Henry Kranendonk describes himself as “a person who’d never served on anything other than a church board” until the day about three years ago when he got a call from an aide to Margaret Spellings, then the U.S. secretary of education.
Would he join an elite group of somewhat frustrated people working near the top of the national education pyramid?
Well, that’s not quite how it was put. But that’s a practical reading of what being a member of the National Assessment Governing Board has meant for Kranendonk, who was the top math specialist in Milwaukee Public Schools at that point.
Those unhappy numbers, released last week, about how only one in five high school seniors across the country is proficient in science? The data a year ago that put MPS fourth- and eighth-graders near the bottom of the proficiency list among 18 urban districts? Those reports over the last decade that showed Wisconsin had the largest or close to the largest gaps in the U.S. between white and black students in reading and math?