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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 … Continue reading 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.

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

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 … Continue reading Commentary on trust in taxpayer supported “public health authorities”

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

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

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

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

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 … Continue reading 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.

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 … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s behavior education plan

“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 … Continue reading “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”

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

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

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 … Continue reading 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.

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 … Continue reading Race and the Taxpayer Funded Madison School District

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madison West high School Curriculum Practice Notes

“CRT is not taught in schools.” West High School in Madison is teaching the basics of CRT once a month to their entire student body. Called “Regent Pride,” the slides explore the basic tenets of CRT. Multiple concerned parents have contacted me. Thread below: pic.twitter.com/qrsRTe65oU — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) April 8, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and … Continue reading Madison West high School Curriculum Practice Notes

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

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 … Continue reading Always interesting 2022 Madison School Board Election Agitation, via SMS

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

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

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 … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer funded K-12 Governance and Spring 2022, largely unopposed school Board candidates

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

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 … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported K-12 Governance in Madison.

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 … Continue reading Notes on taxpayer supported Madison Schools curriculum and media perspective

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 … Continue reading Advocating a “study on stupidity”: Madison school crime edition

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

“Heinrich has exercised the powers of a dictatorship in Dane County for 2 years.” — Justice Pat Roggensack during today’s argument. https://t.co/53oA4zbjrz — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) March 9, 2022 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 … Continue reading Notes on administrative mandates vs. elected official legislation: Dane County edition

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 … Continue reading Ongoing taxpayer supported Madison school district reading spending commentary

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

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

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 … Continue reading Madison schools outcomes and “Restorative Justice” notes

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 … Continue reading Wisconsin DPI: Department of Public Inaccuracy

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

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 … Continue reading Madison school governance climate amidst long term, disastrous reading results

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 … Continue reading Blessed Sacrament sixth-grader Aiden Wijeyakulasuriya wins Madison Spelling Bee

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, … Continue reading Commentary on the taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school climate

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

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

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 … Continue reading Commentary on David Blaska’s 2022 Madison School Board campaign, no links, however

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. … Continue reading 2022 Write in candidate for the taxpayer supported Madison School Board

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 … Continue reading Boys and mental health commentary

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

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 … Continue reading Off campus Madison East high fight

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 … Continue reading The politics of mask “mandates”; meanwhile in Dane County (Madison)

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

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 … Continue reading Commentary on unopposed taxpayer supported K-12 Madison school board elections

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 … Continue reading Commentary on School board elections & unopposed Madison 2022 seats

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

Taxpayer Supported Madison K-12 Curriculum Documents

LEAKED: new documents coming in hot from multiple teachers at Madison, Wis. School District, fed up with new direction. Adoption of BLM curriculum to destroy and disrupt the nuclear family pic.twitter.com/i3rsG7Rwne — Dan Lennington (@DanLennington) January 29, 2022 Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health. The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not … Continue reading Taxpayer Supported Madison K-12 Curriculum Documents

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

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 … Continue reading 49 taxpayer supported Madison school district staff cashiered

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, … Continue reading Volunteer opportunities in the taxpayer supported Madison School District

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 … Continue reading Madison schools head says schools need ongoing community help to support students

‘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 … Continue reading ‘The greatest casualty of the pandemic era is, without question, America’s public education system’

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 … Continue reading Madison School District’s Early Literacy Task Force Report

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

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 … Continue reading Notes on Madison area K – 12 taxpayer supported school attendance

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. … Continue reading Commentary on Closed taxpayer supported Madison Schools (no achievement discussion)

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

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

$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 … Continue reading $5M in Grants to save Chicago Public School Children

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

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 … Continue reading Private temporary classroom for taxpayer supported Madison k-12 students

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 … Continue reading Commentary on statements to open Madison’s closed taxpayer supported K-12 schools

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

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 … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported closed schools: 2022 edition

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 … Continue reading Commentary on Madison’s taxpayer supported closed K-12 schools

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 … Continue reading Milwaukee, Madison School Districts Refuse to Follow the Science

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

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 … Continue reading Parents vs taxpayer supported Madison K-12 school district administration

Taxpayer supported Madison School District once again closes schools

Here is the full press release announcement. Press conference tomorrow morning. https://t.co/BQWW4mAjyf pic.twitter.com/xi94AlnBe8 — Scott Girard (@sgirard9) December 30, 2021 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 … Continue reading Taxpayer supported Madison School District once again closes schools

Mandates, adult employment and children’s mental health

School closings and “remote learning” have caused a massive mental health crisis among teenagers. This, and the disruption to their intellectual development, will be enduring and severe.https://t.co/Q3mtWJ9MnR pic.twitter.com/ONrnYIWBPI — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) December 26, 2021 I think about whenever I (frequently) see children running around outside, masked. Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public … Continue reading Mandates, adult employment and children’s mental health

Wisconsin Supreme Court to Hear WILL Challenge to Dane County Health Orders (without elected official votes)

WILL: The News: The Wisconsin Supreme Court granted a motion to bypass in Becker v. Dane County, meaning the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear and decide the case brought by two Dane County residents and a Dane County business challenging the authority of the county health officer to issue sweeping orders without approval by the Dane County Board. The … Continue reading Wisconsin Supreme Court to Hear WILL Challenge to Dane County Health Orders (without elected official votes)

Civics: “the County Board doesn’t have the power to end the mask mandate”

Emily Hamer: The mask resolution, which was authored by conservative-leaning Sup. Jeff Weigand, 20th District, would urge Public Health Madison and Dane County director Janel Heinrich to pull back the masking order until the county gets more feedback on whether residents want the mandate in place. It also seeks a public hearing on the mask … Continue reading Civics: “the County Board doesn’t have the power to end the mask mandate”