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Waiting for an analysis of the long term costs of taxpayer supported Dane County Madison Public Health “mandates”



John Tierney

Long before Covid struck, economists detected a deadly pattern in the impact of natural disasters: if the executive branch of government used the emergency to claim sweeping new powers over the citizenry, more people died than would have if government powers had remained constrained. It’s now clear that the Covid pandemic is the deadliest confirmation yet of that pattern.

Governments around the world seized unprecedented powers during the pandemic. The result was an unprecedented disaster, as recently demonstrated by two exhaustive analyses of the lockdowns’ impact in the United States and Europe. Both reports conclude that the lockdowns made little or no difference in the Covid death toll. But the lockdowns did lead to deaths from other causes during the pandemic, particularly among young and middle-aged people, and those fatalities will continue to mount in the future.

“Most likely lockdowns represent the biggest policy mistake in modern times,” says Lars Jonung of Lund University in Sweden, a coauthor of one of the new reports. He and two fellow economists, Steve Hanke from Johns Hopkins University and Jonas Herby of the Center for Political Studies in Copenhagen, sifted through nearly 20,000 studies for their book, Did Lockdowns Work?, published in June by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) in London. After combining results from the most rigorous studies analyzing fatality rates and the stringency of lockdowns in various states and nations, they estimate that the average lockdown in the United States and Europe during the spring of 2020 reduced Covid mortality by just 3.2 percent. That translates to some 4,000 avoided deaths in the United States—a negligible result compared with the toll from the ordinary flu, which annually kills nearly 40,000 Americans.

Even that small effect may be an overestimate, to judge from the other report, published in February by the Paragon Health Institute. The authors, all former economic advisers to the White House, are Joel Zinberg and Brian Blaise of the institute, Eric Sun of Stanford, and Casey Mulligan of the University of Chicago. They analyzed the rates of Covid mortality and of overall excess mortality (the number of deaths above normal from all causes) in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. They adjusted for the relative vulnerability of each state’s population by factoring in the age distribution (older people were more vulnerable) and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes (which increased the risk from Covid). Then they compared the mortality rates over the first two years of the pandemic with the stringency of each state’s policies (as measured on a widely used Oxford University index that tracked business and school closures, stay-at-home requirements, mandates for masks and vaccines, and other restrictions).

Covid Censorship Proved to Be Deadly
Government and social-media companies colluded to stifle dissenters who turned out to be right.

Dane County Madison Public Health mandate summary.

“Dance studio complaint




Dane County Madison Public Health Mandates and the high school class of 2023



Scott Girard:

“I’d been looking forward to high school and it was so hyped up,” said West High School senior Alex Vakar. “It felt like this necessary period for growth because people always talk about them being the best days of their lives, and we missed out on half of that.”

Dances, sports, time with friends, theater performances — all of them were canceled or altered at some point over the past four years, and that’s just outside the classroom. The interruption to students’ learning was severe, and even while virtual learning was a positive for some, students noticed missing foundational pieces when they returned to in-person classes.

That environment faced a sudden change on the afternoon of March 13, 2020, as district officials announced an extended spring break, and later that afternoon Gov. Tony Evers closed schools statewide.

“Of course, we’re freshmen in high school, we’re like, ‘Let’s go! It’s an extra week!’” Mueller said. “Initially we were all just super excited for it because we didn’t know enough about it.”

No one knew how long it would last.

“When I heard that we were closing down and school was shutting down, I was in my geometry class and my teacher just said, ‘Hopefully I’ll see you next week,’” Vakar recalled.

Reality quickly set in, as the wait for a return kept being extended and the school district tried to formulate a plan to continue students’ learning. That spring, MMSD began virtual learning but switched to a “pass/no pass” grading system for high schoolers and froze grade point averages at their first semester level.

Vakar grew increasingly frustrated with MMSD as she saw peers in surrounding school districts return while Madison remained virtual. When Vakar returned in spring 2021 to a limited schedule at West, as the district phased in in-person instruction and a hybrid schedule, she noticed the differences from fall 2019: masking, one-way hallways and one class in which she “was completely alone with the teacher” while the rest of the class was on Zoom.

Dane County Madison Public Health Notes and links.

“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?




Civics: commentary on the Dane County Madison Public Health mask mandate, that lacks elected an official vote



Allison Garfield and Natalie Yahr:

The resolution seeks to dismiss the current emergency order — which was issued by Public Health Madison & Dane County on Dec. 20, 2021 and extends the mask mandate through Feb. 1, 2022 — until public input and “consent of the governed” had been achieved. The previous emergency order had the mask mandate set to expire Jan. 3.

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?




Political Posturing, interests and “adult employment” on taxpayer supported Dane County Madison public health ordering schools closed



Wisconsin Supreme Court:

For the respondent, there was a brief filed by Remzy D. Bitar, Sadie R. Zurfluh, and Municipal and Litigation Group ̧ Waukesha. There was an oral argument by Remzy D. Bitar.

For the petitioners Wisconsin Council of Religious and Independent Schools, et al., there was a reply brief filed by Richard M. Esenberg, Anthony LoCoco, Luke N. Berg, Elisabeth Sobic, and Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, Milwaukee.
For the petitioners St. Ambrose Academy, Inc. et al., there was a reply brief filed by Misha Tseytlin, Kevin M. LeRoy, and Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP, Chicago, Illinois; with whom on the brief was Andrew M. Bath and Thomas More Society, Chicago, Illinois; with whom on the brief was Erick Kaardal and Mohrman, Kaaradal & Erickson, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Attorney General Josh Kaul by Colin A. Hector, assistant attorney general, and Colin T. Roth, assistant attorney general; with whom on the brief was Joshua L. Kaul, attorney general.
An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Institute for Justice by Lee U. McGrath, Minneapolis, Minnesota; with whom on the brief was Milad Emam, Arlington, Virginia.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Freedom from Religion Foundation by Brendan Johnson, Patrick C. Elliott, and Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc., Madison.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of State Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor and Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction by Heather Curnutt, Madison.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of City of Milwaukee by Tearman Spencer, city attorney, and Gregory P. Kruse, city attorney.


An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Madison Metropolitan School District and Monona Grove School District by Sheila M. Sullivan, Melita M. Mullen, and Bell, Moore & Richter, S.C., Madison.
An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Madison Teachers Inc., Wisconsin Association of Local Health Departments and Boards, Wisconsin Education Association Council, Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, Racine Educators United, Kenosha Education Association, and Green Bay Education Association by Diane M. Welsh, Aaron G. Dumas, and Pines Bach LLP, Madison.
An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Governor Tony Evers and Secretary–Designee of Department of Health Services Andrea Palm by Sopen B. Shah and Perkins Coie LLP, Madison.
An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Wisconsin Faith Voices for Justice by Barry J. Blonien, Tanner Jean-Louis, and Boardman & Clark LLP, Madison.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of Liberty Justice Center, Alaska Policy Forum, Pelican Institute For Public Policy, Roughrider Policy Center, Nevada Policy Research Institute, and Rio Grande Foundation by Daneil R. Suhr, Reilly Stephens, and Liberty Justice Center, Chicago, Illinois.

An amicus curiae brief was filed on behalf of League of Wisconsin Municipalities by Claire Silverman and Maria Davis, Madison

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and commentary from Scott Girard:

“While Heinrich allowed schools to use their premises for child care and youth recreational activities, the government barred students from attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion at weekly Masses with their classmates and teachers, receiving the sacrament of Confession at school, participating in communal prayer with their peers, and going on retreats and service missions throughout the area.”

Additional commentary:

“Reasonable” should mean that the public health authorities followed their own internal guidelines for evaluating regulations. These include posting the scientific evidence leading to the regulation, receiving community input, and studying the effectiveness and sustainability of the regulation. In the case of Covid and the schools all this was ignored in Dane County. There was no evidence of transmission in children of school age at the start, the community’s wish to have the schools open was ignored and, over time, it was seen that surrounding counties kept their schools open without increasing Covid transmission – and this last point was completely ignored by Dane County. But the Supreme Court didn’t address the issue of irresponsible public health officials. Perhaps it cannot as Owen pointed out. Perhaps dereliction of duty must be addressed by criminal courts. Instead the Supreme Court answered a different question which might be put as follows: suppose a majority of children in a given community refused the regular vaccines – or refuse the covid vaccine – can the public health authorities close the school? The answer was no. This is significant because racism has been defined as a public health issue. Suppose a majority of parents refused to allow their children to attend a CRT seminar defined as immunization against racism and required for admittance to school. Could the public health authorities close that school. No. In the past certain religious tests have been required before attendance at universities was allowed and non-conforming universites have been closed. If racism is a public health issue the Test Acts may return as public health tests and if that happened we may be sure Dane County would adopt Test Regulations closing non-conforming public schools if it could. Then this Court decision, barring such Test Regulations, would seem far-sighted.

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Dane County Madison Public Health drops complaint against dance studio, will incorporate allegations into counterclaim in related lawsuit



Ed Treleven:

Attorneys representing Public Health Madison and Dane County have asked to withdraw the health agency’s 119-count complaint against an Oregon dance studio over alleged COVID-19 public health order violations, but only to allow consolidation of the alleged violations into a related lawsuit.

In a court filing Tuesday, Madison Assistant City Attorney Marci Paulsen wrote that Public Health is withdrawing its complaint against A Leap Above Dance, a move approved Wednesday by Circuit Judge Mario White, because the facts of the case are also being heard in a lawsuit filed against Public Health by two Dane County parents who have children involved in sports teams.

That lawsuit was filed on Jan. 20. A Leap Above joined that lawsuit as a plaintiff on Feb. 2, a week after Public Health filed its complaint against the studio.

“This case involves potentially some of the same facts alleged within the above-mentioned case and the outcome of this case would have a potential impact on the above-mentioned case,” Paulsen wrote in a notice of dismissal filed in court. “Therefore, to expedite the judicial process, it is (in) the plaintiff’s best interest to have both cases heard in one court.”

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Teachers to get priority for COVID-19 vaccine, Dane County Madison public health department says



Chris Rickert:

While many public schools in Dane County began reopening in recent months to some in-person learning, and many private schools have been in-person since September, Madison public school students won’t begin returning to the classroom until March 9, when kindergartners go back. First- and second-graders are set to return March 16 and 4-year-old kindergarten students on March 23.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Dance studio cited for its ‘Nutcracker’ performance joins lawsuit against 140+ employee Dane County Madison public health department



Ed Treleven:

An Oregon dance studio that last week drew a 119-count complaint from the joint Madison and Dane County public health department for alleged COVID-19 health order violations is suing the department, joining a lawsuit that challenges Dane County’s indoor gathering limits.

A Leap Above Dance, which faces nearly $24,000 in fines for alleged violations of an emergency order issued by Public Health Madison and Dane County, on Tuesday became a plaintiff in a lawsuit filed last month on behalf of two local parents who have children involved in sports teams.

The lawsuit, filed on Jan. 20 by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, challenges the health department’s authority to issue emergency orders to curb the spread of COVID-19 without approval from the Dane County Board. It also questions limits placed on sports in the latest emergency order, No. 12, issued on Jan. 12.

The lawsuit was originally filed directly with the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which in December decided 4-3 against taking the case and told plaintiffs to start in circuit court.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




State Supreme Court puts pause on Dane County Madison public health order barring in-person school



Scott Girard:

Schools in Dane County that want to open for in-person education can do so immediately for all grades after the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked enforcement of the Public Health Madison & Dane County order requiring virtual learning for grades 3-12.

The court’s conservative majority issued the 4-3 ruling [PDF document], which combined three cases brought against Emergency Order No. 9 since its Aug. 21 announcement, just before 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

The court will consider the arguments against the case on its merits in the months to come, but the order is on hold in the meantime. Thursday’s opinion, which lawyers believe is the first time the court has weighed in on a local COVID-19 order since the pandemic began, indicates those seeking to overturn the order will have a good chance to win.

“First, based upon the briefing submitted at this stage, Petitioners are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim,” the opinion states, adding that “local health officers do not appear to have statutory authority to do what the Order commands.”

Parents, private and parochial schools and membership associations brought the lawsuits challenging Public Health Madison & Dane County director Janel Heinrich’s authority to close schools. They maintain that schools planning to open took precautions over the summer to follow guidance issued by PHMDC to make in-person learning safe.

In its announcement of the Aug. 21 order, PHMDC outlined positive case averages that would be required to allow in-person school for grades 3-5 and 6-12. With the recent uptick in positive cases, mostly among UW-Madison students returning to campus, Dane County was unlikely to reach those numbers anytime soon.

Logan Wroge:

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Dane County Madison Public Health issues hundreds of warnings for alleged COVID-19 order violations



Chris Rickert:

Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 5,568 cases of COVID-19 in Dane County, including 41 new cases reported Wednesday and 40 documented deaths. Statewide there have been 77,129 cases and 1,142 deaths.

SSM Health, which owns St. Mary’s Hospital, was sent warning letters on Aug. 7, 13 and 19 for alleged face covering, cleaning and social distancing violations at clinics in Madison, including its cancer care center on John Q. Hammons Drive, according to Public Health.

In a statement, SSM Health outlined the precautions it’s been taking at its facilities and said it used the warnings from Public Health “as another opportunity to talk with our employees and remind them of our policies.”

The village of Mount Horeb Recreation Department was sent a warning letter on Aug. 10 for reportedly not abiding by social distancing guidelines during a sports program, according to the Public Health records. Village officials did not respond to requests for comment.

One school and three parishes within the Madison Catholic Diocese saw complaints. Diocese spokesman Brent King said a complaint about a mass gathering at St. Dennis School was likely related to a meet-and-greet picnic for which the school had received Public Health’s approval.

Public health received mask-related complaints about Blessed Sacrament and St. Maria Goretti in Madison and St. Mary of Pine Bluff in Cross Plains.

Two public school districts also show up on the health department’s list, including Marshall, for alleged violations of the mask and mass gatherings rules.

Marshall district administrator Dan Grady said the district hasn’t received the letter sent Aug. 27 and wasn’t sure what it could pertain to.

He said the cross-country team began practicing Aug. 17, staff gathered Aug. 24 and teachers have been meeting with parents of some students, but all such activities have been carried out in compliance with the county rules and no one has come to him with concerns directly.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Dane County Madison Public Health amendment allows in-person instruction for students with disabilities



Scott Girard:

Students with disabilities who need some in-person instruction will be allowed to go to schools this fall after Public Health Madison & Dane County amended its previous order Tuesday.

PHMDC had announced on Friday, Aug. 21, that no students beyond grades K-2 were allowed for in-person instruction until certain metrics were met.

After a challenging spring for students with disabilities, who have Individualized Education Programs that outline therapies and goals, some area districts had been planning for limited in-person opportunities prior to the order. That work, part of the IEP process that includes parents and school representatives, can now continue.

The Madison Metropolitan School District had nearly 4,000 students with disabilities of nearly 27,000 students total in the 2019-20 school year. Some therapies like speech and language were easier to adapt to a virtual environment than practices like physical therapy or the social interactions that are an important part of development for students.

The Aug. 21 order, Emergency Order No. 9, is facing multiple legal challenges from area private schools, supporting groups and parents. Many private schools were set to open last week, just after the order was published.

The state Supreme Court has asked PHMDC director Janel Heinrich and County Executive Joe Parisi to respond by Wednesday at noon.

The order allows public and private schools to open for grades K-2 in person with certain hygiene, mask and distancing requirements in place.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Dane County Madison Public Health Slides (late Friday) on Schools; “activity tracker”



Dane County Madison Public Health:

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ (DHS) Activity Tracker, Harvard guidance, COVID-local and COVIDActNow served as the main sources of the targets used for determining in-person instruction by grade level.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Lawsuits challenge Dane County Madison Public Health’s authority to close private schools



Scott Girard:

Two separate lawsuits are seeking to block a new public health emergency order that allows only a fraction of elementary school students to attend classes in person in Dane County.

The legal challenges come days after Public Health Madison and Dane County officials in their ninth emergency order restricted in-person schooling to grades K-2 and outlined metrics required for students in higher grades to return in-person.

PHMDC’s Friday announcement at 5:18 p.m. came just days before many area private and parochial schools were set to return with at least some in-person instruction. At least one school already had, which formed the basis for the first challenge, filed directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court Tuesday.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Parents, private schools ask state Supreme Court to toss Dane County Madison Public Health order limiting in-person school



Chris Rickert:

A group of parents and private religious schools is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to void a Dane County order barring in-person school for most students, saying the order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic infringes on the right to worship and to an education.

“This case challenges the authority of one unelected bureaucrat to upend the education plans of thousands of students and families and their schools located throughout Dane County via the stroke of a pen,” asserts the petition filed Wednesday by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty on behalf of 14 parents, five religious schools, and interest groups for school vouchers and religious and independent schools.

Issued Friday and effective Monday, Emergency Order No. 9 bars schools from offering in-person instruction for grades 3 through 12 until the county meets certain benchmarks showing the coronavirus is better contained. In effect, it applies almost exclusively to private schools because public schools in Dane County had already decided to start the year online for almost all students in almost every grade.

In the WILL petition and a separate one filed on behalf of Fitchburg mother Sara Lindsey James on Tuesday, attorneys argue that Janel Heinrich, director of Public Health Madison and Dane County, doesn’t have authority under state law to close schools and that the order runs counter to the decision the high court made in May striking down the statewide stay-at-home order.

In the May case, the court did not strike down the part of the stay-at-home order closing schools, but that order only closed them through the end of last school year. James’ petition argues state law allowing the state’s public health director to close schools in a public health emergency does not extend to local public health directors such as Heinrich.

(Some) Madison Governance Rhetoric on University of Wisconsin Governance Plans

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled



David Blaska:

Shortly after normal office hours on Friday (08-21-2020) Madison/Dane County Public Health issued an order closing down in-school education for students above second grade at private schools for the upcoming school year — matching the voluntary stance taken by area public schools.

“This is clearly about making sure private schools aren’t allowed to show up the [unionized] MTI teachers in the public schools,” a well connected attorney told the Werkes.

In response, the Catholic Diocese of Madison plans to file lawsuit this week contesting the coronavirus pandemic order. Many Catholic schools had been scheduled to open today (Monday 08-24-2020). Fourteen diocesan Catholic schools are located in Dane County; another 20 outside the county in southwest Wisconsin.

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




Public Health Madison and Dane County reports that as of Thursday, it knows of no COVID-19-related deaths or hospitalizations linked to in-person learning in the county.



Chris Rickert:

The smaller number of F’s stands in contrast to the experience of almost all of the 15 other school districts completely or predominantly within Dane County. Fourteen districts saw more failing grades once instruction went online; only the McFarland district saw fewer failing grades in fall 2020 than in fall 2019.

Meanwhile, the percentage of students considered “chronically absent” — meaning they missed 16% or more of school days — in the Madison district increased from 21% to 27% of high schoolers from fall 2019 to fall 2020, and from 11% to 22% at the middle school level.

The increase came despite looser online school attendance standards under which students could be marked presentsimply by exchanging messages with “the homeroom teacher and any specials teacher they are scheduled to receive instruction from that day.” Madison is one of eight school districts in Wisconsin with state waivers from enforcing state attendance laws this school year. Three others are also in Dane County: Sun Prairie, Mount Horeb and Middleton-Cross Plains.

…..

Failing a class in high school also will not result in an F on a student’s report card this school year. Instead it’s an “NP,” for “no pass,” and while the student doesn’t receive credit for an NP course, the NP is not factored into the student’s GPA.

In August, the district also implementeda permanent grading change at the high schools that dictates no assignment gets a score of less than 50%, even ones that aren’t turned in. The idea is to avoid overly penalizing students who missed some assignments but proved through others that they understood the material.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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

Madison schools lower the goal posts, yet again.




Lawsuit filed against head of Public Health Dane County madison over emergency order requiring virtual start to school year



Sarah Gray:

A lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Tuesday arguing that Janel Heinrich, the Public Health Officer of Madison and Dane County, does not have the legal authority to keep children home from school.

Public Health Madison and Dane County issued Emergency Order #9, which went into effect Monday. It orders all Dane County schools to begin the 2020 school year virtually for students in grades 3-12. That includes private schools, many of which had intended to reopen to in-person classes.

The order says “At issue is whether one unelected official has the power to order children to ‘stay home’ from school whether or not they are sick, or to prohibit them from gathering in-person with other children to receive a religious education.”

The petitioner in the case is Sarah Lindsey James. Within the order she is identified as a Fitchburg single mom, who enrolled her two children at Our Redeemer Lutheran School saying “she believes that it is essential that her children’s education take place ‘in-person’ and ‘together with others as part of the body of Christ.’” It says her children began in-person learning Wednesday.

The order asks the Supreme Court to end Emergency Order No. 9, and prevent Heinrich from creating any other orders that would close private schools or restrict private gatherings. The court has asked Heinrich to respond by 4 p.m. Friday.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 

Channel3000:

The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




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?




K-12 Tax & $pending climate: Exploding health care costs



Charlie Bilello:

The average family health insurance premium in the US is up 249% since 2000.

——

The budget includes a tax levy increase of 13.6% driven primarily by increased debt service costs. Property taxes on the average-value Madison home will increase by about $147, according to the County Board. That’s on top of an estimated $110 increase from the cityof Madison and about a $250 increase from the Madison Metropolitan School District, taking into account a citywide revaluation of properties this year.




Madison School District looks to end staff COVID-19 vaccine mandate



Olivia Herken:

“A lot has changed since September of 2021,” Stampfli told the Madison School Board at a work group meeting Monday.

The original mandate requires staff to have the primary series of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is either the first two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but it has not been updated with any of the boosters that have been introduced and administered in the nearly two years since.

There is also an increased immunity against the virus throughout the community, Stampfli said, as well as changes in the vaccine process, including a plan unveiled by the Food and Drug Administration that COVID-19 boosters should be provided annually, like the flu shot.

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health mandates….

“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?




Commentary on trust in taxpayer supported “public health authorities”



Aaron Carroll:

Too many messages are still centered on trying to frighten people into compliance by arguing about worst-case scenarios and ‌‌convincing them that things are as dangerous as ever. They amplify every new variant and predict future worsening. They point to charts of the unvaccinated and vaccinated and marvel at the differences in deaths.

Such charts almost always, however, depict outcomes that don’t easily apply to young children. If the goal is to convince parents to take action to prevent harm to their children, this won’t work.

The risk of Covid infection today is not what it was two years ago (or even last year). Hospitals continue to admit people infected with Covid, but many of them are incidentally so, and the intensive care units are relatively empty. Parents have seen many of their children, and their children’s friends, get Covid and do fine, adding to a belief that this isn’t nearly as dangerous as they were led to believe. This perception, when it comes to their children, isn’t necessarily wrong. If public health advocates want to change minds, then they are going to have to change their strategies to accept this safer reality.

Older people ‌‌continue to be at the highest risk of death from Covid. Arguing that they needed to get vaccinated, and more, to save their lives made sense. Saying that childhood deaths from Covid are somewhat more common than influenza may be true, but too many parents don’t think influenza is a problem either. Many ‌‌do not vaccinate their children against that, let alone mask and isolate them.

Some of the information is indeed confusing. Several European countries are not recommending vaccination against Covid in young children because they believe they are not at high enough risk of disease. I disagree with that decision, because even though it’s rare, youngsters do die of it (as they do from influenza). I have no problem recommending we vaccinate them against the flu, too.

What’s more, there are other outcomes from Covid that warrant intervention, and that’s most likely a better argument for childhood immunization. Children who are vaccinated have a lower chance of getting sick at all, and if they do get sick, they are likely to have a lower chance of getting severely ill, developing MIS-C or being hospitalized. They probably have a lower chance of being affected by long Covid, too. Such outcomes are far more common in children than death.

Related: Dane County Madison public health mandates.




Officials made public-health bets that students will have to pay for



Nat Malkus:

What Weingarten conveniently leaves out is the reason for “two years of disruption.” Time and again, cautious state and school leaders — disproportionately Democrats in concert with teachers’ unions — extended school closures or strict Covid protocols, demonstrated little responsiveness as new evidence on Covid emerged, and minimized the trade-offs. Many red-state leaders did the opposite, damning the torpedoes even when Covid threats skyrocketed. While both parties demonstrated remarkable inflexibility in their Covid responses, it is the most Covid-cautious bets that proved most disastrous for students.

Now, in the third pandemic summer, it’s worth remembering that things didn’t always look so dire, or so politically divided. Back in the first Covid summer, in 2020, prospects for the new school year seemed bright, and blue-state leaders were looking pretty good. In March 2020, all schools — in both red and blue states — closed for the rest of the school year. In the early-pandemic fog — with limited understanding of the virus’s lethality and transmission, of therapeutics or mitigation measures (remember the CDC’s early urging of Americans not to mask up?), and of the relative health threat to students — that was a reasonable decision.

During that spring, blue-state leaders did an admirable job providing the best possible approximation of routine, in-person learning. As I documented, 86 percent of blue-state districts got asynchronous learning platforms such as Google Classroom up and running that spring, compared with 79 percent of red-state districts, and over half of blue-state districts offered synchronous options such as Zoom, compared with less than a third of red-state districts. Blue states also better ensured that students had the devices, Internet access, and direct contact with teachers that made the best of a terrible spring.

By early summer 2020, we looked to be successfully “bending the curve” of Covid cases, and school leaders in both red and blue states were optimistic about plans for reopening and recovery. But then Covid cases began to rise again, and on July 6, President Trump took to Twitter to announce, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” He quickly doubled down, asserting that school closures were “causing death,” and he threatened to strip federal funding from any school that didn’t reopen.

Politics, closed schools and taxpayer supported 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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




A rather curious article on K-12 COVID era health policies



Sharon Luyre and Collin Binkley:

The Verona School District plans to start its school year in the same manner the last year ended. Its 2021-22 goal was to remain open for in-person instruction five days a week, district spokesperson Marcie Pfeifer-Soderbloom said.

“We were able to meet that goal, and that will continue to be our goal,” she said. “We have learned from past years that our students, staff and community share this goal.”

Related: mandates and Dane county Madison public health.




Ongoing spending increase discussions in the taxpayer supported Madison Schools (bricks & mortar vs people?), amidst declining enrollment



Scott Girard:

Board president Ali Muldrow, who has a conflict of interest in discussing teacher salaries as her husband is a teacher, commented only on the hourly workers’ pay rate Monday, but indicated she strongly supports an increase.

“I’m really deeply vested in our ability to substantially shift how we’re compensating hourly wage workers,” Muldrow said. “I’d really like to see our board get behind as great of an increase as possible so that folks are making a living wage when they are SEAs, when they are security assistants, when they are secretaries.”

“We have the largest single, one-time source of funding coming into the district that we’re being asked to spend in a very short timeframe,” MacPherson said. “You get the money once and once you spend it, it’s gone.”

That makes counting on it for operational funds that will repeat year after year — like a salary increase — dangerous, he and others said.

“Figuring out how to balance the desire and the need to support staff with being fiscally responsible for the budget years that are coming down the road is a really difficult balance,” board member Christina Gomez Schmidt said. “We really don’t know what increase (in the next state budget) we’re going to get.”

Madison plans to create 55 new support staff positions for schools…

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




An interview with Madison’s Cherokee Middle School Principle – and recent Secondary Principal of the Year award winner



Scott Girard:

One of the biggest things was how we co-created our equity vision. That was a huge piece of it, having our families, our students and our staff really lean in, look at our data, both numerical (and) looking at our interviews with our families, especially families who have not been included in school decisions before, students who have not been. Then we created our equity vision, which is, “In order to grow academically and professionally, community members will create a just and antiracist school where we all feel safe, seen, heard and connected.” It wasn’t something that we just set aside, but we really dove in. The first thing everybody wanted to do was define what antiracism meant to us.

The other piece was understanding what antiracist practice includes is really having high expectations for all kids, and then giving kids what they need. We really started leaning into a schoolwide reading culture and a data culture. We had all this data, and we hadn’t really dug into it in the past to see why we are here for certain demographic groups and what we need to do differently as teachers and as principals. Our kids, they come with gifts, but what do we need to do differently? So we really changed our approaches in the classroom and created lessons that are more culturally responsive, but also giving kids small group instruction, which wasn’t really happening here before.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




Mulligans ignored: The U.S. News and World Report rankings don’t consider any of the scores or metrics from Wisconsin’s public schools since then.



Benjamin Yount:

“As proficiency has plummeted under his tenure, Governor Evers is forced to point to outdated data to back up his claims that he has been an effective leader on education,” Will Flanders with the Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty told The Center Square.

Flanders added that Gov. Evers’ approach to public schools has had a darker impact than the report suggests.

“The sectors that actually are doing better – choice and charter – have been the subject of repeated attempts by the governor to bring them to an end,” Flanders added. “School shutdowns during COVID, which the governor did nothing to stop, have exacerbated already huge achievement gaps among minority and low income students. None of this is reflected fully in the data for this ranking.”

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.

No 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 behavior education plan



Scott Girard:

Simkin suggested one example is in the student use of cell phones in classrooms, something teachers have expressed concerns about this school year. The BEP already prohibits the use of unauthorized, non-educationally required devices that disrupt learning, but Simkin said that teachers “don’t have what they need to implement this and it’s greatly impacting the learning of students.”

“This is something huge that needs to be addressed this summer,” she said. “I don’t think this is something that waits until we work on implementation over the course of next year. We need to talk about the disruption of these devices.”

Much of the other criticism from board members Monday was grounded in a lack of data. Board member Christina Gomez Schmidt said she wanted to see how the moratorium on suspensions at elementary schools this school year affected schools before voting to put it in the plan.

“I was expecting when this came back to us that we would definitely have data about how that has been working this year,” she said. “We don’t have anything that you have given us to show us what these changes in policy have done in practice in the schools.”

Elizabeth Beyer:

But board member Nicki Vander Meulen pushed back against the proposed changes, saying the district hadn’t sought board input until the policy was finalized.

“The Behavior Education Plan needs to be formed with the board who runs the policy, not the administration. It has to be done with us, together,” Vander Meulen said. “(The BEP) doesn’t work, and our students who are most vulnerable are the ones who are getting bullied, the ones who aren’t feeling safe at school, are the ones who are paying the price.”

Board member Nichelle Nichols expressed concern about the lack of data presented along with the policy revisions and asked for a contingency plan if the district isn’t adequately staffed to make the BEP effective in the coming school year.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




Summer School update in Madison



Chris Rickert:

LeMonds said the base rate for summer school staff is $28 per hour, or 12% higher than in previous years. But the relief money last year allowed the district to pay $40 an hour. The district’s teachers’ union, Madison Teachers Inc., had not responded to requests for comment.

Wednesday’s district email said “chronic staff shortages in education continue to impact the (district) community and school districts across the country.”

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




“Early analyses indicated that Covid-19 health factors had virtually nothing to do with reopening decisions, and partisan politics could explain nearly all the variation”



Rachel Cohen:

There were early signs that this narrative didn’t explain the full story. If allegiance to former President Donald Trump (in schools that opened) or teacher unions (in those that stayed closed) were all that mattered, why did support for reopening schools also drop among Republican voters over the summer? And what about the conflicting recommendations coming from federal health and education departments at that time? Nevertheless, the idea that Covid-19 was not a real factor was repeated by some of the nation’s most influential journalists and media outlets, and framed as though the question was generally settled

This is typical in policy research: Initial waves of data often attract lots of attention, and can quickly ossify into conventional wisdom. When subsequent, often deeper inquiry reveals alternative or more nuanced explanations, it tends to receive far less notice. 

That’s what’s been happening with research into school closures. More recent studies have found that, far from being irrelevant, Covid-19 indicators were among central factors predicting whether schools would reopen. 

Researchers say they also still haven’t fully understood how other factors — like school governance and parent preferences — influenced Covid-19 school decisions. A new study, published recently by two education researchers from George Mason University, replicates some earlier findings and explores new potential variables. All in all, it continues adding to a picture that’s more complex than the early analyses suggested.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




K-12 tax & spending climate: Madison spending growth amidst declining enrollment



Elizabeth Beyer:

Jones told the board that 67 staff members are leaving this year, but the district is only hiring 10 new staff.

Prior to the meeting, Jones noted that school districts of all sizes across Wisconsin are offering base wage increases to their teachers that are near or at 4.7% to keep in line with the hike in the cost of living.

The Milwaukee School Board unanimously approved a 4.7% base wage increase for all staff in the district at the end of April, the largest increase in more than a decade, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The Kenosha School Board and Green Bay School Board also unanimously approved a 4.7% base wage increase for staff in March for the coming school year. The Oshkosh Area School District also approved a 4.7% wage increase for all staff in January.

Scott Girard:

The difference between the 4.7% increase and 2% increase is approximately $7 million. Despite an influx of federal and state dollars for COVID-19 relief funding, district officials have called the budget a difficult one as they attempt to limit the amount of structural deficits they create with that one-time funding.

The revenue limit, which is the maximum a district can take in through the combination of property taxes and state aid, remained frozen in the 2021-23 state budget.

With declining enrollment, MMSD’s revenue limit would have dropped without the successful 2020 operating referendum. Instead, with the extra revenue authority from that vote, the district’s revenue limit is projected to rise by $6 million over the current year.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




“The fact that she was disconnected from that research is evidence of the problem.” Madison….



Dana Goldstein:

How Professor Calkins ended up influencing tens of millions of children is, in one sense, the story of education in America. Unlike many developed countries, the United States lacks a national curriculum or teacher-training standards. Local policies change constantly, as governors, school boards, mayors and superintendents flow in and out of jobs.

Amid this churn, a single charismatic thinker, backed by universities and publishing houses, can wield massive power over how and what children learn.

Some children seem to turn magically into readers, without deliberate phonics coaching. That has helped fuel a mistaken belief that reading is as natural as speaking. In fact, functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain demonstrates that humans process written language letter by letter, sound by sound. Far from being automatic, reading requires a rewiring of the brain, which is primed by evolution to recognize faces, not words.

But that finding — by cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists — is often disconnected from the work of training teachers and producing classroom materials.

Indeed, Professor Calkins, 70, is far more typical in the world of curriculum development: She is a teacher, a writer and a theorist.

But her influential 2001 book, “The Art of Teaching Reading,” warned about what she saw as the risks of too much sounding-it-out. She praised one teacher for avoiding “an intricate series of activities with phonics,” and argued that a simple way to build “lifelong readers” was to allow children to spend time with books they chose, regardless of content or difficulty.

For children stuck on a difficult word, Professor Calkins said little about sounding-out and recommended a word-guessing method, sometimes called three-cueing. This practice is one of the most controversial legacies of balanced literacy. It directs children’s attention away from the only reliable source of information for reading a word: letters.

Three-cueing is embedded in schools. Online, novice teachers can view thousands of how-to guides. In a 2020 video, a teacher tells children to use a picture to guess the word “car,” even though simple phonics make it decodable.

Professor Calkins said word-guessing would not be included in her revised curriculum. But in some ways, she is offering a hybrid of her old and new methods. In a sample of the new materials that she provided to The Times, teachers are told that students should first decode words using “slider power” — running their fingers under letters and sounding them out — but then check for mistakes using “picture power.”

Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, said that while he found some of the revisions “encouraging,” he was concerned that “objectionable” concepts remain.

Ann Althouse notes a comment:

The top-rated comment is from someone who has taught in a NYC public school for 21 years where they use Calkin’s “Units of Study”: “The degree to which we have had to supplement them with other approaches and sources is immense. Most kids would not learn literacy with these curricula alone. There really has been a sort of cult of personality around Lucy Calkins. The professional developers she hires parrot her ideas and demeanor. Regardless of her claim that she wants to support and respect teachers, the message was always ‘Lucy knows best.'”

We Madisonions have long tolerated disastrous reading results. To wit:2005:

What the superintendent is saying is that MMSD has closed the achievement gap associated with race now that roughly the same percentage of students in each subgroup score at the minimal level (limited achievement in reading, major misconceptions or gaps in knowledge and skills of reading). That’s far from the original goal of the board. We committed to helping all students complete the 3rd grade able to read at or beyond grade level as demonstrated by all students in all subgroups scoring at proficient or advanced reading levels on the WRCT.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




The report further critiques what it calls school districts’ lack of transparency regarding declining student performance — and it laments parents’ “eroding” confidence in the state’s public schools.



Hannah Natanson and Laura Vozzella

“We are not serving all of Virginia’s children and we must,” Youngkin said at a news conference in Richmond, where he and his education team presented the report. “We want to be the best in education. We should be the best in education. And the data that is compiled and shared with you today suggests that we have a lot of work to do to be the best.”

A Washington Post analysis of the report, though, suggests its use of data is misleading, and shows Virginia students performed at least as well as or better than students nationwide over the past several years. And some educators and politicians took immediate exception to the report Thursday, criticizing its presentation and analysis of student test scores.

Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said in a statement: “To accuse Virginia’s education system of failure is an outright lie, supported by cherry-picked data and warped perspective.”

Although Youngkin has rejected equity initiatives in education and called “equity” a “very confusing word,” he promised on Thursday to address racial and socioeconomic performance gaps by providing more funding for school facilities, raises for teachers, and innovation in early childhood and literacy programs — all things expected to be included in the two-year state budget that the General Assembly must finalize before July 1. And he vowed to employ the best teachers to serve the students most in need.

The Education Department report also outlines steps to improve students’ academic skills, including developing an improved in-state assessment system, revising Virginia’s school accreditation standards and hiring reading specialists to improve student literacy.

At Thursday’s news conference, Virginia’s top education officials condemned education policy decisions made by previous administrations, especially a 2017 revision of Virginia accreditation standards that allowed students’ academic progress to count toward accreditation along with their test scores. Education Secretary Aimee Guidera said such initiatives were part of a misguided push for equity.

“There was a general culture of lowering expectations,” Guidera said. “What happened before was we took our eye off the ball in the state of Virginia.”

Notes on mediocrity.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




Race and the Taxpayer Funded Madison School District



David Blaska:

If you doubt that the Woke Wobblies have taken over Madison’s public schools, we submit the following: School board president Ali Muldrow and immediate past member Ananda Mirilli are accusing Ismael Ozanne, a black man, of racism most foul.

They want him to resign (!!!) because police arrested Freedom Inc. spokesperson Jessica Williams for threatening the district attorney during a courtroom trial. (Freedom Inc. apologists at The Capital Times have more.) Freedom Inc. is the BLM affiliate that harassed parents, taxpayers, and (ultimately) elected officials to expel school resource officers on the grounds that the four minority-race police were racist. Ironically, minority students are disproportionately victims of the resultant classroom chaos.

Two summers ago, the Freedom Inc. mob hit the school board president at the time, Gloria Reyes — an hispanic, at her residence, in late evening. Bullhorns blasted F-bombs; her yard was littered with F-bombed signage. One’s home should be off-limits. Holds for abortion protesters, as well. So, good on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for signing legislation prohibiting the practice. The Werkes makes its living off the First Amendment, but protestors do not lack for public venues, physical and virtual. One more point: physical threats are not protest.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




Public health has fragmented trust: The problem is not rogue online misinformation; it is errors from CDC, NIAID, and the White House



Vinay Prasad

Building trust in institutions is vital to their success, but as we enter the third year of the pandemic, public health still seems hellbent on destroying itself.

In recent weeks, we have seen flip flops on major policy proposal: a vaccine passport for domestic air-travel and authorizing the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 6mo-4 years. These were publicly flirted with, but eventually abandoned. The administration has pushed medical products through, without the traditional advisory boards (as in the case of the 4th dose for Americans over 50).  We have witnessed absurd contradictions– that Kyrie Irving can watch the basketball game from the first row, but not play on the court–, and worse, that this rule only applies in New York city. Finally, the prospect that mask mandates may return in the fall looms over us, even as our rules become more absurd, with restaurant servers and preschoolers acting as the last, powerless people tasked with masking for all.  Public health, the institution, must own these absurdities and contradictions because the CDC has the scope and authority to correct them with clear guidance.  Just as we need trust, public health seems poised to destroy it .   Let’s consider these cases:

In early October 2021 Ashish Jha, the newly selected Biden COVID Czar, suggested a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel, a view he reiterated in late January 2022. On Dec 27th, Anthony Fauci emphasized the idea of a vaccine passport for domestic air travel. Politico reports that Dr. Jha has long advised the administration on health policy, and Dr. Jha has confirmed he received “updates and announcements” from the administration prior to his appointment. Then silently, the proposal was abandoned with no action taken. As a close observer, I was confused as to what happened.

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.

No When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?




“At least 2.4 million students in the United States have participated in Reading Recovery”. Madison?



Emily Hanford & Christopher Peak:

The fact that students who participated in Reading Recovery did worse in later grades than similar students who did not get the program surprised May. [study]

“Was Reading Recovery harmful? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that,” he said. “But what we do know is that the kids that got it for some reason ended up losing their gains and then falling behind.”

In a written response to the study, the Reading Recovery Council of North America, the organization that advocates for the program in the United States, disputed some of the research methodology and maintained that their program is effective. It also said: “Reading Recovery has and will continue to change in response to evidence gathered from a wide range of studies of both students having difficulties with early reading and writing and their teachers.”

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.

No 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?




Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 system spends $5.6M on literacy curriculum



Scott Girard:

In MMSD, 34.9% of students in grades 3-8 scored “proficient” or “advanced” on the statewide Forward Exam in 2018-19, the most recent year the exam was given with a high percentage of students participating. The results were worse for every non-white group of students other than Asians, who had the same percentage as the district as a whole in those two categories.

Just 10.1% of Black students taking the exam scored above “basic,” with 58.9% scoring “below basic,” the lowest level. For Hispanic students, meanwhile, 16% scored “proficient” or “advanced,” with 46.9% scoring “below basic.”

“My major concern is no matter what materials we purchase and invest in, that we will arrive at a similar conversation a decade from now,” Muldrow said. “And that that conversation will continue to be shaped by disparities in literacy and in access to reading for students of color.

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?




Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison School District’s “asynchronous learning” scheme



Scott Girard:

In a statement last week, Madison Teachers Inc. put the blame on DPI for the last-minute change from the district.

“DPI should understand that to us who have to actually implement this additional work, this move signals the prioritization of compliance above compassion,” MTI president Michael Jones wrote.

Jones wrote that the other options available to the district in the face of the waiver denial “would have led to drastically changing school, lunch, transportation, and other schedules,” leaving everyone to scramble further.

For Asma Nooristani, a second grader at Lake View who was at Northport Monday, the extra work wasn’t all that bad, though she was ready for a different activity after finishing three or four pages of it.

“I really love doing homework,” she said. “Homework is fun. You can be really smart.”

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?




Madison’s literacy disaster, continued: reading recovery’s negative impact on children



Emily Hanford and Christopher Peak

The new, federally funded study found that children who received Reading Recovery had scores on state reading tests in third and fourth grade that were below the test scores of similar children who did not receive Reading Recovery. 

“It’s not what we expected, and it’s concerning,” said lead author Henry May, director of the Center for Research in Education and Social Policy at the University of Delaware, who delivered the findings at the prestigious, annual gathering of education researchers being held this year in San Diego.

The findings could prompt school districts nationwide to reexamine their investment in Reading Recovery and consider other ways to help struggling first-graders. 

May was the principal investigator of an earlier federally funded study of Reading Recovery, one of the largest ever randomized experiments of an instructional intervention in elementary schools. That study, which began in 2011, found evidence of large positive gains in first grade, as has other research. The program’s advocates have pointed to that research as evidence that the instructional approach is based on sound science and is effective. 

But whether the initial gains last and translate into better performance on state reading tests remained a question. The new study on the long-term impact of Reading Recovery is the largest, most rigorous effort to tackle that question, according to May. 

The fact that students who participated in Reading Recovery did worse in later grades than similar students who did not get the program surprised May. “Was Reading Recovery harmful? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that,” he said. “But what we do know is that the kids that got it for some reason ended up losing their gains and then falling behind.”

At least 2.4 million students in the United States have participated in Reading Recovery or its Spanish-language counterpart since 1984, when the program first came to America from New Zealand. The program is in nearly 2,000 schools in 41 states.

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?




Notes on the taxpayer supported Madison school district “equity audit”



Scott Girard

“There is a lot of evidence that the state of Wisconsin has the most extreme gaps in opportunity and outcomes based on race and that within Wisconsin, MMSD is often ranked among the worst or the worst in some of these indicators,” MMSD director of research Brianne Monahan said.

Jackson said the process was delayed by a few months as they translated all of their materials from English into Spanish and Hmong to reach more families and voices within the district. That same translation is occurring with the transcribing of the interviews, but as long as there are no “hiccups,” a report will be ready by mid-summer.

“If I am right, the next steps would just be filled with the excitement associated with learning what participants actually think,” he said.

He added that district officials and the School Board should be ready for whatever people have had to say, even if it’s difficult to hear.

“I’ve shared with (the district) that I don’t know what they’re going to say,” Jackson said. “It’s not my job or my team’s job to do anything other than amplify what those voices do say. And they may absolutely say none of the things you want them to say.”

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?




Mission vs organization, redux; Madison’s disastrous reading Results



Paul Fanlund:

That said, his indictment of liberals in college towns echoes something Gloria Ladson-Billings, a renowned UW-Madison professor emerita, told me for a column last year about liberals and race.

“Everyone is for the most part self-interested,” she said. “You can only go so far before people start seeing it as an erosion of something they have or have access to. There are those limits that we can’t seem to get past.”

She summed up the attitude: “I’ll do X and Y, but please don’t ask me to do Z.”

I think Madison’s white liberals could do more to make “Z” happen.

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?




Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 make up “asynchronous” time



Scott Girard:

Lessons and coursework will be available through Seesaw and Google Classroom, with paper copies also available. 

“Each school will send families follow-up communication with additional details about asynchronous learning time,” the email states.

The district has chosen to use asynchronous learning as its solution. According to an email sent to families Wednesday, K-12 students will have 90 to 120 minutes of asynchronous learning each Monday from April 25 through June 6, with Friday, May 27, also an asynchronous learning day.

Elementary and middle school students’ learning will focus on literacy and math, while high school students will focus on college and career readiness, according to the email.

Wisconsin requires 437 hours of direct instruction in kindergarten, at least 1,050 hours of direct instruction in grades one through six, and at least 1,137 hours of direct instruction in grades seven through 12.

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?




Experts warned COVID would hurt students’ mental health. Now, teachers are living that reality



Jocelyn Gecker:

“I don’t want to read about another teenager where there were warning signs and we looked the other way,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino, author of a bill that would require all California middle and high schools to train at least 75% of employees in behavioral health. “Teachers and school staff are on the front lines of a crisis, and need to be trained to spot students who are suffering.”

Experts say while childhood depression and anxiety had been on the rise for years, the pandemic’s unrelenting stress and grief amplified the problems, particularly for those already experiencing mental health issues who were cut off from counselors and other school resources during distance learning.

For children, the issues with distance learning were not just academic, said Sharon Hoover, professor of child psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and co-director of the National Center for School Mental Health.

Child abuse and and neglect increased during the pandemic, according to Hoover. For children in troubled homes, with alcoholic or abusive parents, distance learning meant they had no escape. Those who lacked technology or had spotty internet connections were isolated even more than their peers and fell further behind academically and socially.

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?




Madison West high School Curriculum Practice Notes



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?




Civics: Ongoing Decline in Madison School Board Candidates and Voters; Unhealthy



Scott Girard:

This year’s election showed lower interest than recent contested races, in both fundraising for School Board races and voters. The number of votes was less than even last year, which featured two seats up for election with both candidates unopposed. Just over 41,000 people voted in those races.

The 2020 election, which included the Democratic presidential primary and was held in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, featured three seats on the ballot. Two of them were contested, and about 80,000 people voted in those races.

The last time these same seats were all on the ballot, in spring 2019, more than 65,000 people voted in each of the races, all of which featured two candidates on the ballot.

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?




Always interesting 2022 Madison School Board Election Agitation, via SMS



David Blaska has launched a write-in campaign for this seat, supported by former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

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?




Supporting David Blaska (2022 write in) for Madison School Board; Muldrow Campaign messages



Dave Cieslewicz:

I’m voting for David Blaska. God help me. But God help us all if we continue down the path laid out for us by the current board without at least someone to challenge the status quo. 

Postscript: This is not just a Madison problem. Liberal San Francisco voters recently recalled three hard-left school board members for similar issues. And today long-time Milwaukee Journal Sentinel education reporter Alan Borsuk reportson what’s going on in Milwaukee’s public schools. To quote part of his story:

Referring to students, (an MPS teacher) went on to say: ”Teachers at Grantosa are in abusive relationships that are only escaped by quitting. … We see the individuals committing these abusive acts return to our classes repeatedly without consequence. We struggle to make contact with parents as many of their phone numbers change weekly.” And when they do make contact, “some teachers are not met with support, but blame and further verbal abuse.”  

The letter continued, “Today I have a student who I’ve developed a great relationship with cussed me out and threatened me for stopping her from watching Netflix” in class. The students had found a way to get around the system in place to block that.

. Wisconsin Working Families Party www.

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?




Madison’s taxpayer supported schools spend more one time funds on “virtual school” expansion



Scott Girard

According to an email sent to board members Tuesday morning, there are currently 286 students enrolled in online programming, with 150 in third through fifth grades and 136 in grades six to 12. When the school year began, there were about 750 requests for virtual instruction in elementary grades and 452 applications for grades six through 12, with 234 of those offered enrollment.

The email, which Vander Meulen shared with the Cap Times, also outlines future enrollment plans.

Next year, the program will have 100 students maximum in each of fourth and fifth grades, with 150 maximum in grades six to 10. The 100-student maximum will remain for fourth and fifth grades, while the secondary grades will expand by 25 as they add a grade level each of the following two years, with 175 for grades six to 11 in 2023-24 and 200 for grades six through 12 in 2024-25.

Vander Meulen and Gomez Schmidt proposed pushing a vote to at least April 11, giving administrators time to provide further information on how the year has gone and for board members to consider the enrollment information they received earlier that day. 

“I want to vote for this program, I just can’t do it yet,” Vander Meulen said.

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 Madison’s taxpayer funded K-12 Governance and Spring 2022, largely unopposed school Board candidates



Elizabeth Beyer:

“include instituting law and order in schools, questioning diversity and equity initiatives in curriculum and promoting charter schools. His viewpoint, an outlier among the predominantly left-leaning board, would create diversity of thought if he is elected, he said.”

I did not see Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results mentioned in this article.

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?




Madison’s long term disastrous reading results, taxpayers and the school board



Scott Girard

In MMSD, 34.9% of students in grades 3-8 scored “Proficient” or “Advanced” on the statewide Forward Exam in 2018-19, the most recent year the exam was given with a high percentage of students participating. If the overall number isn’t bad enough, the results were worse for every non-white group of students other than Asians, who had the same percentage as the district as a whole in those two categories.

Just 10.1% of Black students taking the exam scored above “Basic,” with 58.9% scoring “Below Basic,” the lowest level. For Hispanic students, meanwhile, 16% scored “Proficient” or “Advanced,” with 46.9% scoring “Below Basic.”

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?




Notes on taxpayer supported K-12 Governance in Madison.



David Blaska:

Blaska’s beef is that ex-mayor Dave accuses Republicans of cynically playing the culture wars purely for political gain while doing exactly that himself.

Republicans aren’t raising these issues at every opportunity because they really care about kids or parents one way or the other. They’re exploiting these things because they see a hot political issue that they can ride — along with other things like inflation, crime, and immigration — to victories in November.”

Pardon us if we talk about crime and inflation. (What Scott Milfred of the WI State Journal calls “wedge issues.”) Worse, “Republicans don’t care about kids”? That whopper earns the Werkes’ coveted three-exclamation-point outrage: (!!!) When you can’t win on the facts, impugn motive. The Leftward mainstream news media does this all the time, with some version of “Republicans are seeking to capitalize on …” whatever sin against the Republic Democrats commit that day.

→ Read & weep over this local “news” story: Running for school board is a Republican plot.

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?




Notes on taxpayer supported Madison Schools curriculum and media perspective



David Blaska:

Thanks to the Simpson Street Free Press for hosting a Madison school board debate Thursday 03-17-22. We’ll include the link when it is posted.

Must admit, was taken aback by the Wisconsin State Journal’s question. Reporter Elizabeth Beyer asked Blaska which classrooms are teaching critical race theory?Suppose she wanted your write-in candidate for Seat #4 to rat out “Mr. Burns’ 3rd-period ancient and medieval history class at Memorial; Mrs. Hying’s 4th-period geometry class, Mr. Sorensen’s study hall at Shabazz, the lunch lady at East …

Portraying Blaska as a reincarnation of Tailgunner Joe may be payback for our scolding Ms. Beyer for writing, without a trace of attribution:

Critical Race Theory, an academic framework that focuses on racism embedded in the nation’s laws and institutions … isn’t taught in any of Wisconsin’s K-12 schools.”

None of them! A flat-out statement of incontrovertible fact! Ms. Beyer’s story that Sunday was in service to the establishment myth that conservatives are politicizing local school board races to build a farm team for higher office. (Blaska is coming for you, Tammy!)

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 a “study on stupidity”: Madison school crime edition



David Blaska:

Were they just hoping problem would go away?

Now the Madison school board is developing a committee to study school safety. NOW? Today? Five months after a widespread brawl at East high school induced one-third of the student body to shelter at home for safety? Two years after defunding school resource police officers? And all the gun incidents and student beatings since?

Now, today, the Madison school board is going to start a 13-member “student safety and wellness committee.” The overly Woke school board that created this undergraduate fight club will appoint the members, led by school board member Ananda Mirilli. Her day job at the Department of Public Instruction is to inject critical race theory into K-12 curriculum statewide.

This committee will address “the root cause of disengagement and violence in schools.” Maybe the committee can team up with Vice President Kamala Harris who is studying the root cause of illegal immigration. Philosophy Lesson 101: Studying the “root cause” of a thing means the studier has no idea what to do about the problem.

Here’s an idea: Until you find the unicorn at the end of the rainbow, how about stopping the violence in the meantime?

The Mirilli committee will “create districtwide policies.” Madison Metropolitan School District already has more policies than an insurance company.

Blaska, your write-in candidate for Seat #4 on the school board, has yer policy right here: put teachers back in control of their classrooms and principals back in charge of their schools. Return the SROs. You are most welcome!

2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before. 2004 notes.

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?




Notes on administrative mandates vs. elected official legislation: Dane County edition



2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before. 2004 notes.

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?




Ongoing taxpayer supported Madison school district reading spending commentary



Scott Girard

The mixed recommendation would cost approximately $4 million for its curricular materials, while the single-vendor option would cost approximately $3.2 million, according to the presentation. Board members did not generally make their preferences clear Monday.

“It’s really important that we understand the impact that we’ll be making in this investment and understand how we’re going to be accountable to our community in terms of producing results that demonstrate that this is a shift from what we’ve seen in the past,” board president Ali Muldrow said. “Being able to speak to how we will measure the impact of this investment is really important to me in terms of my ability to vote on these materials.”

The materials selected will be implemented in grades K-5 in the 2022-23 school year.

“I want to pick something where kids are going to love reading every single day and be excited about literacy every single day and grow up to be readers,” board member Cris Carusi said.

The work toward a new curriculum went hand-in-hand with the recent Early Literacy Task Force, a joint effort between MMSD and the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education to evaluate how students are taught to read as well as how future teachers learn to teach reading. The group produced a report earlier this year including recommendations for moving forward.

2005: When all third graders read at grade level or beyond by the end of the year, the achievement gap will be closed…and not before. 2004 notes.

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?




Eliminating Latin at Madison West high school amidst enrollment declines and taxpayer supported district budget growth



Scott Girard:

MMSD spokesman Tim LeMonds wrote in an email that the 6.1 FTE cut is a combination of two years of enrollment losses. Last year, enrollment decreased such that West lost three positions, LeMonds wrote, but the school was “allowed to retain those positions due to COVID.”

Based on projections for next year, enrollment will decrease further to the point that another 3.1 FTE will be cut, leaving the school to determine how it would cut 6.1 total. Boran wrote in her letter that West is projected to lose another 60 students going into next school year.

Madison schools’ budget history, including substantial recent referendums and redistributed federal taxpayer funds.

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?




One arrest made in threats to Madison’s Memorial High School



Scott Girard:

Despite taking that student into custody, the school received another “threatening call” on Friday, according to an email to Memorial families from principal Matt Hendrickson. The school has received at least one such call each day this week, but police investigations have found none of them to be credible.

“MPD is continuing a very detailed investigation into the origin of every false threat made and detectives have determined there to be no substantiated threat to our school, and all calls have been confirmed as not credible or false,” Hendrickson wrote in his letter.

Both MPD and Hendrickson noted the harm of the calls, including missing class time and mental health issues. On Monday, students evacuated Memorial and neighboring Jefferson Middle School for more than two hours.

“We understand the stress this can create for our community,” Hendrickson said. “Knowing how these situations can bring out many emotions, our teachers will continue their great work in checking-in with our students, and our Student Services team will continue to provide additional support to our staff and students. Students, we are here to support you.”

MPD public information officer Stephanie Fryer wrote in an email to the Cap Times Friday that the department “recognizes the anxiety and stress these types of threats can create in our community.”

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?




Madison schools outcomes and “Restorative Justice” notes



David Blaska:

It’s heart-breaking, it really is. Two Madison teenagers took different paths. Anthony Chung was a National Merit Scholar at Memorial high school, student representative to the Board of Education, about to graduate from elite Georgetown University. With him in the car the night of 09-12-20 on Mineral Point Road was the former classmate he planned to marry.

Careening at 90 mph on that city street was another Madison high school product. Maurice M. Chandler, then 18. At that young age, he already had seven open felony and misdemeanor cases and had jumped bail seven times. That night Chandler was high on marijuana in a vehicle likely stolen; he was armed with a handgun.

Chandler was out on $100 bail for an armed robbery, ordered by the court to remain at home — not rocketing through a city street at night when he ran a red light and smashed into Chung’s car as it turned left onto Grand Canyon Drive, killing the young man and critically injuring Chung’s girl friend, Rory Demick — herself an honors student.

“The moment that I learned of his death shattered my heart into a million pieces. In that second, as I lay in the ICU with multiple broken bones, my heart hurt more than the rest of my body,” she told the court, as reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.

Just one of the stories of kids gone bad in the Naked City. More and more stories. Which is why David Blaska, your write-in candidate for Seat #4 on the Madison school board, asks the question no one else is asking:

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?




Wisconsin DPI: Department of Public Inaccuracy



Patrick Mcilheran:

The warden of Wisconsin’s public-school status quo, the Department of Public Instruction, was wrong, when it recently made an absurd estimate about the cost of opening up school choice to all families without regard to income.

More than that, DPI betrayed an arrogance — a presumption that thousands of parents can go right on working a second job, and maybe a third, for being uppity.

To be clear, the DPI was factually wrong.

The agency incorrectly estimated the impact on property taxpayers if Wisconsin ended income limits on its school choice program. Those limits block families making more than three times the poverty line in Milwaukee and Racine or more than 2.2 times the poverty line in the rest of Wisconsin, or about $58,000 for a family of four.

The agency’s estimate, so wrong it’s not worth repeating, rested on laughably unjustifiable assumptions. A colleague and I dissected the DPI’s errors at length in a paper available at the Badger Institute website, but the central error was the DPI’s assumption that every tuition-paying family would right away switch to using the choice program.

Can’t happen. The choice grant, which must be accepted as full payment, is often well below schools’ actual cost, so a school’s ability to take more choice students is limited by its ability to tap outside donors. They need some “private-pay” students to lessen the fundraising load.

And notice what else DPI assumed: Its “baseline,” the status quo, the normal against which it measured impact, assumed tuition-paying families of about 69,000 children statewide should pay taxes to support schools and then go on paying tuition as well to relieve the rest of the state’s taxpayers entirely of the cost of their children’s education.

That is what the parents who pay the tuition for their children to attend the local parochial school, for instance, are doing — they’re easing the taxpayers’ burden. The least the DPI could do is send a thank-you card.

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?




Waivers (and Mulligans); Madison’s K-12 Governance Climate



Scott Girard:

The only non-unanimous vote came on the instructional time waiver request. Pryor wrote in the memo the district still intends to meet the state’s required hours of instruction for students, but the three-day extension of winter break in early January means the district needs “flexibility to meet the needs of our students.”

“Our weather is unpredictable as well,” MMSD legal counsel Sherry Terrell-Webb told the board. “While we may be OK right now, we can’t calculate in the future we will be, and unfortunately you do have to submit the waiver in a time where right now we may be OK but there is the possibility that we won’t be.”

The district was initially scheduled to return to buildings Jan. 3, but extended winter break through Jan. 5 and moved to virtual instruction Jan. 6 and 7 amid the Omicron surge. Students returned to in-person school on Jan. 10. Those three days, combined with the bad weather day on Feb. 22, meant officials wanted to be on the safe side in case of future closures, though they did not share with the board how close they were to being below the required thresholds.

Wisconsin requires 437 hours of direct instruction in kindergarten, at least 1,050 hours of direct instruction in grades one through six, and at least 1,137 hours of direct instruction in grades seven through 12.

Board member Cris Carusi was the lone vote against the waiver request, and cited the lost instructional time during the pandemic as a significant concern, despite understanding the need for flexibility.

The attendance waiver rationale cites “some aspects of the law which may be challenging for us to meet.” Those include the statutory definition of truancy referring to a student missing “part of all” of a day, with attendance for virtual learning among elementary students particularly a challenge, according to the memo.

Students are considered “present” for virtual instruction if they do any of the following, the memo states:

• Virtually attend the synchronous, or live, real-time instruction; or

• Complete and submit an asynchronous, or independent learning task assigned by the teacher on the virtual learning platform; or

• Engage in two-way, academically-focused communication (phone call, email exchange, or office hours virtual visit) with a staff member

That makes it “difficult to technically document scholars who miss part of the day,” according to the memo.

Board members Christina Gomez Schmidt and Carusi asked for further discussion on attendance challenges at some point in the future.

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?




Madison school governance climate amidst long term, disastrous reading results



David Blaska:

One conclusion from the first debate among candidates for Madison school board: Stop blaming COVID for our failing schools and own up to what we’ve done to our kids. Covid was the cover story school board president Ali Muldrow spun for the on-going chaos in Madison’s classrooms. (Another brawl at East high school Monday 02-21-22.) But that’s progressivism, isn’t it? Always an excuse, always someone else to blame, never taking responsibility. Our schools and the culture at large play identity politics. Making someone else — or history itself — the villain absolves the victim of responsibility for their own actions.

During the on-line debate Sunday night 02-20-22, Blaska the write-in candidate for Muldrow’s seat #4 said kids cannot learn if they do not feel safe. We excerpt from that debate, sponsored by Grandparents United for Madison Public Schools (GRUMPS) and the East Side Progressives. (Hope they’ve recovered from the shock!) Here, Blaska is on the clock for 2 minutes:

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?




Blessed Sacrament sixth-grader Aiden Wijeyakulasuriya wins Madison Spelling Bee



Lucas Robinson:

After a nearly 30-minute back-and-forth with another finalist, Blessed Sacrament sixth-grader Aiden Wijeyakulasuriya walked away a champion at the Madison All-City Spelling Bee Saturday morning.

Aiden, 11, properly spelled “effete” and then “agate” after runner-up Vincent Bautista misspelled “effete” with an “a” at the beginning.

Vincent, a student at St. Maria Goretti School, went word-for-word with Aiden for about a half-hour in an impressive streak of spelling that included “coulrophobia,” “pelisse,” “teraphim” and “ibuprofen.”

“I didn’t really expect it, but I was hoping for it,” Aiden said after the competition.

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 taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school climate



Nada Elmikashfi:

While all city employees at one time were required to live within the city limits, the residency requirement was eliminated for Madison Metro drivers in the 1980s and in subsequent years for other unionized employees as well. Arguments to keep the requirement were based in part on concerns over a dwindling middle class, while opponents have cited the high cost of living in Madison and the quality of suburban schools.

Dan Rolfs, a community development project manager for the city and a union representative for the Madison Professional and Supervisory Employee Association, told Brogan that members have had concerns about sending their kids to public schools in Madison and were drawn to the new high school facilities of Verona, DeForest and Sun Prairie.

It’s understandable. The resource-rich tech and science labs, professional looking athletic facilities, expansive aquatic centers, and unique greenhouses in these suburban schools would be a draw for any parent. Who doesn’t want the best education for their children? 

According to a 2021 report from the Madison school district, enrollment has been “decreasing slightly since the 2014-15 school year” and the district projects another decrease next school term. Enrollment for 4K-12 in 2021-22 was 25,936 students, down 482 students from 2020-21.

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?




Madison school district hits ‘pause’ on plan to end standalone honors classes



Dylan Brogan:

The Madison school district is delaying its plan to eliminate standalone honors classes at its high schools.

The district hasn’t publicly announced the policy shift or if it’s considering scrapping the plan entirely. At its Dec. 6 meeting, school board members were told by Director of Advanced Learning Sharon Alexander that the district was on track to end standalone honors classes for 9th graders starting in the 2022 fall semester and 10th graders in 2023. Isthmus learned the plan was being delayed from a high school teacher in January. It took district spokesperson Tim LeMonds three weeks to confirm what administrators had already told teachers. 

“Standalone and earned honors will still be available for 9th and 10th graders next year,” wrote LeMonds in a Feb. 8 email to Isthmus. “We have put a pause on the removal of standalone honors to allow for more time to review this strategy, obtain student and community input, and board involvement.” 

District administrators informed the Madison school board at an April 5, 2021, board meeting they were planning to phase out traditional honors classes for 9th and 10th graders. These courses are for core subject areas like biology, English, and history. There are no exams or other requirements to get into these classes and any student is allowed to enroll. Instead of standalone honors courses, the district was going to focus exclusively on the “Earned Honors” program. Begun in 2017, this program allows students to receive honors designation in non-honors classes if they complete “predetermined criteria.” 

Administrators at the April 5 meeting enthusiastically endorsed eliminating standalone honors classes. 

“This is an anti-racist strategy. Earned honors supports our commitment to truly becoming an anti-racist institution. It allows us to set a bar of excellence for all of our students, for 100 percent of our students,” said Kaylee Jackson, executive director for curriculum. “[Standalone honors classes] are an exclusionary practice in which only some students within our high schools are receiving this rigorous instruction and capable of receiving honors credit.”

According to the latest data from the district, 41 percent of students in standalone honors classes are students of color. White students represent 43 percent of the total student population in the district, but make up 59 percent of standalone honors classes. 

Most school board members expressed support at the meeting for eliminating standalone honors, although no vote was taken to either move forward or reject the idea. Board member Ananda Mirilli said she was “100 percent behind” the plan, a sentiment echoed by board member Savion Castro.

Chris Rickert:

Under a plan proposed by administrators last year, beginning with the 2022-23 school year, ninth-graders would only be able to earn honors credit through the district’s “earned honors” program, which places all students in the same classes but allows those who want to earn honors credit to do so if they meet a set of criteria showing mastery of the content. The same would apply to 10th-graders beginning in the 2023-24 school year.

The shift away from stand-alone honors classes was pitched by administrators as a way to boost racial equity, as students of color historically have been less likely to take honors-only classes, although they are open to all students. Those racial disparities have been closing in recent years.

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?




Competitive School Board Races (!) San Francisco & Mount Horeb Incumbents Ousted. Madison?



Jill Tucker & Anni Vainshtein:

San Francisco voters overwhelmingly supported the ouster of three school board members Tuesday in the city’s first recall election in nearly 40 years.

The landslide decision means board President Gabriela López and members Alison Collins and Faauuga Moliga will officially be removed from office and replaced by mayoral appointments 10 days after the election is officially accepted by the Board of Supervisors.

The new board members are likely to take office in mid-March. The three were the only school board members who had served long enough to be eligible for a recall.

The recall divided the city for the past year, with a grassroots effort of frustrated parents and community members pushing for the trustees’ removal over the slow reopening of schools during the pandemic and the board’s focus on controversial issues like renaming 44 school sites and ending the merit-based admission system at Lowell High School.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she wasn’t surprised by the results.

“We faced the hardest time of our entire lives as parents and as students in public schools and this Board of Education focused on issues that weren’t about dealing with the immediate crisis of the day, and they didn’t show the leadership that that was necessary and that parents needed to hear, and that kids needed to hear,” said Ronen.

At least a hundred recall backers had gathered in the back room of Manny’s Cafe in the Mission District on Tuesday night.

Elizabeth Beyer:

In an election season heated by controversy surrounding COVID mitigation policy and K-12 curriculum, Dane County’s largest school board race appeared split, with voters pushing through a raft of newcomers while ousting one longtime incumbent and advancing another during Tuesday’s primary election.

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 David Blaska’s 2022 Madison School Board campaign, no links, however



Scott Girard:

Blaska announced his candidacy in a blog post (link!! not present in the article) on Friday. The longtime critic of the Madison School Board wrote that “Madison voters unhappy with the direction of Madison’s public schools ought to be able to register a protest vote.”

He included a list of solutions that is “essentially the same platform we talked up in 2019 and more critical than ever.” The list includes returning school resource officers to the four comprehensive high schools and deploying some to middle schools, abolishing the Behavior Education Program, removing disruptive students and reducing central administration staff.

He also suggests the district “Quit teaching that Madison is institutionally racist, that some kids are implicitly biased, and that success depends on racial ‘privilege,’” and holding the line on property taxes.

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?




2022 Write in candidate for the taxpayer supported Madison School Board



David Blaska

David Blaska is running for Madison school board after all. No, his name won’t be on the ballot because he is a write-in for Seat #4. That’s the one occupied by school board president Ali Muldrow.

We were opponents three years ago and Ali (truly a lovely young lady in many ways) beat me handily. Likely will again, since Blaska is a write in this time and is not spending $20,000 like last time. But the only race for the three seats open this April 5 is over at Seat 3between Laura Simkin and a transgendered performance artist who claims to be a blind, black albino with pronouns.

Madison voters unhappy with the direction of Madison’s public schools ought to be able to register a protest vote. Three years ago the Wisconsin State Journal would not endorse Blaska or Muldrow:

Blaska is right that a police officer should stay in each main high school to promote safety, and that disruptive students should be accountable for their actions. But he goes out of his way to provoke Madison liberals and score political points, while offering few solutions.

Few solutions? Still find that inexplicable. Identify, if you can, the solutions the current school board offers or implemented. The school board voted unanimously to defund school resource police officers and is only just now thinking about convening a committee to study (wait for it) … school safety. Meanwhile, riots at East high school, beatings at La Follette, the whacking at West, and teenagers crashing stolen cars and running through back yards.

David Blaska’s solutions …

Are guaranteed to provoke Madison liberals progressives.  Maybe they need a good provoking! It’s essentially the same platform we talked up in 2019 and more critical than ever:

•  Return school resource police officers to the four high schools and deploy some to the middle schools.

•  Abolish Jennifer Cheatham’s dysfunctional Behavior Education Program.

•  Put teachers back in control of their classroom and principals back in charge of their schools.

•  Remove disruptive students.

•  Boil down the 111-page District Safety Plan to the essentials, beginning with: “Call 9-1-1 First, then Contact Parents.”

•  Quit teaching that Madison is institutionally racist, that some kids are implicitly biased, and that success depends on racial “privilege.”

•   Keep schools open.

•  Reduce central administration staff.

•  Hold the line on taxes. Property taxes up 8.9% in one year.

•  Get federal and state governments to abjure race statistics, including the U.S. Census.

•  Seek changes in the state criminal code to make parents criminally liable for the crimes of their minor children.

• Apologize to “Mr. Rob,” the positive behavior coach forced out at Whitehorse middle school for trying to remove a disruptive student who beat him about the face.

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?




Boys and mental health commentary



Andrew Yang:

The data are clear. Boys are more than twice as likely as girls to be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; are five times as likely to spend time in juvenile detention; and are less likely to finish high school.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t get better when boys become adults. Men now make up only 40.5 percent of college students. Male community college enrollment declined by 14.7 percent in 2020 alone, compared with 6.8 percent for women. Median wages for men have declined since 1990 in real terms. Roughly one-third of men are either unemployed or out of the workforce. More U.S. men ages 18 to 34 are now living with their parents than with romantic partners.

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?




Notes on discipline and character in the taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school district’s governance



David Blaska:

Spot quiz: What word will not be spoken by any of Madison’s candidates for school board? Time’s up! Groucho Marx’s secret word is “discipline.” Discipline is defined as “training to act in accordance with rules; activity, exercise or a regimen that develops or improves a skill.”

Discipline is the sine qua non (more Latin) of education. Mathematics, language, music, athletics — they’re all disciplines. All have rules that require mastery. All require effort — showing up, paying attention, listening to the one who teaches, doing the work.

Here’s the math: Discipline = Education = Success — never more so in our knowledge-based economy. If Madison’s growing cadre of car thieves has one thing in common, it is they are functionally illiterate. Doing crime is the surest way to fail, but Madison’s Woke progressives would rather play identity politics and guilt-trip history than demand performance.

Which is why the Werkes reminds parents that you do have a choice — if not at the ballot box, you can vote with your feet. The Wisconsin School Choice program (as opposed to the Milwaukee and Racine versions) is open for business until April 21 for enrollment next school year. We count 12 eligible non-public schools here in Dane and Columbia counties. Your child may qualify based on family income. Apply here.

If your family does not qualify, consider a more successful public school. Open Enrollment continues until 4:00 pm April 29.

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?




Off campus Madison East high fight



Emily Hamer:

Madison police were called to respond to a lunchtime fight between East High School students Wednesday off campus, but students began to dissipate just before officers arrived, according to the school’s interim principal.

While only a few students were involved in the physical altercation near the parking lot of Milio’s Sandwiches, 2202 E. Johnson St., roughly 30 students were “actively” watching, East High School interim Principal Mikki Smith said in an email to parents.

“It is critical for students to understand how, being a bystander or goading on participants, is unsafe, unhelpful and can cause the situation to become more volatile,” Smith said

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 politics of mask “mandates”; meanwhile in Dane County (Madison)



By Lisa Lerer, Luis Ferré-Sadurní and Astead W. Herndon

It was Gov. Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey who began the effort last fall, weeks after he was stunned by the energy of right-wing voters in his blue state, who nearly ousted him from office in what was widely expected to be an easy re-election campaign. Arranging a series of focus groups across the state to see what they had missed, Mr. Murphy’s advisers were struck by the findings: Across the board, voters shared frustrations over public health measures, a sense of pessimism about the future and a deep desire to return to some sense of normalcy.

Republicans excoriated Gov. Gavin Newsom of California and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles after they were photographed without masks at an N.F.L. playoff game on Jan. 30. (Mr. Garcetti said he held his breath during the photo, creating a “zero percent chance of infection.”)

On Monday, the chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, Ronna McDaniel, called Representative Elissa Slotkin of Michigan “another Democrat hypocrite” after Ms. Slotkin posted a photo of herself unmasked at an indoor campaign event.

And over the weekend, Stacey Abrams, the Georgia Democrat running for governor, deleted a photograph she had tweeted that showed her smiling, mask-free, in front of a classroom full of children wearing masks at a Georgia school.

“This is the Georgia Stacey Abrams wants,” warned a digital ad with which the campaign of former Senator David Perdue, a Republican running for governor, sought to capitalize on the misstep. “Unmask our kids.”

Tuesday night, Ms. Abrams said she had erred by taking the photograph. “Protocols matter,” she said on CNN. “And protecting our kids is the most important thing. And anything that can be perceived as undermining that is a mistake, and I apologize.”

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?




Notes on Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district’s vaccine mandate teacher firing



Scott Girard:

Tompkins, who considers himself fortunate to have since found a new job, said he was similarly disappointed to not receive an explanation. He submitted a letter from the pastor of his family church and his reasoning for not getting the vaccine, he said. On appeal, the district asked for “a more in-depth letter” on his reasoning, which he submitted.

He called the district’s lack of clear criteria “deceptive.”

“It was very disheartening and especially considering I was 14 years in the district,” he said. “I couldn’t understand why they were this guarded and not really being transparent with me about what was going on.”

Correction: Britta Hanson is no longer the acting principal of Crestwood Elementary School, though the district’s website still lists her as the principal. The school now has an interim. The article has been updated.

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 unopposed taxpayer supported K-12 Madison school board elections



Scott Mildred and Phil Hands:

An outdated state law requires only Madison to elect its School Board members in such an odd way. That law should be changed.

(Interestingly, I saw no inquiry on how the legislation occurred….)

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 School board elections & unopposed Madison 2022 seats



Elizabeth Beyer:

In solidly Democratic Madison there’s markedly less enthusiasm for running for School Board than in other parts of the state. Of the three seats up for election this year, only one is contested after two incumbents opted not to run again.

Madison School Board President Ali Muldrow, who is up for reelection but is running unopposed, said interest in serving on the board, or any local office, is like the swing of a pendulum based on the political climate. The district hasn’t faced much public outcry over its COVID mitigation or equity policies.

“Madison is a really progressive city. … And I do think progressives are tired,” she said. “Voter engagement is going to matter a lot, and I do think Republicans in more purple parts of the state are going to work really hard this year to establish contrast campaigns.”

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 latest release from the General Social Survey shows the toll the pandemic has taken on our mental health



Christopher Ingraham:

But in 2021 that all changed. The very-happies plummeted from 31 percent of the population in 2018 down to 19, while the not-too-happies surged by a nearly identical amount, from 13 to 24 percent. The balance is made up by the pretty-happies at around 57 percent, who I omitted from the chart because their numbers didn’t change from 2018 to 2021.

For the first time in polling history, in other words, Americans are more likely to say they’re not happy than to say they’re very happy. The obvious driver of this is the pandemic. In 2021 happiness took a major hit across the board — Democrats and Republicans, men and women, rich and poor, healthy and unhealthy people — all reported a decline in the quality of their life.

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?




Taxpayer Supported Madison K-12 Curriculum Documents



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?




Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school policies in the spotlight: Marlon Anderson edition



Sean Cooper:

he attempted to instruct the student that the word was offensive. In doing so, he used the slur himself, which was overheard by administrators who had recently installed a zero tolerance anti-racism policy that prompted them to immediately fire Anderson for the utterance. Students subsequently rallied to Anderson’s defense, walking out of class in protest demanding that administrators recognize that words have context and intent, a view that was largely demoted to the fringes of polite thought in 2019, but given the race of the parties involved, school administrators all but had to acquiesce to their demands and Anderson was reinstated. 

For Pesca and other journalists of a similar ilk, Anderson’s reversed expulsion was an interesting example of how the soft squishy language of anti-racism policies collapsed upon their hard impact with reality. What put meat on the bones of this story though was the way the media handled the whole affair, with several national news organizations taking up a narrative that Anderson was fired on the grounds of an anti-racism offense when he, to borrow the phrase deployed in myriad headlines, “used a racial slur” against a student. Other news outlets like CNN further obfuscated the crux of the issue—that intent and context change the meaning of language—when they covered the student protests and interviewed Anderson but blurred his face and silenced him speaking when he explained what was said and how. Though certainly there are sensitivities a cable broadcast network must abide by regarding racial epithets, CNN’s extensive effort to remove Anderson from the context of a story about context undermined their own journalistic inquiry.  

“When the news says he was using the N-word that implies he was wielding the N-word. And that was not done here,” Pesca said during the segment on The Gist. “In fact, when the media reports that he used the N-word but then the media doesn’t say the N-word, can’t give you the actual quotes, bleeps it out, they’re really agreeing with one side of the story. The side that says there is no context for this.” 

The problem for Pesca arose during the production of this segment when he originally recorded himself saying Anderson’s quote with the slur intact, something that offended at least one of his producers, according to Pesca’s account and another Slate employee familiar with the incident. (Both of his producers from that episode did not return requests to be interviewed for this story.)

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?




49 taxpayer supported Madison school district staff cashiered



Scott Girard:

A Madison Metropolitan School District teacher plans to challenge what he considers unequal application of the district’s religious exemption to its staff COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Nathan Hataj, a technology and engineering teacher at La Follette High School, “didn’t think of it as an issue” when the School Board unanimously approved the staff vaccine mandate in September, as he had abstained from other vaccines in the past.

Staff were required to be vaccinated or submit an exemption request by Nov. 1, which Hataj said he did. In December, however, he was told his request was denied.

Hataj appealed the December decision and was told in January that he had until Friday, Jan. 14, to show that he had begun his COVID vaccine series or he would be fired effective Jan. 21. He said communications from the district when he’s asked questions about the policy and his application have been poor.

Monday, Hataj showed up at school, as he had not received a formal notice from the district that he had been fired. He wrote in an email that he still “assumed I’ll be fired” and felt like he was in “limbo.”

He said in an email Monday afternoon that an assistant principal told him not to come to school Tuesday. His principal also informed him via email that human resources director Tracy Carradine told the principal that Hataj’s employment was considered terminated as of Friday.

Paradoxically– Volunteer opportunities in the taxpayer supported Madison School District

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’m a Public School Teacher. The Kids Aren’t Alright.



Stacey Lance:

I am proud to be a teacher. I’ve worked in the Canadian public school system for the past 15 years, mostly at the high school level, teaching morals and ethics.

I don’t claim to be a doctor or an expert in virology. There is a lot I don’t know. But I spend my days with our youth and they tell me a lot about their lives. And I want to tell you what I’m hearing and what I’m seeing.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, when our school went fully remote, it was evident to me that the loss of human connection would be detrimental to our students’ development. It also became increasingly clear that the response to the pandemic would have immense consequences for students who were already on the path to long-term disengagement, potentially altering their lives permanently. 

The data about learning loss and the mental health crisis is devastating. Overlooked has been the deep shame young people feel: Our students were taught to think of their schools as hubs for infection and themselves as vectors of disease. This has fundamentally altered their understanding of themselves.

When we finally got back into the classroom in September 2020, I was optimistic, even as we would go remote for weeks, sometimes months, whenever case numbers would rise. But things never returned to normal.

Madison’s literacy task force report background, notes and links.

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?




Volunteer opportunities in the taxpayer supported Madison School District



Scott Girard:

Registration can be completed online through the district’s Volunteer Tracker program, which allows volunteers to select the schools where they’d like to volunteer and identify what roles they can volunteer for.

In an interview last week, Jenkins suggested that the district needs individuals and local businesses to step up to help keep school buildings open, as “every able-bodied” central office staff member was already out helping at schools last week.

“We have a lot of businesses here,” he said. “If they subbed one day a month, that would take us through the rest of the year with enough staffing to fill these vacancies. And we’re at a critical spot like across the rest of the country right now.”

The district is also advertising paid positions on its volunteering page, seeking more staff to fill a variety of positions:

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?




Feller School: a Madison, Wisconsin Startup



Kim Feller-Janus:

Several years ago I became disenchanted by my profession. I was not happy with the results of my work as a Reading Interventionist in a large school district. Yes, the students assigned to me made progress and the principals, teachers, and parents were pleased with my work, but I wasn’t. Year after year I worked with my students to reach “grade level reading” by years’ end and most of the time we met that goal. However, these same students were back to see me the following year because what they had learned the year before didn’t seem to stick and they were falling behind once again. This was hard to accept. I felt that I could do better, but I didn’t know how. And, this is why I decided that it was time to make a change.

Upon leaving the school environment I opened my own business, Auburn Reading Center, LLC. This gave me the opportunity to continue to work with struggling readers and time to learn more about effective reading instruction. This is when I discovered the book, Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide. I devoured it within hours and then I wanted to scream, “Why didn’t anyone teach this to me in college?!” 

This began my journey to learn more about our English language and the connection it has with the decades-old brain research. This research shows brain activity when a good reader is reading as well as the brain activity when a poor reader is reading. There is evidence proving that our brains are not wired to read and that we need to be taught. Effective reading instruction that is explicit, systematic, multisensory, and structured is the “silver bullet” for most people. This explained to me why the students I taught within the school system were making minimal overall progress and never actually becoming proficient readers. In fact, in some cases what I was doing may have been more harmful than helpful. This broke my heart and pushed me even more to learn a better way to teach.

My next thought was to learn more about the author of this amazing book and find a way to connect with her in hopes that she could lead me into the right direction for coursework or training. This is when I discovered that Denise Eide had also written a comprehensive language arts curriculum that is based on brain research. I also learned that her office was located in Rochester, Minnesota which is just a little over 3 hours away from where I lived. I was determined to make that 6-hour round trip to meet this brilliant woman. Fortunately for me, Denise graciously agreed to meet me for lunch near her office to talk about her book and curriculum. We also talked about my frustrations with what seemed to be a norm in most schools – which is the belief that there will always be about 20% of children who will never be good readers. This is something that I never want to accept.

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?




Madison schools head says schools need ongoing community help to support students



Scott Girard:

“This time, I’m going to the business community, to the churches and saying, ‘Hey, let’s start anticipating together, scenario planning, so if something happens, we can be a model for how you do it,’” he said. “Keep it rolling and keep safety first and then the rest of the stuff.”

That “rest of the stuff” includes a continued focus on the social-emotional health and well-being of students, who Jenkins said lost some of their relationship-building time and conflict-resolution skills while they were isolated in virtual learning. That contributed to the safety issues that cropped up this fall, he said.

“Starting off this school year, in my estimation, we saw an increase in choices students were making of how they engage or could not engage properly resolving conflicts,” he said. “In certain cases, that led to some violent situations amongst a few trying to process it, and we’re trying to help them process it.

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 greatest casualty of the pandemic era is, without question, America’s public education system’



Jesse Kauffman:

The greatest casualty of the pandemic era is, without question, America’s public education system. Shuttering public schools in the first panicked days of March 2020 was perhaps understandable. However, many schools—such as those my children attend in Ann Arbor, Michigan—failed to open the following year. Schools closed in defiance of any reasonable accounting of the massive harms and non-existent benefits. 

Worse, parents (including  my wife and me) who advocated to get their kids’ schools open were subject to abuse and harassment on social media, where we were called “teacher killers” and racists. This abuse was tacitly encouraged by teachers’ unions, which adopted similar rhetoric (“The push to reopen schools is rooted in sexism, racism and misogyny”announced the official Twitter account of the Chicago Teachers’ Union in December 2020) as well as elected school boards, who struggled to hide the obvious contempt they had for parents. 

This came as a terrible shock to many who had children in these schools, but especially to lifelong Democrats living in progressive towns and cities. They felt themselves abandoned by institutions they had long trusted and supported without reservation. That trust is gone and unlikely ever to return.    

Our medical and scientific institutions have also undermined their credibility over the past two years. Few authority figures were once as trusted as physicians. But our collective view of them will never be the same.

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?




Madison School District’s Early Literacy Task Force Report



104 Page PDF:

The Early Literacy and Beyond Task Force was established in December 2020, charged with analyzing promising approaches to literacy education and making recommendations to Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) and the teacher education programs at the University of Wisconsin -Madison School of Education (UW-SoE) to improve literacy outcomes and reduce gaps in MMSD student’s opportunities and outcomes. The Task Force members met between February and June 2021 to address the charges listed below.

1. Review and become familiar with the best evidence about the most effective ways to teach literacy in pre-kindergarten through Grade 12, and how to best develop future teachers who can better teach literacy in schools.

2. Identify how literacy, especially early literacy, is taught across MMSD, and analyze achievement data for MMSD students with respect to literacy.

3. Examine how literacy, especially early literacy, is taught to teacher education students at UW- SoE and analyze what these future teachers are learning about literacy.

4. Recommend steps that strengthen literacy instruction in the Madison schools and UW-Madison teacher education programs.

The Task Force included 14 members, seven each from MMSD and UW-Madison who were experts in literacy and equity – the central foci of the effort. The project was managed by Dr. Jen Schoepke who holds positions in both organizations. Task Force members worked collaboratively as a whole group focused on the fourth charge listed above and in three subcommittees focused on the first three charges. To facilitate cross-fertilization and leverage our collective knowledge, each subcommittee included representatives from MMSD and UW-Madison.

Task Force members kept children and equity at the center of our work and our recognition that behind every data point was a child and a family with aspirations for success. The Task Force focused on the demand for social justice and the ways that reading can empower young people with the opportunity to create a more just future.2 Several things were abundantly clear through Task Force dialogue: (1) student’s opportunities and outcomes need to be more equitable; (2) all of our children need improved literacy outcomes, and (3) it is our collective responsibility to put systems, processes, and pedagogy in place that allows the excellence within our children to shine.

Building on a long-standing culture of collaboration across MMSD and UW-SoE, this report was developed through a true partnership, with an explicit focus on literacy instruction as an equity strategy. Task Force members agree that we need urgent change grounded in reflective, evidence-based practice. This report is meant to spur such transformation in MMSD and UW-SoE so we can realize the moral imperative to get all of our children to read successfully and at high levels. The Task Force submits this report to MMSD and UW-SoE leadership for their consideration, knowing that its recommendations are just the beginning of the work that needs to be done. This task force report represents the collective work of the Task Force members, not perspectives or viewpoints of any one individual.

Madison’s literacy task force report background, notes and links.

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?




Ehud Qimron’s Powerful Letter to the Israeli Ministry of Health



Shared via brownstone:

Two years late, you finally realize that a respiratory virus cannot be defeated and that any such attempt is doomed to fail. You do not admit it, because you have admitted almost no mistake in the last two years, but in retrospect it is clear that you have failed miserably in almost all of your actions, and even the media is already having a hard time covering your shame.

You refused to admit that the infection comes in waves that fade by themselves, despite years of observations and scientific knowledge. You insisted on attributing every decline of a wave solely to your actions, and so through false propaganda “you overcame the plague.” And again you defeated it, and again and again and again.

You refused to admit that mass testing is ineffective, despite your own contingency plans explicitly stating so (“Pandemic Influenza Health System Preparedness Plan, 2007”, p. 26).

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?




Notes on Madison area K – 12 taxpayer supported school attendance



Scott Girard:

MMSD spokesman Tim LeMonds told the Cap Times in an email Tuesday the district’s attendance rate Monday was 80.6%. That’s below the average of more than 90% throughout the 2020-21 school year, according to attendance data received through an open records request.

Other area school districts, which all returned from winter break as scheduled in the first week of January, reported slightly higher attendance rates during the first week of 2022.

In the Verona Area School District, attendance ranged from 85.37% to 89.58%, according to data provided by superintendent Tremayne Clardy.

Waunakee Community School District’s attendance rate was between 87.86% and 89.81% throughout last week, district communications and engagement specialist Anne Blackburn wrote in an email.

Similarly, the Oregon School District saw attendance rates from 82.2% to 87.5% last week, according to an email from district communications director Erika Mundinger.

The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District saw attendance rates stay between 88.5% and 90.2% the week of Jan. 3, director of information and public relations Shannon Valladolid wrote in an email.

Perhaps related: a physician recently mentioned to me that we are living through a phenomena of the worried well.

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 Closed taxpayer supported Madison Schools (no achievement discussion)



Scott Mildred (and others)

Our community didn’t let the district’s tardiness slide without a stern warning. That’s because missing in-person classes for the last week (with two days of online school) badly disrupted people’s lives, especially working parents who don’t have easy options for emergency child care.

The district’s spokesman had told the State Journal on Dec. 20 that moving to online-only learning was not part of the district’s plans for January. Yet an email to parents on the eve of New Year’s Eve informed families that school buildings wouldn’t open the following Monday after all. That left many parents scrambling over the holiday weekend to get time off work, find somewhere safe for their kids to stay, or ask for an impromptu “bring your child to work day.”

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?




Civics: Milwaukee votes on health policy while Dane County continues unelected administrative mandates



Corrinne Hess:

At the urging of Milwaukee Public Schools and area restaurants, a Milwaukee Common Council committee moved forward an ordinance Friday for a city-wide mask mandate.

Under the plan, a face covering would be required for anyone 3 years old and up inside a public building whenever the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 virus is equal to or greater than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents in Milwaukee County as determined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Milwaukee has repeatedly hit that mark since the omicron variant reached the city around Thanksgiving. 

On Friday, Milwaukee had more than 1,000 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people and more than 38 percent of people tested for the virus were positive, said city Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson.

The Public Health and Safety Committee voted 3-2 on the ordinance with two members of the committee, Scott Spiker and Mark Borkowski abstaining, saying they were being expected to make a decision before the details were worked out.

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?




Milwaukee Public Schools are staying virtual for now, and none of the reasons involve improving student education



Alan Borsuk:

This all said, MPS is in a small club of school districts that have switched to all-virtual schooling during the current surge. The vast majority of American schools are staying in-person, even if it’s a struggle.

One board member, Megan O’Halloran, suggested that schools that were reporting comparatively few COVID cases among teachers and students should re-open on Monday (Jan. 10). She said that the MPS COVID “dashboard” indicated more than half of schools would be candidates for re-opening under the standard that has been used of no more than 3% of the school community testing positive. The idea was voted down 8 to 1.

The lack of urgency about student achievement. This very much predates the pandemic and is a broader issue. But it seems relevant to the tepid push for keeping kids in classrooms now. There just aren’t many people who have called publicly for energetic and fresh ways to raise the longstanding and deeply worrisome proficiency of many thousands of Milwaukee children (not only in MPS) when it comes to

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?




$5M in Grants to save Chicago Public School Children



STOP Award

More than 340,000 Chicago Public School students have been forced to stay home by self-interests who dominate the Chicago Public School system. The failure of Chicago’s leadership to open school even after receiving more than $1.5 billion from the federal government in the past year to ensure they are always open safely to students is outrageous and unacceptable.

But there are thousands of great educators and education providers who can and are ready to help more children get educated. We want to help them, immediately, to take kids in from the Chicago public schools and give them the education they need and deserve, both now and into the future.

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?




Notes on administrative mandates vs elected official votes: Dane County Edition



Allison Garfield:

Authored by county Supervisor Jeff Weigand, who represents District 20 just east of Sun Prairie, the resolution has been before the city and county’s joint public health committee twice, once in September and once in December. Most recently, on Dec. 1, the resolution was indefinitely postponed in committee.

But the resolution made its way before the full board for the first time Thursday, much to the chagrin of several supervisors who had been part of its original suspension. Weigand, however, said he was proud the resolution was finally getting the full board’s attention.

Echoing comments made by many in public comment, Weigand argued the public health department hasn’t been transparent with data “to evaluate mask extensions.”

“We have unanswered questions,” he said. “This is far beyond an immediate emergency in which the health department would need to act.”

Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher told the Cap Times Thursday before the meeting that public health officials have the statutory authority to help protect the public from public health emergencies. And she said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be just that.

While 80 people registered to speak during public comment, both in support and in opposition of the resolution, Eicher announced at the beginning of the meeting that 123 people registered in support of the resolution and 547 in opposition, but weren’t speaking at the meeting.

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?




Private temporary classroom for taxpayer supported Madison k-12 students



Scott Girard:

It was their temporary classroom for MMSD’s second day of virtual learning amid a delayed return from winter break. Madison offered up her organization’s space on the Capitol Square hours after the district’s Dec. 30 announcement that winter break would be extended through Wednesday, Jan. 6, with virtual learning to close out the week.

By Friday, students were working on their Chromebooks in their own areas of the room. One was going through Spanish lessons with volunteer teacher Mia Hicks while another sat in the corner under a blanket and next to the fireplace on a television working on division problems.

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 statements to open Madison’s closed taxpayer supported K-12 schools



Scott Girard:

That percentage is well below the unfilled percentages in the last months of 2021: 49.81% in October, 47.37% in November and 43.56% in December. In its press release Thursday, the district acknowledged that closures of schools or classrooms could still be coming this semester.

Elizabeth Beyer:

“We recognize this week has affected our scholars, families, and staff in many ways,” Jenkins said. “We appreciate our school community’s patience and understanding. Although we prefer our scholars to be connecting in-person with teachers and staff while learning in our classrooms, this necessary pause strengthened our ability to sustain remaining open safely.”

Perspective:

“More than 25,000 students attend MMSD schools and more than 4,000 staff members work in the district. All of the cases over the past week occurred while students and staff were on winter break.”

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?




Changing our metrics to suit our narratives has caused confusion, frustrated the honest, and destroyed public trust, or The Graveyard of Common Knowledge



Matt Shapiro:

This kind of pronouncement was meant to imply that vaccination rates were responsible for low rates of COVID at Harvard, not the fact that Harvard is in a region that was at a COVID nadir last September.

Now that the region is having a COVID outbreak, Harvard has, despite mandatory vaccines (and mandatory boosters), mandatory indoor masking, and ubiquitous testing, announced they are returning to remote classes

We’ve now done this two years in a row. When a COVID surge hits the southern part of the United States, the charts come out showing that the northern states are not having a surge and we attribute that fact to whatever policy metrics are currently being promoted without mentioning that COVID seems to be surging in a seasonal way. In 2020, the explanation was mask mandates and closed schools. However, when I dug into the details, I found that blue and red states had similar mask usage (the bigger difference was between urban and rural use) and pediatric COVID rates consistently reflected the COVID rates in the community regardless of whether schools were open or closed.

These explanations, then and now, feel like partisanship dressed up in charts. This can be most easily seen in Dr Paul Krugman’s assertion that the COVID surge was a political event and that Republicans were to blame.

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?




Madison’s taxpayer supported closed schools: 2022 edition



Emily Hamer:

Heinrich also said that “while it is challenging to determine exactly where transmission occurred,” her agency was not aware of any deaths from COVID-19 linked to in-person schooling in Dane County “but it appears that there have been a small number of hospitalizations that appear to be linked to in-school transmission.”

Jenkins confirmed that there have been no deaths related to someone getting infected with COVID-19 at school. Stampfli said a few of the district’s students have been hospitalized, but it’s “hard to tell” whether they got infected at school or somewhere else.

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 Madison’s taxpayer supported closed K-12 schools



Scott Girard:

Wednesday’s meeting, which begins at 5 p.m., includes a public comment portion, a chance to summarize written public comments and an “update on safe return to school buildings for in-person learning.” The last item will be a discussion, but will not include a vote of any kind.

Those interested in speaking during the meeting must fill out a registration form on the district’s website, which opens two hours prior to the meeting. Written comments can be submitted at any time.

The meeting will be livestreamed on the board’s YouTube channel.

At Friday’s meeting, which shortly followed a press conference from district administrators and health experts explaining the decision, board members expressed a mix of understanding and urgency to get students back inside buildings.

Multiple board members encouraged administrators to offer a more solid commitment to the hopeful Jan. 10 return.

“We need to be committed to reopening on Monday unless something happens where we can’t because like half our staff are out,” Cris Carusi said. “Every day that we keep kids in virtual learning is a day when mental health issues are going to become worse for our students, is a day when students are more likely to disengage from school and I think is a day that is going to lead to several more days of challenges when kids get back into buildings.”

Parents vs Madison’s K-12 Administration.

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?




Milwaukee, Madison School Districts Refuse to Follow the Science



Brett Healy:

Further proving that we have learned absolutely nothing from the last 22 months, both Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) and the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) announced plans to scrap students’ return to the classroom following Christmas break.

Neither sounded particularly optimistic that this would be a temporary move.

“While it is our goal to resume in-person learning Monday, January 10, 2022, we will continue to assess the situation and provide updates as new information becomes available,” MPS Superintendent Keith Posleysaid in an email to families Sunday night.

MMSD, meanwhile, has not released any plans to return to in-person learning following an extended break and virtual learning tomorrow and Friday.

Biden: Schools should stay open despite omicron wave

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?




Notes on taxpayer supported Madison K-12 School District Crime and achievement governance



David Blaska:

Neighbors here on the SW side are outraged that the so-called safety coordinator for our public schools blows off police trying to track down kids showing off their illegal firearms in a stolen car a block away from Madison East high school. Doesn’t return their phone calls. Refuses to share photographic evidence with staff who might be able to prevent harm and hurt. (Related here.)

“I fully expect that administrators are held accountable for their actions,” one neighbor demanded. New to Madison, are we?

That’s the problem. Administrators ARE accountable to the elected school board which has made known its antipathy toward safety in myriad ways. Expelling police from our troubled high schools in June 2020 was only the final battle in the progressive war on discipline, fought in the name of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

In other words, Madison schools’ safety un-coordinator is doing exactly what this school board expects. Three of the 7 school board seats are on the ballot this spring; deadline for declaring candidacy is 5 p.m. Tuesday Jan 4. (See sidebar at right for more info.) Two days hence. Based on the candidates who have already announced, we can expect more of the same.

No one is challenging school board President Ali Muldrow. Only one candidate has announced for the seat held by Ananda Mirilli (a DPI equity bureaucrat). That would be Nichelle Nichols, who performed equity for pay for the Madison Metro School District. Her current job: system leader at the National Equity Project.

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?




Parents vs taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school district administration



Elizabeth Beyer:

It’s a complaint echoed by parents across the district Monday, on a day most expected to see their children back at school, as they were elsewhere in Dane County (but not in the state’s largest district, Milwaukee, which also went back to online learning temporarily). Several parents said they didn’t object to the move to online school so much as the short notice by the district.

Most students across Dane County, outside of Madison, returned to their classrooms on Monday. Superintendents at several districts said any pivot to online-only learning would hinge on the number of cases and the level of staffing they’re able to provide.

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?




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