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

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

Math, Science and Rigor

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

Excellent data from MMSD on Read 180

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

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

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

Sanderfoot on Ed Lite

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

Thursday’s Middle School Curriculum Parent Forum

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

Families Leaving West?

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

More on East / West Task Forces

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

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

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

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

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

School-funding update

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

Why not target school ads at adults, not students?

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

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

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

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

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

National Survey on K-12 Salaries Released

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

Capital Times Editorial on Kobza’s Win

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

String Orchestra Festival Soars Despite District Administration Annual Assault

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

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

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

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

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

School Board Governance Lacking – Fine Arts

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

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

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

MMSD threw away “crackerjack” administrator

Capital Times Editor Dave Zweifel recently praised former Lapham principal Barb Thompson, calling her a “crackerjack school superintendent” for the astonishingly successful commuity-wide holiday luncheon in New Glarus, just as she organized a similar and equally popular holiday luncheon at Lapham. By contrast MMSD Superintendent Art Rainwater passed over Thompson in the search to replace … Continue reading MMSD threw away “crackerjack” administrator

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

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

WSJ Opinion: Reading between the lines of rigidity

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

Overture Center Soars while MMSD Fine Arts Curriculum Sinks

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

2005 Referendums?

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