Madison School District Superintendent Dan Nerad via email:
Thank you for sharing your thoughts regarding this critical issue in our middle schools. We will continue to follow the conversation and legislative process regarding hiring Teach for America and Math for America candidates. We have similar concerns to those laid out by UW Professors Hewson and Knuth (http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/forum/451220). In particular they stated, “Although subject-matter knowledge is essential to good teaching, the knowledge required for teaching is significantly different from that used by math and science professionals.” This may mean that this will not be a cost effective or efficient solution to a more complex problem than many believe it to be. These candidates very well may need the same professional learning opportunities that we are working with the UW to create for our current staff. The leading researchers on this topic are Ball, Bass and Hill from the University of Michigan. More information on their work can be found at (http://sitemaker.umich.edu/lmt/home). We are committed to improving the experience our students have in our mathematics class and will strive to hire the most qualified teachers and continue to strengthen our existing staff.