another way, this means that 68% of all teenagers have used the internet at school.
This represents growth of roughly 45% over the past four years from about 11 million teens who used the internet in schools in late 2000. In the Pew Internet Project survey in late 2000, we found that 73% of those ages 12 to 17 used the internet and that 47% of those in that age cohort used the internet at school.
Thanks to Christina Daglas for her coverage of the Madison School Board’s “cautious” approach to increasing advertising in the schools. If there is serious business interest in more advertising, the Board must consider the possibilities and the public deserves advance notice that we may increase ads.
I am not, however, concerned “about businesses that, in (my) opinion, fail to advance positive messages in their advertisements, such as fast food companies”, as the article states.
I said that I will not support more advertising of products that undermine our curriculum. I gave Coca-Cola ads as an example because I believe that ads for soft drinks undermine the messages of our health curriculum. The Board should not increase advertising for products whose consumption contributes to demonstrated increases in childhood obesity, diabetes and heart disease. We are already a venue for too many of these ads and products.
Kurt Kiefer kindly posted a link to the demo site. Take a look and if you’d like to give it a spin, request a password. Thanks, Kurt for posting this information!
Some great letters to the editor of the Independent, a London newspaper, on the phoney debate over including the “teaching” of “intelligent design” alongside evolution in our school curricula.
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 make clear that legislation must be authorized and enacted by the Legislature in order to be a legitimate exercise of governmental power.
The vetoes violate this basic requirement of our fundamental law by deleting words, digits and punctuation marks from the bill that the Legislature passed in order to create new spending mandates that the Legislature did not authorize.
It is as if someone found your checkbook on the street and wrote checks on your account without your permission, except that these checks are written for amounts in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The quality of Advanced Placement programs is coming under scrutiny at a time when educators are pushing to strengthen the academic level of high school class offerings.
Come February, the college prep classes at high schools across the nation will be audited amid concerns that some schools may be offering watered-down versions of AP courses. Full descriptions of every AP course, syllabus, sample assignment and sample exam for the 2007-08 year will be reviewed.
“Administrators are under pressure to create advanced-type classes. Parents want them. Policy-makers want them. If I’m being told to teach Advance Placement, I can put AP in front of any course name,” said Jim Ballard, executive director of the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals. “Of course, it’s more than simply adding the name, and that’s where the College Board is crying foul.”
The College Board, which sets AP curriculum standards and conducts nationwide exams each spring, is reviewing the courses in response to calls from colleges and universities about ensuring the rigor of AP classes, officials said.
Eduwonk has additional comments
Alas, the e-books are encoded in DRM which pretty much spoils the potential success of this pilot project:
- Textbook is locked to the computer where you downloaded it from;
- Copying and burning to CD is prohibited;
- Printing is limited to small passages;
- Unless otherwise stated, textbook activation expires after 5 months
- Activated textbooks are not returnable;
- Buyback is not possible.
We all need to become familiar with the ongoing DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) machinations all around us. Things are getting worse. Learn more about DRM via wikipedia.
Keeping on topic 🙂 Dave Newbart finds that 1/3 of Illinois’ high school grads are not ready for college. Thus, 2/3 apparently are (evidently not, according to the article).
If colleges are to retain and graduate more students, the state needs to do a better job of educating them long before they set foot on campus, lawmakers and educators said Thursday.
New research presented by the Illinois Education Research Council at a meeting of the Senate Committee on Higher Education showed many Illinois high school graduates are simply not prepared to go to college.
More than one-third of Illinois graduates are not ready for college, said Jennifer Presley, director of the council, which is tracking nearly the entire class of 2002. Another 28 percent are only partially ready, she said. Yet 43 percent of the least ready students go to college, and 58 percent of minimally ready students do.
Joanne Jacobs has more.
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 and sweet, here are my responses to what I take to be your two primary questions:
1) Do I believe that students with a 2.75 GPA can succeed at Madisson?
Yes. I have first-hand experience with our undergraduate population and the people who serve them, probably more than you. There are studens with 2.75 GPAs and lower who do very well at Madison; there are students who come in with 3.5 and higher GPAs who founder. SOURCE: student service workers and admissions staff at UW-Madison.
2) Do I believe that the admissions rules should be bent for students who complete the PEOPLE program?
Yes, IF that is what is happening. The article says that students must maintain a MINIMUM 2.75 GPA to stay in the program; there is no information on the average GPA of PEOPLE students admitted to UW-Madison. As quoted in my previous post, the article clearly says that PEOPLE graduates who are unlikely to succeed are not admitted. As such, I must believe that there is some judicious application of admissions criteria in borderline cases.
That said, the University of Wisconsin System has a responsibility to prepare all of its students for the world they will inherit. That world is increasingly multi-ethnic, and all students’ employment options are very much linked to employer perceptions of whether those students are culturally competent to succeed in businesses with diverse staff and customer bases. Simply put, the future employment options of our students rest on our ability to recruit and retain a diverse student body. This becomes a factor on the side of giving students the benefit of the doubt in borderline admissions cases, and has little to do with whether those students ultimately succeed or fail.
On a personal note, I salute you and your accomplishments. I worked my way through UW-Madison from the age of 17, ending with an MA and PhD in history, at the time ranked fifth in the United States (minoring in sociology, ranking first in the United States)against private and public insitutions. I know that the curriculum is rigorous. I came into the graduate program with 26 students;there were 3 of us left after the MA level. As a grad student I was a tutor and a TA, and you are rightfully proud of your achievements. However, that does not entitle you to make uninformed assertions about what high school students who are working hard to prepare for higher education are or are not likely to achieve if admitted.
Your anger at your experience with MMSD is palpable. I’d like, however, to stick to the main point of my original post which is whether UW should be lowering admission standards for students who participate in the PEOPLE program. Whatever you think of the validity of those requirements, it doesn’t change the fact that it is what nearly every other student has to contend with. And nothing you have said persuades me that a student with a 2.75 GPA has a very good shot at succeeding at UW. (And I didn’t say every PEOPLE grad got in to UW, but it’s clear that they will not necessarily be held to the same admission standards as everyone else.) I also don’t see why you have such trouble accepting my query whether this program will actually turn out successful college graduates, and at what cost. (Perhaps you don’t remember the airbrushing incident, where a minority student was photoshopped into a glossy UW brochure to create the impression of greater diversity) I’d hope this program isn’t a bandaid but genuinely prepares students to deal with the rigors of college.
I come from a hard science background. Your belief that a motivated student, albeit with a significantly lower GPA, will ask good questions begs the question. The rigors of science and math education are not much about sharing cultural or experiental differences. You can either do it or not–motivation AND preparation. And I’d argue that while GPA certainly isn’t the ideal measure, it does indicate some commitment and participation in the process of education.
(With apologies to readers – it is not possible to respond using the comments feature on the blog.)
Response to Lucy’s Post on PEOPLE program
JOAN: Tempting though it is to rebut your arguments tit for tat I am not sure it will necessarily be productive.
RESPONSE: I would be interested in a “tit for tat” response to my comments on the reasons why the PEOPLE program is needed.
JOAN: Let’s back up and look at the assumptions underlying this program. The first is that minority students are not getting adequate preparation in their home schools. You assert that this is true in the well-staffed, well-funded Madison school district because of institutional racism. You believe your visual review of a school proves your point. That’s not particularily strong evidence.
RESPONSE: I think you need to go back and read what I wrote. I said,
“All of the above examples are conditions that I have witnessed first hand or, in one or two cases, have heard of from other parents – including parents of white students. When the above conditions disappear and/or white students experience these same conditions, we can talk about equity.”
Nowhere did I say or imply that my comments were “based on a visual review of a school.” It is true that there is no systematic, methodologically defensible, study of how students of color and their parents fare in Madison’s schools. I would welcome a well-crafted study of this nature.
I cringe when I hear people in any organization discussing “our experts know the best”, or generally advocating a top down, command and control approach. Paul Graham recently wrote a wonderful article on the lessons we can learn from “Open Source”. He refers to open source software and blogging among other avocations. Graham includes three lessons from the open source and blogging worlds:
- People work harder on stuff they like
- The standard office environment is very unproductive
- Bottome up often works better than top-down.
Graham is a technologist and investor.
I feared this would become personal. Tempting though it is to rebut your arguments tit for tat I am not sure it will necessarily be productive. If necessary I will, though I prefer to look past your anger which now seems aimed directly at me.
Let’s back up and look at the assumptions underlying this program. The first is that minority students are not getting adequate preparation in their home schools. You assert that this is true in the well-staffed, well-funded Madison school district because of institutional racism. You believe your visual review of a school proves your point. That’s not particularily strong evidence. This isn’t about ability but preparation and motivation. West is tough on all kids, just for the record. (And for the commenter below who mentioned that a kid with a 3.6 from West might not be in the top 10%, you’re exactly right–one B in four years and you’re out of the top 5%, two B’s and you’re out of the top 10%, historically anyway. But then what does that say for the student with a 2.75 at West who can get into UW through the PEOPLE program?)
Here is why I commented. What troubles me is whether this will be a fruitful program or just a bandaid, which is why I expressed the hope that this was designed in a way to measure genuine success as defined by actually graduating from college.This is assumption number one, that this program is not just about getting minority students on campus but actually successfully graduating. And I don’t think it out of line to then ask whether it is a cost-effective program.
But more important, at least what could be gleaned from the story, it sounds to me like UW alters its admission requirements for those who attend faithfully the PEOPLE program. I have a big problem with a different set of rules for those participating in a program not open to all students.
As I said in my first post, I had first-hand experience tutoring minority students from Milwaukee. They clearly needed the kind of advance preparation this program offers. Thus, I am not opposed to a summer program, but I have serious questions about bending the admission rules. Moreover, it is beyond me how someone could successfully attend and graduate from UW with such low admission scores. I say that as someone from a blue-collar family who was a Wisconsin honor scholar, Phi Beta Kappa/honors undergrad, UW MS (teaching assistant) and UW law degree, (to succumb for a moment to a tit for tat.)
I am also here to tell you that my children did not for the most part feel supported in MMSD. Welcome to the club, in other words. However, they did have the advantage of an intact, financially secure family, college-educated parents and alot of opportunities low-income kids miss out on. So let me repeat that I’m not opposed to offering college prep classes to kids who need it. But I still think they need to meet the same standards at the end of the day. Otherwise, we may as well gift them with a college diploma, skip the four/five year investment of time and energy, and just strip away the facade that this is supposed to be about advanced education.
I was saddened and disappointed by the tone, content, and assumptions underlying Joan’s recent post on UW-Madison’s PEOPLE program and feel a need to respond as a parent who is engaged in trying to address cultures of racism in Madison schools and as a graduate and staff member of UW-Madison. I’ve interspersed the responses with Joan’s original wording:
The second thing that will be free is a complete curriculum (in all languages) from Kindergarten through the University level. There are several projects underway to make this a reality, including our own Wikibooks project, but of course this is a much bigger job than the encyclopedia, and it will take much longer.
In the long run, it will be very difficult for proprietary textbook publishers to compete with freely licensed alternatives. An open project with dozens of professors adapting and refining a textbook on a particular subject will be a very difficult thing for a proprietary publisher to compete with. The point is: there are a huge number of people who are qualified to write these books, and the tools are being created to leave them to do that.
I just wanted to add one little note to today’s post, based on an excellent philosophical question Diana Hsieh asked yesterday about my views on free knowledge. While I do, in fact, think that it is wonderful that each of the ten things I will list will be free, the point of naming the list “will be free” rather than “should be free” or “must be free” is that I am making concrete predictions rather than listing a pie in the sky list of things I wish to see.
Jimmy Wales is the founder of wikipedia
Neal Conan, Talk of The Nation:
Some British schools want to erase “Failure” off report cards — in favor of “deferred success. The idea is to spare the self-esteem of struggling or indifferen students. But is a good self-image the product of praise or real achievement? Neal Conan and guests discuss what really builds self-esteem in children.
The Wisconsin State Journal discusses the college prep program UW sponsors for middle (Madison students only) and high school minority students.
Glaringly absent from the reporting is what are the criteria for getting accepted into this program. It sounds like a program open only to minority students, or is it for low-income students of color?
While it has barely been in existence long enough to produce college graduates, I would hope someone is studying PEOPLE’s effectiveness. For instance, I’d like to see a control group who can’t attend these summer sessions but who are given the same break on admission, (2.75 GPA is all that’s required), and if accepted at UW, the students also get a full five-year tuition scholarship. Then I’d like to see the numbers on those who graduate and in what time period and at what cost.
Many years ago while I was a UW zoology grad student, I was a paid tutor through a university program aimed at assisting minority students. All my students were from Milwaukee. None was prepared, either for the intro zoo course or for college in general. Thus, I am sympathetic to the idea of helping these students before they enroll at the university. However, I have to question the lowered admission requirements. If you can’t cut a 2.75 in high school, you’re not likely to successfully complete a degree at UW-Madison.
In addition, I noticed that two of the students interviewed in the article were from Madison West. Is MMSD so deficient in preparing its (low income) minority students that they can only hope to succeed with this special program? I can understand how students coming from poorly funded and troubled disticts like Milwaukee might need extra attention, but Madison West?
Moreover, I know students at West who did not get in to UW despite GPAs of 3.6 and higher. This is the best education many can afford for their children. To learn that their students cannot get admitted while some are allowed in with significantly lower requirments and paid summer college prep courses might be a bitter pill to swallow. (For the record, both our children were accepted at UW.)
So I have two questions: are there checks in place to determine whether this is an effective program, and cost-effective at that, given the 5+ million dollars expended on about 1200 individuals; and how does the UW legitimately justify employing markedly different admission criteria, especially if PEOPLE isn’t open to all students who wish to participate.
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 isn’t. Its paid for by the Wisconsin Education Association Council, the state teachers’ union. When it paid to run the ad at WISC-TV, WEAC dropped off a 52-page document justifying every claim made in this ad.
The ad says, “After inheriting a budget mess, Gov. Jim Doyle has saved millions by cutting waste and balancing the budget.” That is true, News 3 reported. When Doyle took office, the deficit was the largest in state history — $3.2 billion. However, “cutting waste” is a very subjective term — one person’s waste is another’s lifeline.
WEAC’s definition of waste is $60 million for Milwaukee’s Marquette interchange, $35 million to study work to the zoo interchange, and $94 million in proposed rate increases for nursing homes and other health care providers. Doyle vetoed it all to find more money for schools.
The ad also credits Doyle for balancing the budget. News 3 points out he is required by law to do that. He is not allowed to run deficits like the federal government.
The ad goes on to explain the governor understands working families are being squeezed by taxes.
The ad says, “That’s why he froze property taxes, cut the gas tax, and eliminated state taxes on Social Security. All while keeping the state’s promise to fund our great schools.”
This needs clarification. The ad is giving Doyle credit for three ideas originally introduced by Republicans.
The National Endowment for the Arts and Jazz at Lincoln Center have created materials to help fill and enthrall classrooms with jazz and to build important connections between the music and the story of our nation. The program web sites includes on-line materials and contact information for people who are interested in using this curriculum.
Physical education is one of 27 online courses now offered by the Minneapolis Public Schools, which had none four years ago. Thousands of other districts nationwide are adding online courses, said Susan Patrick, director of educational technology at the federal Department of Education.
“We’re seeing just tremendous growth,” Ms. Patrick said, “in enrollments and in the kinds of courses offered.”
In a survey, the department estimated that there were 328,000 student enrollments in online courses offered by public schools during the 2002-3 year. Ms. Patrick said enrollments had probably doubled since then.
This is a great example of the “out of the box – non same service thinking” that is required today. Johnny’s post illustrate’s the District’s same service financial challenges:
- Revenue caps limit spending growth (though Madison spends $13K+ per student, among the highest in Wisconsin)
- A “same service” budget approach has reached its’ limit.
- Choices need to be made, one of which could be growth in virtual tools.
Virtual programs may, in some cases and for some students, be far more effective. We all use virtual learning tools daily. I believe our children will increasingly do so as well.
Thank you for your comments regarding the reductions in Madison Metropolitan School District’s 4th and 5th grade elementary strings program and other Fine Arts programs. I personally know the importance of the strings program. I played the violin many years ago as a student at Lindbergh Elementary School. I continue to support Fine Arts programming. My board motions, budget amendments and voting record reflect those priorities. However, given our budgetary challenges I cannot make a strong commitment to any program in the future.
Robert Andrew Powell takes a rather amazing look at the EA Sports Elite 11, a “camp” for the top 12 (following the Big Ten’s math example, there are 12 high school quarterbacks in this California camp):
Cody Hawkins arrived from Boise, Idaho, wearing Converse sneakers and a rainbow-colored polo shirt he bought for $3 at Goodwill. As soon as he set foot on campus here Monday, Hawkins, along with 11 other top high school quarterbacks, was handed new gear. In an oversized black Nike duffel bag, he found pairs of Nike Shox running shoes and cleats, and a Nike football, the only brand he would be allowed to use for the next four days.
Nike is an official sponsor of the EA Sports Elite 11, which its organizers call a “campetition” for quarterbacks. Orange-flavored Cytomax is the camp’s official sports drink. Muscle Milk Carb Conscious Lean Muscle Formula is the official protein drink, available in vanilla creme, chocolate creme and banana creme flavors. For dinner, campers ate barbecued ribs, chicken breasts and dollops of garlic mashed potatoes provided by Outback Steakhouse, a camp sponsor.
On Thursday July 21st, I was asked to speak to a group of students at the Simpson Street Free Press regarding the recent budget cuts and threats to music and fine arts programming in the MMSD. I have to say that I really enjoy the opportunity to speak with students. I feel it is very important to listen to their issues as well as giving them the opportunity to hear an adult perspective.
Joanne Jacobs has an interesting set of links and comments on teacher merit pay:
Teacher Quality Bulletin’s merit pay round-up includes a story on a privately funded plan at an elementary school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Each teacher got a bonus based on the percentage increase in her students’ test scores.
For each pupil who made up to a 4 percent gain on the May test when compared with the pre-test last August, the teacher was entitled to $100. For each pupil who made a gain of between 5 percent and 9 percent, the bonus was $200. If the pupils gain was between 10 percent and 14 percent, the bonus was $300 and if the gain exceeded 15 percent, the bonus was $400.
Bonuses ranged from $1,800 to $8,600, and cost $65,000. The entire cost was $145,000 including testing costs and bonuses — based on the overall 17 percent gain of students schoolwide — to 25 other employees, including math and literacy coaches, the media specialist and maintenance and cafeteria workers.
In Florida, some districts give merit pay to many teachers; others have plans that make it impossible to qualify. The union wants it that way.
The Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association was bitterly opposed to performance pay and helped set the eligibility bar so high that union chief Jade Moore said it would “make it nearly impossible” for any teachers to earn them.
Hillsborough is more flexible and leaves much of the bonus-granting power in the hands of principals.
Meanwhile Florida is having trouble with teacher certification scams (pdf). One 24-year-old claimed to have earned a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate within three months.
School’s out for summer, but lunch is still served by the Madison Metropolitan School District.
Over the summer, the district serves lunch – and breakfast – five days a week at 31 schools, community centers and other local sites.
Cyber Security Industry Alliance [PDF]:
Just as we teach our children “right from wrong” in the physical world, we must ensure that the same lessons are taught in the cyber world as well.
What is missing here is a focused and organized national effort to teach children cyber security, cyber ethics, and cyber safety with national security in mind. These elements of cyber awareness are vital because pervasive use of the Internet also poses risks that may harm the emotional and personal safety of children. The technology, unfortunately, enables devious and unethical behavior toward people, organizations or information technology underpinning critical infrastructure. The cyber education our children receive does not go far beyond how to turn on the computer and use a mouse. It is incomprehensible that we are not teaching cyber security, ethics, and safety at an early age. Poor awareness by children about cyber security may cause inadvertent damage to their own PC, other electronic devices or personal information, and could ultimately threaten the fabric of our nation’s critical cyber infrastructure.
Governor Jim Doyle announced that the 2005-2007 State Budget he signed into law on Monday will prevent more than $26.5 million in funding cuts to Dane County schools that the Legislature’s budget proposed.
Following are the cuts that Governor Doyle restored, by district:
• BELLEVILLE $368,424
• CAMBRIDGE $397,800
• DEERFIELD $305,592
• DEFOREST $1,273,368
• MADISON METRO $10,171,440
• MARSHALL $488,376
• MCFARLAND $796,416
• MIDDLETON-CP $2,226,864
• MONONA GROVE $1,139,544
• MOUNT HOREB $841,704
• OREGON $1,408,416
• STOUGHTON $1,476,144
• SUN PRAIRIE $2,155,464
• VERONA AREA $1,815,192
• WAUNAKEE $1,228,080
• WISCONSIN HGHTS $442,272
Wisconsin kids boast the 10th highest quality of life and the lowest high school dropout rate in the nation.
That’s the good news in a 50-state survey of child and teen well-being released by a national youth advocacy group today.
I periodically here of requests for math tutors. The University of Wisconsin Math Department maintains a helpful list of tutors here.
By David Callender
Capital Times, July 25, 2005
Gov. Jim Doyle was set to use his veto pen today to restore more than $400 million in new state funding for public schools that Republican lawmakers had cut from his proposed budget and to create a “responsible property tax freeze” for the next two years.
Under the Democratic governor’s plan, taxes for the owner of an average Wisconsin home valued at $150,000 would stay the same this year as last year, and would decline by $5 next year.
Doyle was scheduled to sign the new $53 billion state budget into law at a ceremony at the governor’s mansion this morning.
“The people of our state have asked us to do four things with this budget: cut spending, cut taxes, make education the priority and freeze property taxes. I’m pleased to say this budget does all four, and we kept the faith with Wisconsin families,” Doyle said in prepared remarks for the bill signing.
Governor Doyle signed the State of Wisconsin’s next two year budget document today. He also posted an extensive pdf document that outlines the changes he made to the Legislature’s version, via his line-item veto power. Included in these changes:
Taken together, the budget I am signing today will increase state funding for schools and property tax relief by over $400 million compared with the Legislature’s budget. Schools will receive a modest 3 percent cost-of-living increase, just as they have received annually for many years under Democratic and Republican administrations alike. The additional funding I am providing through my vetoes will enable the state – rather than local taxpayers – to shoulder the burden of paying for the increased costs of education over the next two years so that property taxes can be frozen.
Follow the discussion via the Budget Blog Brief budget Message (pdf).
3.8MB Full veto message pdf
“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 should be made in the context of these three priorities:
- Curriculum: we should strive to teach our children to be creators rather than consumers (writing and thinking rather than powerpoint).
- High Expectations: Our children must have the skills (arts, languages, math, science, history) to compete in tomorrow’s world. Retiring Milwaukee High School Principal Will Jude refers to the Tyranny of Low Expectations:
Graduation comes, “but it’s at the expense of content.” The student goes to college and finds other kids are way ahead. Jude’s response: “You were doing the A section of the book while they were doing the B and C sections. You covered a lot of material but it was very shallow. They covered a lot of material but it was in depth.” . Kurt Vonnegut’s Harrison Bergeron (1961) provides further useful reading.
- Inquisitiveness: Our students interest in and ability to ask questions, in other words, their willingness to question things that they read, observe and hear (Jay Rosen shows how important this is to our democracy).
Today’s communication tools provide our students and community with an unprecedented ability to converse, debate and learn. Our K-12 students, like their parents and those who teach them should be comfortable conversing in written form, email, cellphones, voicemail, weblogs and html.
The Madison School District, as Troy Dasler pointed out, will soon start to implement a new internet based Student Information System.
Governor Doyle continues to dribble out his line item state budget changes (a classic way to keep a politician’s name in the news each day). Details here on the “property tax freeze” which is not really a freeze. Rather Doyle’s line item vetoes cap the rate of increase in property taxes to 2% or the net change in new construction, whichever is greater (I’m not sure this is the best approach from a land use perspective):
||The Madison School Board discussed their planned Superintendent Review (which has not been done for several years) at their recent workshop (7/18/2005). Watch the video or listen to an mp3 audio file (superintendent review discussion starts about 20 minutes into the audio clip)
Thanks to Ed Blume and Larry Winkler for their time capturing the video clips.
After Governor Doyle signs the $54 billion State Budget for the next two years, First Lady Jessica Doyle will talk with kids about the education investments Governor Doyle made at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, July 25, 2005 at the Janesville Boys and Girls Club. Later in the day, at 3:00 p.m., the First Lady will visit the Merrill Community Center in Beloit and discuss the State Budget with kids there.
1:30 p.m. Janesville Boys and Girls Club, [map]
200 West Court Street, Janesville.
3:00 p.m. Merrill Community Center, [map]
1428 Wisconsin Avenue, Beloit.
Contact: Megan Perkins, Office of the First Lady, 608-266-7116
Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Study shows that Direct Instruction is successful, particularly with hard to reach students. The study is on-line at http://www.wpri.org/Reports/Volume18/Vol18no4.pdf
Education That Works in the Milwaukee Public Schools:
The Benefits from Phonics and Direct Instruction
by Sammis White, Ph.D.
A phonics-based teaching technique (Direct Instruction) is proving successful in some Milwaukee Public Schools. This study of 23,000 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in the Milwaukee Public Schools showed that “among low-income students tracked between third and fourth grades 2002-03 to 2003-04, those with five years of Direct Instruction (DI) increased their math scores by 6.6% whereas non-low-income students increased their scores by 4.7%. This difference is statistically significant and is evidence of substantial progress.”
Direct Instruction in the Milwaukee Public Schools is creating real progress for hard-to-reach students.
* Students exposed to DI were even lower income, on average, than other MPS low-income students, but those individuals with long-term exposure to DI (defined as five years) did better, on average, than all low-income MPS students.
* In schools with DI in every grade and continuous professional development for the staff, students did even better, on average. Among low-income students, with a mix of regular and special education, students scored six points higher in reading and 25 points higher in math versus other low-income students. These differences suggest that with full implementation of DI at more schools, MPS would produce even greater academic gains.
The conclusions are less obvious from this article, but it is worth reading:
How best to teach reading?
Study of MPS students provides no clear answer
By ALAN J. BORSUK
Posted: July 21, 2005
A controversial reading program called Direct Instruction is helping some Milwaukee Public Schools students, particularly those on the short end of the achievement gaps that are such an urgent issue here, a study of test scores of thousands of MPS students concludes.
But the comparison of students who have been in schools using the highly scripted program with those who haven’t been taught by that method leaves room for argument that the increasingly popular approach is not having much impact, at least not the way it is being done in many schools.
For the entire article go to: http://www.jsonline.com/news/metro/jul05/342804.asp
Sammis White, Ph.D (full report here: 250K PDF):
study of 23,000 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in the Milwaukee Public Schools showed that “among low-income students tracked between third and fourth grades 2002-03 to 2003-04, those with five years of Direct Instruction (DI) increased their math scores by 6.6% whereas non-low-income students increased their scores by 4.7%. This difference is statistically significant and is evidence of substantial progress.” These results are reported in Education That Works In The Milwaukee Public Schools: The Benefits from Phonics and Direct Instruction, by Sammis White, Ph.D. The report was released today by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.
An interesting column in the London Guardian suggesting that a society should be judged not only on how it treats its least fortunate, but also its most talented.
The Madison School Board discussed citizen participation on Board Committees Monday evening:
Watch This Discussion – Quicktime
|There were a number of interesting discussions in this 30 minute video clip, including the recent Long Range Planning Committee and the recent referenda
The Madison School Board had several interesting discussions Monday night. The first was a proposed 3rd party evaluation of the District’s Business Services Department. This discussion is somewhat in response to the complaint that, given budget choices, the Madison School District lays off teachers rather than accountants.
Watch This Discussion – Quicktime
|The 50 minute video provides a very interesting look at the different perspectives that the Madison School Board Members have on evaluating district operations and general decision making. I thought Carol did a nice job making the discussion happen.
Carol Carstensen, Lawrie Kobza and Ruth Robarts provided written comments on the Business Services evaluation – click the link below (well worth reading).
I also understand that the Board will start looking at next year’s budget this fall, rather than waiting until the spring.
Claudio Sanchez, All Things Considered:
As Washington policymakers talk of leaving no child behind, the reality in places like East St. Louis, Ill., is that schools can’t do it alone. When the school day is over and during the long summer vacation, children in these communities face poverty, crime, broken families and despair.
Reader Erika Frederick emailed this article by John Fialka:
As a step to save energy, Congress appears poised to extend U.S. daylight-saving time for two months, starting it earlier, on the first Sunday in March, and ending it later, on the last Sunday of November.
The move was first approved in May as part of the energy bill by the House. The idea has now been agreed upon by House and Senate committee staffs, with the approval of both Republican chairmen and ranking Democrats. That means it is likely to be approved by the full House-Senate conference committee, which begins squaring the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill this week.
The change is not without controversy:
The Air Transport Association has asserted that its members, long-distance American airlines, could lose millions of dollars because of schedule disruptions that the proposal would cause by throwing U.S. arrivals at foreign airports out of synchronization with European schedules and Europe’s system of awarding “slots,” or landing rights at airports.
Some large church groups also oppose extending daylight-saving time into the early spring and late fall, because it would require children to wait for school buses in the dark. “Without the light of day, they are more susceptible to accidents with school buses, or other motorists, and the darkness also provides cover for individuals who prey on children,” said the Rev. William F. Davis, deputy secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a letter written to the House sponsors of the measure
The proposed change is part of the Energy Bill.
Recently married Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown comments on the LA Board of Education’s proposed requirement that all students take the courses necessary to enter California State Universities.
From the FightingBob website comes this piece by a Milwaukee school teacher:
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 to tease out the connection between dollars and performance. One thing I noticed in his arguing that we get good value for our teacher salaries and other per pupil spending was a reliance on the high ACT performance in this state, a statistic often touted. But I’d like to see an honest accounting of who these high scoring students are who actually take the test, out of the general student population, as well as where they attend school and what the per pupil spending is there and what the demographics are. In other words, I think that the use of the ACT statistic is a bit misleading.
I am certainly not advocating throwing in the towel on kids who come to school less prepared than those more fortunate, but I also think it’s time for an honest discussion on just how much difference our public school system can make. In a world of infinite resources, we would spend unlimited funds to reach just a few, but that’s not our reality. I would hope very much that we could have this conversation without labeling or name-calling.
100 Black Men of Madison seeks individual golfers/foursomes for it’s 5th Annual Golf Outing on Monday July 25th at Cherokee Country Club.
The Johnny Winston, Jr. 2005 Streetball and Block Party will be held on Saturday August 13th from 12 noon to 7:00 p.m. at Penn Park (South Madison – Corner of Fisher and Buick Street). Last year this event raised the funds necessary to keep the MMSD varsity reserve football and boys and girls basketball program operational.
Can we Talk about communication?
My three busy kids participate in swimming, baseball, basketball, soccer, football, book clubs, math olympiad, etc….. you get the idea, my kids are healthy, busy kids. I see hundreds of families participating in these events, games, parties, and all of the commmunications relayed to every family right here in Madison is done on the computer, internet or better known as e-mail. If I did not have access to e-mail I would show up at incorrect times, fail to pay fees, miss important meetings, for all these activities my kids participate in and I volunteer to help. What does this have to do with MMSD education? Nothing, and I mean nothing at all because MMSD doesn’t communicate with me via computer. When I moved to Madison, the PR on the Web and Madison.com lead me to believe this was the future, the end all, the best the US offered. I wish they spent more on PC’s than PR because the technology in our district is archaic.
Four letters to the editor in response to Michael Winerip’s recent article on teaching to the test:
Ms. Karnes learned all sorts of exercises to get children excited about writing, get them writing daily about what they care about and then show them how they can take one of those short, personal pieces and use it as the nucleus for a sophisticated, researched essay.
“We learned how to develop good writing from the inside, starting with calling the child’s voice out,” said Ms. Karnes, who got an A in the university course. “One of the major points was, good writing is good thinking. That’s why writing formulas don’t work. Formulas don’t let kids think; they kill a lot of creativity in writing.”
And so, when Ms. Karnes returns to Allendale High School to teach English this fall, she will use the new writing techniques she learned and abandon the standard five-paragraph essay formula. Right?
“Oh, no,” said Ms. Karnes. “There’s no time to do creative writing and develop authentic voice. That would take weeks and weeks. There are three essays on the state test and we start prepping right at the start of the year. We have to teach to the state test” (the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, known as MEAP).
Read the full article here. Read the letters to the editor by clicking on the link:
I’ve twice sent the e-mail below, and I have received no acknowldegement or response.
From: Ed Blume
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com ; firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Thursday, June 23, 2005 9:26 PM
Subject: Program spending
Can you please tell me the amount the MMSD budgeted and spent in the 2004-2005 fiscal year on the following programs:
Could you also give me the amount budgeted for each program in the 2005-2006 fiscal year?