The Madison School Board discussed the proposed Madison Studio School recently. Watch the video and read these recent articles:
- Mayoral Candidates Endorse the Studio School by Susan Troller
- Board Wants Study of Studio School by Deborah Ziff
- Don’t Rush Approval of Studio School by John Keckhaver
- Chafing at Charters by Jason Shephard:
But citizen praise was matched by district badmouthing. At every stage, district officials exaggerated the potential problems posed by the school, and at no point did they provide evidence that they had worked to resolve them.
For example, Rainwater wants the 44-student school to have its own full-time principal and secretary, while Studio School backers want to save money by sharing Emerson’s resources.
Rainwater’s insistence on spending more money, which could torpedo the proposal, left some shaking their heads. Kobza asked whether it would make sense to even consider other charters, as Rainwater’s rules would make them financially unviable.
Rainwater, amazingly, conceded the point: “I agree that you would never have a charter school” given these requirements, he said.
John Keckhaver: Don’t rush approval of Studio School
A letter to the editor
Dear Editor: Much has been made about how the proposed charter Studio School is really a referendum on the openness of the School Board to new ideas. Members of the board have already shown that they are willing to innovate, and this proposal – bound to have impacts not only on those kids who attend the boutique school but also on the entire student body – needs to succeed or fail on its merits.
A number of serious concerns exist, but have yet to gain much media attention.
At a time when the district will be cutting $12 million or so from our schools’ budgets, dismissing critical staff and enlarging class sizes at many schools, funding and operating a separate and different program within a larger school, particularly one with a significant low-income population, is simply unfair.
Combined with this concern is the fact that proponents of the school have so far completely failed to reach out to a representative group of Emerson parents.
The fact that the methodology to be employed has largely been one utilized in private preschools and that there are no evaluations to examine regarding its impact on student experiences and outcomes at the public elementary school level suggests a further and more detailed look is needed, and suggests the board should not approve the proposal next week.
John Keckhaver, Madison