There has been lots of news out of the Madison School District lately. I’d like to focus on three stories that are interrelated.
The first is the reinstatement of Sennett Middle School Principal Jeffrey Copeland. I’ve writtenabout that extensively, so I won’t go over the details here, but his return is a good thing. Copeland had been credited with restoring order to his school before he was fired over a minor infraction (if it was any infraction at all) and the School Board had the good sense to reverse an ill-considered decision by the central administration.
The next story is about the decline in MMSD enrollment. The District is rightly concerned about that and it also understands that it needs to get a better feel for exactly what’s going on. While it’s true that there is something of a baby bust at work here, it’s also true that Madison is growing. The Board needs to get more demographic data to better understand how those two things — a smaller school age cohort nationally but a growing population locally — are interacting.
And the third story is an ongoing debate about stand alone honors classes. The administration and most of the Board want to eliminate them in favor of honors work that can be done as part of regular classes. The Board had a spirited debate about that last night.
These things are all related because they go to the health and quality of the Madison public schools. MMSD is losing enrollment in part because more parents are transferring their kids out of the system than into it. The Board wants more data on that. They suggest doing exit and entry interviews to get a better handle on why parents are opting out or in.
That’s fine, but the net out migration is a key problem. It could be related to lack of discipline and good order in the schools. That’s why putting Copeland back to work was so important. It sends the message that the Board cares about this issue. Now let’s see what Copeland can do in a full semester next year. Maybe he has approaches and answers that can be replicated throughout the District.
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”
My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results
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.
“An emphasis on adult employment”
Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]
WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators
Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results
Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration.
No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?