Comments on BOE Progress Report for December

Madison School Board President Johnny Winston, Jr. (thanks!) posted a rather remarkable summary of recent activity today. I thought it would be useful to recall recent Board Majority inaction when reviewing Johnny’s words:
It’s remarkable to consider that just a few short years ago, substantive issues were simply not discussed by the School Board, such as the Superintendent’s rejection of the $2M in Federal Reading First Funds (regardless of the merits, $2M is material and there should have been a public discussion).
Reductions in the District’s annual ($332M+ this year) spending increases were thinly discussed (May, 2004).
Today, we know that the School District has been running a structural deficit for years, something previous Board Majority’s were apparently unaware of or certainly never discussed publicly.

The Board failed to review the Superintendent for years, until two incumbents were defeated in recent elections.
The Community has expressed extensive concern over a variety of curriculum issues. Previous Board majorities said that they “don’t do curriculum” despite their responsibility under Wisconsin law (February, 2006). There’s a difference between policy and implementation.
The most recent Superintendent review includes the requirement for an open, unbiased analysis of the Madison School District’s controversial math program.
A vast majority of UW Math department faculty wrote an open letter to the Superintendent about the MMSD’s Coordinator of Mathematics.
Health care costs were simply not discussed.
The District recently negotiated and implemented savings with custodians and Administrators.
All of these issues, and more, affect our next generation.
The Board’s recent actions to stop the controversial curriculum changes at East High School (already in place at West) reflects thinking about our children first (see Gamoran discussion here and here [Jason Shephard] (discussion tabled in the Spring of 2005), rather than experimenting with their opportunities:
Discontent Brews over School Changes
Comments from East High Parents on Proposed Curriculum Changes
East High Student Insurrection Over Proposed Curriculum Changes?
MMSD to study high schools before “redesigning” them
East High School to Follow West’s One Size Fit’s All 9/10 Curriculum?
High School Redesign & Academic Rigor: East High United Meeting 11/9 @ 7:00p.m.
More Than English 10: Let’s REALLY Talk About Our High Schools
Madison Schools Superintendent Art Rainwater Halts East High Redesign
On, Off and On Again 11/27/2006 Madison School Board High School Redesign Discussion
Madison School Board: Superintendent’s High School Redesign Presentation & Public Comments [Audio / Video]
Revamping the high schools
One Small Step in the Right Direction at West HS …
Public confidence and support of our K-12 system requires an ongoing, open dialogue. Thanks for helping to make this happen!
The April, 2007 School Board elections will be an opportunity to either continue this progress or roll back the clock….

One thought on “Comments on BOE Progress Report for December”

  1. While there is plenty of credit to go around, I think Jim Zellmer deserves special recognition for creating and impartially moderating this site. Having a safe, easily accessed, open forum like SIS on which to discuss sometimes controversial topics was long overdue in our district. We now have school board races that focus far more on debating issues germane to educating our kids than on which group has given their imprimatur.
    More please!!

Comments are closed.