Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 School Climate

Chris Rickert and Logan Wroge:

“I didn’t know we were so behind in this pandemic as a nation,” she said. “I never thought we were going to be here a year into this.”

For some schools outside of Madison, it hasn’t been anywhere near a year. Many private and religious schools reopened to full-time, in-person learning in September after persuading the state Supreme Court to block a local public health order that would have prevented them. Suburban and more rural public schools have been reopening in recent months under hybrid models. 

That back-to-school sentiment hasn’t been as strong in Madison, where kindergarteners are set to begin in-person instruction Tuesday followed by first grade, second grade and 4-K students in subsequent weeks. No dates for returning older students have been announced.

Those small steps toward normalcy have spurred sharp disagreements between district administrators and the teachers union. Last week, Madison teachers staged a “teach-out” to protest what they view as a rushed and dangerous return to school weeks before most of them are due to be vaccinated.

But while Madison parents see the toll the long layoff is taking on student learning and mental health, many also sympathize with teachers and laud their efforts teaching online.

Windsor-Engnell said she wishes the school district’s approach during the pandemic had been more “nuanced” and allowed for at least some in-person learning for the families that needed it. She’s especially concerned about how the long shutdown will affect student mental health, and estimated her children are absorbing about 50% to 60% of the education they would be getting in person.

Still, she said her North Side family doesn’t have any health conditions that puts them at greater risk for the virus and that in some ways that puts them in a “privileged position.”

Virtual learning last spring was a “hot mess for everybody,” said Ana Luyet, who lives on Madison’s Near West Side with husband and two teenage daughters, 13 and 15, “but everybody did the best they could with the tools at their disposal.”

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.