Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater Halts East High Redesign

Marc Eisen:

The uproar over proposed changes in East High School’s curriculum has apparently prompted Madison School Superintendent Art Rainwater to announce a halt to any plans to change programming at Madison’s four major high schools.

Here’s Rainwater’s message to his principals:
To: John Broome, Bruce Dahmen, Alan Harris, Ed Holmes
From: Art Rainwater
Re: High School Redesign Proposal
On Monday, November 27, at the Board meeting I will be putting forth a proposal concerning our high schools. I believe that discussion concerning the way in which our schools prepare all students for post secondary education and employment in an increasingly global economy is too important to rush.
Interest in this topic is high and we can best serve our future students, our broader community and our beliefs as educators by taking the quality time necessary to hear from parents, students, staff, business people, post secondary institutions, and others who value what a high school education can provide.
I am asking you to cease any significant programmatic changes at each of your schools as this community dialogue progresses. We need a tableau rosa mentality that will allow for a free flow of ideas, an opportunity to solidify trust in our expertise, and a chance at a solid, exciting product at the end.

4 thoughts on “Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater Halts East High Redesign”

  1. Public pressure and finally a school board with enough members with a backbone to be effective have forced the Administration into a stance that understands that the knowledge and expertise of parents, students and the public in general is critical in improving the education, and at the same time, good politics.
    The Victoria Bernhardt rubrics that Ed Blume and I have previously posted (with some adjustment to our local situations) would be a good starting point for creating an institutionalized framework for improving MMSD. Another source of ideas for institutionalizing quality education and appropriate public oversight are such papers from the National Association of School Boards.
    On a more immediate note. Because the West HS English 10 modification is a piecemeal HS redesign project, it should fall within the Superintendent’s proscription, and be withdrawn.

  2. Hear, hear, Larry. I second the motion implied in your “immediate note.” West has already implemented many of the misguided and poorly thought-out changes that Mr. Harris was planning for East, though in a piece meal, almost haphazard way, as you say.
    I would like to ask people on both sides of the isthmus to write to Art and thank him for slowing this process down … and to ask him to please dismantle — or at least significantly modify — some of the recent changes that have been put in place at West. As I’ve been saying a lot recently, this is a District-wide issue and we need to pull together.
    Happy Thanksgiving, all.

  3. And a BIG thank you to those Board members and parents who have lobbied Art to stop his redesign plans so EVERYONE can have some input!

  4. A second hear hear from me Larry, especially the comment about the School Board – more effectively working with the Superintendent. Thanks to the Superintendent for taking steps to halt actions and to begin a dialogue (develop a process) with the School Board and the public.
    I feel these steps resulted not only from parents, students and others speaking up, but from a School Board MAJORITY committed to leading the district and to engaging the community. Thank you to these hard working board members.
    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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