The cruel reality of online ‘school’ in a 12th floor flat

Simon has anxiety issues and finds it embarrassing to have to admit on the group chat, in full view of the rest of the class, that he doesn’t understand. After half an hour, the test finishes; Simon has managed to answer four of the 20 questions. The other 16 he’s left blank. 

The teacher does not go through the test with Simon individually. She does not go through it with the class as a group. Next week, Simon might find out how he did in the test. By which point, he’s either forgotten about it – he is nine years old – or had to move on to a new assignment. Simon types ‘Bye, Miss’ on the group chat, to prove his attendance, and the class ends. 

A ten-minute break. Simon sits in front of his computer, watching clips from the Premier League. Next class: geography. ‘Here, Miss’. Ten minutes later, about 15 of the 20 children have managed to log in. After waiting, with no response, for the remaining five, the teacher decides to start class without them. 

The teacher goes through a slideshow. But neither Simon nor any of his ‘classmates’ are able to see her shared screen. After a long delay, the teacher manages to get her slideshow on the Microsoft Teams window, so everyone who is logged in can see. Simon stares at a diagram of the Earth: crust, mantle, outer core, inner core. Written under the English text, phonetic Arabic in Roman letters for the two children from Syria and one from Iraq in his class who do not speak any English. Simon does not know what it is or why it is there.

The teacher asks the children to identify the parts of the Earth. On the count of 5, they must type in their answers on the group chat. Simon waits until a few children have entered their answers, then he copies what they wrote. As most do.

Despite this, several children still give the wrong answers. Comments in the group chat read ‘miss wot is this’ and ‘miss i dont now’. One child in the group writes ‘PLZ I DONT LIKE THIS’ over and over again throughout the lesson. 

Former Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, writing on Facebook:

Editor’s note: Until yesterday, with rare exception, I refrained from commenting or interfering in local affairs. I called two people connected to the following.

I was deeply concerned that Madison be prepared for the immunization of teachers and all others connected with the opening of our public schools.

(1) That there be a plan to swiftly distribute the vaccine and teachers and staff know where to go NOW, when for their shots.

(2) That the following, City of Madison, Madison Public Schools, MTI, and Public Health, once they have a plan push to move teachers to the top of the list so we can get our schools opened for the obvious reason- too many kids are falling behind.

We need a quartermaster, an expert in logistics, NOW. Some one may claim that this is being done , but if the two people I spoke with have no knowledge of any such activity, it does not seem plausible.

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.