Two Madisons: The Education and Opportunity Gap in Wisconsin’s Fastest Growing City

Will Flanders:

At Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD), there exist two distinct school systems.

Despite its economic growth, low-income families in Madison are more likely to stay poor for their entire lives.

While 60% of white students at MMSD are proficient or higher on the Forward exam, only 9.8% of African Americans are proficient. This achievement gap is worse than Milwaukee Public Schools.

While Hispanic proficiency is higher than that for African Americans, large gaps remain.

21% of African Americans and 18% of Hispanic students in MMSD do not graduate from high school within five years compared to just 6% of white students.

African American and low-income students are more likely to be in schools with significantly higher numbers of police calls.

Due to caps and restrictions, school choice is very limited in Madison. Unless your family has money. More than 4,300 children attend 31 private schools in Madison, primarily outside of the voucher program.

Related: Police calls near local high schools: 1996-2006.

Madison taxpayers recently funded expansion of our least diverse schools.

“The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”.

I am currently the reading interventionist teacher at West High School.

I’ve been there for 4 years. Previous to that I’ve been in the school district as a regular ed teacher for about 20 years. I started in the early 90s.

I have (a) question I want to ask you guys. What district-wide systems are in place as we use our map data to monitor the reading student achievement?

Student by student, not school by school but also school by school and provide support for the school the teachers and the students that need it.

And especially to help students who score in the bottom percentiles who will need an intervention which is significantly different than differentiation.

I was (a) TAG coordinator (talent and gifted coordinator) for 4 years at Hamilton and I have extensive background with the talent and gifted and differentiation training.

( and teaching of teachers). Now I’m in interventionist and they are significantly different we need interventions to serve the lowest scoring kids that we have.

Here’s my data from this year and this is why I’m here:

Of the 65 students plus or minus it kind of changes this year 24 of them are regular ed students.

Another way to say they don’t have an IEP so there is no excuse for that reading intervention in (that group).

12 of those 24 have been enrolled in Madison School since Pre-K kindergarten or kindergarden. 12 students have been in Madison Schools.

They have High attendance. They have been in the same (you know) feeder school they have not had high mobility. There is no excuse for 12 of my students to be reading at the first second or third grade level and that’s where they’re at and I’m angry and I’m not the only one that’s angry.

The teachers are angry because we are being held accountable for things that we didn’t do at the high school level. Of those 24 students, 21 of them have been enrolled in Madison for four or more years.

Of those 24 students one is Caucasian the rest of them identify as some other ethnic group.

I am tired of the district playing what I called whack-a-mole, (in) another words a problem happens at Cherokee boom we bop it down and we we fix it temporarily and then something at Sherman or something at Toki or something at Faulk and we bop it down and its quiet for awhile but it has not been fixed on a system-wide level and that’s what has to change.

Thank you very much.

Madison taxpayers have long spent far more than most K-12 school districts, now between 18 and 20k per student, depending on the district documents one reviews.