“the future gets reinvented daily, in terms of the way the world is working right now.” – Madison’s incoming Superintendent

Cris Cruz and Leila Fletcher

He shared his concerns about trying to create a one-size-fits-all solution for access to advanced learning and literacy instruction across schools and districts.

“We know that if we do the same in all school districts, that we’re going to continue to have students who aren’t accessing it and being successful the way that others are,” said Dr. Gothard. “I’m very concerned that if not done well and done with an equity mindset, that we could just be perpetuating gaps, opportunity gaps, [and] access to learning.”

He also said there will be a focus on the structure for reading instruction. He wants to make sure every student has “time every day for a dose of a very individualized science-of-reading-based learning experience, where they can be monitored, day in, day out.”

Rather than prioritizing a district-wide routine, Gothard stressed the importance of flexibility to “truly meet the needs of students.” He explained the role of community engagement in raising awareness about reading and the traits that make a reader successful.

“I believe we can activate our community just by sharing with them, this is what it means to decode words. This is what phonemic awareness is. This is why fluency is important,” he said. This will allow the community to support the district’s efforts in improving reading instruction and will also help the community keep him accountable. “If I want to be accountable for something as a superintendent, reading, I’m in. Hold me accountable for reading. But we must do it together.”

When more Madison students are proficient in reading, access to advanced learning opportunities will be an even more pressing matter. In past years, MMSD has grappled with whether to abolish traditional honors classes in favor of embedded honors options. When, however, the district got pushback from parents and the community, the plan was temporarily scrapped.


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.

When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?