For schoolchildren struggling to read, COVID-19 has been a wrecking ball

Sarah Carr:

Yet Daniel’s progress came to an abrupt halt after Medford schools closed down in mid-March in response to the spread of COVID-19. The tutoring came to an end. The intensive, small group classes in reading disappeared, as did all meaningful instruction, from what Ronayne could tell. Daniel, who is being referred to by his middle name to protect his privacy, did meet online with his teacher and classmates about twice a week starting in April, his mother says. But it was always an informal meeting focused on weekend activities and other non-academic concerns — gatherings that, Ronayne says, Daniel’s teacher referred to as “circle time.”

When Ronayne complained about the absence of any reading instruction, school staff referred her to a class website with some generic exercises — a worksheet introducing multi-syllable words, for instance. Medford Public Schools’ director of pupil services, Joan Bowen, acknowledges that Medford, along with districts across Massachusetts, initially used many independent learning activities because “we thought it was a short-term closure.” Bowen says state guidelines initially asked schools not to teach new material, and the district’s online learning instruction became more rigorous over the course of the spring.

Ronayne says teaching did ramp up, except for what her son needed: real-time reading instruction. By May, Medford school officials say, they had created detailed remote learning plans for every student who receives special education services. “They were very specific to the individual student,” Bowen says. The school district, however, does not comment on individual students.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration