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Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results



Governor Evers:

TO THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE SENATE:
I am vetoing Senate Bill 454 in its entirety.

The bill would mandate school boards and independent charter schools to assess the early literacy skill of pupils in four-year-old kindergarten to second grade using repeated screening assessments throughout the year and to create a personal reading plan for each pupil in five-year-old kindergarten to second grade who is identified as at-risk. It would also mandate the Department of
Public Instruction establish and maintain lists of approved fundamental skills screening
assessments, universal screening assessments, and diagnostic assessments on its Internet site
based on alignment with model academic standards in reading and language arts, and a mandatory minimum sensitivity rate and specificity rate.

Further, this bill would mandate a school board, for
each school and the district, or operator of an independent charter, to annually submit a report to
the Department regarding the number of pupils identified as at-risk, the names of reading assessments used, and the number of pupils five-year-old kindergarten to second grade who receive
literacy interventions, all information which the Department would have to then annually compile
and report to the Legislature. The bill provides no additional funding to implement its new mandates
for additional testing or to address staffing or other resource needs necessary for implementation
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the prior two years have been especially challenging for
our kids, parents, and schools. We must work–and quickly-to address reading proficiency and
increase literacy success for every kid in our classrooms. I have advocated for some time, including during my time on the Read to Lead Task Force, for increased efforts at the state level to support our kids and our schools so we can ensure every student’s success. This dialogue, however, must be based on proven, evidence based practices, and cannot be independent from discussions about
the state’s obligation to provide meaningful, sustainable support for our classrooms and our
schools.

I am vetoing this bill in its entirety because I object to fundamentally overhauling Wisconsin literacy
instruction and intervention without evidence that more statewide, mandatory testing is the best
approach for our students, and without providing the funding needed for implementation. This bill
ultimately reduces valuable instruction time while asking schools to strain their existing resources,
instead of providing necessary funding to support the work educators, administrators, and staff are
currently doing to support reading and literacy for our students

Referencing the Read to Lead Task Force in light of Mr. Evers subsequent use of teacher mulligans is rather fascinating.

Molly Beck:

In Wisconsin, fourth graders are on average not scoring high enough to be considered proficient in reading, according to their most recent performance measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the nation’s report card.

About 35% of the Wisconsin fourth grade students who took the test scored at or above proficient in reading — a proportion that has barely changed since 1992 when the test was first administered.

LaKeeshia Myers on AB446

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

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?




In support of Wisconsin AB446, urging Governor Evers signature



By Kadjata Bah, Josepha DaCosta and Moises Hernandez

The Kohlenberg paper looks closely at school-to-prison pipelines and uses the 14th Amendment’s citizenship clause to emphasize her case. She points out the Constitution “authorizes and mandates Congress to guarantee a meaningful floor of adequate functional literacy instruction nationwide.” During the past few years, federal courts have agreed several times with Kohlenberg’s positions.

Notes and links on AB446.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Wisconsin AB446 Vote and Representative Remarks



AB446 Legislative links and lobbying information. (League of Women voters is against!)

Speakers, in order:

0.08: Rep. Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) voted No.

4:50: Rep. Robert Wittke (R-Racine) voted Yes.

6:30: Rep. Deb Andraca (D-Whitefish Bay) voted No.

11:40 Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) voted yes.

14:14 Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du lac) voted yes.

30.08: Rep. LaKeisha Myers (D-Milwaukee) voted no.

39:10 Rep. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) voted no (?).

41:37 Rep. Don Vruwink (D-Milton) voted no.

43:52 Rep. Jonathan Brostoff (D-Milwaukee) voted no.

50:20 Rep. Joel Kitchens (R-Sturgeon Bay) voted yes.

Transcript.

Legislative campaign finance reports. WisPolitics summary.

Much more on our latest attempt to address Wisconsin (and Madison’s) long term, disastrous reading results: AB446.




Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446



mp3 audio

Transcript (Machine Generated).

Representative LaKeshia Myers.

Related: Assembly bill AB446

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Roadmap to Reading Success Wisconsin Assembly Vote (AB446)



October 21, 2021 11:00a.m. CST. Watch via Wisconsin Eye.

Wisconsin AB 446; SIS links.

The list of lobbying organizations (many taxpayer supported!) opposed to Roadmap to Reading Success is remarkable:

Association of Wisconsin School Administrators

League of Women Voters Wisconsin (!)

Pearson NA (!)

Southeastern Wisconsin Schools Alliance

WIRSA

Wisconsin Association of School Boards

Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials

Wisconsin Association of School Personnel Administrators

Wisconsin Education Association Council

Wisconsin Retired Educators Association

Wisconsin State Reading Association

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Kelly Butler Wisconsin AB446 Testimony



Transcript (machine generated)

mp3 audio

Notes and links on AB446.

Kelly Butler Barksdale Reading Institute bio.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Donna Hejtmanek Wisconsin AB446 Testimony



“1993: Wisconsin Students #3 in the Nation in Reading

2019: #27

If Mississippi can do it, we can do it”.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Civics: “Our two-party system isn’t always great, but it’s far preferable to one in which a single party gains total control”



Paul Buchheit:

The Biden situation is a good example of why single-party states are dangerous — the incentives always favor party loyalty over truth. If it weren’t for the disastrous debate and upcoming elections, experts and insiders would still be insisting that Biden is “sharp as a tack”, and that all evidence to the contrary are “cheapfakes” and dangerous misinformation.

Our two-party system isn’t always great, but it’s far preferable to one in which a single party gains total control. I believe this is also a significant factor in the California/SF dysfunction. Without a viable opposition party, party leaders can get away with just about anything, and corruption and incompetence grows unchecked.

—-

Madison has had many uncontested elections in recent years….

Yet:

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?




Notes on “voucher” schools; accountability?



Dave Zweifel

Many educators complained at the time that the entire voucher program would serve as a foot in the door to eventually undermine the public school system — a system that had served the country since colonial days and was credited with representing the true melting pot among children from different cultures, races and incomes. Besides, experiments comparing public and private schools in other places hadn’t resulted in any significant improvements in student outcomes.

The ACLU filed suit against the religious school expansion and in 1998, the State Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional. But, three years later the U.S. Supreme Court okayed the concept, agreeing with voucher proponents that taxpayer money actually went to parents who then could use the money as they saw fit for their children’s education. Therefore, states weren’t directly sending funds to religious schools, the court found.

From those beginnings here in Wisconsin, that seemingly modest little program has blossomed into a colossus that is rapidly creating a complete second school system funded by the American taxpayer.

“Billions in taxpayer dollars are being used to pay tuition at religious schools throughout the country, as state voucher programs expand dramatically and the line separating public education and religion fades,” a report in the Washington Post read earlier this month.

——-

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Students are coming to college less able and less willing to read. Professors are stymied.



Beth McMurtrie:

Theresa MacPhail is a pragmatist. In her 15 years of teaching, as the number of students who complete their reading assignments has steadily declined, she has adapted. She began assigning fewer readings, then fewer still. Less is more, she reasoned. She would focus on the readings that mattered most and were interesting to them.

For a while, that seemed to work. But then things started to take a turn for the worse. Most students still weren’t doing the reading. And when they were, more and more struggled to understand it. Some simply gave up. Their distraction levels went “through the roof,” MacPhail said. They had trouble following her instructions. And sometimes, students said her expectations — such as writing a final research paper with at least 25 sources — were unreasonable.

——

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?




Wisconsin’s Act 10, Flexible Pay, and the Impact on Teacher Labor Markets: Student test scores rise in flexible-pay districts. So does a gender gap for teacher compensation.



Barbara Biasi

Using employment records on all public-school teachers in Wisconsin linked to individual student information on achievement and demographics from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, I first document how teacher salaries changed in flexible-pay and seniority-pay districts in the aftermath of the reform. After the expiration of districts’ collective bargaining agreements, salary differences among teachers with similar seniority and credentials emerged in flexible-pay districts, but not in seniority-pay districts. Before the passage of Act 10, such teachers would have been paid the same. These newly emerging differences are related to teachers’ effectiveness: Teachers with higher value-added (individual contributions to the growth in student achievement, as measured by standardized test scores) started earning more in flexible-pay districts. This finding is striking considering that school districts in Wisconsin neither calculate value-added nor use it to make any human-resources decisions. School and district administrators appear to be able to identify an effective teacher when they see one.

Does Flexible Pay Attract Better Teachers?

Changes in teachers’ pay arrangements after the expiration of the collective bargaining agreements changed teachers’ incentives to stay in their district or to move, depending on the teachers’ effectiveness and the pay plan in place in their district of origin. Because flexible-pay districts compensate teachers for their effectiveness and seniority-pay districts only reward them for seniority and academic credentials, teachers with higher effectiveness should want to move to flexible-pay districts, whereas teachers with lower effectiveness and higher seniority should want to move to seniority-pay districts.

The data confirm these hypotheses. The rate of cross-district movement more than doubled after Act 10, with most moves occurring across districts of different type (flexible-pay vs. seniority-pay). Teachers who moved to a flexible-pay district after a collective bargaining agreement expired were more than a standard deviation more effective, on average, than teachers who moved to the same districts before the expiration; these teachers also had lower seniority and academic credentials and enjoyed a significant pay increase upon moving. The effectiveness of teachers moving to seniority-pay districts, on the other hand, did not change. and these teachers did not experience any change in pay.

——-

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

——

The late 1990’s Milwaukee pension scandal is worth a deep dive as well.

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More.

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




The academic performance and mental wellbeing of world cup babies



Dirk Bethmann and Jae Il Cho

Highlights

The 2002 FIFA World Cup led to an unexpected and temporary increase in South Korea’s fertility rate.

We use the quasi-experimental nature of the event to examine Becker’s trade-off between quantity and quality of children.

Our results support the notion of adverse effects on child quality measured by academic performance or school test scores.

We uncover that the same students exhibit significantly higher degrees of mental wellbeing.




“Currently, only about 30 percent of Wisconsin school districts use a science of reading approach”



Corrinne Hess:

“I think DPI is trying to appease the masses and go with the status quo,” Warner said. “I think they are putting in too many, and putting in poor quality because they are not willing to push the envelope of what they are expecting in schools.” 

——

More.

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




Overall, the Taxpayer supported Madison School District plans to spend about $591 million this school year”



Chris Rickert:

Math achievement did not necessarily line up with per-pupil spending in Dane County and Wisconsin’s largest districts. Madison spent the most, for example, of the 10 county districts included in the analysis, or $18,896 per pupil in the 2021-22 school year, according to data from the state Department of Public Instruction. Among the state’s largest districts, it was second only to Milwaukee, which spent the most per student, or $19,164, in 2021-22, and had the lowest math scores.

Schools nationwide closed to in-person learning on the recommendation of federal health officials in March 2020 and in some cases, such as in Madison, didn’t fully reopen until the 2021-22 school year — a year and a half later. Public health researchers have long known that the old and the sick were most at risk of dying or developing serious illness from COVID-19, and research as early as the fall of 2020 indicated that in-person schooling did not create an elevated risk of getting COVID for students or employees.

While it’s not known to what degree closing schools curbed the spread of the disease, an October 2022 analysis by the joint Madison-Dane County public health agency of COVID hospitalizations and deaths linked to in-person schooling in Dane County showed there had been no deaths and eight hospitalizations among school populations — six of students and two of teachers.

One school-age person in Dane County, a 16-year-old boy, died of COVID-19, on Nov. 25, 2020.

——

$pending is always a challenge, given the moving numbers.

Mr. Rickert mentions current school year spending of $591,000,000 for 25,581 students or $23,103 per student.

——-

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




“diminishes our district’s ability to maintain our high standard for 4K services that are needed for our families” – credentialism



Rich Kremer:

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards, the Wisconsin Educational Association Council teachers union and Wisconsin State Reading Association have registered against the bill. The Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association and the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association have registered in support.

Wisconsin Early Childhood Association Co-Director Paula Drew told legislators that while the organization “acknowledges that the way childcare is funded is flawed” in Wisconsin, the bill is “pitting public schools against local childcare providers.”

“While equitable 4K funding for community 4K childcare is an important piece, it’s not the silver bullet to solve the current childcare crisis,” Drew said. “Above all, there must be an ongoing state investment to stabilize childcare infrastructure in Wisconsin.”

SB 973

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




Don’t Fuss About Training AIs. Train Our Kids



Esther Dyson:

People worried about AI taking their jobs are competing with a myth. Instead, people should train themselves to be better humans.

We should automate routine tasks and use the money and time saved to allow humans to do more meaningful work, especially helping parents raise healthier, more engaged children.

We should know enough to manipulate ourselves and to resist manipulation by others.

Front-line trainers are crucial to raising healthy, resilient, curious children who will grow into adults capable of loving others and overcoming challenges. There’s no formal curriculum for front-line trainers. Rather, it’s about training kids—and the parents who raise them—to do two fundamental things.

First, ensure that they develop the emotional security to think long term rather than grasp at short-term solutions through drugs, food, social media, gambling or other harmful palliatives. (Perhaps the best working definition of addiction is “doing something now for short-term relief that you know you will regret later.”)

Second, kids need to understand themselves and understand the motivations of the people, institutions and social media they interact with. That’s how to combat fake news—or the distrust of real news. It is less about traditional media literacy and more about understanding: “Why am I seeing this news? Are they trying to get me angry—or just using me to sell ads?”

Unfortunately, many children today are exposed to bad training as the result of having divorced or missing parents or experiencing abuse, hunger, exposure to addiction, mental illness, racism or bullying. These children complete less school, commit more crime and suffer from more instances of addiction, obesity and poor health than their peers with loving relatives and helpful neighbors. Affected children then often pass these vulnerabilities to those around them, including their own children when they become adults. Everyone suffers (including future taxpayers).

Expecting and new parents are the ideal place to begin such training. They are generally eager for help and guidance, which used to come from their own parents and relatives, from schools and from religious leaders. Now such guidance is scarce.

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




“employers can no longer rely on applicants with university degrees to be more capable or smarter than those without degrees”



Bob Uttl, Victoria Violo and Lacey Gibson

Background. According to a widespread belief, the average IQ of university students is 115 to 130 IQ points, that is, substantially higher than the average IQ of the general population (M = 100, SD =15). We traced the origin of this belief to obsolete intelligence data collected in 1940s and 1950s when university education was the privilege of a few. Examination of more recent IQ data indicate that IQ of university students and university graduates dropped to the average of the general population. The decline in students’ IQ is a necessary consequence of increasing educational attainment over the last 80 years. Today, graduating from university is more common than completing high school in the 1940s. Method. We conducted a meta-analysis of the mean IQ scores of college and university students samples tested with Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale between 1939 and 2022. Results. The results show that the average IQ of undergraduate students today is a mere 102 IQ points and declined by approximately 0.2 IQ points per year. The students’ IQ also varies substantially across universities and is correlated with the selectivity of universities (measured by average SAT scores of admitted students). Discussion. These findings have wide-ranging implications. First, universities and professors need to realize that students are no longer extraordinary but merely average, and have to adjust curricula and academic standards. Second, employers can no longer rely on applicants with university degrees to be more capable or smarter than those without degrees.

more:

Our findings reveal a consistent decline in the correlation over time. These findings question the assumed shift towards meritocracy in educational systems and highlight a more complex relationship between cognitive ability and educational attainment.

Commentary:




Notes on absenteeism in the taxpayer funded Madison K-12 system



Scott Girard:

In total, nearly 9,000 children in Madison public schools missed more than 10% of the school year, a rate of absenteeism that can indicate broader problems facing children and puts them at risk of a serious, long-term disadvantage in learning.

Grelinda Isom’s four children are among those considered chronically absent. Isom herself has found the system a challenge to navigate as she tries to advocate for her children and their needs, she said, and each additional roadblock further drives a wedge between her family and the schools.

“The way they’re treated, them being heard, them crying out for help from trusted adults that they consider there for them, that they trust — they’re telling them what they need and their needs are still not being met,” she said, detailing Individualized Education Plans and safety plans going unfulfilled. “Mentally, physically it’s messing them up because they feel like no matter what they do, they’re not going to be heard or their needs are not going to be met.”

The chronic absenteeism rate is rising across Wisconsin and the country after the COVID-19 pandemic, with Madison’s fast-rising rates contributing to the trend. Across all Wisconsin schools, 22.7% of students missed enough days to be categorized as chronically absent in 2021-22, up from 12.7% in 2017-18.

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




WILL & SCW Report Shows How Choice Programs Serve Students with Disabilities



WILL:

The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and School Choice Wisconsin (SCW) released a new report examining amount of special needs students in Wisconsin’s choice schools serve students with disabilities. Serving All: Students with Disabilities in Wisconsin’s Parental Choice Programs shows that schools in Wisconsin choice programs serve far more disabled students than previously reported by Left-wing blogs, media outlets, and even the Department of Public Instruction (DPI).

Our findings match a non-partisan five-year evaluation of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program conducted in 2012 by the John Witte (University of Wisconsin) and Patrick Wolf (University of Arkansas).

­­­­­

The Quotes: Will Flanders, PhD, WILL Research Director, said, “As public support and enrollment in choice schools grows across Wisconsin, so do efforts to discredit and destroy the program. In response to desperate and outrageous reports disparaging the ways choice schools serve Wisconsin students, WILL and SCW are providing the facts.”

Nic Kelly, President of School Choice Wisconsin, added, “This report puts to bed one of the many lies opponents of parental choice use to slander Wisconsin’s programs as discriminatory. Choice schools work with parents to create a positive learning environment for students — and often do so without extra funding public schools have access to.”

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




9 Citizens at a Madison School District Superintendent Search “roundtable”



David Blaska:

Once every blue moon, the Head Groundskeeper does what he says he is going to do. Posing as average citizen “David Blaska,” he sat in with eight other citizens at one of three roundtables coordinated 10-04-23 by the headhunters hired by the Madison public school district to find yet another a new superintendent.

Monica Santana Rosen, head priestess of the Chicago-based Alma Advisory Group, moderated Blaska’s table. Must say, she was equanimous — especially when one self-righteous scold tried to censor Blaska’s comment that our schools should quit with the diversity, equity & inclusion scam and teach, instead, the one skill essential to all learning: self-discipline. Too many kids are not learning it at home. Our schools teach grievance and victimhood, instead. And bad manners, judging by that table mate.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




“Sustainable development goals”



Harry Waters

Just over seven years ago the United Nations developed the 2030 agenda. The central theme of this agenda was the development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But what are the SDGs? Why are they relevant to my English classroom? And how can I incorporate them into the curriculum? 

Let’s take a look at how, when and why we should be using the Sustainable Development Goals. We’ll change them from simply being a poster on the wall to being an effective learning tool and look at how to genuinely encourage students to engage in and connect with the 17 SDGs.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




DPI ‘equity’ speakers talk revolution; Wisconsin parents just want their kids to be able to read



Patrick Mcilheran:

The series of day-long webinars, four per school year, is an initiative of the DPI, the regulator of every Wisconsin school. The agency says it doesn’t necessarily endorse everything said by every one of the academics it invites, but since racial equity is the first quality it mentions in its mission statement, one can see why 2,500 people signed up last school year to hear what was said under the sponsorship of the agency that controls Wisconsin teachers’ licenses.

One clear theme is the installing of a new definition of racism, one most Americans do not agree with, one that says racism isn’t an injustice committed by an individual who treats some people worse on account of their skin but, rather, the inescapable structure of American society.

This “structural racism” idea — “Racism Without Racists,” to quote the title of a book by one of the series’ regular speakers — leads to some remarkable conclusions.

It means, said the book’s author, Duke University sociologist Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, that when white people don’t racially discriminate, it’s “color-blind racism,” a “covert, subtle or even unconscious” evil.

Next spring, the series will feature Ibram X. Kendi, the best-selling author who preaches that society must go out of its way to treat some people worse than others on account of their race, to make things even. In January, it features Robin DiAngelo, famous for accusing any objectors to such a new order of being afflicted with “white fragility.” She’ll discuss her latest book, which says white Americans who try hard to treat minorities fairly are really “nice racists” who, if they avoid giving offense, are guilty of racist “carefulness.”

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




US Copyright Office wants to hear what people think about AI and copyright



Emilia David:

The US Copyright Office is opening a public comment period around AI and copyright issues beginning August 30th as the agency figures out how to approach the subject. 

As announced in the Federal Register, the agency wants to answer three main questions: how AI models should use copyrighted data in training; whether AI-generated material can be copyrighted even without a human involved; and how copyright liability would work with AI. It also wants comments around AI possibly violating publicity rights but noted these are not technically copyright issues. The Copyright Office said if AI does mimic voices, likenesses, or art styles, it may impact state-mandated rules around publicity and unfair competition laws. 

Written comments are due on October 18th, and replies must be submitted to the Copyright Office by November 15th. 

The copyright status of AI training data and the output of generative AI tools has become a hot topic for politicians, artists, authors, and even civil rights groups, making it a potential testing ground for coming AI regulation. The Copyright Office says that “over the past several years, the Office has begun to receive applications to register works containing AI-generated material.” It may use the comments to inform how it decides to grant copyright in the future.




Accountability and the Wisconsin DPI



Corrine Hess

According to DPI, Holy Redeemer did not submit its September 2021 enrollment audit in a timely manner. The school also failed to timely submit its 2021-22 Fiscal & Internal Control Practices Report, which determines if the school has sound fiscal and internal control practices.  

These practices include paying vendors and employees on time, completing employee background checks and other practices required for participation in the choice program.  

Instead of withholding payment, DPI and Holy Redeemer entered into a settlement agreement and the school agreed it would provide all required reports in the future.  

But, in 2022 and in 2023, the school failed to meet due dates and provided incomplete reports, according to DPI.  

Holy Redeemer Christian Academy has participated in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program since the 1998-99 school year.  

In the latest state school district report card for academic year 2021-22, Holy Redeemer failed to meet expectations, receiving an overall score of 28.4 percent.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




Wisconsin education officials wrongly label Black students as more ‘at-risk’ “We combed through the dropout prediction formulas for many states and fortunately Wisconsin was the only one where we found race was being considered”



Dan Lennington and Will Flanders

Encouraging high-school graduation is a policy that garners broad support, as it paves the way for higher wages and a better quality of life. In 2015, bipartisan majorities passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, a law aimed at reducing dropout rates. Since then, dropout rates have declined about 13%. But now a new twist: education bureaucrats in Wisconsin are taking a misguided approach by injecting race into dropout calculations. This new policy wrongly assumes that a student’s race is a dropout risk factor, perpetuating harmful stereotypes.

To identify students at-risk of dropping out, most school districts employ something called an “Early Warning System.” This tool is a relatively simple computer program that takes risk factors, weighs them, and then labels some students at-risk, which triggers personalized intervention strategies to help them graduate.

So, what is a dropout risk factor? It’s common sense: attendance, behavior, academic performance, and personal obstacles (homelessness and number of address changes, for example). Students ranking low in two or three of these are identified for extra support.

Simple enough. But commonsense isn’t enough for some schools. Wisconsin is adding another risk factor: race.

Wisconsin’s Dropout Early Warning System, or DEWS, uses race to predict how likely Wisconsin students are to graduate from high school. So if a student is Black, that’s a dropout risk in the same way as a student who is frequently absent.

In practice, however, adding race doesn’t really work. According to a recent investigation by Chalkbeat and The Markup, nonprofit, nonpartisan news organizations, DEWS generated highly inaccurate data, predicting many more Black and Hispanic students would drop out than actually did.

Wisconsin’s own internal validation test showed that the system was wrong almost 75% of the time. This leads to several negative consequences. Decades of education researchprove that students perceived as likely to be low achieving by teachers, even at random, learn less than students for whom expectations are higher. Moreover, distributing resources based on these wrong assumptions will invariably take those resources away from other students who actually do need the help.

Apart from wondering why Wisconsin would use a factor that led to inaccurate results, you may also wonder whether using race to predict drop-out risk is, well, a bit racist.

When asked about that, Wisconsin’s education spokeswoman Abigail Swetz explained, “The reality is that we live in a white supremacist society, and the education system is systemically racist.” 

By artificially injecting “race” as a predictor, Wisconsin education officials are not actually measuring dropout risks. They are making a political statement about their belief in the theory of systemic racism. Adherents to this hold that all racial disparities are caused by racism. Therefore, if more Blacks than whites are dropping out of school, then the cause must be racism. So it makes perfect sense to add race as a dropout factor, since race is the real reason why kids are dropping out.

Taxpayer funded DPI:

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




“Of the students who take an initial education course [in Michigan]…. only about one-quarter reach the student teaching stage…”



Education Policy Innovation Collaborative

In this report, we combine data about students in Michigan’s K-12 public schools and public universities with educator certification testing, credentialing, and employment records to examine how the pool of prospective Michigan teachers changes as candidates progress through the pipeline and into the workforce.

KEY FINDINGS:

  1. Enrollment in undergraduate teacher education courses has decreased over time and varies by demographic group.
  2. Only a fraction of the students who take an initial education course become student teachers.
  3. Prospective teachers of color are disproportionately likely to exit the pipeline during the advanced coursework, student teaching, and licensure testing stages.
  4. Recent cohorts of teacher preparation graduates are more likely to work as public school teachers in Michigan.
  5. Black teacher preparation graduates are more likely to enter and stay in Michigan’s public school teaching workforce.
  6. The pool of prospective Michigan teachers becomes less diverse as candidates progress between the coursework, licensure, and employment stages.

Commentary.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




Rare media advocacy for Madison K-12 Accountability



Wisconsin State Journal:

It’s not just LeMonds’ staff that has struggled to work with him. LeMonds physically blocked a WMTV-TV (Ch. 15) news reporter from posing a question to Superintendent Carlton Jenkins at a public event — even grabbing and pushing down her hand and microphone, as video of the incident shows. He allegedly called the same female reporter a “pig,” among other insults, according to LeMonds’ staff. He used an expletive to describe how much he hated a female reporter for the State Journal last summer, his staff alleges.

LeMonds even ignored requests from Kelly Lecker, our executive editor, to meet with her after she was hired more than a year ago. What kind of a public relations manager refuses to sit down with and get to know the incoming leader of the major news outlet in his city? A bad one. A really bad one.

LeMonds only made the staff complaint against him a bigger and lengthier story by suing the district — the same one that employs him — to try to keep the allegations secret. A Dane County judge rejected his awkward and brash move, siding with the district in favor of the public’s right to know.

LeMonds recently told the State Journal he hasn’t been following the news coverage of the staff complaints against him. Really? His job should require him to be on top of any and all news about Madison’s schools, especially the bad stuff. That’s only more evidence he’s not doing his job.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




“About one out of every seven Madison School District middle and high school students is considered at risk of not graduating from high school”



Kimberly Wethal:

Higher rates of chronic absenteeism are largely driving the increase, as about 98% of the district’s 2,231 at-risk students have been deemed “habitually truant,” defined as missing more than 10% of days in an academic year. The number of students considered habitually truant during the 2021-22 school year more than tripled from the year before, according to data presented to the Madison School Board Monday night.

Students in grades five through 12 are considered at risk by the state when they either have dropped out or can be classified in two or more categories considered detrimental to their education, including being:

  • One or more years behind their peers in the number of high school credits earned.
  • Two or more years behind in basic skill levels.
  • Pregnant or a parent.
  • An eighth-grader who scored below “basic” on state exams.
  • Habitually truant.

The number of students in each category increased in 2021-22, with the exception of students who are pregnant or parenting, a number that’s fallen from 40 five years ago to just a handful now. About 1,714 students, or more than 10%, had fallen behind by two school years, an increase from 946 students in 2018-19, the last year before the pandemic. The number of eighth graders scoring low on state exams has doubled since then.

The number of at-risk students each year is based on data collected the year prior. In 2021-22, there were 14,980 students in grades five through 12 in the district.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




Schools Are Ditching Homework, Deadlines in Favor of ‘Equitable Grading



Sara Randazzo:

Las Vegas high-school English teacher Laura Jeanne Penrod initially thought the grading changes at her school district made sense. Under the overhaul, students are given more chances to prove they have mastered a subject without being held to arbitrary deadlines, in recognition of challenges some children have outside school

Soon after the system was introduced, however, Ms. Penrod said her 11th-grade honors students realized the new rules minimized the importance of homework to their final grades, leading many to forgo the brainstorming and rough drafts required ahead of writing a persuasive essay. Some didn’t turn in the essay at all, knowing they could redo it later.




‘Kids Can’t Read’: The Revolt That Is Taking On the Education Establishment



Sarah Mervosh:

About one in three children in the United States cannot read at a basic level of comprehension, according to a key national exam. The outcomes are particularly troubling for Black and Native American children, nearly half of whom score “below basic” by eighth grade.

“The kids can’t read — nobody wants to just say that,” said Kareem Weaver, an activist with the N.A.A.C.P. in Oakland, Calif., who has framed literacy as a civil rights issue and stars in a new documentary, “The Right to Read.”

Science of reading advocates say the reason is simple: Many children are not being correctly taught.

A popular method of teaching, known as “balanced literacy,” has focused less on phonics and more on developing a love of books and ensuring students understand the meaning of stories. At times, it has included dubious strategies, like guiding children to guess words from pictures.

The push for reform picked up in 2019, when national reading scores showed significant improvement in just two places: Mississippi and Washington, D.C. Both had required more phonics.

But what might have remained a niche education issue was supercharged by a storm of events: a pandemic that mobilized parents; Covid relief money that gave school districts flexibility to change; a fresh spotlight on racial disparities after the murder of George Floyd; and a hit education podcast with a passionate following.

“There is this urgency around the story, this unbelievable grief,” said Emily Hanford, a journalist at American Public Media. Her podcast, “Sold a Story,” detailed how stars of the literacy world and their publisher diverged from scientific research. It racked up nearly 5 million downloads.

The movement has not been universally popular. School districts in Connecticut and teachers’ unions in Ohio, for example, pushed back against what they see as heavy-handed interference in their classrooms.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




About the science in “The Science of Reading”



Mark Seidenberg:

My heart sank. Why would a person need to ask this? The goal of teaching children to read is reading, not phonemic awareness. We know that learning to read does not require being able to identify 44 phonemes or demonstrate proficiency on phoneme deletion and substitution tasks because until very recently no one who learned to read had to do these things. Instruction in subskills such as phonemic awareness is justified to the extent it advances the goal of reading, not for its own sake. 

If a student is reading–if they’ve “broken the code,” as Phil Gough1 put it years ago–instruction can focus on the many more things that need to be learned to become a skilled reader. Instructional time is limited and the clock is ticking down to 4th grade.Time spent jumping through PA hoops could instead be spent on activities that expand the knowledge that supports comprehending texts of increasing complexity and variety.

These conclusions seem obvious to me, given my understanding of the relevant research literature and the conditions under which children learn to read. They weren’t obvious to the questioner, or to the people who posted to “chat” thanking them for asking, and they won’t be obvious to many people reading this document.

“Well, it’s kind of too bad that we’ve got the smartest people at our universities, and yet we have to create a law to tell them how to teach.”

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?




Growing student absenteeism



Scott Girard:

Wisconsin K-12 students had a significantly higher rate of chronic absenteeism following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.

The report, published Friday, shows there was an increase from a 12.4% chronic absenteeism rate in the 2016-17 school year to 16.1% in in 2020-21, the first full school year after the pandemic began.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as a student missing more than 10% of possible school days, through excused or unexcused absences.

“Research has tied high rates of chronic absenteeism to lower student achievement, decreased student mental health, higher dropout rates, and more challenges in adulthood,” the report states.

While the report notes that absenteeism rose in all types of schools around the state, the five largest districts by enrollment — Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine — had an absenteeism rate of 31.8% among them, while all other districts had a rate of 12.6%.

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?




“In the survey, respondents highlighted that there were too many fights and and too much bullying, and unsafe environments throughout schools, all without much accountability”



Olivia Herken:

This week the school district contended with more violent incidents. On Tuesday, a 14-year-old was stabbed in the chest in a park after an incident at a middle school parking lot earlier in the day, and on Wednesday, police were called to East High for a fight between students.

Some survey respondents called for the removal of students who were disruptive in classes. Others want to bring back school resource officers, who were removed from schools in 2020. Additional cameras, security and metal detectors in buildings also were recommended.

One large theme from the survey results was a stronger emphasis on mental health for both students and staff. Specifically, respondents said there needs to be more support staff, training, dialogue and resources for those who are struggling.

In terms of nutrition, those who responded said there needed to be higher quality meals and lower prices, as well as provisions on hand for students who face food hardships when they aren’t at school.

2011: a majority of the taxpayer funded Madison School Board aborts the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School in a 5-2 vote.

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?




The disturbing truth about a huge educational error



Fiona McCann:

The most terrifying podcast I listened to so far this year was not about the death of American democracy or even Jordan Peele’s new horror offering (though more of that at a later date). Rather, it was a podcast about reading.

Sold a Story, Emily Hanford’s new six-parter highlighting how American kids have been learning – or more accurately, not learning – to read for decades, is an investigation into why teachers, parents, and governments came to believe in a methodology that she says caused harm to a generation of children.

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?




Here’s what you should know about honors classes in the Madison School District



Olivia Herken:

His stand-alone classes didn’t give him that much deeper of an understanding of a subject than earning honors did, Hernandez said.

In his general Western civilization class, for example, he had to read an additional book to earn his honors credits, which allowed him to gain more knowledge than he normally would have.

“(Stand-alone) honors does feel slightly more rigorous, but usually still manageable,” West High senior Holly Wright said.

Wright said she liked the earned honors format, though, because it allowed her to dive deeper into classes and subjects she enjoyed without it feeling like too much additional work.

Honors classes are often seen as precursors for Advanced Placement, or AP, classes that students take later on, but the two are separate.

AP classes are designed by the College Board to give students the chance to earn college credit when they perform well on the exam given at the end of the course. Students have the option to take the test or not, and AP courses are most often offered to juniors and seniors.

Deja vu: one size fits all: English 10.

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?




K-12 Governance – Wisconsin DPI; all about the Money…



Complete Interview.

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?




Fifty-eight educators say ‘Sold a Story’ podcast series sells incomplete story about reading instruction



Posted at the Hechinger Report:

Re “A company has made millions selling books on reading instruction rooted in bad science” (Nov. 10, 2022)

We are educators who have devoted our lives to the cause of helping children read and write with power. We’re dismayed that at this moment in our history, when all of us should be banding together to support literacy education, the podcast “Sold a Story” fans divisiveness, creating a false sense that there is a war going on between those who believe in phonics and those who do not. Systematic phonics instruction is essential. That is a settled issue. And essential, too, is comprehension strategy instruction, knowledge building, vocabulary acquisition, language development, writing process, culturally responsive teaching, emotional well-being and attention to educational equity.

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?




“I’ll just note here in passing that traditionalists believe that the ability to communicate is an important skill for a teacher”



Dave Cieslewicz:

To which I think I can safely say that I share a widespread reaction among Madisonians: Huh?

Again, we could use a whole lot more context here and it would be useful if Copeland would speak to reporters to clarity just exactly what was going on. But from what’s currently on the record it looks as if Copeland believed that his teachers should have strong English language skills and he felt the District was hiring teachers without those skills, perhaps to meet diversity goals.

Here are a few questions that spring to mind from a writer who is against racism but not necessarily on board with the whole “anti-racist” thing. First, how are students of color served by teachers who struggle to communicate ideas clearly? Second, how are those students served by a chaotic and sometimes even dangerous environment? Third, wouldn’t a principal who was insisting on teachers with strong language skills and on orderly and safe classrooms be serving those students better than anyone?

The story will go on. Copeland is fighting to get his job back and so there will be more proceedings along those lines in which, I hope, more questions will be answered. But from what we know now this looks like yet another mess the Madison School District has gotten itself into because of its obsession with graduate level anti-racist theories as opposed to dealing head on with the real racial unfairness on the ground.

And with that, have a good weekend, folks.

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?




“Labor Unions reduce product quality”



Alex Tabarrok:

A very nice paper in Management Science by Kini, Shen, Shenoy and Subramanian finds that labor unions reduce product quality. Two strengths of the paper. First, the authors have relatively objective measures of product quality from thousands of product recalls mandated by the FDA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration covering many different industries. Second the authors use 3 different methods. First, they find that unionized firms are more likely to have recalls than non-unionized firms (a simple difference in means subject to many potential cofounds but I still like to see the raw data), second they find that in a panel model with industry and year fixed effects and other controls that firms which are more unionized have a greater frequency of product recalls. Finally they find that firms where the union just barely won the vote are more likely to have subsequent product recalls than firms for which the union just barely lost the vote–a regression discontinuity study.

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”

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]

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?




“First, many states began to emphasize school accountability starting in the 1990s”



David Leonhardt:

Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas and other states more rigorously measured student learning and pushed struggling schools to adopt approaches that were working elsewhere. The accountability movement went national in the 2000s, through laws signed by George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

The timing of the test-score increases is consistent with this story, as researchers at the Brookings Institution have noted. As you can see in the charts above, the biggest gains came shortly after states began holding schools more accountable for student learning. In more recent years, the gains leveled off. This pattern suggests that schools made some important changes in response to accountability policies but then struggled to maintain the pace of improvement.

Wisconsin’s attempt to increase reading rigor was defeated by Governor Evers extensive use of teacher mulligans.

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”

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]

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?




Taxpayer Supported Madison School District plans to spend $543M+ during 2022-2023; about $21k/student



Elizabeth Beyer:

The district is receiving $70.6 million over the course of three payments. The district’s first installment, ESSER I, was approximately $9.2 million and had been exhausted by the end of the 2020-21 school year. Currently, $39.8 million of the second two installments, ESSER II and III, are written into the 2022-23 preliminary budget. The remaining $21.6 million has yet to be allocated and must be exhausted by the end of September 2024.

The approximately 25,000-student district is still reeling from a drop in enrollment of roughly 1,000 students in the 2020-21 school year and an additional 150 students in the 2021-22 school year.

The 2022-23 budget proposal accounts for a projected enrollment drop of 439 students and a flat revenue limit and categorical aid from the state over the 2021-23 biennium.

Tax & spending growth history can be reviewed here.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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]

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?




“I would say Madison schools were definitely a place where you could be yourself more, and you’re able to explore more,” he said.”



Elizabeth Beyer:

“That was my first-ever protest,” he said. “It was remarkable to see people outside of Door 1, outside of the Castle (what students call the Collegiate-Gothic style façade that faces East Washington Avenue) all together coming as one. We actually made change from it.”

The protests were organized in response to what students saw as an inadequate response by the school administration regarding an alleged sexual assault during Homecoming weekend. East’s principal, Sean Leavy, has since left his position for a job in the district’s administrative office and the school’s interim principal, Mikki Smith, has worked with students to meet their concerns.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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]

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?




K-12 Governance and Election Climate: Wisconsin edition “A lack of accountability should concern us all.”



Bill Glauber:

One panelist from suburban Milwaukee was critical of the amount of time schoolchildren spend on electronic devices, including computers, claiming that it connects students to pornographic images and affects their learning.

Johnson said: “This is their testimony, this is their viewpoint … that is something that should concern parents if that is happening.”

“I think there are good parts of technology and potentially bad parts of technology,” Johnson said. “I think we should make sure that the bad doesn’t come with the good. So I am concerned.”

Johnson said he was prompted to hold the meeting because he has been listening to parents in different formats — “in a completely nonpartisan way,” he said. “It’s interesting how many people that don’t necessarily agree with me on some issues come in here and want to talk about this.”

Asked about what he heard during the session, in which panelists spoke followed by audience members, Johnson said: “I think there’s some real concern about our public school system not listening to parents, not hearing their voices, not hearing their concerns, a lack of accountability. That should concern us all.”

On schools, Johnson said he was concerned “about the influence of national groups, teachers unions, that type of thing, trying to impose their ideology on our children.”

Dylan Brogan:

Every bad change in education over the last 50 years started with university professors,” says Pesta. “And don’t underestimate those teachers unions.” 

But Pesta’s evidence of how Critical Race Theory is taught in Wisconsin public schools mostly came from out-of-context examples from other states. The tenured professor did include in his presentation a February tweet from state Rep. Lee Snodgrass (D-Appleton) stating that “If parents want to ‘have a say’ in their child’s education, they should home school or pay for private school tuition out of their family budget.”

Snodgrass later deleted and apologized for the tweet. Another example was from an email sent by the Ozaukee County Democrats: “Public schools have the responsibility of the parents when their children are in their care.” 

A parent from Burlington cited comedian Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, which chronicles his early life growing up in South Africa during apartheid, as evidence that Critical Race Theory is pushed on her kid.

Nice to see STEM folks making it go!

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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]

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?




The Truth About Wisconsin’s Education Reform Bills



Libby Sobic and Will Flanders:

The Department of Public Instruction has estimated that expanding school choice will cost taxpayers over $500 million. This DPI estimate rests on faulty assumptions that would not occur in the real world.  If a student whose family is currently paying for private school moved on to the voucher, there are, indeed, some tax implications for both the state and local taxpayers. (For a more in depth explanation, we have previously covered this objection here, and the Badger Institute later voiced similar points here.)

However, the way the voucher programs is currently funded means that if a student moves from a public school to a private school on a voucher, there is actually a resulting savings to local taxpayers. The extent of this savings varies by school district. School Choice Wisconsin has a helpful map using 2016-17 data to show the extent of the savings in every district.

The DPI “cost” is based on the assumption that every student currently enrolled in a private school who qualifies for a voucher, would begin using a voucher. This is not a guarantee.

Here’s why: private schools must identify the number of seats available for students in the voucher program. Some private schools limit choice enrollment due to the low level at which the voucher is funded. This was recently covered when HOPE Christian High Schoolannounced they were closing their doors and focusing on K-8 schools due in large part to the funding gap in the voucher program. Other private schools don’t participate at all for a myriad of reasons, including the extent to which they would be required to comply with state requirements for testing and auditing.

The bottom line is that the scenario DPI lays out—where 100% of current private school kids participate and no current public-school kids do—will not occur in reality, and therefore is a strawman defense of the status quo.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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]

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?




Might Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ education mulligans be a 2022 election liability?



Laura Meckler and Matt Viser:

Democratic governors have responded by dropping mask mandates, urging that schools remain open and emphasizing there is a light at the end of the dark covid tunnel. They also are trying to change the subject, with a focus on education investment and recovery and warnings about the consequences if Republicans are elected.

But some Democrats worry that the responses, to date, are insufficient given the hardball politics the GOP is playing on these emotional issues.

“Democrats are giving away one of their greatest assets, and that’s being associated with public education. And giving away that advantage is going to get Democrats’ clocks cleaned this fall,” said Joe DiSano, a Michigan-based Democratic consultant. “We are letting the conservative crazies run ragged on us. We have the ammo to fight back, and we don’t.”

Republicans were buoyed by their unexpected victory in November’s Virginia gubernatorial contest, where Republican Glenn Youngkin won after a campaign defined by education issues. Youngkin criticized pandemic-related school closures and a statewide mask mandate in schools, issues that analysts who studied the race found particularly effective. He also promised to ban teaching of critical race theory, an academic framework for examining the way policies and laws perpetuate systemic racism and a catchall term that many GOP politicians have embraced to describe various racial equity lessons and initiatives they find objectionable.

Youngkin also effectively seized on a gaffe by his opponent, who said parents should not tell schools what to teach.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll after that election found overwhelming support for parents having a say in what their children’s schools teach. It also found 44 percent of Americans say they trust Democrats more to handle education, barely topping the 41 percent choosing Republicans. That represented a significant weakening in Democrats’ historic advantage.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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]

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?




Commentary on The Education Establishment and Tuesday’s Wisconsin Primary Election



Heather Smith:

School board primary elections are next week, and there is much consternation in the education establishment about the civic engagement of parents who are stepping up to take a more active role in the education of their children.

The pandemic brought to light many things about our school system that served as an education to parents across the state.  To be sure some of those things were positive – many parents developed respect and appreciation for teachers who rose to the unprecedented challenges presented by upending the normal structure of classroom learning.

But there were many troubling discoveries. While the American Society of Pediatrics was strongly recommending in-person learning as vital to education as well as student mental, physical, and emotional health, parents saw their schools rejecting these experts’ advice.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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]

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?




“Due to high volume, the system is temporarily unavailable”



Benjamin Yount:

It’s the latest snapshot of just how many parents in Wisconsin want to explore educational options for their kids.

Tuesday was the first day for parents to enroll in the state’s Private School Choice Program. By midday, the state’s website crashed because of a flood of applications.

“Due to high volume, the system is temporarily unavailable,” read a note at the Department of Public Instruction’s website.

Jim Bender with School Choice Wisconsin is not surprised.

“We know from talking to schools that interest in the program is very high. Many new parents are seeking options,” Bender said.

Bender said it won’t be known just how many more parents will opt their kids out of traditional public schools until the fall.

But the trend is that more parents will make a choice.

Enrollment figures from last year showed more students enrolled in Wisconsin’s four school choice programs.

While Tuesday brought a flood of parents to Wisconsin’s private school enrollment, next week could see even more parents apply for the state’s  Public School Open Enrollment, which begins next week.

Bender said parents shouldn’t have to wait, either for enrollment periods or overwhelmed websites, to improve their child’s education.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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]

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?




Advocating accountability for taxpayer supported K-12 schools



Molly Beck:

Low-performing schools in Wisconsin would be forced to close under a plan to overhaul K-12 education put forward by Kevin Nicholson, a Republican who is expected to announce this week he is running for governor.  

Nicholson, who was defeated in a Republican U.S. Senate primary in 2018 by former state Sen. Leah Vukmir of Brookfield, is proposing massive changes to the state’s education landscape but did not answer questions about how he would accomplish his goals if elected. 

In a GOP primary, Nicholson would face Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch who has broad support among elected Republican officials — including Assembly Speaker Robin Vos of Rochester. 

Vos said in an event Wednesday hosted by Wispolitics.com that Nicholson should not run. 

“I think if he runs, it hurts our chances to defeat Gov. Evers. But I can’t control that. If he runs, he runs,” Vos told the Madison-based Capital Times.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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”

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]

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?




“the referenced study made no mention of the education of its educators as a variable”



Noah Diekemper:

It’s little wonder that the American Enterprise Institute’s education research fellow Max Eden has denounced college requirements for preschool teachers as “regressive,” declaring that there is “ no evidence to support this will help with student outcomes .”

Why, then, are lawmakers considering a federal law that would fund preschool programs only if lead teachers have years of experience in special collegiate programs? After all, how many people genuinely believe preschool instruction is a discipline that requires years to learn and not a matter of brief on-the-job training?

It’s no secret that college graduates are more liberal than the typical person. Pew Research Center polling over the past 20 years has seen the proportions of white Democrats self-identifying as liberal scale directly with education levels . More education tracks with more liberal engagement and activism and familiarity with niche woke jargon . In 2015, the share of “mostly” or “consistently liberal” people was 26% among those with “high school or less” education, 36% with “some college,” 44% with a college degree, and 54% with postgraduate experience .

And those numbers consider people on the basis of education in general — there’s reason to believe that those with college degrees in the humanities would be even further extreme than a generic graduate. A 2016 study that analyzed the party registration of college professors found that more “hard” disciplines, such as economics and law, featured less skewed ratios of registered Democrats to Republicans than departments such as “journalism/communications” and history. (“Education” was not a department studied.) History professors who were registered Democrats outnumbered Republicans 33.5 to 1. If increased Democratic registration tracks with more humanities fields, such as education, and with more liberal attitudes, then the above numbers about self-identified liberalism probably understate the ideological slant of this group.

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”

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]

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?




Abolishing grades on homework will hurt the neediest kids



Jay Matthews:

Now some schools are experimenting with easing homework and grading as a way to be fair and coax students back into the learning process. I had assumed educators would quickly realize this was a formula for disaster.

But I have learned such take-it-easy policies are being seriously considered in what I have considered for many decades to be one of the best school districts in the country — Arlington County, Va., right next to our nation’s capital.

Arlington teachers are revolting against the ideas. District spokesman Frank Bellavia said it is all preliminary. The district “is in the early stages of revising the grading and homework policies and policy implementation procedures,” he said. “As part of Phase 1, we provided some ideas for staff to look at as a starting point.”

I think even that is going too far.

Arlington County is studying proposals that would, among other things, remove penalties for missing homework deadlines and prohibit grading of what is called formative work — daily assignments. Faculty would grade only what are called summative assessments, which generally means tests.

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”

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]

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?




Read it and cheer: David Banks’ wise words about literacy instruction in NYC schools



Robert Pondisco:

In some of his first public comments since being named New York City’s incoming schools chancellor, David Banks has drawn cheers from savvy education observers and literacy experts for remarks critical of “balanced literacy,” the city’s long-standing approach to teaching reading.

“‘Balanced literacy’ has not worked for Black and Brown children. We’re going to go back to a phonetic approach to teaching. We’re going to ensure that our kids can read by the third grade,” Banks told CBS2′s Marcia Kramer. “That’s been a huge part of the dysfunction.”

The incoming mayor seems to agree. “We are in a city where 65% of Black and Brown children never reach proficiency and we act like that’s normal, it’s all right,” said Eric Adams, introducing Banks last week. If the same number of white children couldn’t read proficiently, he said, “they would burn this city down.”

Adams citing this inexcusable failure and Banks laying the blame on “balanced literacy” suggests our new mayor and his hand-picked chancellor understand that equity starts with literacy.

That said, keep the champagne corked for now. This is not the first time New Yorkers have heard the supposed death knell of balanced literacy. Former Chancellor Joel Klein, the first person ever put in charge of the system under mayoral control, became convinced of its shortcomings late in his tenure, and wished in his memoir that he’d acted sooner. “Our ‘balanced literacy’ approach wasn’t all that balanced,” he wrote.

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”

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]

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?




Loudoun County paid at least $500,000 to be twice delivered suggestions about “social emotional learning.”



Matt Taibbi:

In preparation for today’s forthcoming story, A Culture War in Four Acts: Loudoun County, Virginia. Part Two: ‘The Incident,’ TK News sent Freedom of Information requests to the county on several questions. Concerned with the issue of when the controversial “Equity Collaborative” was hired, we asked for “procurement or purchasing process documents, stakeholder emails and communique leading to the hiring of ‘The Equity Collaborative’ as consultant or business partner for any role by Loudoun County School District/County.” We’ve enclosed documents we received in response here. 

A lot of these had already been made public in stories like this one from the Washington Free Beacon, but there is some new information, and what we did get raised some new questions. There’s still no record of how the Collaborative came to win the original Equity Assessment contract, and the chronology in which the firm submitted a formal bid for further work only after it had already won a no-bid, $500,000 contract remains, to say the least, confusing. A number of documents are listed as having been re-submitted, and it’s not easy to sort out when the originals were produced.

Included here is the firm’s original “Equity Assessment,” its “Action Plan to Combat Systemic Racism,” a “Comprehensive Equity Plan,” and pay stubs for several additional rounds of equity coaching. 

A great deal of vitriol has been spent in Loudoun litigating the question of whether the arrival of the “Equity Collaborative” was triggered by the “runaway slave game” incident (see today’s forthcoming story) or whether there was a pre-existing relationship with the soon-to-be-infamous consultancy. The county insists the assessment was already in the works, and records do reveal that as far back as the previous summer, on August 20, 2018, the county spent $6000 on an “Equity Leadership Team Planning Meeting Facilitation” with the Collaborative, indicating an existing relationship.

However, sources both inside and outside the school system insist the bulk of that money was for normal teaching and support services mainly geared toward the county’s Spanish-speaking minority. There were still sizable allocations for items like “Instruction Facilitator, Equity and Culturally Responsive” ($339,516), “Equity Training Across Departments” ($72,000), and “Diversity Interview Panels” ($50,000), among other things, but there are mixed reports on what the rest of those line items mean. 

More TK, as we say around here. Part 2 of the Loudoun series will be out momentarily. In the meantime, here are the EC docs:

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”

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]

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?




What a Brazilian state can teach the world about education



The Economist:

hen amaury gomes began teaching history in Sobral in the mid-1990s, its schools were a mess. The city of 200,000 people lies in Ceará, a baking-hot north-eastern state that has one of Brazil’s highest rates of poverty. When local officials ordered tests in 2001 they found that 40% of Sobral’s eight-year-olds could not read at all. One-third of primary pupils had been held back for at least a year. Staff were not always much better, recalls Mr Gomes. He remembers a head teacher who signed documents with a thumbprint, because she lacked the confidence even to scribble her own name.

These days Mr Gomes is the boss of a local teacher-training college, and his city gets visitors from across Brazil. In 2015 Sobral’s primary-school children made headlines by scoring highest in the country in tests of maths and literacy, a milestone in a journey begun almost 20 years before. The pandemic has thrust the city back into the spotlight as a model for educators seeking to reboot schooling after lengthy closures. In November ambitious officials from other parts of Brazil trooped into Mr Gomes’s college, the first group since the start of the pandemic to attend one of the tours Sobral offers to curious outsiders.

Success stories are important to Brazil’s beleaguered educators, now more than ever. Before the pandemic only about half of children could read by the time they finished primary school, compared with nearly three-quarters in other upper-middle-income countries. In 2017 the World Bank warned that it could take 260 years before Brazil’s 15-year-olds are reading and writing as well as peers in the rich world. Since then many Brazilian pupils have missed around 18 months of face-to-face lessons as a result of school closures (most schools have now reopened). Few countries kept classrooms shut for as long. Data from São Paulo suggest that during this period children learned less than a third of what they normally would have, and that the risk of pupils dropping out tripled.

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”

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]

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?




Another attempt to address Wisconsin‘s long-term disastrous reading results: AB611



Wisconsin Governor Evers recently vetoed AB 446 on a Friday afternoon.

Foundations of Reading; (also MTEL) Wisconsin’s only teacher content knowledge exam requirement, in this case elementary reading.

A Capitol conversation on addressing Wisconsin’s reading challenges. (2011!)

AB611 and those lobbying for and against it.

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”

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]

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?




America’s top scientists warn about the political erosion of education standards.



Wall Street Journal:

The last few years have seen a proliferation of “open letters” by academics in politics and the humanities in favor of progressive causes. The hard sciences are different, and when mathematicians, physicists and engineers speak up to defend the integrity of their fields, Americans should pay attention.

The latest example is a new public statement from hundreds of the country’s top quantitative scientists warning about the assault on math in schools. “We write to express our alarm over recent trends in K-12 mathematics education in the United States,” the statement begins. The social-justice wave of 2020 accelerated efforts to eliminate standardized testing and lower standards in math to give the appearance that achievement gaps don’t exist.

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”

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]

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?




Clarity about Fountas and Pinnell



Mark Seidenberg:

Fountas and Pinnell have written a series of blog posts defending their popular curriculum, which is being criticized as based on discredited ideas about how children learn to read. (See Emily Hanford’s post here; EdReports evaluation here, many comments in the blogosphere.) The question is why school systems should continue to invest in the F&P curriculum and other products if they are inadequate. 

Their blog posts indicate that Fountas and Pinnell (hereafter F&P) have not benefited from ongoing discussions about approaches to reading instruction. They are staying the course. The posts are restatements of their views that add little new information.

Here are some further observations, from a reading researcher who has been looking closely at several curricula that dominate the enormous market for such materials. I’ve summarized basic flaws in their approach and responded to their defense of it. The quotes are from the F&P “Just to clarify” posts.

1. Fountas and Pinnell’s misconceptions about the knowledge and mental operations that support reading, and how they are acquired, make both learning to read and teaching children to read more difficult.

Being able to read and understand words quickly and accurately is the basic foundation for reading, which enables the development of more advanced forms of literacy. 

Because the F&P curriculum doesn’t adequately address the development of these skills, it focuses on coping with the struggles that follow. Beginning readers are seen as plodders who, knowing little about the written code, need ways to figure words out. This can be done by using several “word solving” strategies. There is greater emphasis on teaching children how to cope with their lack of basic skills than on teaching those skills in the first place

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”

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]

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?




What do you think about how your children are learning to read? We want to talk with you.



Madeline Fox:

Students in Wisconsin had two years of disrupted learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s heightened concerns about Wisconsin’s low reading scores on national assessments — only about 36 percent of Wisconsin fourth graders scored at or above proficient in reading on the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress. 

A bill to assess kids’ reading skills more frequently was vetoedby Gov. Tony Evers this month, but it generated heated debateabout whether the state is doing enough to build kids’ reading skills.

WPR’s WHYsconsin wants to talk to you about how your children are learning to read. What do you want to know about the process? Is there anything you’d share with other parents about your child’s reading education?

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”

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]

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?




Deeper Dive: Wisconsin K12 Schools’ Abysmal Proficiency Rates



Abbi Debelack:

The latest data on testing and proficiency rates for Wisconsin’s children were recently released by the Department of Public Instruction and it is not pretty. Yet despite the alarmingly low test scores, there appears to be little to no outrage by the media and education establishment.

Each year, Wisconsin students, in various grades, take a series of standardized tests to assess their proficiency in a range of different subjects. Test results are a useful tool to track a student’s academic progress and gauge the overall effectiveness of Wisconsin’s K12 education system. The Forward Exam is given to students in grades three through eight and ten. The ACT Aspire test is given in grades nine and ten. The ACT writing test is given in grade eleven and the Dynamic Learning Maps is given to students with cognitive disabilities. This year, the tests were administered to students in the spring. The tests were not administered in 2020 because of COVID-19.

This year, English Language Arts (ELA) proficiency is 27.5%, down 5.4 points or a 16.41% reduction from 2019. Math proficiency is at 27%, down 7 points from 2019 or a 20.59% reduction. These figures look at proficiency rates as a percentage of TOTAL Wisconsin students, not just those tested as Superintendent Underly reported in her press release.

We must point out that this is not a particularly difficult or rigorous grading metric. A student who is graded as being proficient on the Forward Exam means the child is operating at grade level. Let that sink in. Shockingly, less than one-third of Wisconsin students are proficient in math or English Language Arts.

Related: Wisconsin AB446.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Peng Her Wisconsin Assembly Bill 446 Testimony



mp3 audio: PDF Transcript (Machine generated).

Related: Some legislators attempt to address our long term, 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.

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]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




China Is Engineering Genius Babies



Aleks Eror:

It’s not exactly news that China is setting itself up as a new global superpower, is it? While Western civilization chokes on its own gluttony like a latter-day Marlon Brando, China continues to buy up American debt and lock away the world’s natural resources. But now, not content to simply laugh and make jerk-off signs as they pass us on the geopolitical highway, they’ve also developed a state-endorsed genetic-engineering project.
At BGI Shenzhen, scientists have collected DNA samples from 2,000 of the world’s smartest people and are sequencing their entire genomes in an attempt to identify the alleles which determine human intelligence. Apparently they’re not far from finding them, and when they do, embryo screening will allow parents to pick their brightest zygote and potentially bump up every generation’s intelligence by five to 15 IQ points. Within a couple of generations, competing with the Chinese on an intellectual level will be like challenging Lena Dunham to a getting-naked-on-TV contest.
Geoffrey Miller, an evolutionary psychologist and lecturer at NYU, is one of the 2,000 braniacs who contributed their DNA. I spoke to him about what this creepy-ass program might mean for the future of Chinese kids.

Related: New data reveal scale of China abortions and Eugenics.
Many links here.
Technology Review:

In its scientific work, BGI often acts as the enabler of other people’s ideas. That is the case in a major project conceived by Steve Hsu, vice president for research at Michigan State University, to search for genes that influence intelligence. Under the guidance of Zhao Bowen, BGI is now sequencing the DNA of more than 2,000 people–mostly Americans–who have IQ scores of at least 160, or four standard deviations above the mean.
The DNA comes primarily from a collection of blood ­samples amassed by Robert Plomin, a psychologist at King’s College, London. The plan, to compare the genomes of geniuses and people of ordinary intelligence, is scientifically risky (it’s likely that thousands of genes are involved) and somewhat controversial. For those reasons it would be very hard to find the $15 or $20 million needed to carry out the project in the West. “Maybe it will work, maybe it won’t,” Plomin says. “But BGI is doing it basically for free.”
From Plomin’s perspective, BGI is so large that it appears to have more DNA sequencing capacity than it knows what to do with. It has “all those machines and people that have to be fed” with projects, he says. The IQ study isn’t the only mega-project under way. With a U.S. nonprofit, Autism Speaks, BGI is being paid to sequence the DNA of up to 10,000 people from families with autistic children. For researchers in Denmark, BGI is decoding the genomes of 3,000 obese people and 3,000 lean ones.




The End of Unions? What Michigan Governor Rick Snyder gets right and wrong about labor policy



Richard Epstein:

The age of big government is now upon us. The question is how to respond to this daunting reality. One possible approach is prudential acquiescence to the inevitable. Conservatives could work toward incremental reform within today’s political paradigm. The Hoover Institution’s own Peter Berkowitz offers this advice in his thoughtful column in the Wall Street Journal. Libertarians, in particular, must “absorb” the lesson that frontal assaults on New Deal-era policies are out. He writes:

[C]onservatives must redouble their efforts to reform sloppy and incompetent government and resist government’s inherent expansionist tendencies and progressivism’s reflexive leveling proclivities. But to undertake to dismantle or even substantially roll back the welfare and regulatory state reflects a distinctly unconservative refusal to ground political goals in political realities.
Conservatives can and should focus on restraining spending, reducing regulation, reforming the tax code, and generally reining in our sprawling federal government. But conservatives should retire misleading talk of small government. Instead, they should think and speak in terms of limited government.

I fear the downside of Berkowitz’s counsel of moderation. For starters, no one can police Berkowitz’s elusive line between “small” and “limited” government. At its core, Berkowitz’s wise counsel exposes the Achilles heel of all conservative thought, which can be found in the writings of such notables as David Brooks and the late Russell Kirk. Their desire to “conserve” the best of the status quo offers no normative explanation of which institutions and practices are worthy of intellectual respect and which are not. No one doubts that politics depends on the art of compromise. But compromise only works for politicians who know where they want to go and how to get there.




American Teaching Standards: Don’t know much about history



The Economist:

Many states emphasise abstract concepts rather than history itself. In Delaware, for example, pupils “will not be expected to recall any specific event or person in history”. Other states teach children about early American history only once, when they are 11. Yet other states show scars from the culture wars. A steady, leftward lean has been followed by a violent lurch to the right. Standards for Texas, passed last year, urge pupils to question the separation of church and state and “evaluate efforts by global organisations to undermine US sovereignty through the use of treaties”.
Some states fare better. South Carolina has set impressive standards–for example, urging teachers to explain that colonists did not protest against taxation simply because taxes were too high. Other states, Mr Finn argues, would do well to follow South Carolina’s example. “Twenty-first century skills” may help pupils become better workers; learning history makes them better citizens.

Related: The State of State U.S. History Standards 2011: Wisconsin = F.




SAT Prep on the Web: A) a Game; B) Online Chat; C) All of the Above



Katherine Boehret

This Saturday, high-school students around the country will sit for hours of silent testing that will determine some portion of their future: That’s right, it’s SAT time. For both parents and kids, the preparation for taking the standardized test is stressful and expensive, often involving hours of studying and several hundreds of dollars spent on classes, workbooks and tutors. And many kids will take these tests more than once.
So this week I tried a Web-based form of test prep called Grockit that aims to make studying for the SAT, ACT, GMAT, GRE or LSAT less expensive and more enjoyable. Grockit.com offers lessons, group study and solo practice, and does a nice job of feeling fun and educational, which isn’t an easy combination to pull off.
A free portion of the site includes group study with a variety of questions and a limited number of solo test questions, which are customized to each student’s study needs. The $100 Premium subscription includes full access to the online platform with unlimited solo practice questions and personalized performance analytics that track a student’s progress. A new offering called Grockit TV (grockit.com/tv) offers free eight-week courses if students watch them streaming live twice a week. Otherwise, a course can be downloaded for $100 during the course or $150 afterward. Instructors hailing from the Princeton Review and Kaplan, among other places, teach test preparation for the GMAT business-school admissions test and SAT.




An undesirable inheritance
Children of illegal immigrants twice as likely as other kids to face poverty



N.C. Aizenman:

Eight-year-old Alex picked up a 75-cent can of fruit punch from one of the grocery store’s shelves and called excitedly to his mother in Spanish.
Maria, 38, gave her stocky third-grader a sympathetic smile. She’d already made Alex and his 3-year-old sister, Emelyn, walk 30 minutes under a broiling sun from their house in suburban Maryland to the Safeway, the closest place that accepts Emelyn’s federal milk and cereal vouchers. Then they’d trekked 20 minutes more to this cheaper Latino grocery so Maria, an illegal immigrant from Mexico who can’t afford a car and wouldn’t be eligible for a driver’s license anyway, could save $3.40 on chicken.
“At home, my son,” Maria said soothingly. “When we get home, you can drink some water.”




Education in the Arab world



The Economist:

One reason that too many Arabs are poor is rotten education
A RECENT issue of Science, the weekly journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was devoted to research into “Ardi” or Ardipithecus ramidus, a 4.4m-year-old hominid species whose discovery deepens the understanding of human evolution. These latest studies suggest, among other things, that rather than descending from a closely related species such as the chimpanzee, the hominid branch parted earlier than previously thought from the common ancestral tree.
In much of the Arab world, coverage of the research took a different spin. “American Scientists Debunk Darwin”, exclaimed the headline in al-Masry al-Youm, Egypt’s leading independent daily. “Ardi Refutes Darwin’s Theory”, chimed the website of al-Jazeera, the region’s most-watched television channel. Scores of comments from readers celebrated this news as a blow to Western materialism and a triumph for Islam. Two or three lonely readers wrote in to complain that the report had inaccurately presented the findings of the research.




Crusader for Syntactic Disambiguation Exprobrates Banks’ Labored Locutions



Sara Schaefer Munoz:

A few months ago, 71-year-old Chrissie Maher got a mailing from her bank titled “Personal and Private Banking — Keeping You Informed.” Baffled by its blizzard of terms such as “account facility limit,” Ms. Maher replied in simpler language.
“The leaflet needs much more thought if it is to be understood by your customers,” she said in a letter to Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC. “As it stands, it should be renamed ‘Keeping You Confused.’ ”
After critiquing the pamphlet’s “tortuous and ambiguous sentences,” she redrafted it, changing terms like “maximum debit balance” to “the most that can be owed.”
RBS may have picked the wrong woman to target with financial mumbo jumbo. Ms. Maher is the founder of the Plain English Campaign, a 30-year-old group whose stated goal is to stem “the ever-growing tide of confusing and pompous language” that “takes away our democratic rights.”
Over the years, Ms. Maher and her group have battled police agencies, expansion planners at Heathrow Airport, and the “frequently bizarre language” of the European Union. (At issue: phrases such as “unlock clusters,” “subsidiarity” and “sector-specific benchmarking.”) She has blasted local government on the use of “worklessness” to refer to unemployment and once attacked the president of the U.K. Spelling Society over his claim that the apostrophe is “a waste of time.”




Contraband candy = Skittles suspension



AP:

Contraband candy has led to big trouble for an eighth-grade honors student in Connecticut.
Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate.
School spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo says the New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a district wide school wellness policy.
Michael’s suspension has been reduced from three days to one, but he has not been reinstated as class vice president.

Joanne has more.




Teacher license error means these Madison kids must redo classes



By Kayla Huynh

But the school failed to ensure the teacher had the proper licensing to teach a portion of the students’ instruction.

The error meant Steffen’s son, Theodore, and his son’s six classmates would need to redo thousands of minutes of instruction to stay on track with other students.

“I don’t think the problem was on the employee,” Steffen said. “(The school district) hired her, they put her in the position for the job she was going to do, so it seems like a district issue to me.” 

The Madison Metropolitan School District realized the problem when another parent filed a complaint with the state Department of Public Instruction, which credentials teachers, according to a district employee. The staff member requested anonymity because they were not authorized by the district to speak on the matter.

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?




Wisconsin Watch Commentary on School library choices



Rachel Hale:

An increasing part of library specialists’ and district administrators’ jobs has become dealing with requests. Records showed hundreds of internal emails related to scheduling reconsideration meetings and addressing parent concerns. Administrators oversee books across numerous buildings and are struggling with the balancing act of appeasing parent concerns while maintaining appropriate grade interest levels for thousands of other students. 

Districts’ criteria took into account a book’s alignment with curriculum and state standards, the readability and appeal of texts to diverse students, the grade-level appropriateness, the significance and reputation of a book’s author, popular appeal and reviews from sites such as Scholastic and Common Sense Media.

——

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?




Notes on redistributed state taxpayer funds and the madison School District’s budget



Abbey Machtig:

State aid payments are influenced by factors like enrollment, district spending and local property values. Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services Bob Soldern told the Wisconsin State Journal via email the district had been planning to receive about $50 million in state support.

Nichols said she doesn’t think the additional money from the state dramatically changes the district’s financial situation.

“I don’t think for the long haul in terms of the future forecasting of our budget … there will be a huge shift,” she said.

Statewide, the general aid paid to school districts for 2024-25 totals $5.6 billion, according to DPI. Nearly 70% of districts are estimated to receive more general aid from the state, while about 30% are estimated to receive less. Eight districts are estimated to have no change in aid.

DPI is anticipating “greater than usual volatility” in the estimates due to inaccuracies and delays in financial reporting from Milwaukee Public Schools.

The state aid amounts will be finalized in October.

——-

John Jagler:

Dear Milwaukee media. Stop saying MPS is going to “lose” $81 million this year. Or that aid will be cut. It makes it seem like the district is a victim. Instead try: MPS received $81 million more than it should have because of incompetence and is now being held accountable.

Corrinne Hess:

Quinton Klabon, research director with the conservative Institute for Reforming Government, said solving the budget gap will be painful. 

“No cut will be invisible, so every curriculum purchase, every contract, and every staffing decision must justify itself going forward,” Klabon said. “How MPS handles these summer months will determine whether students get the education and services they deserve. Rebuilding trust with parents begins now.”

State aid is the largest form of state support for Wisconsin public schools

DPI calculates general school aids through a formula that uses property values in the district, enrollment and district spending.

The current estimates are based on the 2023-25 biennial budget and pupil count and budget data reported by school districts to the DPI. 

Due to previously reported delays in financial data reporting by Milwaukee Public Schools, the DPI anticipates greater than usual volatility in these estimates.

“Figures used in this estimate may change by a greater than usual amount for the certification of general school aids,” according to a DPI press release. “The department therefore encourages caution when utilizing this estimate.”

Statewide, estimated general school aids for 2024-25 total $5.58 billion, a 4.2 percent increase from 2023-24. 

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Notes on Madison’s planned $607M tax & spending increase, outcomes?



Abbey Machtig:

At $607 million, the Madison School District’s pair of referendums set for November will be the second-largest ask of voters by a school district in Wisconsin history.

It comes in behind Racine’s $1 billion referendum, which passed in 2020 by only five votes. The dollar amount Madison is requesting has been described as “unprecedented” in district history by the Wisconsin Policy Forum — not to mention the tax impacts homeowners would see if both questions were approved.

Madison property owners are being asked to fork over a lot of money.

The Madison School District, however, is not alone in its increasing reliance on referendums to fill operating budget holes and to pay for new construction. Other Wisconsin school districts, including Madison suburbs, also have put a number of big referendums on ballots in recent years.

While the dollar amounts are significantly less than what Madison schools are requesting this fall, Madison’s population — estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau at about 280,000 — is significantly greater as well.

It’s hard to make direct comparisons of the tax implications of various referendums, including those Madison is proposing, over the years. Inflation, property values, population changes, and the fact that operating referendums frequently ramp up over a period of time all have an impact.

But for context, here’s a look at the large school referendums Madison and other Dane County voters have approved in recent years.

——-

Madison, meanwhile excels in unopposed school board elections.

Yet:

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




“those who successfully completed a college degree are the most deserving of trillions in welfare?”



Palmer Luckey:

“Forgiving” the debt of college graduates is one of the most regressive tax schemes imaginable.

As a group, college graduates tend to be healthier, wealthier, happier, and more racially homogenous. To use the language of the left, they are privileged. Our country cannot provide unlimited welfare – there are limits to economic surplus, and printing money is another regressive scheme that most devalues the assets of those who can bear it least.




47 candidates (!) file for Chicago school board elections



Nader Issa

The window for hopefuls to submit their minimum 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot closed Monday afternoon with more than two dozen final-day submissions wrapping up the week-long process that kicked off the elections.

Chicago’s first-ever school board elections will feature 47 candidates vying for 10 seats, a number surpassing most expectations and including parents, former teachers and principals, nonprofit workers and a rapper.

The window for hopefuls to submit their minimum 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot closed Monday afternoon with more than two dozen final-day submissions wrapping up the week-long process that kicked off the elections.

Carmen Gioiosa beat the clock to file her paperwork in District 4 along the north lakefront, where six people are battling it out. The former high school Italian teacher and Chicago Public Schools central office administrator said she was still collecting signatures Monday morning.

——-

Madison, meanwhile excels in unopposed school board elections.

Yet:

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Delong Middle School student makes history winning the first Wisconsin Civics Bee: “focused on the flaws of the education system”



Jeremy Wall 

When Rya Mousavi saw a poster for Wisconsin’s first civics bee, she had an idea.

“My teacher just had a poster on the board and I talked to her about it. She kind of introduced me to the civics bee and I thought it was a good opportunity,” said Mousavi

An opportunity to improve her community. The civics bee is a competition hosted by the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Foundation in which middle schoolers from across the state share ideas to improve their communities and answer civics questions. 

Contestants are asked to pick a topic to write about. Mousavi focused on the flaws of the education system. She says school systems nationwide, including the Eau Claire Area School District, don’t meet the diverse needs of all students

“We’re really not able to make the most out of all the time, we have to learn and a lot of that is because of issues to the system. There’s a lot we can do to improve the system. I believe we have the resources,” Mousavi said.

——

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Notes on Madison’s planned K-12 tax & $pending increase referendum (enrollment data?)



Abbey Machtig

Administrators are recommending Sennett Middle School and Cherokee Heights Middle School be replaced with new buildings. The same goes for several combined schools that share the same location: Shabazz City High and Sherman Middle; Black Hawk Middle and Gompers Elementary; Toki Middle and Orchard Ridge Elementary.

The district would also renovate Anana and Crestwood elementary schools, bringing the total cost of construction to $507 million.

It’s not clear exactly where the new schools would be located. New schools could be built on empty fields next door to some of the existing buildings, according to board materials.

Meanwhile, money from the operating referendum could be spent on things like staff salaries and educational programming. The district has not provided details on exactly what the $100 million will buy.

….

In the preliminary budget, spending would total $581 million, about $10 million less than last school year. With COVID-19 pandemic relief aid winding down, the district is getting significantly less money from federal sources.

The district plans to add more than 100 full-time equivalent positions in 2025. Most of the additions will be at the classroom level, with more teachers and education assistant positions added back to schools.

——

Kayla Huynh:

If voters approve of the school district’s two measures, MMSD officials estimate an owner of an average-value home in Madison would see a $1,376 increase on their property tax bills by 2028. That could be on top of hundreds of dollars annually for a city property tax increase.

If the operating budget referendum fails, the district’s starting budget would still include 107 new full-time positions. It would also retain 111 positions previously funded by federal pandemic relief aid, the Policy Forum said.

The number of administrators would stay nearly the same, but the district would add more teachers, educational assistants and mental health support staff. Many of the teacher resources would go toward the 4-year-old kindergarten and kindergarten through first grade programs.

Total staff for the school district would be the equivalent of 4,192 full-time employees — the largest number of district staff since at least 2013, the Policy Forum said.

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




“The best news reporter in town is up with a story today that ought to get heads rolling in our public school district”



David Blaska:

but probably won’t because — Forget it, Jake, it’s Madison WI!

School employees harassed police as they arrested an 18-year-old student criminal for carrying a loaded weapon inside La Follette high school, according to the most excellent report from Chris Rickert of the WI State Journal, made after an open records request. 

One Kyshawn M. Bankston had a Glock 9 mm handgun, two magazines with rounds in them, a scale and an empty plastic bag that had contained marijuana, police say. The young scholar lunged for that gun as police moved to arrest him. (Their police report)

——-

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Madison’s K-12 Governance: recent calendar activity



With the arrival of our latest K-12 Superintendent, I thought readers might have interest in recent calendar activity. On 4 June, 2024, I made a public records request of the taxpayer funded Madison School District:

“digital copy of Superintendent Joe Gothard’s calendar from his first meetings (April?) through 4 June, 2024.

In addition, I write to request the same for Nichelle Nichols, Board President from 1 January 2024 to 4 June, 2024.

Digital screenshots of these requests in png or jpg format are fine.”

I received the response today. Nichelle Nichols and Joe Gothard.

Superintendent Gothard’s May to June weekly calendar screens:

——

2013: What will be different, this time? 2019: Jennifer Cheatham and the Madison Experience

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




“Security staff are in the wrong job if they object to arresting armed students.”



David Blaska

The so-called “security staff” at La Follette high school put up a hissy fit when police carted off an 18-year-old student found with weapons of mass destruction in his backpack. (“We’re supposed to protect kids here” — from police!) The newspaper quotes the school principal, who caught hell from the “security staff,” to say: 

“We have amazing employees of color who were watching a student of color going into the system. They were, and are, heartbroken” and “raw emotions and feelings surfaced. …. Their hearts were in the right place.” — Principal Mat (one T) Thompson, quoted here.

That kind of Woke blibber blabber surfaces raw emotions and feelings in this correspondent but he does not want to go all Proud Boy on the schools. Instead, we offer defeated school board candidate David Blaska’s response to rightly concerned Madison parents and taxpayers: 

—-

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Commentary on Madison’s Latest K-12 Superintendent



“Mildred & Hands”:

He certainly has his work cut out for him. Gothard is being thrust into a likely $600 million referendum campaign this fall that won’t be easy to pass. Inflation and soaring housing costs have soured many voters on tax hikes. Advocates will need to show taxpayers in a clear and specific way what they are getting for their money. How will outcomes for children improve?

The district must retrain elementary teachers in reading instruction that emphasizes phonics. State officials have mandated the strategy, based on research showing better results. But they aren’t giving Gothard’s district additional resources for the considerable effort (?).

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Tiny and terrifying: Why some feel threatened by Wisconsin’s parental choice programs



Patrick Mcilheran:

In Madison, where the possibility of school choice arrived 23 years after Milwaukee, there are six private schools in the choice program that Smith calls “vouchers,” and those six schools enrolled 655 choice students in the school year just ended. The Madison Metropolitan School District, in comparison, has about 25,000 students.

Big ask

Perhaps Madison families will see some of the growth common elsewhere. Independent private schools in the city of Milwaukee educated about 29,000 children using choice grants last year, and those in Racine educated about 4,000. Nearly 19,000 kids throughout the rest of Wisconsin used choice grants.

Several more Madison schools have been cleared by state regulators to join the choice program in fall, including a second one to offer high school grades. This likely will be a blessing to Madison families looking for an alternative to a school district where, by the state’s most recent figures, only 41% of the students had been taught to read at grade level or better. By contrast, Madison’s largest private school in the choice program, Abundant Life Christian School, got 73% of its students to grade level or better in reading. 

Why Senator Smith regards this as “failing” is baffling.

When families take their children to Abundant Life or other independent options, $10,237 of state aid will follow each one, or $12,731 if they’re high schoolers — the entirety of taxpayers’ outlay. 

By contrast, in the most recent state figures, Madison Metropolitan School District spent a total of $17,944 per child in taxpayer money.

What’s more, the district may ask voters in November for another $600 million in spending, overriding the taxpayer-protecting limits set in law. The proposal would add $1,378 to the property taxes of a typical Madison home. The district says its budget is in dire straits because it used temporary pandemic aid for permanent expenses. It could have to cut its $589 million budget by about $2 million, or 0.4%.

——-

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Notes on Madison K-12 Governance and outcomes



David Blaska

Contrast that with a public school system here in Madison in which so-called safety monitors try to prevent police from removing pistol-packing pupils from the hallways of La Follette high school in the name of diversity, equity, and inclusion. (Read & Weep!) 

In the spirit of transparency, our new superintendent of schools gave an interview to our favorite local morning newspaper in which he manages to talk much and say little. Asked about Jennifer Cheatham’s Behavior Education Plan, however, Joe Gothard acknowledges:

“People would like to support a complete upheaval and change… but I haven’t been directed by the board and I certainly haven’t heard it as a priority.”

Blaska’s Bottom Line #1And you won’t hear it as a priority if you’re a new hire who reports to the likes of school board members Ali Muldrow, Savion Castro, and their allies at Progressive Dane and Freedom Inc.! 

Blaska’s Bonus Bottom Line: As we told Dave Zweifel of The Capital Times in the last thrilling episode, not exposing students to Woke ideology is a feature, not a bug.

——

More:

My old boss at The Capital TimesDave Zweifel kvetches that “the school choice program is no longer limited to that altruistic approach championed by Thompson in 1990,” that being limiting participation to the poorest of the poor. Dave, you were opposed to Tommy’s altruistic approach even in 1990! BTW: The program is still income-limited.

Another supposed fly in the ointment, Dave sez, is that voucher schools can prevent students from being exposed (Dave’s word) or subjected (Blaska’s word) to Woke ideology. That’s a feature, not a bug, Dave. He writes:

Since the days of Thomas Jefferson, America provided public education to its citizens. 

Still does, thanks to the voucher program! No mention of Milwaukee’s scandalous public schools, which do NOT provide public education to its citizens.

——

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Substantial Madison K-12 tax and $pending increase plans



Kayla Huynh

One question on the ballot would ask voters for $100 million over the next four school years to increase spending on staff salaries and education programs. The second would ask for $507 million to renovate or replace seven aging elementary and middle schools.

The two referendums would be “unprecedented in size and scope in district history,” according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum released today.

As school district leaders consider the referendums, Madison city leaders also are weighing a property tax referendum of their own on the same ballot.

That would mark the first time Madison voters are asked to consider property tax referendums from both the school district and the city.

If voters approve of the school district’s two measures, MMSD officials estimate an owner of an average-value home in Madison would see a $1,376 increase on their property tax bills by 2028. That could be on top of hundreds of dollars annually for a city property tax increase.

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Wisconsin Policy Forum (achievement?)

Another set of points for referendum voters to consider is how MMSD funding compares to other districts in Dane County and around Wisconsin. In short, the district’s revenue limit and related aid of $15,435 per student is already relatively high compared to other districts, and the referendum would accentuate that.

….

However, the middle schools in particular have low rates of utilization because of declining enrollment, with Sennett, Sherman, Toki, and Black Hawk middle schools all operating at or between 45% and 56% of their capacity. With enrollment currently projected to fall further in the next several years, MMSD officials and voters may wish to consider whether all of these schools will be used for many years to come or whether it makes sense to explore consolidating two middle school buildings to avoid at least one of the construction projects.

They may wish to engage in a similar discussion about elementary schools as well, though those facilities generally have at least somewhat higher utilization rates.

That would be the largest number of MMSD staff since at least 2013 despite the fact that enrollment is essentially at its lowest point over that period.

Sarah Lehr:

But Stein said the latest proposals are historic in size.

“This would be both from the capital and the operating side, the largest referendum questions that have ever been put to (MMSD) voters,” he said. “So certainly, this is a bigger ask than voters have ever had from the district in the past.”

Stein says Madison is contending with financial headwinds, including state-imposed limits on fundraising and waning pandemic aid. 

He also noted that money from a tax referendum approved by MMSD voters in 2020 is drying up.

Last year, Madison’s school board approved employee raises between 5.5 and 10 percent, which cost an extra $12 million in the current fiscal year. MMSD’s proposed budget for 2025 would add more than 100 full-time equivalent staff positions, and could also include additional raises.

It remains to be seen how many of those positions will be filled in a hot labor market, and Stein noted that vacancies could help patch up the budget shortfall.

“All school districts have been facing challenges from employee turnover (and) from rising inflation costs that have put pressure on their labor costs,” he said.

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




“Second, the latest revelation underscores the incompetence of the board”



John Schlifske:

The recent news that Milwaukee Public Schools failed to file a required financial report to the state Department of Public Instruction, that its past reports were missing data or inaccurate, and that it might have to payback millions in funds to the state is just another proof point underscoring the need for substantial governance reform. This lays open two serious deficiencies with the MPS board

First, is the lack of transparency and outright deceit on the part of the board. Do we really believe all this was “discovered” after the district led a push for $252 million in new property taxes? Do we really believe that no one on the board was aware of what was going on? For an elected body to misrepresent and hide the true situation at MPS immediately preceding the spring ballot initiative is outrageous and unacceptable. The board operates in star-chamber proceedings with absolutely no oversight. It no longer holds the public’s trust.

Second, the latest revelation underscores the incompetence of the board. Why weren’t they asking the tough questions? Why weren’t they seeking information as to the delay? Were they so oblivious to good governance that they didn’t even think to ask for this kind of data? No well-governed organization should ever find itself in the situation the MPS board is in right now. Moreover, this incompetence extends to the performance of the school system itself.

Milwaukee schools near bottom in national academic performance

As a city, our K-12 educational performance is near dead last, well below the national averages (based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress) in both reading and math. Think about it, we are below virtually every other major city in America. Worse, only 15.9%, and 9.9% of MPS students are on grade level on the state assessment in reading and math, respectively.

——-

Commentary.

Meanwhile, Madison!

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




“You shouldn’t expect to know how to read, do math, or make a life for yourself”



Luther Ray Abel:

once you’re auto-graduated from one of the area’s failed schools. But if you’re a Marquette-educated city planner who grew up in Whitefish Bay and now has a place, a goldendoodle, and a job in the Third Ward, Milwaukee is everything a man could ever want. Ride the white-collar novelty streetcar that cost tens of millions to build and bask in how good it is to be anywhere that isn’t steeped in crime-and-grift-maintained poverty.

It just so happens that those moaning about Trump’s assessment of Milwaukee are the latter. Everyone else is fighting for their lives.

——-

If @MilwaukeeMPS accounting is this bad, can the initial figures it presented when it first pushed for the $252M referendum even be trusted? @WISN12News

——-

Commentary

——

Meanwhile:

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




Notes on planned Madison tax & $pending increase 2024 Referendum(s)



Abbey Machtig:

Past spending decisions combined with current revenue estimates leave the district with an estimated $40 million shortfall, Assistant Superintendent of Financial Services Bob Soldner told the Wisconsin State Journal.

District could renovate, build new schools

The district appears to be leaning toward building several new schools with potential referendum dollars rather than renovating existing buildings.

Leadership says many aging school buildings require substantial aesthetic, electrical and mechanical changes the district can’t afford without a referendum. The money would also go toward making schools more energy efficient and accessible.

“Under revenue limits, you just don’t have any other options on the facilities,” Soldner said Monday. “If you have a need, you have to seek voter approval.”

District administration is recommending that Sennett Middle School and Cherokee Heights Middle School be replaced with new buildings. The same goes for several combined schools that share the same location: Shabazz City High and Sherman Middle; Black Hawk Middle and Gompers Elementary; Toki Middle and Orchard Ridge Elementary.

That new construction would cost an estimated $443 million.

——

“city would spend about $431.4 million but raise only about $409.4 million in revenue”:

Of the $26 million in new spending expected for next year, most of it — $14.5 million — will go toward staff salaries and benefits. Last year, the city raised pay by 3% for unionized employees like police and fire department staff. General city employees got a 6% raise.

Of the $14.5 million for staff, $2.97 million will cover rising health insurance costs alone.

On the revenue side, the $4 million in new cash the city will bring in next year comes from increasing the property tax levy to the extent allowed without a referendum, which would generate about $12.6 million. Another $6 million will come from interest earnings and $1 million from increased ambulance fees.

Those increases are offset by one-time funding the city used to balance its 2024 budget, which came from the city’s rainy day fund, federal stimulus support and tax incremental financing money.

As the city’s budget options come into sharper focus, it remains unclear how, if at all, the city will use $16 million added to the rainy day fund thanks to higher-than-expected income from the city’s investments.

—-

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

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?




“If both measures pass, that means the average tax bill for Madison residents could increase by $2,030 by 2028”



Abbey Machtig:

The estimated tax impact for residents is as follows:

Operational referendum: 2024-25 — $316.72 increase; 2025-26 — $315.49 increase; 2026-27 — $209.1 increase; 2027-28 — $208.28 increase; total: $1,049.58 increase in property tax bill over the next four years.

Facilities referendum: 2025-26 — $327.47 increase; 2026-27 — $328.83 increase; 2027-28 — $326.20 increase; total — $980.50 increase in property tax bills by 2028.

Since 2000, the district has put 10 referendum questions on the ballot. Eight have passed, giving the district extra money to balance its operating budget and for renovations and construction. In 2020, voters passed a $33 million operating referendum, which pays the bills to keep the district running, and a $317 million capital referendum to fund renovations to five of the district’s high schools and to build the new Southside Elementary School.

——

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average K – 12 spending. Per student spending ranges from $22,633 to $29,827 depending on the spending number used (!)

Enrollment notes.

—-

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?




“to audit the effectiveness of teaching and instruction of our kids in classrooms across the district.” (!)



Molly Beck, Rory Linnane And Kelly Meyerhofer

The review proposed by Evers would be funded through federal dollars allocated for MPS but yet used or funding leftover from previously awarded contracts, according to the governor.

The audits would produce “a comprehensive review and evaluation of the district’s systems, processes, and procedures to identify areas for improvement,” and “a comprehensive review and analysis of instructional practices, methodologies, and policies, which may include, for example, reviews of school and classroom learning environments, professional development policies and practices, curriculum implementation, and leadership, among other areas.”

“Parents and families, taxpayers, and the greater community rightfully have questions, and each and everyone of those questions deserves honest and transparent answers,” Evers said. “For any meaningful conversation about possible solutions to happen, the first step is to fully identify the extent of the problems. The audits I’m proposing today must be done to drive those future conversations.”

——

DPI Superintendent Underly: “I support Eliminating the Foundations of Reading (FORT)” Teacher Test

Wisconsin’s low bar WKCE expedition. (DPI)

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

The New England Primer.

——

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?




“teachers at Burruss used to use a method called balanced literacy”



Juma Sei:

The easiest way to describe it is you kind of just let a kid figure things out by giving them context clues for the words they see, like pictures. But…

JOHNSON: Our reading data was terrible. We didn’t have the data to back up what we were doing.

SEI: So today, the teachers at Burruss use a method called structured literacy or the science of reading.

JOHNSON: Structured literacy is explicit instruction. Like, no, let’s teach them the code, teach them what the letters mean and how the letters represent sounds. And how the sounds come together to make words and, like, explicit instruction.

SEI: With national K-12 reading scores lower than they’ve been in decades, schools across the country are making the same transition to structured literacy. And those changes are being enshrined in legislation. Last year, 17 states passed new laws or implemented new policies encouraging schools to adopt the science of reading. That’s according to an analysis by Education Week. Georgia was one of those states.

RAMONA BROWN: Words are stored in memory through blank and blank.

—-

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?




Wisconsin DPI and learning to read….



Will Flanders:

The person put in charge of implementing the Science of Reading in Wisconsin apparently wrote positively about Lucy Calkins.

More.

Quinton Klabon:

GENUINE QUESTION: She was the 2017 president of the Wisconsin State Reading Association, which lobbied against Act 20 in 2023!

Many know her, so can someone explain?

DPI Superintendent Underly: “I support Eliminating the Foundations of Reading (FORT)” Teacher Test

Wisconsin’s low bar WKCE expedition. (DPI)

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

———

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?




Madison police: School staff objected to arrests of students for gun possession in school



Chris Rickert:

Staff at Madison’s La Follette High School have on at least two occasions objected to police arresting at least one La Follette student who brought a gun to school, including one case in which two staffers lied about being two students’ legal guardians, according to police reports.

Kyshawn M. Bankston, 18, was charged May 9 with possession of a firearm on school grounds and carrying a concealed weapon after being arrested at the school two days earlier. Police had been called to the school about an unrelated robbery, but while there they were informed by staff that Bankston might have a gun and were asked for help searching his backpack.

Police found a handgun, two magazines with rounds in them, a scale and an empty plastic bag that had contained marijuana, and as they moved to arrest Bankston, he lunged for the gun and had to be restrained, according to police.

Madison police denied a State Journal request under the state’s public records law for the full report of the May 7 incident, saying the investigation into the incident was still open, but did release two other reports regarding Bankston in response to the records request.

More in this PDF

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Commentary:

——

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?




Madison parents file complaint to remove taxpayer funded Southside Elementary principal and assistant principal



Abbey Machtig:

Both groups have similar demands and say the school’s principal, Candace Terrell, and assistant principal, Annabel Torres, are “unfit” to lead Southside or any school.

“With Candace Terrell and Annabel Torres at the helm, Southside will continue to run afoul and eventually sink into the abyss,” the complaint from parents reads. “For this reason, we will no longer allow or tolerate our opinions and voices to be suppressed.”

The parent complaint also alleges there are high levels of unsafe and disruptive behaviors at the school, both physical and psychological. They say physical fights and bullying among students are common, with no adult intervention.

“Ms. Terrell and Ms. Torres are not following up with parents after bullying or physical violence happens. There is concern that the administration is not following up with families, and is not officially reporting serious incidents,” the complaint says.

The Complaint (PDF).

—-

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?




K-12 Tax & $pending climate: City of Madison plans to increase residential density and the tax base….



Lucas Robinson:

West Side residents who have been most opposed to the plan worry about elements that call for up to 16-story apartment buildings along Mineral Point Road and near the Hilldale Shopping Center. They also complain that the plan now doesn’t have enough medium-density housing, some of which was removed in response to previous resident feedback. That medium-density housing still exists in other parts of the plan, such as on Gammon Road.

West Side resident Janet Hirsch said she thinks the West Side already has taken on its fair share of housing density, evidenced by Hilldale and the ongoing Madison Yards redevelopment, but doesn’t get in return the cultural amenities and entertainment seen Downtown or on the East Side.

“If you want to have more housing over here then fine, give us some of the other services,” Hirsch said. “But with some of the big apartment buildings we’re going to lose that sense of community.”

——

Letter to the editor:

Forced-rezoning fans keep their self-righteousness greased up with crass stereotypes. They sneer at us decadent West Siders in Madison, lounging around in our opulent mansions.

I walk through the rooms of my very small home, unimproved for 35 years, because we have to watch our money carefully — and I wonder who they’re scolding. Many seniors are in our situation.

The main pants-on-fire lie is that Madison will, inevitably, have 40,000 new citizens in a few years, and we have to greet them with open arms and a ton of new housing units. No, we don’t.

The more arrogant people in favor of rezoning command us whiny chumps to shut up and let them get on with their holy task of stacking 40,000 people up really high. They say this is our moral duty. False. Many of these new units would not be affordable. And Madison doesn’t have to be boomtown.

Commentary.

——

Looming substantial Madison tax and $pending increases.

—-

Yet:

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average k-12 $pending. Dive in, here.

Yet:

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?




Looming substantial Madison tax and $pending increases



Allison Garfield:

 If the property tax increase covered the projected $27 million deficit, it would cost the average household an additional $284 annually, or roughly $24 a month.

If approved by voters, the increase would add to a revenue stream Madison already relies heavily upon to fund its services, with over 70% of the city’s money coming from property taxes. The city’s rapidly growing population has added to the demand for services, and while a property tax hike is one of only a few options available for the 2025 budget, the City Council is also considering what steps can be taken to address future deficits down the line.

——

Madison taxpayers have long supported far above average k-12 $pending. Dive in, here.

Yet:

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?




Mississippi students and educators have closed the gap and reached the national average on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.



Julia James:

This growth can be attributed to several factors, but chief among them is a 2013 state law that created a more robust infrastructure around helping children learn to read and holding them back at the end of third grade if they didn’t hit a certain benchmark.

But this national test also measures students again in eighth grade. The gap between the national average and Mississippi’s eighth-grade reading score has gotten smaller over the last decade, but it hasn’t closed at the rate of fourth-grade reading. 

State leaders are paying attention. 

“Some of our challenge points are eighth-grade reading,” Interim State Superintendent Ray Morgigno said when presenting an annual report at the Jan. 18 State Board of Education meeting.

Morgigno then pointed to the pilot programs underway around the state to expand Mississippi’s fourth-grade reading strategies up to the middle school level. One is being operated by the Mississippi Department of Education in conjunction with a regional arm of the U.S. Department of Education. 

Literacy momentum stalls in Wisconsin (DPI): Why would Wisconsin’s state leaders promote the use of curriculum that meets “minimal level” criteria, instead of elevating the highest-quality

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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?




Advocates of discredited way to teach reading the most dangerous cult of all



Chris Reed:

Given how many kids struggle with reading proficiency, it’s stunning that the ‘whole language’ approach is still used in so many elementary schools

Who are the most dangerous cultists — adherents of a belief system regarded as unorthodox or spurious, to use a common definition — in the United States? Some will point to religions perceived as out of the mainstream, others will cite extreme political movements and still others might take a potshot at devotees of Red Sox Nation.

But in a country built on the idea that free, competent public education is the bedrock to the success of individuals and society in general, the most dangerous cult is the one that promotes unscientific methods of teaching reading. Despite massive evidence that the “phonics” approach is far more effective, the “whole language” approach is still a part of the reading instruction curricula used by 72 percent of elementary school teachers, according to a 2019 Education Week Research Center survey. Education researchers routinely note that lesson plans with no history of working well are ubiquitous in U.S. schools.

Language education experts say this is a big reason why nearly two-thirds of fourth- and eighth-graders in the U.S. in 2019 — before the pandemic disruption hurt scores even more — were not proficient readers. The stats were similar but slightly worse in California. The implications are grim. Poor reading skills correlate with dropping out of school, a lack of career success and even a much shorter life expectancy.

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Reed is deputy editor of the editorial and opinion section….

Meanwhile, Madison’s legacy newspaper opinion folks supported a successful candidate – Jill Underly – for the Wisconsin department of public instruction who sought (and continues) to get rid of our only early literacy teacher knowledge exam. More.

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More, here.

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Literacy momentum stalls in Wisconsin (DPI): Why would Wisconsin’s state leaders promote the use of curriculum that meets “minimal level” criteria, instead of elevating the highest-quality

——-

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?




“The conflict between the bureaucratic, managerial priorities of school administrators and the moral ideals of teachers has characterized my seventeen-year teaching career”



Jeremy Noonan:

It is also a major reason why teachers are fleeing public schools. The public school accountability system, by relying solely on quantitative metrics like graduation rates to gauge educational quality and to evaluate administrators, frustrates teachers’ ability to truly teach and care for their students and look out for their long-term well-being. 

The first shock to me was the “make-up work” policy. My school let students skip assignments and miss deadlines until the end of the semester, then let them do the work at the last minute to avoid a failing grade. When I objected, stressing the importance of personal responsibility, the assistant principal replied, “Is it your job to teach chemistry or to teach responsibility?” She didn’t care to hear my answer: “Both.”

Next came the “curving” practice, which dictated that I convert a raw score on a test by multiplying the square root of it by ten. Hence, a score of forty-nine, an F, would be “curved” to seventy, a C minus. When I refused to curve grades, the principal had my department chair make the changes covertly. When I found out, I objected once again, and the principal rebuked me for “denying these children the opportunities all of us had.”

These were both cases of what Michael Polanyi calls “moral inversion”: a presumed moral duty to do immoral actions. This tacit duty to the immoral means that teachers who exercise integrity by refusing to go along with these policies are perceived as the bad guys. Never would an administrator acknowledge the bureaucratic purpose of these policies, which was to keep the wheels turning and money flowing. A failing student is a wrench in the system. He lowers the graduation rate, and the school looks bad. The bureaucracy rationalizes that the students will be better off with a diploma. But if they aren’t learning, their futures are being compromised.  

My next moral conflict with administrators put me in a position to blow the whistle on a practice called “online credit recovery” (OCR). I was teaching the two-year Theory of Knowledge course in the International Baccalaureate program, a kind of honors school-within-a-school. Top students in the school could enroll, and so could students from nearby schools who wanted vigorous college prep. 

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Literacy momentum stalls in Wisconsin (DPI): Why would Wisconsin’s state leaders promote the use of curriculum that meets “minimal level” criteria, instead of elevating the highest-quality

——-

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?

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