Norm and Dolores Mishelow gave an informative presentation Sunday on their successful Milwaukee Barton School and 27th Street school reading programs. Background
3.7MB MP3 – ideal for your MP3 Player/iPod | Quicktime Video
Transcripts to Follow. DVD copy is also available – email me if you’d like one: zellmer at mailbag dot com
In a related matter, Madison School Board Member Carol Carstensen writes in the Wisconsin State Journal in support of the District’s recent rejection of $2m in Federal Reading First money (click below).
Carol Carstensen: Why Madison schools rejected federal grant
2:04 pm 11/02/04
Discussions about approaches to teaching reading seem to generate a lot of heat and not much light.
The Madison School District s approach to reading meets the criteria (80 percent proficient readers) established by the federal government’s Reading First initiative. However, the district was told by the federal government evaluator, Kathy Howe, that if we wanted to continue to receive Reading First money, we would have to adopt a program where teachers were given scripted daily lesson plans that would not allow for teacher judgment about instruction.
The district’s approach to reading has been developed over several years in consultation with UW-Madison and national reading experts. It is not, however, one of the commercially produced programs that the Bush administration demands as a condition of continuing the funding.
The requirement that we adopt a scripted program is in direct conflict with the national research that shows students learn best with highly trained teachers making sound judgments about the content, sequence and pacing of instruction for individual students.
As a result of the district’s approach, we have seen steady growth in the percentage of third-graders who score at the proficient and advanced levels and the growth has been especially significant for low-income children of color.
Howe admits that she cannot provide data indicating the same level of success if the district adopted one of the Bush administration’s approved programs. In fact, a recent study by UW-Milwaukee professor Randall Ryder found that the scripted programs were less effective than programs that encouraged a more flexible approach. That finding is supported by Madison’s own data.
For the last six years, one of the school board’s priorities has been to have all third- graders read at grade level. We are close to achieving that goal. The progress we have made could not have occurred without highly trained, effective teachers.
Our success is also due to the hundreds of community volunteers who have been trained by the Schools of Hope initiative to work with children on reading. Madison has good reason to be proud that the cooperation between the schools and the community has worked to help so many children become successful readers.
Carstensen is a Madison School Board member. Here’s a link to the original WSJ page (they will 404 (page not found) this link in the near future)