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“allow DPI to treat any money directed to it as money that can be used by the Office of Literacy for any literacy program that office deems fit.”



Corrinne Hess:

An Evers spokesperson said last month Evers was within his right to line-item veto the appropriations bill. 

But on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Devin LeMahieu said the governor was using literacy funding “as a pawn in his effort to strengthen his veto power rather than doing the right thing for Wisconsin families.

When asked if withholding the money from DPI would affect implementation of the literacy bill, LeMahieu said if Evers acted legally, this would not be a discussion. 

“Any delay in the implementation of the bipartisan literacy changes will fall squarely at the feet of the Governor,” LeMahieu said.

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Mind the Governance Mulligans + low expectations on Wisconsin Reading Curricula




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



Karen Vaites:

All eyes have been on Wisconsin, where politics threaten to stall promising curriculum improvement efforts. 

The Badger State’s Act 20 literacy bill was one of the bright spots in a flourishing national legislative phase. The bill had a refreshing focus on all aspects of literacy, and recognized the importance of curriculum in fostering change. Act 20 called for the convening of an expert Early Literacy Curriculum Council (ELCC) to identify a set of recommended ELA curricula; only these programs would be eligible for state subsidy.

The ELCC – which includes a high-performing superintendent, practitioners immersed in reading research, and dyslexia advocates whose children suffered under previous DPI choices – has real stakes in Act 20’s success. And the stakes are high: Wisconsin has the largest gap in reading outcomes for Black vs white students of any state. 

Last week, the nine-member ELCC submitted its recommendations: four curricula widely praised for their quality (Bookworms, Core Knowledge, EL Education, and Wit & Wisdom). Literacy leaders cheered the selections. Personally, I consider it the best state list we’ve seen.

Just two days later, Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) issued a statement asking the Joint Finance Committee to approve a rather different list of 11 options… the list of curricula that earn “all-green” ratings on EdReports. Conspicuously omitted from DPI’s list: Bookworms, a curriculum with the most persuasive studies showing that it improves reading outcomes – but which earned a widely-questioned yellow review on EdReports.

The average quality of the DPI list was markedly lower than the ELCC list, something that even DPI acknowledged. Laura Adams of the DPI told CESAs,“The two different lists represent two different perspectives. The Council’s list represents a judgment of quality, while DPI’s list represents a floor of those materials that meet the requirements, even at a minimal level.”

——-

Jill Underly didn’t attend the meetings, so she missed these conversations. Frankly, her absence from ELCC meetings speaks volumes. If DPI felt urgency about children’s reading success, or even about the review timelines, one would have expected Underly to make time for ELCC meetings. Underly’s late-breaking objections have not sat well with close watchers of the process.

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Notes on UW-Madison School of Education Literacy skills



Quinton Klabon:

Dean Haddix will oversee science of reading rollout at UW-Madison. Her literacy research focused elsewhere, but the group of which she was president wrote a nuanced defense of balanced literacy and called out UW’s Mark Seidenberg. How does she feel?

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

Wisconsin’s low bar WKCE expedition. (DPI)

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

The New England Primer.




Wisconsin DPI and learning to read….



Will Flanders:

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

More.

Quinton Klabon:

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

Many know her, so can someone explain?

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

Wisconsin’s low bar WKCE expedition. (DPI)

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

———

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Ongoing Wisconsin Literacy Legislation Litigation…. Mind the Governor’s Mulligans



Mitchell Schmidt:

The Legislature argues Act 20 is the mechanism that empowers the state’s GOP-controlled budget committee to directly fund the literacy programs with dollars already approved in the state’s biennial budget, which Evers signed last summer. The committee has not yet allocated the $50 million in state funds.

“Act 100, as passed by the Legislature, does not set aside, authorize, or require the expenditure of any funds,” the lawsuit states. “Instead, it allows (the budget committee) to move the $50 million appropriated and earmarked in the budget bill to DPI.”

Because the bill was improperly vetoed, the budget committee cannot allocate the funds set aside in the budget for DPI’s new literacy programs, attorneys continue.

A memo from legislative attorneys notes the legislation “creates appropriations” for DPI’s new literacy office created under Act 20.

In a partial veto message to SB 971 on Feb. 29, Evers wrote that he struck portions of the bill because he objected to “overly complicating the allocation of funding related to literacy programs in Wisconsin by creating multiple appropriations for what could be accomplished with one.”

The governor also noted that he removed from the bill a “proposed appropriation structure” that would have repealed spending in 2028. Evers said the change creates additional flexibility “to invest in literacy programs for as long as the state has funding available and as long as decisionmakers invest in improving reading instruction in Wisconsin.”

Evers also wrote that he objected to signing a bill “with an apparent error” that specifically benefits private choice and independent charter schools by allowing those entities to be eligible for both grant funding and an ongoing increase in per pupil aid.

“As drafted, either intentionally or inadvertently, these entities could also receive an increase in per pupil funding because the bill does not contain standard provisions to exclude the newly created categorical appropriation from the indexing formula used to increase per pupil payments for private choice, independent charter, Special Needs Scholarship, and open enrollment students,” Evers wrote.

“Consequently, a private choice or independent charter school could receive both a grant for curriculum and an ongoing increase in per pupil funding,” the governor continued. “Contrastingly, no such funding increase would be provided to public school districts under the bill.”

The lawsuit is the second this week challenging the governor’s partial veto power.

Lawsuit PDF.

—-

Corrinne Hess:

Evers’ partial veto, known as Act 100,  struck language allocating  money for school boards and charter school compliance in the early literacy program.

The lawsuit argues the changes “will allow DPI to treat any money directed to it as money that can be used by the Office of Literacy for any literacy program that office deems fit.”

On March 7, DPI submitted a request to the legislature to release the funds set aside in the biennial budget in accordance with the partially vetoed version of Act 100.

Lawyers argue the Joint Finance Committee “can’t be assured the money will be specifically spent on literacy programs created in Act 20.” 

“Instead, any money directed for that purpose might (but should not) be treated by DPI as well as its Office of Literacy as a blank check to do as it pleases, believing that it is under no statutory obligation to fund either a literacy coaching program or the grant program to offset the cost of purchasing new literacy curriculum,” the lawsuit states. 

Commentary. More.

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Then Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Evers use of teacher mulligans to evade the Foundations of Reading early literacy content knowledge requirements (see also MTEL).

Leglislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-




Taxpayer Funded Wisconsin DPI Report on Teacher Shortage Misses the Mark



Wisconsin Institute for law of liberty:

Recently, Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction released a report on the teacher shortage in the state.  The report claims that nearly 40% of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, and blames declines in teacher compensation over the past decade for the shift.  While the problems identified in the report are legitimate, the causes and solutions offered are more representative of traditional liberal talking points than an honest effort to make improvements for the teaching workforce in the state.  In this explainer, we identify a number of issues with DPI’s report. 

Consistent with National Patterns 

Despite attempts to blame Act 10 for the decline in teacher retention, in reality this is a problem around the county. Indeed, based on the numbers reported by DPI, Wisconsin may actually be better than average. A 2018 study estimated that 44% of teachers nationwide leave the profession within five years  And this data was pre-COVID–there is extensive evidence that turnover has increased since then.  To illustrate this, consider a recent Chalkbeat analysis looked at teachers leaving the profession across four states.  Each of these states saw an annual turnover rate of more than 10% during the 2022 school year.   A figure from that report is reproduced below. 

Figure 1. Annual Teacher Turnover in Four States (Chalkbeat) 
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Rep. Barbara Dittrich:

I have supported getting more teachers in the classroom, but several of our efforts (including my bill with Sen. Knodl, SB 608) have been vetoed. Let’s hope we can work together in more constructive ways next session.

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The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




“At least 79% of school districts surveyed by @WisconsinDPI in 2021 said they use a curriculum that is either not rated or is negatively rated by EdReports”



Danielle Duclos

With low reading proficiency scores across the state, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin is exploring the causes and consequences of low literacy. This article is part of the By the Book series, which examines reading curriculum, instructional methods and solutions in K-12 education to answer the questions: Why do so many Wisconsin kids struggle to read, and what can be done about it? 

To read other stories in the series, click here.

Wisconsin’s Joint Committee on Finance approved Monday a list of four reading curricula schools can adopt to be in compliance with the state’s new reading law, Act 20. The curricula approved are those recommended by the state’s Early Literacy Curriculum Council, a nine-member council created to specifically evaluate K-3 reading curriculums for their compliance with Act 20.

The four curricula approved are:

  • Core Knowledge Language Arts K-3
  • Our EL Education Language Arts
  • Wit and Wisdom with Pk-3 Reading Curriculum
  • Bookworms Reading and Writing K-3

Act 20, signed into law last summer, requires curriculum to be backed by the “science of reading”: a decades-old body of research that explains how the brain learns to read. It includes an emphasis on phonics, which teaches students the sounds letters make and how those sounds combine in predictable patterns to form words.

The law’s changes are aimed at improving reading proficiency in the state, which has been low for years. Fewer than half of students at the state’s five largest school districts are considered proficient in reading, according to state exam scores since 2018.

Part of the law’s revamping of reading instruction requires schools to use specific instructional methods that are systemic and explicit by next school year. This instruction must include fluency, phonological awareness, phonemic awareness, phonics, oral language development, vocabulary, writing, comprehension and building background knowledge.

Earlier: Legislation and Literacy: Wisconsin Early Reading Curriculum Selection

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Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Legislation and Literacy: Wisconsin Early Reading Curriculum Selection



mp3 audio | transcript.

Corri Hess:

Most school districts in the state now use a balanced literacy approach called “three-cueing,” that will now be illegal in all public and private schools.

The change comes at a time when fewer than 40 percent of third graders were proficient in reading on the most recent Wisconsin Forward Exam. Wisconsin’s achievement gap between Black and white fourth grade students in reading has often been the worst in the nation.

Quinton Klabon:

Joint Finance Committee FINALIZES reading curriculum list with the highest-quality options! 🎆🎇🎇🎆

Amplify: Core Knowledge
Great Minds: Wit And Wisdom and Geodes and Really Great Reading
Open Up: Bookworms
Open Up: EL

More.

Karen Vaites:

Wisconsin’s 2024 curriculum list is final:

The ELCC recommendations carry the day, giving Wisconsin the strongest ELA curriculum list in the country! 👏

Also, the lobbyist box is empty. 👏

Curious local media coverage.

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?




Literacy experts started Wisconsin’s curriculum list. Will lobbyists finish it?



Karen Vaites:

In recent weeks, we’ve wondered which curriculum list would prevail in Wisconsin.

Would it be the list proposed by the expert Early Literacy Curriculum Council (four programs, widely acclaimed in the literacy community) or the list proposed by Wisconsin DPI (eleven curricula, the top-rated programs on the increasingly-under-fireEdReports review site), which DPI’s own staff characterized as meeting “minimal level” quality standards?

Today brought good news: wisdom prevailed in Wisconsin’s Joint Finance Committee, which rejected DPI’s proposal. The four high-quality curricula proposed by ELCC seem to remain on the table. Local literacy advocates are cheering.

But the story doesn’t end there. Lobbyists have been hard at work, and the quality of the list may yet be watered-down with programs from large publishers.

And when districts go to select curriculum, we have no reason to believe that the cream will rise to the top in America’s Dairyland. Usually, the opposite happens. 

Here’s what Wisconsinites need to know.

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More. And. DDWI.

——-

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?




Wisconsin DPI Reading Curriculum Evaluation list



The taxpayer funded Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s early literacy review, as a result of Act 20. (Letter to Leaders). Letter to JFC

Early Literacy Curriculum Comparison “At a Glance”

ELCC Center for Collaborative Classroom Ratings

American Reading Company (ARC)

ELCC Ready 4 Reading Ratings

Voyager Passport Intervention

ELCC Into Reading

Wilson Language Training

CKLA Amplify Education

Raz Plus Learning A-Z, LLC

ELCC CKLA

Ready 4 Reading (Scholastic)

Into Reading (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

UFLI Ventris (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Writing A-Z (Learning A-Z LLC)

EL Education K-3 Imagine Learning

ELCC Wonders

Exact Path Edmentum

Connections OG in 3D The Apple Group

Just the Reader Decodeables Just Right Rider

Wonders Mcgraw Hill

ELCC EL by Open Up

Open Court Reading McGraw Hill

Bridge to Reading Foundational Skills Hagerty

Superkids

Early Literacy Curriculum Council Rating Form

Magnetic Reading Curriculum Associates

Vendor Self Assessment Rubric

EL Education K-3 Open Up Resources

My view Savvas Learning

ELCC Benchmark

Benchmark Education Advance Benchmark Education Company

Open Court

Phonics to Reading Sadlier

IMSE

My View

Bookworms Reading & Writing K-3Open Up Resources

Kindercorner & Reading Roots Reading Wings – Success for All Foundation, Inc.

Center for Collaborative Classrooms

Great Minds Wit and Wisdom with Really Great Reading

Being a Reader Center for Collaborative Classroom

ELCC ARC

OG Plus IMSE (Institute for Multi-Sensory Education)

ELCC Successfor all

## Curious “terms of use” .

via Jenny Warner.

—–

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?




Wisconsin DPI Commentary on Reading Curriculum



Wisconsin Public Radio’s Kate Archer Kent interviews Laura Adams:

mp3 audio. Transcript.

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

Last week, the nine-member ELCC submitted its recommendations: four curricula widely praised for their quality (Bookworms, Core Knowledge, EL Education, and Wit & Wisdom). Literacy leaders cheered the selections. Personally, I consider it the best state list we’ve seen.

Just two days later, Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) issued a statement asking the Joint Finance Committee to approve a rather different list of 11 options… the list of curricula that earn “all-green” ratings on EdReports. Conspicuously omitted from DPI’s list: Bookworms, a curriculum with the most persuasive studies showing that it improves reading outcomes – but which earned a widely-questioned yellow review on EdReports.

The average quality of the DPI list was markedly lower than the ELCC list, something that even DPI acknowledged. Laura Adams of the DPI told CESAs,“The two different lists represent two different perspectives. The Council’s list represents a judgment of quality, while DPI’s list represents a floor of those materials that meet the requirements, even at a minimal level.”

Jill Underly didn’t attend the meetings, so she missed these conversations. Frankly, her absence from ELCC meetings speaks volumes. If DPI felt urgency about children’s reading success, or even about the review timelines, one would have expected Underly to make time for ELCC meetings. Underly’s late-breaking objections have not sat well with close watchers of the process.




Wisconsin DPI vs learning to read



Jenny Warner:

Last week, Wisconsin’s expert Early Literacy Curriculum Council recommended the highest-quality list we have seen from any state.

Then @WisconsinDPI tried to overrule them, for no sound reason.

More.

The nine-member Early Literacy Curriculum Council reviewed and recommended four curriculums. The council includes six members chosen by the Republican majority leaders of the state legislature, and three chosen by state Superintendent Jill Underly. 

In addition to the Early Literacy Council’s review, the DPI conducted its own review, which diverged in part from the council. It rejected one of the council’s recommendations (Bookworms Reading & Writing for K-3), and added others that the council hadn’t rated. 

DPI is recommending the following programs:

American Reading Company K-3 (ARC
Core, 2017)

Being a Reader (K-2nd, 2021; 3rd, 2023) & Being a Writer (K-3rd., 2014) with Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics & Sight Words (SIPPS,

2020) (Center for the Collaborative Classroom)

Benchmark Education Advance (Benchmark Education Company, 2022)

Core Knowledge Language Arts K-3 (CKLA,
Amplify Education, 2022)

EL Education K-3 Language Arts (Open up
Resources, 2017)

EL Education K-3 (Imagine Learning LLC,
2019)

Into Reading, National V2 (Houghton
Mifflin Harcourt, 2020)

myView Literacy Elem. Reading Curriculum (Savvas Learning Company, 2025)

Open Court (McGraw Hill, 2023)

Wit and Wisdom (Great Minds, 2020) with PK-3 Reading Curriculum (Really Great Reading)

Wonders (McGraw Hill, 2023)

The Joint Committee on Finance has 14 working days to schedule a meeting to review the proposed curriculum recommendations. The committee will then make any changes and approve the list. If it does not notify the DPI that it’s scheduled a meeting, the department can adopt the recommendations as is.

——

Unsurprising, unfortunately. “an emphasis on adult employment”.

——

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?




Notes on Wisconsin DPI Reading Curriculum Selections



Quinton Klabon:

Whoa! Wisconsin reading curriculum update!

@WisconsinDPI @DrJillUnderly disagree: NO to Bookworms, YES to basals, bilingual. See screenshot.

Tensions come out in explanatory literacy text!

Joint Finance @repborn @SenMarklein @JFCDemocrats decide now. What will they choose?!

——-

Jenny Warner:

DPI adding ARC to the list proves they have no idea what three cueing looks like or an adequate curriculum. teachingbyscience.com/arc?fbclid=IwA…

——-

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?




Wisconsin’s latest early literacy curriculum bake off



Quinton Klabon:

APPROVED FOR DPI & LEGISLATURE Amplify: Core Knowledge Great Minds: Wit And Wisdom AND Really Great Reading

NOT APPROVED, WILL BE DISCUSSED MORE Benchmark: Advance Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Into McGraw Hill: Wonders

REJECTED Savvas: MyView Zaner-Bloser: Superkids

——

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?




An update on Wisconsin’s Literacy changes



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?




“It seems (Wisconsin) DPI has set those expectations too low”



Corrine Hess:

The state report cards include data on multiple indicators for multiple school years across four priority areas: achievement, growth, target group outcomes, and on-track to graduation.  

A district or school’s overall accountability score places it in one of five overall accountability ratings: Significantly Exceeds Expectations (five stars), Exceeds Expectations (four stars), Meets Expectations (three stars), Meets Few Expectations (two stars), and Fails to Meet Expectations (one star).  

Report cards use data from up to three school years, including achievement data from 2020-21, 2021-22, and 2022-23. This is the first report card that does not include achievement data from assessments measured prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Conservatives from the Institute for Reforming Government and the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty questioned how 94 percent of public school districts could achieve three stars or above and not one school district in the state received a failing score. 

“On national standardized tests, Wisconsin schools get average reading results for White and Hispanic students and bottom-dwelling scores for Black students,” said IRG Senior Research Director Quinton Klabon. “It seems DPI has set those expectations too low. While every child may not be in a 5-star school, every child deserves one.”

Will Flanders, research director with WILL said the report card needs to change so it can be reflective of what is happening across the state. 

“While DPI may tout there has been an increase across the board, we still have districts like Milwaukee where proficiency rates are less than 20 percent and somehow that seems to be meeting expectations,” Flanders said.

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?




Democratic operative Sachin Chheda gets sweet new gig with Wisconsin DPI for $138,000 a year



Daniel Bice:

Back in 2021, Democratic operative Sachin Chheda played a major role in helping Jill Underly get elected state school superintendent.

Now Underly appears to be returning the favor.

Underly announced Monday that she is hiring Chheda to a $138,000-per-year job at the Department of Public Instruction, which Underly oversees. Chheda started his new job on Monday as executive director of the Office of the State Superintendent.

Thomas McCarthy, who previously held that job, has been promoted to deputy superintendent. Officials said the money for Chheda’s job came from vacancies in the agency.

Chheda, 49, has spent the last 30 years mostly working in politics, for nonprofits and on campaigns.

In an interview, Chheda emphasized his work in organizational management and change for a variety of clients. Asked about his educational experience, Chheda said he worked for former University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Chancellor Nancy Zimpher, ran two state superintendent races and cofounded the I Love My Public Schools project, which opposed funding cuts by former Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Chheda has never been a teacher or school administrator.

———

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?




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



Patrick Mcilheran:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Accountability and the Wisconsin DPI



Corrine Hess

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




DPI Superintendent Underly Speaks at the 2023 Wisconsin Democrat Party Convention



WisPolitics:

Underly road a historic wave of cashflow to win in 2021, marking a significant win for Dems of the GOP. While the race was officially nonpartisan, the Dem Party contributed $949,844 to Underly’s campaign, which spent $1.53 million over the election. In all, candidates and outside groups spent $3 million on the race, a record to elect Wisconsin’s education department head. 

She also said she knows schools aren’t perfect right now, but she loves them enough to see that “and devote my life to making them better, more equitable and stronger.”

Much more on Jill Underly, here (and her efforts to abort our elementary teacher literacy test: the Foundations of Reading).




Wisconsin DPI Superintendent’s priorities: Waukesha School District Letter



DRAKE BENTLEY:

In her letter, Underly stated, “Whether you realize it or not, you are, under the guise of protection, causing undue harm to students and staff. However, this damage is reversible. It is paramount that you change course now.”

Underly requested that the administration reverse the policy to “foster inclusive environments,” saying the controversial issues policy is “eliminating conversation on topics that you have in the past deemed controversial.”

Reversing the policy “will send a clear message to the residents of Waukesha and all of Wisconsin about the high priority you place on ensuring a well-rounded education for your students that reflect the pluralistic nature of our society,” Underly wrote.

Last week, the administration placed first-grade dual-language teacher Melissa Tempel on administrative leave after she spoke out about the district’s decision to ban “Rainbowland.”

Underly addressed Tempel’s leave in her letter by citing the text from the controversial issue policy. She said the district needs to re-evaluate its decision to place Tempel on leave and should recognize that “‘acknowledging the rights of (the district’s) professional staff members as citizens in a democratic society’ is, in fact, in the best interests of the School District of Waukesha.”

“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 Cost Disease and K-12 outcomes: Wisconsin DPI edition



Scott Girard:

“The Joint Committee on Finance does not need to bring in Dr. Underly to hear more empty promises about how DPI wants to better serve our kids,” Born said. “Republicans are gathering feedback from families and local school district officials across the state and will craft a budget that supports our kids and gives teachers and schools the tools they need to improve our students’ educational outcomes.”

The office of JFC co-chair Sen. Howard Marklein, R-Spring Green, did not respond to a request for comment Monday on the decision.

Republican leaders reacted to Evers’ budget request in February by suggesting it was a non-starter, and legislators would instead mostly write their own base budget to start from. While school districts put together their budgets for the 2023-24 school year, they are awaiting information from the state on how much they’ll be able to spend and how much aid they’ll receive.

Under the proposal from Evers and Underly, districts would see increased revenue limits, boosted funding for special education and mental health initiatives and free school breakfasts and lunches for all students.

On Monday, Underly said she has spoken to individual representatives and senators, but not the JFC as a whole about the budget. She suggested there will be wide-ranging “repercussions” if legislators fail to provide enough funding, especially after two years of no increase in the per-pupil revenue limit, which governs how much districts can receive through the combination of state aid and local property taxes.

“Joint Finance has had opportunities to provide our students with resources that they’ve needed for success, even in years without this incredible surplus boon,” Underly said. “There are no excuses, they need to do their job.”

In the prepared remarks Underly would have delivered with an invitation, she used two example Wisconsin districts to illustrate the common and distinct challenges districts face.

“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?




Wisconsin School of Education literacy coursework “landscape analysis” 



TPI-US:

In 2022, TPI-US was awarded a contract to conduct statewide literacy coursework, “landscape analysis,” through which TPI-US will invite all 13 University of Wisconsin educator preparation programs to participate in a study of evidence-based early reading instructional practices. Participation by EPPs is an entirely voluntary opt-in, and reports will only be shared with the participating EPP.

For the Wisconsin landscape analysis, TPI-US has been asked to:

Secure voluntary opt-in participation by UW EPPs

Develop a literacy-focused rubric, making sure it’s aligned to relevant WI teacher prep standards, and train review teams

Conduct up to 13 reviews

Provide confidential reports to each participating UW institution

Deliver a roll-up report of overall findings and recommendations to DPI by November 30, 2023, that will not identify individual institutions.

Benefits to UW institutions of participating in the landscape analysis

A confidential, no-cost assessment of reading coursework and training strengths and any potential areas for improvement weaknesses from a respected national organization that is independent and employers reviewers that are literacy and teacher preparation experts.

DPI grants of up to $100k to each participating institution

$50k to the institution at the completion of its landscape analysis

$50k on the adoption of a program improvement plan responsive to findings and recommendations

The Summary Report of findings provided to DPI will be anonymous and identify trends, but not institutions.

Much more in the 3 page pdf document.




A thin chat with taxpayer supported Wisconsin DPI Superintendent JilL Underly



Scott Girard:

It’s been a challenging few years for K-12 education, both locally and nationally. Wisconsin State Superintendent Jill Underly is nonetheless “optimistic” about what’s ahead for the field.

“I think people are coming together, realizing that if we want to improve the lives of all Wisconsinites and especially the kids who are going to be the future leaders of the state, we need to all come together to solve these problems,” Underly said, as she reflected on 2022. “I see that reflected in a budget, I see it reflected in the referendums that our communities have passed, I see it in the policies that our stakeholders are proposing.

“I’m really, really optimistic about it in the long run.”

Notes and links on Jill Underly.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




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



Complete Interview.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Notes on Wisconsin DPI school ratings



Scott Girard:

MMSD had its strongest ratings in the growth and on-track to graduation priority areas, though both were down slightly from last year’s scores. In growth, the district received a 73.6 out of 100, while it scored 77 out of 100 for on-track to graduation.

In the other two priority areas, MMSD scored a 57 on achievement and 58 on target group outcomes. Both, again, were a slight drop from the previous report card.

MMSD spokesperson Tim LeMonds wrote in an email that the district did not plan to make a statement on the report cards.

Overall scores for schools and districts can fall into five rating categories: significantly exceeds expectations (83-100), exceeds expectations (70-82.9), meets expectations (58-69.9), meets few expectations (48-57.9) and fails to meet expectations (0-47.9).

Earlier this year, Republicans passed a bill to require DPI to return its report card scoring formula to the one used in 2018-19 and force the department to use the public rules process to adjust the formula rather than make any changes itself. It would have restricted DPI from giving greater weight to measures of growth in student achievement than measures of actual achievement in determining a district’s or school’s overall score on the report cards.

Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the bill.

On a call with reporters Tuesday, DPI accountability office staff explained that the changes to the formula that went into effect last year helped soften sometimes large fluctuations in small student groups that “weren’t true school or district changes.”

Office of Educational Accountability assistant director Sam Bohrod said the work began prior to the pandemic and they believe it’s a “more useful tool” for districts and schools to identify where they are in helping their lowest performing students.

Rory Linane:

They reiterated their plan for recovery, including more funding for special education, mental health and general school costs.

“We know that obviously the stressors of the past few years have exacerbated a lot of problems but we also know that mental health for children in Wisconsin, and far beyond Wisconsin, has really been at a significant problem level for far too long,” said Abigail Swetz, communications director for DPI.

DPI provided report card scores for 1,920 public schools and 163 private schools — a minority fraction of the state’s private schools. Private schools are given report cards only if they receive tax-funded vouchers and have a large enough student population.

See scores for all types of schools below.

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?




Wisconsin DPI veracity: 84% exceed expectations



Rory Linane:

Milwaukee Public Schools was among 84 school districts that received a lower star-rating than last year. Giving two stars, DPI said the district “meets few expectations.” Last year, the DPI gave the district three stars and said it met expectations.

Most school districts, about 270, were given the same star rating they got last year. And 24 moved up.

DPI officials said the report cards are continuing to bear the weight of the pandemic, as they take into account three years of testing data.

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?




Taxpayer Funded Wisconsin DPI Preschool Gender Documents



DPI Commentary:

“The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction supports and advocates for all Wisconsin students, and that includes our trans and nonbinary students of all ages, as well as their cisgender classmates,” Bucher said. “Creating safe spaces by affirming identities benefits every student, and part of high-quality education is learning about different perspectives and lived experiences.”

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?




History: A look back at Wisconsin Governor Tony Ever’s 1997 DPI campaign



Heather Smith:

During his rough and tumble 1997 campaign Evers directly criticized fellow Democrat Benson saying he had failed to call attention to the problems in our state’s education system, and that continual promotion of the good without sounding the alarm on the bad “wrecks our credibility.”  Evers said students and districts were in trouble and that “being a cheerleader has its place, but that place is not the superintendent’s chair.”

(Yes, this is the same guy who – in another ad we recently fact checked – is cheerleading a US News ranking putting Wisconsin schools as 8th in the nation while only about a quarter of students statewide can do English or math at grade level.)

But those are not the only striking political moves Evers made in the 1997 race.

He campaigned on recommendations in the Fish Commission that suggested breaking up MPS.  He accused Benson, who opposed charter schools, of trying to bury them in regulations. Evers supported statewide public school choice and said charter schools work, because they “provide local competition, innovation and research.” He called for clear, measurable standards in core academic areas to help districts improve. He said under Benson, “DPI has become a lackey for WEAC.”  Those are not the words of a guy without political aspirations.

And when Benson claimed that the crisis in public education had been “manufactured” Evers asked – again, in 1997, a quarter century ago:  “Is the 40% dropout rate in Milwaukee public schools a crisis or not?   Is the fact that most colleges remediate our graduates a crisis?” 

The 3.8% of MPS students who can do math at grade level and the 6.4% who can do English at grade level are a crisis today, and colleges are still remediating graduates from our “top 10 in the nation” schools. But while politically savvy Evers used school quality as a wedge issue when he wanted to defeat a fellow Democrat, today, he’s doing the same thing he accused Benson of: cheerleading while schools fail students.

During his time as Deputy, Wisconsin was called out for setting “cut scores” low to game accountability measures to make proficiency scores appear higher. DPI had set reading passing levels for 8th graders at the 14th percentile, while states like South Carolina set theirs at 71%. Evers defended the cut scores saying that the 14th percentile was proficient.

And when Education Sector, a national non-profit, ranked states on which used technicalities to be overly cheery about student performance, Wisconsin topped the list. Evers, who had decried this very habit in his run against Benson, defended DPI saying everything they did “had been approved.”

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 Wisconsin DPI and free speech



MD Kittle:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has long been a haven of leftist thought and policy. Increasingly, the agency has become politically weaponized in the pursuit of its woke diversity, equity and inclusion agenda.

Most recently, DPI launched an investigation into a Milwaukee Public Schools counselor whose alleged crime is that she spoke passionately in opposition to “gender identity ideology.” At a feminist rally in Madison.

DPI is investigating whether the counselor should lose her license for “immoral conduct.”

“The state is, quite simply, trying to punish a public-school counselor for her views on gender ideology. This is a classic, clear-cut, violation of the First Amendment and the state can expect a federal lawsuit if it proceeds,” said Luke Berg, attorney at the Milwaukee-based Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty. On Wednesday, the civil rights law firm sent a letter warning DPI of the legal perils it faces in attacking an educator’s First Amendment rights.

Marissa Darlingh, the MPS counselor, spoke at a feminist rally at the state Capitol on April 23, 2022.  She said she “oppose[s] gender ideology” in elementary schools and that young children should not be “exposed to the harms of gender identity ideology” or given “unfettered access to hormones—wrong-sex hormones—and surgery.”

She told rally-goers that she “exist[s] in this world to serve children” and “to protect children,” and does not support social or medical transition of young children. Darlingh, apparently in a moment of passion, declared “f… transgenderism,” referring to the “gender identity ideology” that she believes harms children.

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?




Wisconsin DPI Guest Speaker says CRT Is Just the Beginning



MacIver News

Wisconsin public school teachers got a crash course in “A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements” during a professional development meeting in February.

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) conducts monthly webinars to provide Wisconsin’s public school teachers with advanced training on critical race theory (CRT). CRT is a highly-controversial, divisive, race-based philosophy that liberals fight fanatically to advance while denying it even exists.

In February, DPI brought in Charlene Carruthers for its equity webinar series to talk about social transformation. Carruthers is a community organizer and PhD student at Northwestern University who specializes in “interrogating historical conjunctures of Black freedom-making post-emancipation and decolonial revolution, Black governance, Black feminist and queer theory,” according to her website.

“We’re going up against 300 years plus, at least of it being a formal state, of white supremacy, of patriarchy and of capitalism,” she told the 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.

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




Our Wisconsin DPI tax Follars at work



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?




Wisconsin Assembly Education Committee Meeting 12 January 2022 on DPI’s “K-12 Report Cards”



mp3 audio (about 3 hours – not the entire session):

Machine generated transcript.

School and District Report Cards and the recent changes made to those Report Cards

Invited speakers include:

School Choice Wisconsin Action (Jim Bender)

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (Thomas McCarthy)

Stride, Inc.

Siena Catholic Schools

Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty (Prepared testimony)

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, Milwaukee school performance overrated by DPI



Libby Sobic and Will Flanders:

Madison is ranked dead last when it comes to performance among disadvantaged students.

Pre-pandemic, Madison’s overall student proficiency in English/Language Arts hovered around 35% while Milwaukee’s overall student proficiency was even worse at around 19%. Even after accounting for a huge number of students who opted out, proficiency rates plummeted further in the 2020-21 school year.

But concerned parents will find that these shocking results are not reflected in the state’s own report cards. Under the 2020-21 DPI report cards, Madison Metropolitan School District was rated “exceeds expectations” and Milwaukee Public Schools were rated “meets expectations.” You have to be wondering how either of these districts could be considered to meet anyone’s expectations.

DPI, without input from the state Legislature or taxpayers, changed what information was included in the report card scores and how districts are rated. Specifically, DPI changed the cut-off points for the five thresholds that determine a school’s score and changed the manner in which absenteeism is accounted for. Their result? Three hundred ninety-nine of the state’s 421 districts were able to “meet expectations” in a year where student proficiency took a precipitous decline. After a year in which school districts faced extensive criticism for refusing to open despite scientific evidence it was safe, perhaps it makes sense for DPI to give districts cover.

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 from the Wisconsin DPI Superintendent



Jonah Beleckis:

They’re going to have to get away from the notion that we’re using this money to reward schools that were open for in-person instruction. Maybe we can use that $77 million for after-school programming, for tutoring, for learning loss. That’s what we need to do.

Notes and links on Jill Underly.

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: Wisconsin DPI punts on reading, again



An unidentified DPI writer:

We can improve children’s literacy through authentic family engagement, not increased assessment

To create students who stay curious and inquisitive throughout their lives – active participants in democracy, critical consumers of information, creative contributors to our communities – we need to ensure our students are literate. When it comes to literacy in Wisconsin, I know we have a distance to go. And yet that distance also represents a great opportunity for our state: the opportunity to build on the rich literacy practices we find in every family, culture, and community that make up this great state and, in doing so, create equitable and sustainable systems to continue that valuable work.

We do this by centering authentic family engagement rather than focusing on parental notification concerning assessment results. Rich family engagement revolves around communication, but only if it is a collaborative process, not a one-way street. We do this by using assessments to gather purposeful evidence that can inform and improve universal instruction. I appreciate that our legislature recognizes the need to concentrate on literacy, but we must remember that increased assessment is not the end goal; improved reading is the end goal, and to achieve that, we need to focus our resources on what we know works. We do this by ensuring our educators have the support they need to engage families, interpret assessments, and implement meaningful instruction and interventions.

Representative LaKeshia Myers on Wisconsin AB446

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Wisconsin Senate SB454 reading readiness assessments: DPI Testimony



I believe the DPI presenters were Barbara Novak and Tom McCarthy.
mp3 audio [Transcript: machine generated]

Written testimony (PDF):

Thank you Chairwoman Darling and committee members for holding a hearing on Senate Bill 154 today.

In Wisconsin, 64% of fourth graders are not proficient readers, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, with 34% failing to meet even the test’s basic standal Nationally, Wisconsin ranks dead last in reading achievement among black students, falling 31 places since 1992. In the same timeframe, reading achievement for Wisconsin white students has fallen from 6th to 27th, and Hispanic students from 1st to 28th. Wisconsin ha a dire reading problem.

Reading is critical to future success. Children who don’t learn to read by the end of third grade are likely to fall behind in other subjects and remain poor readers for the rest of their lives. Poor readers are more likely to drop out of high school, live in poverty, and end up in the criminal justice system. Of those who fail to gain a high school diploma, almost 90 percent experienced trouble reading in the third grade and seven in 10 prison inmates cannot read above a fourth-grade level.

Although Wisconsin was once a leader in literacy, our students now lag behind states where evidence-based approaches to early literacy have been adopted. Thankfully, over the past two decades, neuroscience – including groundbreaking research at UW-Madison – has allowed us to move beyond theory and guesswork, to identify exactly how children become skilled readers AND what effective literacy interventions look like for a child struggling to read. SB 454 aligns Wisconsin law with this growing body of research by strengthening state literacy screening standards, providing more transparency and ensuring teachers have the framework and tools needed to help every child become a proficient reader.

Under current law. Wisconsin schools are required to select and administer an annual literacy assessment to students in four-year-old kindergarten through 2nd grade. Screening assessments are typically only a few minutes in length, and consist of a teacher or volunteer using a flipchart or tablet to guide a child through a handful of exercises. Costs of these assessments are reimbursed by the state. Senate Bill 454 strengthens these existing state screening standards and provides the framework and tools to help every child learn to read in five major ways: Broadens Screening Components to Reflect Evidence-Based Best Practices: Dozens of literacy screeners are available to schools, but not all assess what research shows are the most critical components for reading. This bill expands the required screening components from two to five components to ensure schools are using high quality, evidence-based screeners. This helps teachers more easily identify reading difficulties AND select effective intervention strategies to help children overcome reading difficulties as early as possible.

Increases Assessment Frequency from annually to three times per year to better evaluate student progress, build a baseline for each student, and catch reading difficulties earlier.

Keeps Parents Involved and Informed: Too many parents do not find out their child is struggling to read until third grade (!) when they receive their child’s Forward Exam results. SB 454 requires schools to notify parents of screener results within 15 days, including plain language about the child’s score, percentile rank and if the child is identified as “at-risk”. The bill also requires schools to inform parents if a child begins a reading intervention plan, and detail the interventions that will be used.

Creates Clear Direction to Get Kids Back on Track: There are currently no requirements for when schools must provide additional literacy screening, and there are minimal requirements regarding reading interventions for students. This bill requires students who score below the 25th percentile on a literacy screener be given a more comprehensive screener to inform targeted, evidence-aligned interventions. Increases Transparency and Accountability: Under the bill, schools must annually report the number of students identified as at-risk at each assessment level and the number of students provided with literacy interventions. Statewide consistency across screening components, testing frequency and reporting will give districts, DPI and the legislature critical information to help us all make better informed policy decisions.

The bottom line is that research shows that the earlier we catch reading difficulties and begin simple interventions, the more successful those interventions will be. Strengthening our existing literacy screening laws will ensure that every struggling reader gets the help they need before they’ve fallen behind, lost self-esteem, and disengage from school and learning.

Related: Assembly bill AB446 SB454

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Flying Blind: majority of taxpayer funded Madison Students opt out of state tests…, wordsmithing at the DPI



Elizabeth Beyer:

More than half of Madison School District students opted out of statewide assessments last school year, far more than the unusually high number of students statewide who opted out amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The high opt-out rate makes comparing the test results with those of previous years nearly impossible.

The results showed Madison having among the highest percentage of proficient or better students among Dane County schools, even though the district usually ranks near the bottom. That suggests the students who opted out disproportionately would have scored below proficient.

Roughly 1 in 6 students opted of the exam statewide during the 2020-21 school year, compared with an opt-out percentage below 3% in all test subjects during the 2018-19 school year.

Notes and links:

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Rhetoric, amidst long term, disastrous reading results



Rory Linnane:

Though the position is technically nonpartisan, Underly’s campaign was heavily funded by the Democratic Party in a race that saw unprecedented spending. Her campaign spent seven times that of her opponent, former Brown Deer Schools Superintendent Deborah Kerr.

The only action Underly announced Thursday was the creation of a literacy task force to research and advise educators on effective strategies for teaching reading, an issue that has been contentious enough to be called the “reading wars.”

Curiously, Underly campaigned on eliminating Wisconsin’s one teacher content knowledge requirement: elementary reading (Foundations of Reading).

This, amidst our long term disastrous reading results.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Commentary on the 2021 Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Superintendent election



Scott Girard:

[I have received 3 text messages and a door knock from a paid lit drop person, for one of the candidates. Guess?]

13-1 Special interest $pending for Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Candidate Jill Underly, running against Deborah Kerr.

In that same forum, Kerr outlined a plan to decentralize the Department of Public Instruction by creating offices around the state and making it a “customer service” instead of “regulatory” agency. She also questioned Underly’s support beyond unions.

“I am beholden to kids and families and educators, in that order,” she said. “My opponent is beholden to teachers’ unions.”

Kerr’s campaign has seen controversy since immediately after finishing second in the primary. The day after the primary, she deleted her Twitter account after sending a tweet in response to a post asking people generally to recall the first time they were called the N-word.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure

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.




Commentary on The Wisconsin DPI candidate Nomination Process



Elizabeth Beyer:

“I think it is becoming a little too precise to say that adding one title in an otherwise completely perfect document should be sufficient to overcome the nomination,” she said.

Hendricks-Williams has worked in Gov. Tony Evers’ Milwaukee office and as an assistant director of teacher education at the state Department of Public Instruction.

The commission cleared all seven candidates to appear on the Feb. 16 primary ballot. The others are Jill Underly, superintendent of Pecatonica School District; Joe Fenrick, a Fond du Lac high school science teacher; Steve Krull, principal of Milwaukee’s Garland Elementary School and former Air Force instructor; and Troy Gunderson, Viterbo University professor and former superintendent of the School District of West Salem.

Will the DPI continue their elementary reading teacher mulligan policy?

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

Unions, political affiliation more predictive of virtual learning decision than COVID cases. The report.




Court Victory Ensures Wisconsin DPI Cannot Play Games with School Choice Data



Will Flanders:

Last week, a Jefferson County Circuit Judge  “); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px); background-repeat: repeat no-repeat”>ruled that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) violated the law when it came to releasing data on the state’s private school choice programs. Along with Jim Bender of School Choice Wisconsin and Matt Kittle of Empower Wisconsin, I served as a plaintiff in this case brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL). While issues with data may tend to make people’s eyes glaze over, this case actually represents an important opportunity to highlight the successes of Wisconsin’s school choice programs, and how DPI has routinely tried to hide them.

The Court ruled in WILL’s favor on two counts. First, the Court ruled that the Department cannot hold a private press briefing before releasing all school choice data to the public. State law requires a public release of the data, and instead DPI regularly has held a private briefing in the days leading up to the release. This provides DPI with an opportunity to shape the narrative that will be reported when the data becomes public. Those of us who are regular critics of the public school system are denied access to the calls, meaning that our opportunity to respond to what is released is limited. In today’s 24-hour news cycle, immediate response is critical if one wants their perspective to be a part of the narrative on the data. Mandating a full, public release will give those on all sides of education issues in the state a fair shot to let their voice be heard.

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




Judge finds Wisconsin DPI improperly released test scores to media



Todd Richmond:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction violated state law when it withheld voucher students’ standardized test scores for a day last fall, a judge ruled Friday.

School Choice Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, a conservative law firm, sued the department in Jefferson County court in November. The lawsuit revolved around the 2018-19 standardized test scores that the department released that September.

The scores showed only 39% of all students were proficient or advanced in English and that 40% were proficient or advanced in math. Only 20.7% of voucher students were proficient or advanced in English and just 17.8% were proficient or advanced in math.

Students in voucher programs can use state dollars to subsidize tuition at private schools. Republicans have touted the programs as an alternative for students stuck in failing public schools. Democrats argue the programs are a drain on state revenues that could go to help public schools.

Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.

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




Judge Rules Wisconsin DPI Violated State Law in Release of 2019 School Choice Data



Wisconsin institute for law and liberty:

The News: Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Bennett Brantmeier issued a summary judgement ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) that the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) violated state law when the state agency released partial data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs to a select media list ahead of a September 2019 public release. The Court’s decision includes a permanent injunction to prevent DPI from violating state law that says data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs must be released “all at the same time, uniformly, and completely.”

WILL sued DPI in Jefferson County in November 2019 on behalf of School Choice Wisconsin (SCW), Empower Wisconsin journalist Matt Kittle, and WILL Research Director Will Flanders.

The Court’s Decision: Judge Brantmeier ruled that DPI’s actions violated state law by providing press with early access and by releasing incomplete data on Wisconsin’s school choice programs. Judge Brantmeier declined to restrict the state Superintendent’s ability to comment on the data it releases but emphasized that DPI remains bound to release full data sets on equal terms to all Wisconsinites.

Why It Matters: Wisconsin’s state agencies must understand that following state law is not optional. This is another victory for a more accountable state government.

Wisconsin has generally lacked a rigorous approach to statewide assessments: see the oft criticized WKCE.

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 unions in largest districts call on Wisconsin Governor (& former DPI Leader) Tony Evers to require schools start virtually



Annysa Johnson & Molly Beck:

Teachers unions in the state’s five largest school districts are calling on Gov. Tony Evers and the state’s top health and education leaders Monday to require schools to remain closed for now and to start the school year online only, arguing the threat from the coronavirus remains too high for students and staff to safely return.

The unions voiced their concerns in a letter to Evers, Superintendent of Public Instruction Carolyn Stanford Taylor and Department of Health Services Secretary Andrea Palm, saying the virus is “surging across Wisconsin” and that the state has among the fewest restrictions in place to contain its spread.

Gov. Tony Evers wears a face mask during a Tuesday briefing with reporters on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m looking at the state of Wisconsin, county by county right now, and you have a high (coronavirus) activity level in all but about 10 counties,” said Amy Mizialko, president of the Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association, who signed the letter alongside union presidents in the Madison, Green Bay, Racine and Kenosha districts.

“We want Gov. Evers to get in the ring and stay in the ring,” she said. “And we believe Secretary Palm has the authority to (order) a virtual start of the school year until there is clear containment and control of the virus.”

Spokeswomen for Evers did not respond to emails from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Sunday and Monday seeking the governor’s reaction. 

Evers has said in recent weeks that he would not be issuing an order to shut down schools ahead of the fall semester or if health officials find outbreaks tied to classroom instruction.

He said he’d rather see local health officials take steps to quarantine individual classrooms or schools than issue another statewide order shuttering school buildings.

But the coronavirus outbreak in Wisconsin is worsening with three record-setting days of new cases in the last eight days.

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]

Commentary on K-12 Governance and fall 2020 plans.

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




Wisconsin DPI 87 page “reopening schools” plan



Wisconsin DPI:

Responding to COVID-19 is a tremendous undertaking for schools. Schools are tasked with re-envisioning educational delivery models in a span of weeks and adjust practices accordingly. As we look toward the fall, the safety and health of our students, educators, and families remains of the highest importance.

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is providing this guidance to aid in school districts’ decision making as they look to build educational services and supports in a COVID-19 environment.Under state law, school districts determine the operations of their buildings and the learning environment. Risk mitigation and health factors will drive decisions regarding school operations.

While I expect schools to reopen this fall, they will undoubtedly look different. There will need to be social distancing, new cleaning and disinfecting procedures, and changes to how educators deliver instruction. There will be students who are not able to return to school due to health concerns and students and staff who may be quarantined due to exposure. This means every school district will need to plan for both school operations on campus and remote learning.

The DPI will be using federal CARES Act dollars to support school districts around remote learning options. Changes will need to be made as districts look at how they provide meals to students, transport students to and from school, move through their buildings, and gather to celebrate achievements.

The DPI partnered collaboratively with our state’s educational leaders: the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, Association of Wisconsin School Administrators, Wisconsin Council of Administrators of Special Services, Wisconsin Association of School Business Officials, Wisconsin Association of School Boards, Wisconsin Education Association Council, and the Cooperative Educational Service Agency Statewide Network and in conjunction with the Department of Health Services.

Education Forward was developed to help local education and community leaders plan appropriately for students to return to school this fall. There are 421 school districts, 26 independent charter schools, and 792 private schools serving a school-age population of over 1,000,000 students in Wisconsin.

Due to the extensive variance in schools, this guidance is offered as a workbook to be considered in conjunction with the Department of Health Services risk assessment checklist. Please use these tools to discuss school district reopening plans with local health agencies and ensure information is complete in regards to the magnitude of risk associated with options being considered. The DPI will continuously update this guidance as new information arises and provide additional resources as they become available to support school operations and the learning environment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequities existing in Wisconsin.As we look to address these inequities and the planning around the pandemic,the DPI is focused on providing school districts the necessary supports andregulatory relief to pursue innovative strategies to ensure equitable access to learning.

Thomas Sowell’s book “Charter Schools and Their Enemies” is scheduled to be available June 30.

2011: A majority of the taxpayer supported Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school.

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




“I don’t think that actually stating they’re supporting these policies actually means that anything will change” (DPI Teacher Mulligans continue)



Logan Wroge:

“I don’t think that actually stating they’re supporting these policies actually means that anything will change,” said Mark Seidenberg, a UW-Madison psychology professor. “I don’t take their statement as anything more than an attempt to defuse some of the controversy and some of the criticism that’s being directed their way.”

While there’s broad agreement phonics alone is not a panacea for producing skilled readers, the degree and intensity to which it is taught has long been debated.

Forty-one percent of students scored proficient or better in reading on a state assessment last year, the state ranks middle-of-the-pack on its scores for fourth graders on a national reading assessment, and Wisconsin continues to have the worst disparity in reading scores between black and white students nationwide — figures proponents of the science of reading point to when saying the state needs to change direction.

State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt, R-Fond du Lac, said he’s pleased with DPI’s statement but is taking it with “cautious optimism.”

“They’ve been reluctant to go along with what the science has said, but to their credit, they seem to be making the right moves right now,” said Thiesfeldt, chairman of the Assembly Education Committee.

Last month Thiesfeldt and Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, called for an audit to examine methods of reading instruction used in Wisconsin schools, whether DPI consistently measures student achievement and how a required test on reading instruction for certain teachers affects licensing.

“If they are serious about wanting to make these changes, they should not be hesitant to have an outside group come in and evaluate what it is they’ve been doing,” Thiesfeldt said.

At a Capitol press conference Wednesday, a group of science of reading proponents called on DPI to create a new cabinet-level position dedicated to reading, provide more training and coaching opportunities for teachers related to reading instruction, and place greater emphasis on reading proficiency when rating schools on state report cards, among other changes they’re seeking.

Annysa Johnson:

Speaking at the Capitol Wednesday, Seidenberg said DPI “has done little to address literacy issues that have existed for decades.”

“We know the best ways to teach children to read,” he said. “Wisconsin is simply not using them, and our children are suffering.”

The group said a small number of districts, including Thorp and D.C. Everest near Wausau, have seen promising results after shifting their reading curricula. It is promoting its initiative with a new website, and Facebook Page, titled The Science of Reading — What I should have learned in College.

Under the group’s proposal, the new assistant superintendent would work with a reading science task force to identify resources for educators across the state, including training and technical support, classroom coaching and guides to high-quality curriculum and instructional resources.

In addition, supporters said, all schools of education in Wisconsin would be invited to revise their reading curricula, to bring them in line with the International Dyslexia Association’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teaching of Reading.

Advocates for more explicit phonics instruction have found powerful allies in parents of children with dyslexia, a learning disorder that makes it difficult for them to read. They have been pushing legislation across the country, including two taken up by the Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday that would require schools to develop systems for identifying and serving dyslexic students and require each of the cooperative education organizations known as CESAs to hire dyslexia specialists.

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

In addition, Madison recently expanded its least diverse schools.

Mr. Wroge’s opening is incorrect.

DPI has resisted substantive reading improvements, largely by giving mulligans to thousands of Wisconsin elementary reading teachers who failed to pass our only content knowledge exam: the Foundations of Reading.

My question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our disastrous reading results.

“An emphasis on adult employment.”




Madison must address its crisis of illiteracy



Laurie Frost:

I am grieving the death of Toni Morrison.

I admired Morrison deeply because she had the courage to speak truth with unflinching clarity, and because she did so with a magnificent lyricism.

In the wake of Morrison’s passing, I have been feeling doubly sad because I know the vast majority of our black students in Madison will never read anything Morrison wrote. Why? Because they cannot read at the level required to enter the hallowed space of her work.

But the situation has improved for our black students, you say.

No, it hasn’t, I reply.

And because everyone claims to be data driven these days, let me offer up the cold, hard numbers.

According to the state Department of Public Instruction, only 10% to 15% of our black fourth-graders in Madison are reading proficiently. (Note: Fourth grade is a pivotal year, when “learning to read” becomes “reading to learn.”) That means 85% to 90% of them are not. The situation has not changed for a very long time.

Unbelievably, things do not improve as our black fourth-graders move from grade to grade. As a cohort of Madison students moves from elementary through high school, it continues to be the case that no more than 15% of the black students in the cohort are reading proficiently. That means no fewer than 85% of them still are not.

The illiteracy of Madison’s black students is a longstanding crisis. It is time to make it our highest priority.

Literacy is a fundamental responsibility of public education. It is the key that opens the door to the wider world of opportunity, possibility and change. Literacy is a prerequisite for active and informed participation in our increasingly fragile democracy. It is the single most personally and politically empowering tool on the planet.

Let me be clear: The problem is not that our black children cannot learn how to read. The problem is our failure to teach them how to read, exacerbated by our complacency around that failure.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to go to school every day not knowing how to read. I question the value of a high school diploma in the absence of basic academic skills, such as literacy. I do not understand how our black children can be expected to feel “excellent” when they cannot read. I am baffled and outraged by the absence of honest public conversation about the unconscionably low literacy rate of our black students.

There is a long, inglorious history of the powerful withholding literacy from the powerless, which is why some people argue that our ongoing failure to teach our black students how to read is the new Jim Crow.

Agree or disagree about how to explain it. Can we at least agree that whatever we’ve been doing for so many years hasn’t worked, and that it’s long past time for us to figure out what will?

In blessed memory of Toni Morrison, let us join our hands and hearts together and finally teach our black children how to read.

“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”.

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results, despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 School Districts.

Compare Madison, WI high school graduation rates and academic achievement data.

The Madison School District’s “Strategic Framework”.

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:

On November 7, Superintendent Art Rainwater made his annual report to the Board of Education on progress toward meeting the district’s student achievement goal in reading. As he did last fall, the superintendent made some interesting claims about the district’s success in closing the academic achievement gap “based on race”.

According to Mr. Rainwater, the place to look for evidence of a closing achievement gap is the comparison of the percentage of African American third graders who score at the lowest level of performance on statewide tests and the percentage of other racial groups scoring at that level. He says that, after accounting for income differences, there is no gap associated with race at the lowest level of achievement in reading. He made the same claim last year, telling the Wisconsin State Journal on September 24, 2004, “for those kids for whom an ability to read would prevent them from being successful, we’ve reduced that percentage very substantially, and basically, for all practical purposes, closed the gap”. Last Monday, he stated that the gap between percentages scoring at the lowest level “is the original gap” that the board set out to close.

Unfortunately, that is not the achievement gap that the board aimed to close.

2006: “They’re all Rich White Kids, and they’ll do just fine, NOT!”

2013: What will be different, this time?

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, lead by Governor Elect, Tony Evers, has waived Massachusetts’ style elementary teacher content knowledge requirements for thousands of teachers.

Stretch Targets:




Wisconsin DPI efforts to weaken the Foundations of Reading Test for elementary teachers



Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email:

Wisconsin Reading Coalition has alerted you over the past 6 months to DPI’s intentions to change PI-34, the administrative rule that governs teacher licensing in Wisconsin. We consider those changes to allow overly-broad exemptions from the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test for new teachers. The revised PI-34 has gone through DPI public hearings and was sent to the education committees of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, where no action was taken.

PI-34 is now sitting with the Wisconsin Legislature Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which is the last stop before it becomes a permanent rule. Because of concerns it has heard from Wisconsin Reading Coalition and other groups and individuals, the committee will hold a public hearing on Thursday, June 7th, at 10:00 AM in the State Capitol. We urge you to attend this hearing and make a statement. If you cannot attend, please consider sending an e-mail comment to the committee members prior to the hearing. A list of committee members follows. As always, it is a good idea to copy your own legislators. If you copy Wisconsin Reading Coalition, we will make sure your comments are delivered in hard copy.

To refresh your memory of the issues involved, please see this WRC memo to the Committee on Administrative Rules.

Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (contact information provided in links):

Representative Ballweg (Co-Chair)

Senator Nass (Co-Chair)

Senator LeMahieu

Senator Stroebel

Senator Larson

Senator Wirch

Representative Neylon

Representative Ott

Representative Hebl

Representative Anderson

Teachers and more than 180,000 non-proficient, struggling readers* in Wisconsin schools need our support:

*There are currently over 358,000 K-5 students in Wisconsin public schools alone.
51.7% of Wisconsin 4th graders were not proficient in reading on the 2016-17 state Forward exam. Non-proficient percentages varied among student sub-groups, as shown below in red and black, and ranged from approximately 70-80% in the lower-performing districts to 20-35% in higher-performing districts.

    While we appreciate DPI’s concerns with a possible shortage of teacher candidates in some subject and geographical areas, we feel it is important to maintain teacher quality standards while moving to expand pathways to teaching.

  • Statute section 118.19(14) currently requires new K-5 teachers, reading teachers, reading specialists, and special education teachers to pass the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test (WI-FORT) before getting an initial license to teach. The intent of this statute, passed in 2012 on a bipartisan vote following a recommendation of the non-partisan Read to Lead task force, was to enhance teacher quality by encouraging robust reading courses in educator preparation programs, and to ensure that beginning and struggling readers had an effective teacher. The WI-FORT is the same test given in Massachusetts, which has the highest 4th grade reading performance in the country. It covers basic content knowledge and application skills in the five components of foundational reading that are necessary for successfully teaching all students.
  • The annual state Forward exam and the newly-released results of the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) highlight the importance of having high-quality teachers in Wisconsin classrooms. 65% of our 4th graders were not proficient in reading on the NAEP. Our national ranking has slipped to 34th, and all sub-groups of students perform below their national averages. Our black students rank 49th among black students in the country, and our white students rank 41st.
  • The revised teacher licensure rules that DPI has presented to the legislature in the re-written administrative rule PI 34, create a new Tier I license that provides broad exemptions from the WI- FORT.
  • We encourage the education committees to table the adoption of this permanent rule until it is amended to better support teacher quality standards and align with the intent of statute 118.19(14).
  • We favor limiting the instances where the WI-FORT is waived to those in which a district proves it cannot find a fully-qualified teacher to hire, and limiting the duration of those licenses to one year, with reading taught under the supervision of an individual who has passed the WI-FORT. Renewals should not be permitted except in case of proven emergency.
  • We favor having DPI set out standards for reading instruction in educator preparation programs that encompass both the Standards for Reading Professionals (International Literacy Association) and the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (International Dyslexia Association). This will enable aspiring teachers to pass the WI-FORT and enter the classroom prepared to teach reading.
  • We favor having DPI implement a corrective action plan for educator preparation programs where fewer than 85% of students pass the WI-FORT on the first attempt in any year. Students putting in four years of tuition and effort should be able to expect to pass the WI-FORT.

Foundations of Reading: Wisconsin’ only teacher content knowledge requirement…

Compare with MTEL

Mark Seidenberg on Reading:

“Too often, according to Mark Seidenberg’s important, alarming new book, “Language at the Speed of Sight,” Johnny can’t read because schools of education didn’t give Johnny’s teachers the proper tools to show him how”

Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.

Tony Evers, currently runnng for Governor, has lead the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction since 2009. I wonder if anyone has addressed Wisconsin achievement challenges vis a vis his DPI record?

An emphasis on adult employment, also Zimman.

Alan Borsuk:

“I didn’t have one phone call, I don’t have one email about this NAEP data. But my phone can ring all day if there’s a fight at a school or can ring all day because a video has gone out about a board meeting. That’s got to change, that’s just got to change. …

“My best day will be when we have an auditorium full of people who are upset because of our student performance and our student achievement and because of the achievement gaps that we have. My question is, where is our community around these issues?




Commentary on Wisconsin DPI efforts to water down already thin elementary teacher content knowledge requirements.



Wisconsin Reading Coalition:

Teachers and more than 180,000 non-proficient, struggling readers* in Wisconsin schools need our support

While we appreciate DPI’s concerns with a possible shortage of teacher candidates in some subject and geographical areas, we feel it is important to maintain teacher quality standards while moving to expand pathways to teaching.

Statute section 118.19(14) currently requires new K-5 teachers, reading teachers, reading specialists, and special education teachers to pass the Wisconsin Foundations of Reading Test (WI-FORT) before getting an initial license to teach. The intent of this statute, passed in 2012 on a bipartisan vote following a recommendation of the non-partisan Read to Lead task force, was to enhance teacher quality by encouraging robust reading courses in educator preparation programs, and to ensure that beginning and struggling readers had an effective teacher. The WI-FORT is the same test given in Massachusetts, which has the highest 4th grade reading performance in the country. It covers basic content knowledge and application skills in the five components of foundational reading that are necessary for successfully teaching all students.

The annual state Forward exam and the newly-released results of the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) highlight the importance of having high-quality teachers in Wisconsin classrooms. 65% of our 4th graders were not proficient in reading on the NAEP. Our national ranking has slipped to 34th, and all sub-groups of students perform below their national averages. Our black students rank 49th among black students in the country, and our white students rank 41st.

The revised teacher licensure rules that DPI has presented to the legislature in the re-written administrative rule PI 34, create a new Tier I license that provides broad exemptions from the WI- FORT.

We encourage the education committees to table the adoption of this permanent rule until it is amended to better support teacher quality standards and align with the intent of statute 118.19(14).

We favor limiting the instances where the WI-FORT is waived to those in which a district proves it cannot find a fully-qualified teacher to hire, and limiting the duration of those licenses to one year, with reading taught under the supervision of an individual who has passed the WI-FORT. Renewals should not be permitted except in case of proven emergency.

We favor having DPI set out standards for reading instruction in educator preparation programs that encompass both the Standards for Reading Professionals (International Literacy Association) and the Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading (International Dyslexia Association). This will enable aspiring teachers to pass the WI-FORT and enter the classroom prepared to teach reading.

We favor having DPI implement a corrective action plan for educator preparation programs where fewer than 85% of students pass the WI-FORT on the first attempt in any year. Students putting in four years of tuition and effort should be able to expect to pass the WI-FORT.

As written, PI 34 provides the following exemptions from the WI-FORT that we find overly-broad:
34.028 (2) (a) and (c) will allow an in-state or out-of-state graduate of an educator preparation program to become a teacher of record, with full responsibility for students, under a Tier I license without passing the WI- FORT. An employing district need not show a lack of fully-qualified applicants for the position. The Tier I license is granted for one year, but then may be renewed indefinitely under 34.028 (4) (a) and (b) through a combination of teacher and district request without the teacher ever passing the WI-FORT.

34.028 (2) (d) will grant a Tier I license to any graduate of an accredited college or university without passing the WI-FORT if an employing school district conducts a search for a full-licensed candidate, but cannot find an acceptable candidate. This is the “emergency” situation of teacher shortage under which a Tier I license might be justified, provided the district conducts a thorough search and explains why any fully-licensed candidates were not acceptable. This Tier I license is also granted for one year, but then may be renewed indefinitely under 34.028 (4) (c) without the teacher passing the WI-FORT and without any further requirement that the district seek a fully-licensed teacher.

34.029 essentially allows districts to train their existing teachers (licensed under Tier I, II, III, or IV) for a new position not covered by their current license. The teacher is granted a Tier I license in the new subject or developmental level, and training consists of whatever professional development and supervision the district deems necessary. These teachers do not need to pass the WI-FORT, either at the beginning or conclusion of their training, even if their new position would otherwise require it. The district need not show that it cannot find a fully-licensed teacher for the position. This license is granted for three years, at which point the district may request a jump-up to a lifetime Tier III license for the teacher in this new position. District training programs may be as effective as traditional preparation programs in teaching reading content, but without the teachers taking the WI-FORT, there is no way to objectively know the level of their expertise.

*There are currently over 358,000 K-5 students in Wisconsin public schools alone. 51.7% of Wisconsin 4th graders were not proficient in reading on the 2016-17 state Forward exam. Non-proficient percentages varied among student sub-groups, as shown below in red and black, and ranged from approximately 70-80% in the lower-performing districts to 20-35% in higher-performing districts.

65% of Wisconsin 4th graders were not proficient on the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Non- proficient percentages varied among student sub-groups, as shown below in red and black, and all shown sub-groups performed below the national averages for those sub-groups. Black students in Wisconsin were the 3rd lowest-performing African-American cohort in the country (besting only Iowa and Maine), and Wisconsin had the 5th largest black-white performance gap (tied with California and behind Washington, D.C., Iowa, Minnesota, and Illinois).

Foundations of Reading Test.

Wisconsin posts lowest ever NAEP Reading score in 2017.

Long time Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Tony Evers is currently running for Governor.

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results, despite spending more than most, now nearly $20,000 per student.




DPI Standard of the Week: Using phonics as building blocks for reading



Wisconsin Reading Coalition, via a kind email:

The Department of Public Instruction chooses an English Language Arts standard each week and posts resources and ideas for practicing in the classroom and at home. The standard for the week of January 5 is phonics. Follow this link to the site http://dpi.wi.gov/my-wi-standards/ela/1-6-15 As is usually the case in materials on phonics, some are better than others. We recommend the resources listed for January 6 (blending), January 8 (Elkonin boxes for sound segmentation) and January 12 (example one only: silent-e).

Wisconsin Common Core Opinions and Politics: It’s hard to track our state government’s position on the Common Core State Standards. Opinions run from full support to calls for replacement. The latest approach seems to be assuring school districts that it is up to them whether to use the Common Core or substitute something else. Read more details in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article: Republican leadership toning down opposition to Common Core. The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute reported earlier this month that polls show 62% of Wisconsinites support Common Core State Standards.

Complimentary Webinar Series: Reading and Writing from Text Sources
Presenter: Joan Sedita, Keys to Literacy
Relevant for grades 3-12
Three 60-minute webinars: register individually or as a series; just click on the individual links below
January 21, 2:30 CST: Preparing and Scaffolding at Text Source
February 27, 2:30 CST: Gathering Information from the Source
March 25, 2:30 CST: Turning Notes Into a First Draft

New Article: Preventing Reading Failure: The Right Instruction at the Right Time, by Dr. Kathy Barclay and Laura Stewart, as published in the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA) Bulletin

Lindamood-Bell Learning Centers, now open in Milwaukee during the school year, presents Overview on Learning: Tuesday, February 17, 5:30 – 6:30 PM at Fiddleheads Conference Room, 10530 N. Port Washington Road, Mequon, WI, 53092. TO reserve a space, call 888-414-1720 or email milwaukee.info@LindamoodBell.com

LDA Annual Conference
Special focus on mental and emotional health of students with learning disabilities
February 18-21, Chicago, IL
Click for information




Wisconsin DPI Mathematics Education Videos



Wisconsin DPI Connected email:

Wisconsin’s alignment of Teaching Channel videos to new mathematics standards is so useful it’s being recommended on the national level.
For each of the eight skills of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematical Practice, the creators of DPI’s Mathematical Literacy website found at least one video to help teachers visualize how to address it in their classrooms.
Wisconsin’s site was created by Diana Kasbaum, the DPI’s mathematics education consultant, along with Jackie Herrmann and Becky Walker of the Appleton Area School District and Jeff Ziegler of the Madison Metropolitan School District. The Council for Chief State School Officers recommended the site in a nationwide email to help educators implement the Common Core.
The website simultaneously addresses the Common Core State Standards requirement of Disciplinary Literacy—the idea that students need subject area educators to teach them ways to read, write, think, listen, and speak that are specific to those fields. In mathematics, a team of Wisconsin educators found that the Mathematical Practice standards effectively address disciplinary literacy as well.




An Open Letter to the Wisconsin Read To Lead Task Force on Implementing Common Core Academic Standards; DPI: “Leading Us Backwards”



Dan Gustafson, PhD 133K PDF, via a kind email from the Wisconsin Reading Coalition:

WRC recommends reading the following open letter from Madison neuropsychologist Dan Gustafson to the Governor’s Read to Lead task force. It reflects many of our concerns about the state of reading instruction in Wisconsin and the lack of an effective response from the Department of Public Instruction.
An Open Letter to the Read-To-Lead Task Force
From Dan Gustafson, PhD
State Superintendent Evers, you appointed me to the Common Core Leadership Group. You charged that the Leadership Group would guide Wisconsin’s implementation of new reading instruction standards developed by the National Governors’ Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).
It is my understanding that I was asked to join the group with the express purpose of bringing different voices to the table. If anything, my experience with the group illustrates how very far we need to go in achieving a transparent and reasoned discussion about the reading crisis in Wisconsin.
DPI Secretly Endorses Plan Created by Poor Performing CESA-7
I have grave concerns about DPI’s recent announcement that Wisconsin will follow CESA-7’s approach to implementing the Common Core reading standards. DPI is proposing this will be the state’s new model reading curriculum.
I can attest that there was absolutely no consensus reached in the Common Core group in support of CESA-7’s approach. In point of fact, at the 27th of June Common Core meeting, CESA-7 representative Claire Wick refused to respond to even general questions about her program.
I pointed out that our group, the Common Core Leadership Group, had a right to know about how CESA-7 intended to implement the Common Core Standards. She denied this was the case, citing a “non-disclosure agreement.”
The moderator of the discussion, DPI’s Emilie Amundson, concurred that Claire didn’t need to discuss the program further on the grounds that it was only a CESA-7 program. Our Common Core meeting occurred on the 27th of June. Only two weeks later, on July 14th, DPI released the following statement:
State Superintendent Evers formally adopted the Common Core State Standards in June 2010, making Wisconsin the first state in the country to adopt these rigorous, internationally benchmarked set of expectations for what students should know and are expected to do in English Language Arts and Mathematics. These standards guide both curriculum and assessment development at the state level. Significant work is now underway to determine how training will be advanced for these new standards, and DPI is currently working with CESA 7 to develop a model curriculum aligned to the new standards.
In glaring contrast to the deliberative process that went into creating the Common Core goals, Wisconsin is rushing to implement the goals without being willing to even show their program to their own panel of experts.
What Do We Know About Wisconsin/CESA-7’s Model Curriculum?
As an outsider to DPI, I was only able to locate one piece of data regarding CESA-7’s elementary school reading performance:
4TH GRADE READING SCORES, 2007-08 WKCE-CRT,
CESA-7 IS AMONG THE WORST PERFORMING DISTRICTS.
CESA-7 RANKED 10TH OF THE 12 WISCONSIN CESA’S.
What Claire did say about her philosophy and the CESA-7 program, before she decided to refuse further comment, was that she did not think significant changes were needed in reading instruction in Wisconsin, as “only three-percent” of children were struggling to read in the state. This is a strikingly low number, one that reflects an arbitrary cutoff for special education. Her view does not reflect the painful experience of the 67% of Wisconsin 4th graders who scored below proficient on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress.
As people in attendance at the meeting can attest, Claire also said that her approach was “not curriculum neutral” and she was taking a “strong stand” on how to teach reading. Again, when I pressed her on what these statements meant, she would only reference oblique whole language jargon, such as a belief in the principal of release from instruction. When I later asked her about finding a balance that included more phonics instruction, she said “too much emphasis” had been given to balanced literacy. After making her brief statements to the Common Core group, she said she had already disclosed too much, and refused to provide more details about the CESA-7 program.
Disregarding Research and Enormous Gains Made by other States, Wisconsin Continues to Stridently Support Whole Language
During the remainder of the day-long meeting on the 27th, I pressed the group to decide about a mechanism to achieve an expert consensus grounded in research. I suggested ways we could move beyond the clear differences that existed among us regarding how to assess and teach reading.
The end product of the meeting, however, was just a list of aspirational goals. We were told this would likely be the last meeting of the group. There was no substantive discussion about implementation of the goals–even though this had been Superintendent Evers’ primary mandate for the group.
I can better understand now why Emilie kept steering the discussion back to aspirational goals. The backroom deal had already been made with Claire and other leaders of the Wisconsin State Reading Association (WSRA). It would have been inconvenient to tell me the truth.
WSRA continues to unapologetically champion a remarkably strident version of whole-language reading instruction. Please take a look at the advocacy section of their website. Their model of reading instruction has been abandoned through most the United States due to lack of research support. It is still alive and well in CESA-7, however.
Our State Motto is “Forward”
After years of failing to identify and recommend model curriculum by passing it off as an issue of local control, the DPI now purports to lead. Unfortunately, Superintendent Evers, you are now leading us backward.
Making CESA-7 your model curriculum is going to cause real harm. DPI is not only rashly and secretly endorsing what appears to be a radical version of whole language, but now school districts who have adopted research validated procedures, such as the Monroe School District, will feel themselves under pressure to fall in line with your recommended curriculum.
By all appearances, CESA-7’s program is absolutely out of keeping with new Federal laws addressing Response to Intervention and Wisconsin’s own Specific Learning Disability Rule. CESA-7’s program will not earn us Race to the Top funding. Most significantly, CESA-7’s approach is going to harm children.
In medicine we would call this malpractice. There is clear and compelling data supporting one set of interventions (Monroe), and another set of intervention that are counter-indicated (CESA-7). This is not a matter of opinion, or people taking sides. This is an empirical question. If you don’t have them already, I hope you will find trusted advisors who will rise above the WSRA obfuscation and just look at the data. It is my impression that you are moving fast and receiving poor advice.
I am mystified as to why, after years of making little headway on topics related to reading, DPI is now making major decisions at a breakneck pace. Is this an effort to circumvent the Read-To-Lead Task Force by instituting new policies before the group has finished its scheduled meetings? Superintendent Evers, why haven’t you shared anything about the CESA-7 curriculum with them? Have you already made your decision, or are you prepared to show the Read-To-Lead that there is a deliberative process underway to find a true model curriculum?
There are senior leaders at DPI who recognize that the reading-related input DPI has received has been substantially unbalanced. For example, there were about five senior WSRA members present at the Common Core meetings, meaning that I was substantially outnumbered. While ultimately unsuccessful due to logistics, an 11th hour effort was made to add researchers and leadership members from the Wisconsin Reading Coalition to the Common Core group.
The Leadership Group could achieve what you asked of it, which is to thoughtfully guide implementation of the Common Core. I am still willing to work with you on this goal.
State Superintendent Evers, I assume that you asked me to be a member of the Leadership Group in good faith, and will be disappointed to learn of what actually transpired with the group. You may have the false impression that CESA-7’s approach was vetted at your Common Core Leadership Group. Lastly, and most importantly, I trust you have every desire to see beyond destructive politics and find a way to protect the welfare of the children of Wisconsin.
Sincerely,
Dan Gustafson, PhD, EdM
Neuropsychologist, Dean Clinic

View a 133K PDF or Google Docs version.
Related:
How does Wisconsin Compare: 2 Big Goals.
Wisconsin Academic Standards

Wisconsin Teacher Content Knowledge Requirement Comparison




Financial Literacy



WKOW-TV:

The catch phrase is financial literacy… the understanding of money and it’s meaning in our society. And according to Michael Gutter, UW Extension Financial Specialist, “Wisconsin, like almost every other state, is failing the grade.”
With young people having more access to money and credit, it’s become painfully evident that many of them don’t have the skills to manage it wisely. “Bankruptcy rates for people under 25 are at an all time high and growing at an all time fast rate. This is of a lot of concern, because people who have to file for bankruptcy so early limit their choices for the next few years,” says Gutter, who points out that the ripple effect could impact the economy as a whole; those young people won’t be buying like normal consumers, because of their bankrupt history.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction this year came out with a set of guidelines for what money classes schools should teach and how they should be taught. “They deal with everything form understanding how money varies with your career choices to simple things as budgeting, retirement, savings and investing,” says Gutter.




Wisconsin School districts must use screener in 4K through third grade under Act 20



DPI:

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is announcing NCS Pearson was selected to supply the statewide reading readiness screener under the requirements of 2023 Wisconsin Act 20.

Bids for the universal screener were evaluated by Department of Administration experts following state procurement rules. The DPI will need to negotiate a final contract before July 15, 2024, with NCS Pearson that will include details about assessment administration, accommodations and accessibility options, trainings for teachers and administrators, and testing windows. These details will be announced before the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year.

“Having an equitable universal screener in place is another important step forward in addressing the unique needs of Wisconsin’s youngest learners,” DPI Office of Literacy Director Dr. Barb Novak said. “As the department continues working with schools and districts across the state on implementing the requirements of Act 20, this screener will help educators in understanding each student’s literacy-related strengths and needs. It is critical that we continue coming together to achieve our goal of ensuring every child can read effectively and successfully.”

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More.




Milwaukee scandal hurts all Wisconsin students



Barbara Dittrich

Representative Barbara Dittrich (R – Oconomowoc) issued the following statement regarding the MPS fiscal scandal and its impact on local school districts:

“Aside from the fact that the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) leadership have deceived the public and hurt some of Wisconsin’s most underprivileged students, there is an enormous ripple effect this scandal has on every one of the state’s students. 

“As a result of the MPS referendum, the school districts in the area I serve see reductions in annual state aid as follows:

——

Matt Smith:

Wisconsin’s state superintendent — Sunday morning on UPFRONT

——-

AJ Bayatpour:

State Supt. Jill Underly says she first learned of MPS’ financial problems in late April.

She says the state wasn’t worried then since MPS was about that late with its reports last year. I asked why DPI was so lenient, knowing the state’s biggest district could affect everyone:

Much more on Jill Underly, here (and her efforts to abort our elementary teacher literacy test: the Foundations of Reading).




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



John Schlifske:

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

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

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

Milwaukee schools near bottom in national academic performance

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

——-

Commentary.

Meanwhile, Madison!

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

Enrollment notes.

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




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



Abbey Machtig:

The estimated tax impact for residents is as follows:

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

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

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

——

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

Enrollment notes.

—-

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




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



Molly Beck, Rory Linnane And Kelly Meyerhofer

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

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

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

——

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

Wisconsin’s low bar WKCE expedition. (DPI)

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

The New England Primer.

——

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




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



Julia James:

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

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

State leaders are paying attention. 

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

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

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

——-

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




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



Chris Reed:

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

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

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

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

—-

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

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

—-

More, here.

—-

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

——-

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




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



Jeremy Noonan:

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

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

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

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

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

——

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

——-

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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

——-




being sued for defamation for criticizing her school district on social media for employing a “social justice coordinator.”



WILL

WILL filed this appeal because Ms. Johnson’s posts are protected by the First Amendment. She should not have to endure a costly, pointless, and incoherent jury trial. 

The Quotes: WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg, stated, “The case against Ms. Johnson should have been promptly dismissed. She was expressing her opinion, and the First Amendment gives her the right to do so. We hope the Court of Appeals allows her to appeal to avoid a misguided trial.”   

Scarlet Johnson, stated, “We have a right to free speech in this country and no one should be treated differently under the law because of their political beliefs. I am hopeful that we can establish what is a clear protection of the 1stAmendment.”  

Additional Background: The lawsuit involves a defamation claim for run-of-the-mill social media posts on X and Facebook. The posts in question criticized a school district for having a “social justice coordinator,” and described people who hold such positions as “woke,” “white savior[s]” with a “god complex,” “woke lunatics,” and “bullies.” Statements like these are pervasive on social media; indeed, they were more restrained than a lot of online speech. Nevertheless, the Plaintiff, who previously held the position, chose to respond with a defamation lawsuit.  

——

Legislation and Reading: the Wisconsin Experience 2004-

——

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

——-

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




“where we were and why nothing ever changes. Both are worth reading.”



Quinton Klabon:

Alan Borsuk:

Wisconsin’s kids need help learning to read, so let’s see more cooperation and an end to power maneuvers and partisanship.

Enough. Enough.  

I’m fed up with partisanship, polarization and power maneuvers in the state Capitol that put adults and politics first and kids last. 

There have been many episodes of this unfortunate soap opera over the years. And now we have one of the most aggravating because it involves something that has both urgency and broad agreement, yet is at a standstill.   

Wisconsin has a reading crisis. Milwaukee and some other areas where poverty is high especially have a reading crisis, but the problem goes beyond income, race and where a child lives. There are just too few children who are becoming capable readers by the end of third grade, which a wide range of educators would tell you is an important point in determining whether a kid is on the road to doing well in school and, in many cases, in life beyond school.  

In state standardized tests a year ago (the most recent results available), 37% of all third-graders in Wisconsin were rated as proficient or better in English language arts, which generally means they’re reading well. Another 36% were rated as “basic,” which I interpret as “kind of OK.” And 25% were rated as “below basic,” which I rephrase as “not really on the playing field.” Overall, that means about 60% of the kids are rated below proficient — or, to put it more gently, a quarter are not doing well at all. That is a lot of kids.  

Education and the Administrative State

CJ Safir:

The “why can’t we all get along?” narrative doesn’t apply here.

➡️DPI worked WITH legislators to craft literacy legislation copying the best states.

➡️Now, as my team has shown, DPI has tried to override the law every step of the way.

J-S

In 1964, 10 years after Brown v. Board of Education, a coalition set up a one-day boycott of Milwaukee Public Schools to protest school segregation.

——

Legislation and Reading: the Wisconsin Experience 2004-

——

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

——-

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Mind the Governance Mulligans + low expectations on Wisconsin Reading Curricula



A.J. Bayatpour

While the DPI supports a broader list of programs, joint finance Republicans want to limit the money to a shorter list of four programs recommended by the state’s early literacy council.

——

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

——-

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Credentialism and Taxpayer funded K-12 Governance



Corri Hess:

.@GovEvers just vetoed a bill that would have allowed Wisconsin school administrators to be hired without a license or experience.
Previous:

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

And:

Quinton Klabon:

The teacher shortage is massive. @GovEvers vetoed @RepPenterman’s bill to fix it with teacher apprenticeships to do his version. Okay.

More.

Governor Evers Vetoes Local Control and Workforce Relief

Madison, WI – Governor Evers vetoed SB 335, which would have removed the requirement that school districts only hire a person DPI has licensed to be a superintendent for their school district. Senator Duey Stroebel (R – Cedarburg) issued the following statement in response to both the veto and Governor Evers’ press release on his action:

“The people of Wisconsin should look at actions, not words. Governor Evers just proudly vetoed a bill that would have allowed school boards to exercise local control by choosing the superintendent of their liking. As a result, we remain locked in with some of the strictest licensing requirements in the region, which exacerbates our workforce problems.

Being superintendent is like being the CEO of a company. One does not need to have spent a lifetime in the field to effectively manage the professionals working for you. There are probably thousands of Wisconsinites who would do a great job serving their communities in this role who have not spent their entire careers licensed in a classroom.

This veto maintains the absolute prohibition on locally elected officials considering anyone outside the box.

No matter what he may say about addressing workforce problems for our kids, Governor Evers thinks DPI’s paper pushers know better than local communities. After making headway with bipartisan education efforts this session, like school choice expansion and science-based literacy reform, it is disappointing to see the Governor return to tribal politics despite some school districts having requested these flexibilities.

Senator Stroebel represents the 20th Senate District, which until 2023 Act 94 included parts of Ozaukee, Washington, Fond du Lac, Calumet and Sheboygan Counties. He now resides in the 8th Senate District, which includes parts of Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties.

###




The (big) void in Madison’s k-12 Governance



Years ago, a former Madison Superintendent lamented the lack of business community substantive engagement in our well funded k-12 system.

Has anything changed?

2024 brings another year of uncontested Madison School board elections.

Madison has another new SuperintendentJoe Gothard– due to start soon.

Meanwhile:

A scorecard.

More on Madison’s well funded K-12 system.

Accountability? A Milwaukee business leader says that it is time to vote no on their tax and $pending increase referendum. Madison business leaders: radio silence.

——

Politics and the taxpayer funded DPI.

Wisconsin DPI Reading Curriculum Evaluation list

——-

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?




Notes on Madison K-12 $pending and tax increases amidst declining enrollment; achievement?



Abbey Machtig and Dean Mosiman:

the district had to pull $28 million from its general education fund to cover the extra expenses.

The city, which has a growing population and a $405.4 million general fund operating budget for 2024, and the school district, which has a $591 million budget for the 2023-24 school year, both point to the state as a source of their financial struggles.

Closing the budget gap exclusively from the property tax through a referendum would add $284 to the city tax bill on the average home, now valued at $424,400, with a city bill of $3,017 for the current year. That would be an additional 3.7% rise for the average home and roughly 9% increase in the total city levy, according to Schmiedicke’s report.

To do so from revenue sources outside the property tax would require a 50% increase in each individual tax, fee and charge in these categories, it says. 

The school district is considering referendums in part to fund commitments it has made to students and staff. Last year, the School Board approved an 8% wage increase for district employees, along with hourly pay bumps for custodial and trade staff. Additionally, when inflation and supply costs meant 2020 referendum construction projects went over budget, the district had to pull $28 million from its general education fund to cover the extra expenses.

——

More on Madison’s well funded K-12 system.

Accountability? A Milwaukee business leader says that it is time to vote no on their tax and $pending increase referendum. Madison business leaders: radio silence.

——

Politics and the taxpayer funded DPI.

Wisconsin DPI Reading Curriculum Evaluation list

——-

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?




An update on Wisconsin’s attempts to improve our long term, disastrous reading results



Alan Borsuk:

The approach is best known for emphasizing phonics-based instruction, which teaches children the sounds of letters and how to put the sounds together into words. But when done right, it involves more than that — incorporating things such as developing vocabulary, comprehension skills and general knowledge.

More:What is phonics? Here’s a guide to reading terms parents should know

The approach differs from the “balanced literacy” approach widely used in recent decades, which generally downplayed sounding out letters. One well-known balanced literacy approach, called “three-cueing,” will be illegal in Wisconsin in all public schools, charter schools and private schools taking part in the state’s voucher program as of this fall.  

What curriculums will be recommended? 

Good question. The law created an Early Literacy Curriculum Council with nine members, generally educators from around the state, to make recommendations. The council had a big job and got behind schedule. But it recently recommended four curriculums, generally ones regarded favorably by prominent “science of reading” advocates.

The state Department of Public Instruction has been critical of aspects of the council’s work, including saying that council members didn’t stick strictly to the requirements of the new law. DPI took the council’s recommendations, deleted one, and added eight to come up with 11 curriculum choices that it said meet the law’s requirements.

Some literacy council members and other advocates have criticized the DPI list for including programs that are not as good as the ones the council recommended.  

Can you give examples?  

Sure. “Into Reading,” by HMH (also known as Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), is a popular program. It is one of three programs now being used by schools in New York City, the largest district in the country. And Milwaukee Public Schools has been using “Into Reading” for a couple years. It is considered to meet “science of reading” standards, but some experts regard other curriculums as better.

The literacy council did not include “Into Reading” on its list. The DPI included it. For one thing, including it could lead to saving districts, including MPS, large sums of money by not putting them under pressure to get new textbooks and other materials.    

And then there is “Bookworms.” This curriculum has some distinctive aspects, and some advocates, such as well-known curriculum analyst Karen Vaites of New York, regard it highly and say schools using it have had good results. The literacy council included “Bookworms” on its list. DPI did not and said the program did not meet all the standards of the new law.  

——-

Politics and the taxpayer funded DPI.

Wisconsin DPI Reading Curriculum Evaluation list

——-

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?




See How Student Achievement Gaps Are Growing in Your State



Chad Aldeman

The easing of No Child Left Behind in 2012 set off a decline that is still being felt. Maybe it’s time to bring back accountability

Achievement scores fell in the wake of COVID-19. That story has been well told …

But what’s less well-known is that achievement scores had already suffered a lost decade before the pandemic hit.

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




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



Corrinne Hess:

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

——

More.

——

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?




For those of you watching the state curriculum list developments in Wisconsin…



Quinton Klabon:

“DPI is recommending all…instructional materials that meet the requirements outlined in Act 20. …By providing a list of all of those that meet the requirements, there is meaningful choice for Wisconsin districts to best match their local needs.”

Is this the right philosophy?

—–

DPI:

“Those materials that meet the requirements, even at a minimum level.

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?




School Choice Commentary (achievement not found)



Bob Peterson

Establishing two school systems — one public and one private, yet both supported with tax dollars — only expands the ability of private schools to pick and choose the most desirable students

Supporters of Wisconsin’s voucher schools make it seem that the schools are just one of many variations of our public schoolsDon’t be fooled.

Voucher schools, often referred to as “choice” schools, are private schools that receive taxpayer money that pays for tuition. To argue that a private school is “public” merely because it receives public tax dollars is like arguing that Metro Mart is a public grocery store because it accepts food stamps.

Peterson was member of the Milwaukee School Board from 2019-2023, and board president for the final two years. He was also a classroom teacher for more 25 years, and president of the Milwaukee teachers’ union from 2011-2015.

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?




Wisconsin’s School Report Cards Are Broken-Here’s How to Fix Them



Will Flanders and Noah Diekemper

Annually, when Wisconsin’s new school report cards are released, we learn that Wisconsin’s schools must all be located in Lake Wobegone, where everyone is above average. School districts like Beloit (14.1% proficiency in reading) and Milwaukee (11.5% proficiency in math) are somehow not judged to be deserving of a ranking in the lowest category on the report card.  This year, Milwaukee even managed to reach the middle category of “Meets Expectations.”  

There are a number of reasons that this seems to happen every year. Each school and school district receives an overall score on a 100 point scale. – Those scores are then put into accountability rating categories at certain cut points. DPI has the power to set these cut points. The cut points from this year’s report card are reproduced in Table 1 below.

As recently as the 2020-21 school year, DPI  moved the cut points for each rating, which had the effect of moving some districts up in their rating despite not showing any measurable improvement. 

But the reality is that the chief cause of this phenomenon is state law that requires us to not judge school districts on a level playing field. In districts with more low-income students, student proficiency is weighted less highly than it is in districts with fewer low-income students. Instead, student growth is weighted more highly in high poverty districts. There are other components that go into the report card score as well that include outcomes for target groups and graduation metrics, but only between growth and achievement are weights varied in this way.

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?




“Only 54 percent of first-time Teacher test takers passed for the 2020-21 school year. That’s down from 66 percent in 2014-15”



Corrinne Hess:

The proposed bill, authored by Sen. Mary Felzkowski, R-Irma, and state Rep. Jeff Mursau, R-Crivitz, extends that exception to applicants for all licenses that require the FORT exam.  

Felzkowski and Mursau did not respond to requests for comment. 

Lawmakers, DPI and the Wisconsin Association of School Boards say the change is necessary to help alleviate the state’s teacher shortage. For years, the FORT test has had dismal results. Only 54 percent of first-time test takers passed for the 2020-21 school year. That’s down from 66 percent in 2014-15.   

“Passing the FORT examination can be a costly and time-consuming process, with a relatively high failure rate, especially among teacher license applicants of color and applicants whose first language is not English,” according to the Wisconsin Association of School Boards. “There is also little credible evidence that passing the FORT exam, by itself, improves teacher performance or produces any positive impact on students’ literacy skills or reading achievement.”  

But some reading advocates and teachers say the onus should be on colleges and universities to better prepare their education students to teach, rather than throw away the test.  

Curtis Kadow is a third grade teacher at Kosciuszko Elementary School in Cudahy. Kadow did not have to take the FORT test — he became a teacher before the test was implemented 11 years ago.

Still, Kadow sees value in the test.  

“I believe it’s our only check to make sure that our universities are helping our pre-service teachers understand the science of reading and those foundational skills that they need in order to be successful coming into the workforce,” Kadow said. “I think it’s kind of interesting that our Legislature passed this really big reading bill focused on the science of reading, but now we’re trying to get rid of a test that checks for that.” 

The Cudahy School District, which serves a suburb on Milwaukee’s south shore, shifted to the phonics-based science of reading three years ago and test scores show it’s beginning to pay off.

Kadow understands the argument by lawmakers and DPI that low pass rates on the FORT exam are making it more difficult to hire staff, but to him, that means universities should change how they’re teaching.  

“If we think about the Forward exam, lots of kids don’t pass that, and we’re not getting rid of it,” he said. “Why? Because it’s a check to make sure that schools are doing what they need to do.”

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?




“Some schools with less than 5% proficiency in math and English are rated as “Meets” or “Exceeds” expectations on the current report card”



Will Flanders:

WILL Research Director Will Flanders’s new policy brief, Needs Improvement: How Wisconsin’s Report Card Can Mislead Parents, provides an important explanation of how Wisconsin’s school report cards work and how the various inputs work towards a school’s score. Specifically, Flanders highlights:

  • School report card scores vary widely based on student demographics. In schools with fewer low-income students, overall performance is given more weight. In schools with more low-income students, growth is given more weight.
  • Wisconsin’s report card can make some bad schools look good. Some schools with less than 5% proficiency in math and English are rated as “Meets” or “Exceeds” expectations on the current report card. This severely limits the ability of families to make use of the report card as a metric for school quality.
  • The report card harms private schools in the choice program due to a mismeasurement of disability & economic status. Disability status affects growth scores and the economic status of students effects the weight of growth in the report card score. Both of these factors are often measured inaccurately in choice schools, harming their overall scores.
  • Private school systems cannot get school-level report cards. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has made it so that private school systems must choose between byzantine enrollment and auditing systems or getting individual school report cards for their schools. Without individual school report cards, it is more difficult for schools to determine how each school in their system is doing.

The Report (PDF).

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?




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



WILL:

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

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

­­­­­

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

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

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

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Reading, Wisconsin Legislation and Rule Making



Act 20:

Beginning with the accountability report published for the 2024-25 school year, for a school district other than a union high school district and for each school that offers grade 3 in that school district, the percentage of pupils reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade.

Section 8 . 115.39 of the statutes is created to read:
115.39 Literacy coaching program. (1) Definitions. In this section:
(a) “CESA region” means the geographic territory within the boundaries of a cooperative educational service agency.
(b) “Eligible school” means any of the following that does not provide instruction that incorporates 3-cueing, as defined in s. 118.015 (1c) (c), in the core reading curriculum for grades kindergarten to 3:
1. A public school, including a charter school established under s. 118.40 (2r) or (2x).
2. A private school participating in a program under s. 118.60 or 119.23.
(c) “Office” means the office of literacy in the department.
(2) Literacy coaching program. The office shall establish and supervise an early literacy coaching program to improve literacy outcomes in this state. As part of the early literacy coaching program established under this subsection, the office shall, in consultation with cooperative educational service agencies, do all of the following:
(a) Contract with individuals who demonstrate knowledge and expertise in science-based early literacy instruction and instructional practices, and have instructional experience in grades kindergarten to 12 to serve as literacy coaches. The office may not contract for more than 64 full-time equivalent positions under this paragraph.
(b) Provide ongoing training on science-based early literacy instruction and instructional practices and supervision to individuals with whom the office contracts under par. (a).
(c) Prohibit literacy coaches from using or promoting instruction that includes 3-cueing, as defined in s. 118.015 (1c) (c).
(3) Participation; schools and school districts. (a) The office shall assign one-half of the number of literacy coaches under sub. (2) (a) as follows:
1. Based on scores of the standardized reading test administered to pupils during the prior school year under s. 121.02 (1) (r), the office shall identify the 50 eligible schools that had the lowest percentage of pupils score as proficient in reading at grade level and the 50 eligible schools that had the largest gap in pupils who scored as proficient in reading at grade level.

Wisconsin DPI:

The information below is designed to address ongoing questions related to 2023 Act 20 and its implementation. Please send questions or concerns about this page or Act 20 to DPI staff by emailing early.reading@dpi.wi.gov.

“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?




School choice triumph: Report card analysis shows voucher schools out-perform public schools



Nicholas Kelly:

Education was a big winner of a bipartisan agreement in the recently enacted state budget. Public schools will receive an increase of more than $1 billion. Per pupil spending for Wisconsin’s private school choice programs will grow by $2,000 to $3,000 per student. 

Even after these historic funding increases, state payments to schools in the parental choice programs will still be less than 70 percent of the funding per student that public schools receive.

With the substantial new education spending, what’s the bang for the buck? What’s the return to Wisconsin taxpayers from their investments in public schools and the parental choice programs? At School Choice Wisconsin, we wanted to find out.

Our approach relied on publicly available data at the Department of Public Instruction’s website. To measure results, we used DPI Report Cards, which provide a comprehensive assessment of how the agency ranks public schools and schools in the choice programs. To measure funds invested, we used DPI data on per pupil public school revenue and state payments for pupils in the choice programs.

“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?




More than 20 years ago, the federal government released a review of decades of reading research whose findings should have charted a path toward better instruction and higher reading levels.



Kappan:

Based on an extensive research review, the National Reading Panel (NRP) report was an inflection point in the history of reading research and education policy. It found that instruction in five related areas — phonemic awareness, phonics, oral reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension — benefits early readers.

And, in the minds of many, including its authors, it should have ended the debate about whole-language and basic-skills reading instruction.

Instead, the opposite happened: The fighting over reading instruction intensified, and methods that were failing kids became entrenched.

For that result, there are many contributing factors, some of which have been featured in APM Reports’ new podcast series, Sold a Story, which I helped research.

An inadequate media response may well be one of the reasons the NRP report didn’t have the influence it should have.

—-

Politics and the taxpayer funded DPI.

Wisconsin DPI Reading Curriculum Evaluation list

——-

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?




Politics and Reading: the latest from Wisconsin



Mitchell Schmidt:

Ultimately, bill author Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, amended the measure to only require those students to take part in summer instruction or repeat third-grade reading courses while in fourth grade.

“This bipartisan plan could not have been accomplished without the countless hours put in by staff to craft a well thought out product as well as the input from DPI and other stakeholders,” bill co-author Sen. Duey Stroebel, R-Cedarburg, said in a statement. “The Right to Read Act will transform the way we teach reading in Wisconsin, helping better prepare our students for college and career readiness while setting them up (for) lifelong success.”

The bill creates a Council on Early Literacy Curricula within DPI that would be charged with recommending early literacy curricula and instructional materials to be used in schools. The council would consist of nine members, with three selected by the state superintendent of public instruction and three chosen by each of the leaders of the GOP-controlled Assembly and Senate.

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?




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



Dan Lennington and Will Flanders

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Taxpayer funded DPI:

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

The data clearly indicate that being able to read is not a requirement for graduation at (Madison) East, especially if you are black or Hispanic”

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Legislation and Early Reading: Wisconsin’s odyssey continues



Tyler Katzenberger:

The new version of the bill, passed Wednesday afternoon by the Assembly in 67-27 vote, would prescribe an “intensive” personal literacy plan, including summer classes, for incoming fourth graders who failed to meet third-grade reading benchmarks. Students would exit the plan after they pass a grade-level reading test and their parents agree the plan is no longer needed.

Eight Democrats voted for the bill: Reps. Deb Andraca of Whitefish Bay, Sue Conley of Janesville, Dave Considine of Baraboo, Dora Drake of Milwaukee, Tip McGuire of Kenosha, Tod Ohnstad of Kenosha, Sylvia Ortiz-Velez of Milwaukee, and Shelia Stubbs of Madison. Two Republicans, Reps. Shae Sortwell of Two Rivers and Joy Goeben of Hobart, voted against the GOP-authored bill.

Assembly Democrats tried and failed during debate Wednesday to send the bill back to committee, arguing it needed more work.

“This bill is so close. It is very very close,” Andraca said. “But we just got an amendment literally an hour or so ago, and it fundamentally changed a number of things. I haven’t had a chance to hear from school districts in my district how they feel about this bill. Why? Because they’re teaching.”

The changes introduced Wednesday were “a very short amendment” to a measure that’s remained largely the same since it was first introduced earlier this month, Kitchens responded. Both he and the DPI previously told the Journal Sentinel they’ve been working on the reading overhaul since last November.

Wispolitics:

State Superintendent Jill Underly after the bill’s passage called it a “step in the right direction.” She said the Department of Public Instruction had “very productive” conversations with legislators in crafting the agreement.

AB 321 would establish an Office of Literacy to contract 64 full-time literacy coaches who would help teachers implement a newer model based on phonics, vocabulary building, reading fluency, and oral language development, among other things.

The body rejected Dems’ request to refer the measure back to committee. Dems argued the bill needs more work and criticized the addition of another amendment. 

The amendment added today includes measures to require students who read below grade level to have individualized reading plans until they catch up and to include the percentage of third-grade students who read at grade level on school report cards. 

Rep. Christine Sinicki said there is no reason to rush the process. 

“It’s our responsibility to make sure we’re doing the work here that gives our teachers and our schools the tools they need to succeed,” the Milwaukee Dem said. 

She said while she didn’t want to oppose the bill, the amendment didn’t address all of her concerns, such as an intensive summer reading program for those with the lowest reading scores. She questioned how it would be paid for.

Co-author Rep. Joel Kitchens, chair of the Assembly Education Committee, said he would challenge anyone to name a bill that has had as much collaboration as the reading bill. 

“It’s a very complicated bill, it’s very long, there’s always going to be something someone doesn’t like, but we need to get this done,” the Sturgeon Bay Republican said.

He also said spending more time on the measure would kill the bill, urging lawmakers to “do the right thing.”

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?




Notes on taxpayer supported K-12 spending



Corrinne Hess

In the 2021-22 school year, Wisconsin’s public schools received a total of $16,859 per student, which came from a combination of local property taxes, federal sources and the state. Of that, about $7,728 came from the state, according to the Department of Public Instruction.

“In fact, some of the federal funding factored into that district per pupil calculation is required to be used for services for private school students, meaning it does not support the kids attending public schools in that district,” said Abigail Swetz, DPI spokeswoman. “It is not legitimate for the Republican legislators to take credit for funds that come from local and federal sources, and if the Republican legislators and voucher advocates are claiming that the state provides $14,000 per student, that is patently untrue.”

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has said he will sign the bill.  

The Wisconsin Coalition for Education Freedom praised Republicans and Evers for including funding for school choice in the proposal.  

The coalition represents several groups including School Choice Wisconsin, the Badger Institute, Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce.  

Will Flanders, research director with WILL and a coalition member, said the additional funds will allow private choice schools to be more competitive with teacher retention and hiring. And he said the increased funding may open more slots for students at choice schools.

“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?




Legislation and K-12 reading: 2023 Wisconsin Edition



Corrinne Hess:

A bipartisan bill is expected to be released this month that would change the way most public schools in Wisconsin teach reading. 

State Rep. Joel Kitchens, R-Sturgeon Bay, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Education, has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on the plan that would move more schools away from teaching what is known as “balanced literacy,” to a “science of reading” approach.

Instead of being taught reading through pictures, word cues and memorization, children would be taught using a phonics-based method that focuses on learning to sound out letters and phrases.

According to DPI, only about 20 percent of school districts are using a phonics-based approach to literacy education. Other reading curriculums that don’t include phonics have been shown to be less effective for students.

The bill will be introduced separately from the 2023-25 biennial budget that is currently being crafted but $15 million to support the plan would be included in the budget, Kitchens said during an April 24 interview on Wisconsin Eye.  

“Education is the one chance we have to break the cycle of generational poverty that we see in Wisconsin and reading is by far the most important skill to allow children to be successful in school,” Kitchens said. 

Kitchens told Wisconsin Public Radio on Thursday he is updating the current draft of the bill and will share it with DPI “in coming days.”

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?




More on Wisconsin School Choice Governance, freedom of speech, civil rights and freedom of religion



Phoebe Petrovic:

Wisconsin Watch reviewed public materials for about one-third of the state’s 373 voucher schools and found that four out of 10 had policies or statements that appeared to target LGBTQ+ students for disparate treatment. Some had explicitly discriminatory policies, such as expelling students for being gay or transgender. 

All 50 of the voucher schools with anti-LGBTQ+ stances identified by the news organization are Christian, with denominations including Lutherans and Catholics, among others. Almost every school cites religious principles as a basis for their positions.

Suzanne Eckes, an education law professor at University of Madison-Wisconsin, argued that language casting gay or transgender identities or behavior as sinful, even without policies codifying the perspective, “has a discriminatory intent behind it.”

She also pointed out how some policies, although not explicit, could result in LGBTQ+ students being treated inconsistently from others. For example, some schools specifically ban all sexual contact outside of a straight, cisgender marriage.

Green Bay Adventist Junior Academy, which has nearly 68% of students on vouchers, says that it “does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation (in admissions), but does discriminate on the basis of sexual misconduct,” which includes “homosexual conduct.” Reached by phone, a representative of the school said: “We have no comment.”

Werth, now approaching graduation from college, said his experience, although difficult, was not as hostile as the policies now in place at his alma mater and elsewhere.

It would be useful to compare $pending on traditional public schools and the voucher budget…

More:

Curious (false claims) reporting on legacy k-12 schools, charter/voucher models and special education via Wisconsin coalition for education freedom.

A “Wisconsin Watch” look at voucher schools; DPI heavy, no mention of $pending or achievement…

“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?




Curious (false claims) reporting on legacy k-12 schools, charter/voucher models and special education



Wisconsin coalition for education freedom:

Wisconsin Watch has released its third article in a series attempting to discredit the great work choice programs do in Wisconsin. Their latest article misrepresents admission policies of choice schools while ignoring the fact that public schools often engage in admission practices that would be illegal for schools participating in the state’s choice programs.
Wisconsin Watch is again making false claims.

  • In their most recent article, Wisconsin Watch again misrepresents school choice admission practices and now adds a false narrative that schools “expel” students with disabilities at will. Their claims don’t match reality, nor is a single example provided.
  • Fact: Schools in Wisconsin’s choice programs may not discriminate against any eligible family based on a student’s disability.i
  • As with many individual public schools, individual private schools are not required to provide a full range of disability services. Parents who choose to enroll their student do so only after being fully informed of available services.
    Some Wisconsin public schools have admissions processes that would be illegal for private choice schools.
  • Public school districts often have specialty public schools, in addition to their residentially assigned schools. Public schools are permitted to create admission requirements for these schools.
  • Public schools having admission requirements is not a new phenomenon, with the practice being documented in Wisconsin for decades.ii (Link)
  • Today, specialty schools like those in Milwaukeeiii (Link) use a points system to admit students based on their report card scores, attendance, standardized test scores, and an essay. In Green Bay,iv (Link) students must complete a test for admission to a school for the gifted.
    1
  • Choice schools must admit students on a random basis if there is excess demand with few exceptions, primarily related to being in the same family as an existing student.v (Link)
    Public schools reject students in the public school full-time open enrollment program.

Phoebe Petrovic:

As an advocacy specialist at Disability Rights Wisconsin, Joanne Juhnke regularly finds herself on the phone with parents concerned about their children’s treatment at school.

Most complaints concern public schools, which enroll the majority of students. State funding for special education has shrunk, forcing districts to struggle to provide services, and disparate treatment of students with disabilities at public schools persists. But in public school, families have a state body to appeal to: the Department of Public Instruction.

DPI is far less helpful in disputes with private schools, which under state law can legally discriminate against students who need certain disability accommodations — or even kick them out. This applies even to private schools that receive taxpayer-funded tuition vouchers to educate students.

The calls Juhnke receives from voucher families often contain the same story. A family has enrolled a child with disabilities in a private school. Administrators have begun pressuring the student to leave or have kicked them out, something public schools cannot do. The parents are shocked. They’re sure the schools can’t do that.

Many times, Juhnke has to tell them: Yes, they can.

“You went into this school choice program thinking that you were the one, as the parents, who have the choice,” she said. “Really, on the other end, the school holds more choice cards than you do, and you’re coming out on the wrong side of that.”

I find the timing of Wisconsin Watch’s articles curious, amidst budget season. Ideally, the writer might dive deep and wide into the effectiveness of our well funded k-12 system. Reading would be a terrific place to start.

This Wisconsin Watch article was referenced in a recent St Marcus (Milwaukee) podcast. St Marcus operates an extraordinarily successful choice school on the City’s near north side. Read more, here.

Governor Evers’ most recent budget proposals have attempted to kill One City Schools’ charter authorization…

“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?




Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-



Emily Hanford notes the “surge in legislative activity” amidst our long term, disastrous reading results [link].



via NAEP 4th grade results 1992-2022.

Longtime SIS readers may recall a few of these articles, bookmarking our times, so to speak:

2004: [Link]

“In 2003, 80% of Wisconsin fourth graders scored proficient or advanced on the WCKE in reading. However, in the same year only 33% of Wisconsin fourth graders reached the proficient or advanced level in reading on the NAEP.”

2005: [Link]

“According to Mr. Rainwater, the place to look for evidence of a closing achievement gap is the comparison of the percentage of African American third graders who score at the lowest level of performance on statewide tests and the percentage of other racial groups scoring at that level. He says that, after accounting for income differences, there is no gap associated with race at the lowest level of achievement in reading.”

2008: “Schools should not rely on only WKCE data to gauge progress of individual students or to determine effectiveness of programs or curriculum”

2010: When A Stands for Average: Students at the UW-Madison School of Education Receive Sky-High Grades. How Smart is That?

2010: WEAC $1.57M !! for four state senators.

2011: A Capitol Conversation:

1. How teachers are taught. In Wisconsin as in much of the US, prospective teachers are not exposed to modern research on how children develop, learn, and think. Instead, they are immersed in the views of educational theorists such as Lev Vygotsky (d. 1934) and John Dewey (d. 1952). Talented, highly motivated prospective teachers are socialized into beliefs about children that are not informed by the past 50 years of basic research in cognitive science and cognitive neuroscience.

Wisconsin adopted MTEL for elementary reading teachers only. Our version is known as the Foundations of Reading Test…

2013: Alan Borsuk:

The Massachusetts test is about to become the Wisconsin test, a step that advocates see as important to increasing the quality of reading instruction statewide and, in the long term, raising the overall reading abilities of Wisconsin students. As for those who aren’t advocates (including some who are professors in schools of education), they are going along, sometimes with a more dubious attitude to what this will prove.

2017: Foundations of Reading Test Results

May 2013 – August 2014 (Test didn’t start until January 2014, and it was the lower cut score): 2150 pass out of 2766 first time takers = 78% passage rate .xls file

September 2014 – August 2015 (higher cut score took effect 9/14): 2173/3278 = 66%

September 2015 – August 2016: 1966/2999 = 66%

September 2016 – YTD 2017: 1680/2479 = 68%

2017 [3 minute transcript]:

2018: Wisconsin DPI efforts to weaken the Foundations of Reading Test for elementary teachers.

Also, 2018: “We set a high bar for achievement,” DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy said.

Still 2018: Alan Borsuk:

But consider a couple other things that happened in Massachusetts: Despite opposition, state officials stuck to the requirement. Teacher training programs adjusted curriculum and the percentage of students passing the test rose.

More 2018: “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”

2019: My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results.

2019, continued – Alan Borsuk:

The latest report on reading was really bad. here are some possible solutions. Mississippi got a lot of attention when the NAEP scores were released. It was the only state where fourth grade reading scores improved. Mississippi is implementing a strong requirement that teachers be well-trained in reading instruction. Massachusetts did that in the 1990s and it paid off in the following decade.

2020: Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

2021: Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Jill Underly:

All right. Um, as far as the Foundations of Reading (FORT) test is concerned, I would support eliminating it. And I’ll tell you why. I believe it’s an unnecessary hoop. Um, it makes it difficult and much harder for people to become teachers, particularly when we are already struggling. Right. With recruiting and retaining teachers.

2021: Wisconsin Governor Evers vetoes AB446 and SB454 (Friday afternoon):

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

2023: Wisconsin Legislative hearing on our long term, disastrous reading results: “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.”

2023: Further attempts to kill our only teacher content knowledge requirement: elementary reading “!”. Corrinne Hess:

“Only 54 percent of first-time Teacher test takers passed for the 2020-21 school year. That’s down from 66 percent in 2014-15”

2024: Ongoing Wisconsin Literacy Legislation Litigation…. Governor Evers’ partial veto – (mind the Governor’s mulligans)




Wisconsin students missed nearly a month of school last year



Corrinne Hess:

Since the pandemic, fewer Wisconsin students have reliably made it to school. The state’s attendance rate reached a new low of 91 percent last year and chronic absenteeism continues to be an issue, with more than 22 percent of students missing at least a month of school. 

The picture is even more grim for high school students. The latest state data shows more than a quarter — 26 percent — of Wisconsin high school students missed a month of the 2021-2022 school year.  

A student is considered chronically absent when they attend less than 90 percent of school days. The overall attendance rate for Wisconsin high school students was 89.7. Milwaukee Public Schools high school students attended only 70 percent of the time.

Attendance is an important measure of student engagement and a predictor of future achievement, dropout or late graduation. And attendance rates have been dropping since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

School avoidant behavior, also called school refusal, is when a school-age child refuses to attend school or has difficulty being in school for the entire day. Several mental health experts told USA TODAY it has become a crisis that has gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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?




Recently, Soros Funded Wisconsin Watch released articles criticizing the Wisconsin parental choice programs and incorrectly claiming that private schools may “discriminate.



Will-Law

Recently Wisconsin Watch released articles criticizing the Wisconsin parental choice programs and incorrectly claiming that private schools may “discriminate.” This memo provides resources and information about the false claims made in the article and talking points to refute them. 

The claims that private schools may “discriminate” are false. 

These claims are false. Wisconsin Watch claims that federal law “allows religious entities to discriminate against LGBTQ+ students” and that schools in the parental choice program may discriminate against LGBTQ+ students or those with disabilities “once that student is enrolled.” 

Private schools are governed by different laws than public schools.  There are specific prohibitions of discrimination that apply to private schools participating in the parental choice program. For example, Wisconsin law requires private schools in the choice programs to do a blind admission process. Schools are not permitted to create barriers for enrollment for student based on anything other than the DPI application and income verification forms. Private schools are allowed to give existing students and their siblings eligibility preferences.  

Private schools are not permitted to “discriminate” against students with disabilities. 

The Obama Administration began a misguided investigation into private schools in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program in 2011. DPI, at that time, correctly stated that private schools in the program have a different legal standard to serve students with disabilities. Despite a three-year investigation, there were no instances of discrimination found

Private schools have a different legal standard than public schools for students with disabilities. 

Public schools are subject to several state and federal laws regarding the education of students with disabilities including the requirement that public school districts may not deny any student access to a “Free and Appropriate Public Education” and receive specific funds to educate children with disabilities. Even within public school districts, not all individual schools are required to provide a full range of special education services.

Private schools must meet a different legal standard. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Title III of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) set forth requirements for private schools. 

Title III of the ADA requires private schools to make “reasonable modifications” for individuals with disabilities to access the facility and prohibits private schools from discriminating against individuals based on their disability. Changes to accommodate may not fundamentally alter the nature of the goods and services provided by the private school or impose an undue financial or administrative burden on the private school. Similarly, Section 504 requires private schools to make “minor adjustments” for individuals with disabilities to access the facility. Private schools may consider  the nature of the program provided and the expense of accommodations sought when serving individuals with disabilities under Section 504. 

Furthermore, private schools participating in the Wisconsin Special Needs Scholarship Program, to specifically serve students with disabilities, must meet with families to complete an agreement to discuss the educational needs of each student and to explain special education resources available at the school. Participating private schools are also required to provide reports to parents about student progress.

The Wisconsin Watch articles do not specifically claim a private school violated the federal laws regarding students with disabilities. 

Private schools in Wisconsin serve hundreds of students with disabilities.

Academic research found that private schools in Wisconsin parental choice programs serve many students with disabilities. Reported disability rates are often lower because choice schools lack the financial incentive public schools have for identification.

This is further supported by the growing participation in the Special Needs Scholarship Program, a state-funded program to give students with disabilities funding to attend a private school of their choice. Since the program’s creation in 2015, participation has grown by 815%, from 215 to 1,986 students. 

Private schools in the choice program welcome all students. 

Private schools in the choice program choose to participate in the program, with full knowledge that they are opening their doors to students and families from all different backgrounds and beliefs. Many of these schools participate because they want to serve as many students as possible. 

Private schools in the choice program may not require participation in religious classes. 

Once enrolled, all students are subject to the policies of the school, religious policies included. If families disagree with the religious beliefs of the school, state law permits families to opt their children out of religious instruction. 

Additionally, the choice program is a voluntary program that empowers families to choose the school that best fits their child’s needs. Families are always free to choose to send their children to a school that matches their values.

Religious schools have a constitutional protection to serve students based on their beliefs. 

The U.S. Constitution protects the free exercise of religion. This allows religious schools to teach and make decisions based on their religious beliefs. For private, religious schools, this includes decisions relating to policies and procedures at the school. 

Both the Wisconsin Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court have determined that parental choice programs are legal. 

The claims that taxpayer dollars should not go to schools that enforce their religious beliefs has been litigated both in Wisconsin and most recently in the U.S. Supreme Court. The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that if states choose to create and provide a parental choice program the state may not discriminate against faith-based schools and may not bar students from using public funds to attend religious schools. 

With private schools, the choice ultimately lies with the student, parent, and family. 

All families deserve to access high-quality schools that meet their child’s needs. Far too many families are stuck in their assigned public schools, but school choice provides families with the option to attend the school that is the best fit for their child.

Ultimately, parents and students have every right to go to a school that matches their moral convictions.  The whole idea behind school choice is if a parent or student is upset with how a school is run, then they can in fact go somewhere else and take their money with them. 

For additional questions, please contact:

Nic Kelly, kelly@parentchoice.org

Libby Sobic, libby@will-law.org

Notes and links on “Wisconsin Watch

“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?




Instructional Coach Kyle Thayse Wisconsin Education Committee Testimony; Q&A; Lucy Calkins




Transcript

mp3 Audio Entire hearing video.

An interesting excerpt, regarding their use of the discredited Lucy Caulkins Reading Curriculum (see Sold a Story):

Senator John Jagler. Thank you. I, as I talked to, to my local administrators, [00:21:00] um, I’m fascinated. Curriculum choices that have been made and continue to be made.

[00:21:06] And I’m, I’m, I’m quite honestly surprised you, you, you double down on one of the bad actors, uh, not my words, I’m not an expert, but identified Lucy Calkins in this units of study as one of the bad actors, a bad actors in this, um, whole fight on the science of reading. Why did you go there? Why did you go back to, to you, you know, went back to her version 2.0, which her critics would say, were only done because the spotlight was being shined on her by, by others.

[00:21:42] Kyle Thayse: I knew this question was coming today, so I kind of prepared myself. I thought that that was gonna be asked. So, um, you know, there was, there’s a couple, a couple of reasons. I think as a district, we, we, we made that decision. Um, and I’ll be honest, I was, I was, I was for it. Um, and, and a lot of it is, The, um, the [00:22:00] professional development that, um, I feel like we were able to lead through the district outside of the curriculum problems.

[00:22:08] Kyle Thayse: The what, what the curriculum brought to the table as far as the growth of our teachers, the tightness, the, the tightness, and the, uh, the collegial conversations about learning that happened on a daily basis in, in our classrooms. It was brought upon by that, by the models of that. and, um, above that second grade level, we, we don’t have, there’s, there’s no real issues, you know, with the curriculum.

[00:22:32] Kyle Thayse: It’s, it’s, it’s robust, it has great topics. Um, kids are exposed to a lot of different vocabulary with within it, and even at the lower levels it is too. Um, we did identify those problems that were in there and, uh, we didn’t, we didn’t take the full leap of faith right away. We purchased first the, the manuals and, um, I tasked myself with reading.

[00:22:50] Kyle Thayse: Every kindergarten manual, every first grade manual said to me, those were the two most important, uh, manuals. Every unit in that manual to identify in there, do, do I find [00:23:00] any of this at all? And, um, there was one little spot that I was concerned and I thought we were gonna have an issue. . Um, but what ended up happening was the, that part of the unit was actually more of an emergent reader.

[00:23:10] Kyle Thayse: Early, early literacy before students are even learning sounds, portion of the curriculum, um, where students were, were learning. Uh, the, the pattern part of the book was more of the memorization, the storytelling part where kids learn how stories go. This is like 4K, early kindergarten curriculum stuff. And, um, And past that, there were, I, they, there was the use of decodable texts.

[00:23:30] Kyle Thayse: There was, um, there was not any of the use of, of of, of the, uh, use the picture to solve the word. There was, um, a lot, uh, actually I would say almost triple the amount of lessons on phonics and emmic awareness within the actual reading curriculum. I mean, this is outside of the phonic tum that we already used.

[00:23:46] Kyle Thayse: Um, so once we saw that all in there, um, the price tag on a whole new curriculum, uh, the professional development that goes along. Um, and, and, and the time that it would take, uh, we thought we would be able to move faster as long [00:24:00] as the right tools were in there and we felt the tools were there.

Additional testimony: Mark Seidenberg Kymyona Burk DPI

3 Minute Summary by Senator Duey Stroebel




3 Minutes: $pending, ED Schools & Reading Outcomes



Transcript:

$pending, K-12 Governance, Ed Schools and Reading Outcomes
[00:00:00] Senator Duey Stroebel: Actually looking at, uh, US census data, all funds, all sources. Um, Wisconsin’s at about $13,000 and Mississippi is about $9,200. So there’s significant that’s per the US census data, all funds, all sources. So pretty clear there. I think it’s, uh, we’re 23rd. They’re 47th. So, which I think bears out with her, uh, slide up there that showed that we spend, uh, about 37% more in education.

[00:00:29] Uh, than than they do. But, um, one thing I want to talk about, you know, we’re here to talk about, okay, how are we gonna improve reading and what’s the best technique to do that? And you talk about reading coaches and the resources and the things we’re doing to improve reading. It kind of seems like we’re beating the head against beating, we’re beating our head against the wall when we’re really not using the right techniques.

[00:00:53] I mean, we can throw all the money in the world and if we’re not doing it the right. , we’re not gonna see results. I mean, do you agree? Am I off the, [00:01:00] am I crazy about that? Or what?

[00:01:02] Laura Adams (Wisconsin DPI) We absolutely agree. Which is why that, why we are advocating not only for a recommended instructional materials list, but also resources to address the how, how our educators use those materials in order to provide the instruction to implement the evidence-based early reading, uh, instructional practices, and.

[00:01:23] The same thing at at higher ed, not only looking at the state statute to ensure that what we’re requiring of our higher ed programs includes all of the components of early evidence-based early reading practices, but that we also are in the position of providing them with some of the how.

Duey Stroebel: 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.

[00:01:52] I mean, I don’t. You know, that’s weird. Um, you’d think they should be the ones who would know the innovative ways to teach. Not that us [00:02:00] legislators have to create legislation to tell them how to teach the way, uh, scientific data shows should be taught. So I guess my point is that, you know, yes. Blaming on universities.

[00:02:12] Sure. Um, but we’re, um, spending money on all these things and we’re really not doing it right. So I, I guess the focus. I mean, the 15 million they do a year. I mean, that’s a drop in the bucket. But you know, when you look at the overall spending and when you look at what we’re spending now today to teach, uh, a curriculum that’s ineffective, I think maybe we really wanna focus on, okay, how do we, sad to say, have to retrain our teachers from what they learned at the university system.

[00:02:43] And, um, I, I think that that should be our focus. And after that, I feel very confident that once our teachers have been trained, That they’re gonna be able to deliver this content and our kids are gonna be able to excel. So, um, I’m not sure, you know, if it’s that much, uh, [00:03:00] money that we’re really even talking about here, considering when you look at the overall big picture on spending and kind of the fundamental flaw that we’re really trying to tackle at this point in time.

[00:03:10] So I guess that’s what, uh, I’d have to say. Thanks.

Earlier testimony: Kymyona Burk and Mark Seidenberg.

Related: 2021 Wisconsin AB446.

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?

Additional testimony: Mark Seidenberg Kymyona Burk DPI Instructional Coach Kyle Thayse




Wisconsin Education Committee Hearing March 2, 2023: Mark Seidenberg’s Talk, and Q&A



Video

mp3 Audio
Transcript

Additional testimony: Kymyona Burk Instructional Coach Kyle Thayse DPI

3 Minute Summary by Senator Duey Stroebel

2021’s AB446 was mentioned.

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?




Taxpayer supported Wisconsin Administration anti school choice red tape



WILL:

WILL has learned that DPI goes beyond these requirements in evaluating new school applications. Even if schools submit accurate and sufficient information according to our state law, if they do not comply in precisely the manner that DPI requires, their applications are often denied. WILL sees no justification for the practice of DPI exceeding its lawful authority in such a way that keeps schools, and in turn families, out of the parental choice programs.

More on the Letter: WILL and School Choice Wisconsin’s letter indicates we are filing an open records request for information regarding any new private school applications to the Wisconsin Parental School Choice program for the 2023-24 school year; and how DPI ruled on each application. We are also requesting all records related to appeals for denied applications. As for future litigation, the letter asks DPI to either discuss a possible solution, or let us know if such a conversation would not be productive so that a lawsuit challenging the requirements can be filed.

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?




Informational hearing on the subject of reading in Wisconsin schools March 2, 2023



Wisconsin Senate (and Assembly) Committee on Education:

Department of Public Instruction
Laura Adams -Policy Initiatives Advisor for the State Superintendent
Duy Nguyen – Assistant Superintendent for the Division of Academic Excellence
Tom McCarthy – Executive Director for the Office of the State Superintendent

ExcelinEd
Dr. Kymyona Burk – Senior Policy Fellow

University of Wisconsin–Madison
Mark S. Seidenberg – Vilas Research Professor and Donald O. Hebb Professor

Luxemburg-Casco School District
Kyle Thayse – 4k-12 Instructional Coach

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 Taxpayer Funded K-12 Education: Madison’s $597.9M budget $23k/student! vs Tiny One City Charter School



Scott Girard:

For the full 2022-23 school year, an independent charter school like One City receives $9,264 per student from the state that the student’s resident school district would otherwise receive.

The state counts students twice each school year: the third Friday of September and the second Friday of January.

If a student is enrolled at such a charter school for only one of those days, the school would effectively receive $4,632 in aid that the school district would otherwise receive this year, according to an email from state Department of Public Instruction communication specialist Chris Bucher.

For the 51 students from MMSD who have attended One City this year, then, the charter was set to receive a total of $472,464 for the school year.

(No mention of property taxes and other funds that Madison’s well funded K-12 system receives, roughly $23k/student!).

One City statement:

January 10, 2023

Good Afternoon Jim,

Today, the local media reached out to our organization to inquire about another organization’s concerns regarding whether One City Schools will repay the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) the per pupil funds it allocates to our public charter schools.

One City Schools is a careful steward of public dollars. We are 100 percent in compliance with state and federal requirements for spending public dollars. Any claims to the contrary are false.

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has a state-approved formula for allocating funds to all public schools – both charter and district schools. We receive per pupil payments annually, from DPI, divided into four payments during the school year.

Additionally, all federal funds we receive are reimbursable grants, meaning, we must spend the money before we can receive payment from DPI. Therefore, we don’t have anything to repay for our federal grants.

We continue to appreciate your support.

Onward,

Gail Wiseman
VP of External Relations
gwiseman@onecityschools.org

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?




$pending more for less: Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction edition



Institute for reforming government


3. Department of Public Instruction:
Since 2017, DPI has seen its biennial budget increase by over $2 billion, from $14.2 billion to $16.3 billion. This is despite serving 18,500 fewer students and overseeing disastrous drops in math scores and college enrollment beyond pandemic averages.

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?




$pending a lot more for Madison’s k-12 school district



Scott Girard:

The new budget totals $597.9 million in spending, up from the $515.7 million spent in 2021-22 and the $482.9 million the year prior. It’s also up from the June preliminary budget, which called for $561.3 million in spending.

The tax rate, however, is down to $9.97 per $100,000 of property value from the $11.40 rate in 2021-22 amid an increase in the tax base and a boost in state aid. That means a reduction of $62.16 on an “average home” in the district.

A significant piece of the spending increase from previous years comes from $42.9 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding plus additional one-time funding from the state and for specific initiatives like mental health.

“We made some really intelligent and thoughtful investments in our buildings, in the safety of our students and our staff using those one-time resources,” board president Ali Muldrow said. “However, in the long-term, I think we have a lot of work ahead of us in that one-time resources have really set us up to be incredibly agile in terms of our next budgets.”

A major initiative in the months since the June preliminary budget vote gave a $5 an hour raise to hundreds of hourly staff members in the district. Board members also expressed an interest in extending that raise to custodial staff, who have asked for such a move since it was given to other hourly staff, but they weren’t able to include it in this version of the budget given its complexity.

Taxpayers are spending $23,449 per student (25,497 enrolled via the DPI website).

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?