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Governance, influence and elections: Evers “mulligans” and legislation



Rick Eisenberg:

Gov. Evers thinks we need divine protection from @WILawLiberty preventing him from legislating by playing an acrostic game, restoring the separation of powers or preventing persons from being treated differently on the basis of their race. God help us, indeed.

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Curious. I asked Governor Eavers about his use of teacher mulligans to undermine early literacy legislation some years ago…

Liam Beran:

In an interview, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers told the Cardinal he’s “always in favor of making sure things are always transparent” but that WILL’s involvement in creating the policy proposals is part of people weighing in on legislation and “how the system works these days.”

“They’re active in every part of our lives,” Evers said. “It seems like they are the go-to people on any conservative issue, whether it’s voting or just about any walk of life.”




Back to the Past: The Fiscal Threat of Reversing Wisconsin Act 10



Will Flanders:

Among the key findings of this report:

  • Student-teacher ratios have not been negatively affected by Act 10. The number of students per teacher in Wisconsin has stayed relatively constant at about 13.2 students per teacher.
  • The decrease of public sector unions has stabilized. While there was a substantial decline in the number of unions in the immediate aftermath of the passage of the law, recent declines have been far more moderate.
  • Restoring collective bargaining for teacher salaries could cost districts and the state nearly $650 million annually. This number is based on the difference in the rate of growth in teacher salaries observed from 2001-2011 compared to 2011-2021.
  • Eliminating employee contributions to retirement would cost districts and the state about $422 million annually. Based on inflation-adjusted comparison of retirement spending in 2009 versus 2022.
  • Eliminating employee contributions to healthcare would cost districts and the state about $560 million annually. Based on inflation-adjusted comparison of healthcare spending in 2009 versus 2022.
  • Numbers are conservative estimates of the total cost. This study does not take into account the costs to municipalities from repeal, nor the salary costs for non-teachers.
  • An end to Act 10 would likely lead to tough decisions for districts. One Superintendent we spoke with said that ending Act 10 would likely lead to a need for larger class sizes, cuts to popular programs, and an inability to offer higher compensation for high-demand teaching positions.

Few single pieces of state-level legislation have garnered as much attention and controversy in the 21st Century as Wisconsin’s Act 10. Passed by Republican Governor Scott Walker over the strong objections of Democrats, 3 the legislation introduced several important reforms to public sector unions around the state. Twelve years later, the legislation remains controversial. Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewiczelected to the Court in 2023—has said that she believes the legislation may be unconstitutional, 4 giving new hope to those who would like to see the law off the books. In November, seven unions representing teachers and other public sector workers filed a lawsuit with that goal. 5 But what would an overturn of the legislation mean for Wisconsin and its taxpayers?

In the last decade, WILL and others have conducted extensive research that helps to answer that question. In this paper, we review the existing work on what Act 10 has meant to the state and provide updated data in some of the areas we’ve examined previously. In the end, we find that overturning Act 10 could have a devastating effect on Wisconsin taxpayers, as well as the budgets of local school districts.

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




Oregon Decriminalized Hard Drugs. Now It’s Reversing Course.



Jim Carlton:

On Friday, the Oregon Senate voted to make possession of small amounts of hard drugs a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. The bill, which was the result of months of discussions by lawmakers in both parties, passed the state House on Thursday.

Grayber, who is also a Democratic member of the state House, used her experience on the streets to explain why she voted yes.

“I’ve worked so many overdoses,” Grayber said in a speech to her fellow legislators before the bill passed the state House. “I came into this building two weeks ago knowing that we had to do something, because the status quo of what we are doing is not working.”

Democratic Gov. Tina Kotek has previously said she is open to restoring criminal penalties for drug possession. Her office didn’t respond to a request for comment on the bill.

Backers of the 2020 ballot measure, which passed with 58% support, successfully convinced their fellow residents of the left-learning state that decriminalization would mean fewer nonviolent drug addicts in prison and more in treatment.




Yale Weighs Reversing SAT Testing After Dartmouth, MIT Shift



Janet Lorin:

Yale University is considering reinstating standardized testing and join Ivy League peer Dartmouth College in a policy shift that reflects a broad reevaluation within higher education admissions.

Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions, said in an email that the university is “closely considering” its policy, adding that he expects to make an announcement in the coming weeks about the school’s plans for next year and beyond. Dartmouth said earlier this month that it will once again require applicants to submit scores starting in the fall




Yale Weighs Reversing SAT Testing After Dartmouth, MIT Shift



Janet Lorin:

Yale University is considering reinstating standardized testing and join Ivy League peer Dartmouth College in a policy shift that reflects a broad reevaluation within higher education admissions.

Jeremiah Quinlan, Yale’s dean of undergraduate admissions, said in an email that the university is “closely considering” its policy, adding that he expects to make an announcement in the coming weeks about the school’s plans for next year and beyond. Dartmouth said earlier this month that it will once again require applicants to submit scores starting in the fall.




Evers criticizes lawsuit seeking to end the Milwaukee voucher program



Molly Beck:

Gov. Tony Evers says he opposes abolishing the state’s oldest school voucher program through a lawsuit filed by some of the governor’s strongest supporters.

Evers, a former state superintendent and public school educator, said eliminating the taxpayer-funded voucher system in Milwaukee could have “traumatic” effects on the nearly 30,000 students who attend more than 100 private schools with the subsidies.

“It wasn’t just created yesterday. It was created decades ago, and I think ending it in such a way is going to be traumatic to a whole bunch of families and kids,” Evers said in an interview with the Journal Sentinel.

“It’s not that I think I’m a huge supporter of the vouchers but I also understand that uprooting the lives of a whole bunch of kids is not the way to address it. I’m not sure what the way to address it is right now, but just saying ‘Boom — it’s over,’ that’s going to be a problem.”

Evers also said it would likely be difficult for Milwaukee Public Schools to absorb tens of thousands of students quickly.

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More.

Underly and our long term disastrous reading results….

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Legislation and Reading: The Wisconsin Experience 2004-

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




K-12 Tax & $pending Climate: In a reversal from past decades, more college graduates and professionals are moving out of California than coming into it to escape the higher taxes and cost of living.



Don Lee:

Even though California has experienced lopsided out-migration for decades, the financial blow has been cushioned by the kinds of people moving into the state: The newcomers were generally better educated and earned more money than those who left.

Not now: That long-standing trend has reversed. New state-to-state migration data show that for several years, thousands more high-earning, well-educated workers have left California than have moved in.

The reversal, largely in response to the state’s high taxes and soaring cost of living, has begun to damage California’s overall economy. And, by cutting into tax revenues, has delivered punishing blows to state and local governments.




Unions in Wisconsin sue to reverse collective bargaining restrictions on teachers, others



AP

Seven unions representing teachers and other public workers in Wisconsin filed a lawsuit Thursday attempting to end the state’s near-total ban on collective bargaining for most public employees.

The 2011 law, known as Act 10, has withstood numerous legal challenges over the past dozen years and was the signature legislative achievement of former Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who used it to mount a presidential run.

The latest lawsuit is the first since the Wisconsin Supreme Court flipped to liberal control in August. But it was filed in a county circuit court — unlike other major cases that have gone directly to the Supreme Court since its ideological shift — and will likely take more than a year to make its way up for a final ruling.

The Act 10 law effectively ended collective bargaining for most public unions by allowing them to bargain solely over base wage increases no greater than inflation. It also disallowed the automatic withdrawal of union dues, required annual recertification votes for unions, and forced public workers to pay more for health insurance and retirement benefits.

Andrew Bahl:

The decision to file the case in Dane County court means it could be months or longer before it winds up before the state Supreme Court, if the high court even decides to take the case.

In March, Protasiewicz told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that she believed Act 10 was unconstitutional but also said she might recuse herself after signing a petition to recall Walker over the issue.

Without Protasiewicz, the court could deadlock at 3-3 on the issue, raising questions about what the outcome of the case might be.

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WILL:

WILL President and General Counsel Rick Esenberg, stated, “For the better part of the last 12 years, no piece of legislation has loomed larger in public policy debates in Wisconsin than Act 10, the collective bargaining reform law passed in 2011. The ‘Budget Repair Bill,’ introduced by Governor Scott Walker in the first weeks of his first term, represented a fundamental break with the past and a new era for state and local governments in the Badger State and the country. Since then, WILL has been on the forefront of examining the impact of Act 10 on education, the teaching workforce, and puncturing the myths that persist about the law. Now with a new lawsuit, we stand ready to defend the law in the court of law and in the court of public opinion. Because make no mistake, an end to Act 10 would have a devastating effect on the budgets of school districts, municipalities, and Wisconsin’s overall fiscal stability.”

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators




Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers took down a public records tracking website 4 years ago and never put it back up



Tyler Katzenberger

Data from the governor’s office showed Evers’ administration during his first term took more time to complete open records requests than Walker’s administration did during his second term. Evers’ office on average completed requests in 38 days compared to 33 days under Walker’s office, though Evers’ office handled approximately 40% more requests and did not include some routine requests from journalists in tabulations.

Bill Lueders, president of the Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council, urged Evers to revive the website. He hoped a new transparency initiative would improve response times, which he said are “worse now than ever.”




Wisconsin Governor Evers Comments on our Long Term, Disastrous Reading Results



About 25 to 27 minutes into the program.

Jeff Mayers: “You want a big hunk of the surplus to go to K-12, you’ve already talked about that along with the state school Superintendent. I want to focus a bit on the reading program. Last session you vetoed a bi-partisan bill to boost reading scores. This time around, there’s something in the budget about that. I’m wondering, what is your approach vs what that approach was? How does it differ? What’s your view as a former school Superintendent on the state of reading in Wisconsin?

Governor Evers: “Well, I’ll start with the latter, it has to be better. It cannot exist as it does right now. Certainly the pandemic played a huge role in that, but at the end of the day, we’ve struggled with reading outcomes for some time. We need to take a different look at it. The difference between that bill and what’s in the budget now is frankly that I thought the bill took away authority from the local boards of education in the State which I think is the wrong approach.

This is more about retraining teachers and providing support to teaching staff as it relates to reading, and I think its a winner, I think it adopts practices that we’ve seen working across the country. I think its a step in the right direction. It’s pricey, there’s no question about that. But education is where our economy starts and ends, frankly. If we don’t invest and take care of issues that are difficult we are hurting our state’s economy and our quality of life.”

Jeff Mayers: “There does seem to be a consensus building around that.” Governor Evers: “Yes, that’s a good thing.”

Governor Evers vetoed AB446 during the fall of 2021.

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 Governor Evers proposes a 17% jump in taxpayer funded k-12 spending



By Jack Kelly, Scott Girard and Jessie Opoien:

Evers’ budget will include a per pupil revenue limit increase of $350 next fiscal year, which begins July 1, and an additional per pupil bump of $650 in the second year of the biennium. The governor’s office said the increases would represent the largest per pupil adjustments since revenue limits were adopted.

Even with the extra funds, many districts around Wisconsin face a challenging budget season this spring as they plan for 2023-24 amid high inflation, which translates to higher costs for employee pay and benefits, among other budget items. 

With two years of a $0 per pupil increase in the revenue limit in the current state budget, many districts relied on one-time COVID-19 relief funding to pay for ongoing expenses like pay increases or academic programs, leaving themselves in a difficult position now. 

Madison Metropolitan School District Chief Financial Officer Ross MacPherson said Monday that even with the most optimistic budget, which Evers’ proposal would be, the district will face a gap to continue its current spending. That will force MMSD to make cuts, and if they can’t find enough, consider using one-time funds that would leave the district with a structural deficit for 2024-25 before planning even begins.

Evers would spend $10 million to train new literacy coaches, and $3 million to support the Wisconsin Reading Corps, an AmeriCorps program that provides one-on-one reading tutoring for students in kindergarten through third grade.

Note that spending increases annually, with Madison taxpayers supporting at least $23,000 per student.

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 Tax & Spending Climate: audit report on Wisconsin Gov Evers federal taxpayer spending



Harm Venhuizen:

nonpartisan audit released Wednesday called on Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Tony Evers to be more transparent about how he distributes billions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The Legislative Audit Bureau said Evers’ Department of Administration did not provide information it claimed the governor based his decisions on when handing out some $3.7 billion in pandemic aid over the past two years. Republican lawmakers have criticized the governor’s spending choices and tried to give themselves control of the money.

The Evers administration received $5.7 billion between March 2020 and June 2022 in federal coronavirus relief from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, the American Rescue Plan Act and the Consolidated Appropriations Act.




This week, the world’s population ticks over a historic milestone. But in the next century, society will be reshaped dramatically — and soon we’ll hit a decline we’ll never reverse.



Casey Briggs

“We have now reached peak child,” Dr Charles-Edwards says. “There will never be more children alive on the Earth than there is today.”

Fertility peaked in the 1950s when women were, on average, having five children each.

That number varied dramatically between regions of the world.

But since then, fertility rates have reliably fallen. In fact, in some parts of the world, including Australia, Europe, North America, and some parts of Asia, fertility rates are already below that replacement number.




“there are no exemplar populations in which the obesity epidemic has been reversed by public health measures.”



A chemical hunger:

The study of obesity is the study of mysteries.

Mystery 1: The Obesity Epidemic 

The first mystery is the obesity epidemic itself. It’s hard for a modern person to appreciate just how thin we all were for most of human history. A century ago, the average man in the US weighed around 155 lbs. Today, he weighs about 195 lbs. About 1% of the population was obese back then. Now it’s about 36%.

Back in the 1890s, the federal government had a board of surgeons examine several thousand Union Army veterans who fought in the Civil War. This was several decades after the end of the war, so by this point the veterans were all in their 40’s or older. This gives us a snapshot of what middle-aged white men looked like in the 1890s. When we look at their data, we find that they had an average BMI of about 23 (overweight is a BMI of 25 and obese is a BMI of 30 or more). Only about 3% of them were obese. In comparison, middle-aged white men in the year 2000 had an average BMI of around 28. About 24% were obese in early middle age, increasing to 41% by the time the men were in their 60s.




$pending on the 2022 Wisconsin Governor election: Evers and Michels; education climate



Molly Beck and Daniel Bice:

Evers entered the final two months of the race with about $5 million more in cash than Michels.

The first-term governor received $20,000 donations from 10 individuals, including Andrea Soros, daughter of liberal billionaire George Soros. Others who maxed out were Abigail Dow, an instructional coach in New York City; Joseph Kaempfer, a real estate agent in Virginia; Stephen Clearman of Valatie, New York; Eileen Stauss, a Washington attorney; and Los Angeles billionaire Lynda Resnick.

Among Michels’ supporters who gave the maximum amount were Louis Gentine, the retired CEO of Sargento Foods Inc.; Michele Gentine, Louis Gentine’s wife; Dan Ariens, CEO of the Ariens Co.; David Charles, president Cash Depot; John Dykema, president of Campbell Wrapper Corp. in De Pere; and Madison developer Terrance Wall.

Check out this article from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Group reports $55 million in TV ad buys in Wisconsin governor’s race, making it most expensive in the country.

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

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.

“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?

Related: The Milwaukee County Pension Scandal that lead to Scott Walker’s election to county Executive and later the Governor’s office.




We need to consider ways to reverse or at least slow rapid depopulation



Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox:

We are entering an unanticipated reality—an era of slow population growth and, increasingly, demographic decline that will shape our future in profound and unpredictable ways. Globally, last year’s total population growth was the smallest in a half-century, and by 2050, some 61 countries are expected to see population declines while the world’s population is due to peak sometime later this century.

This kind of long-term global demographic stagnation has not been seen since the Middle Ages. World population has been growing for centuries, but the last century has dwarfed previous rises. About 75 percent of the world’s population growth has occurred in the last hundred years, more than 50 percent since 1970. But now, population growth rates are dropping, especially in more developed nations, according to the United Nations (all subsequent references to UN research in this essay are drawn from these data). 

It’s not a matter of if but when global populations will start to decline. Under the UN’s medium variant projection, the world’s population will peak in 2086, while under the low variant, the peak will occur in 2053, and by 2100, the population will be about a billion below today’s level. Demographer Wolfgang Lutz and colleagues project a global population of between 8.8 and 9.0 billion by 2050 falling to between 8.2 and 8.7 billion by 2100. The projected declines are concentrated in countries with high fertility rates, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In the process, we will inhabit a rapidly aging planet. In 1970, the median world age was 21.5 years. By 2020, it had increased to 30.9 years, and the UN projects that it will be 41.9 years in 2100.

We are well past the time when we need to concern ourselves with Paul Ehrlich’s long-standing prophecy that humanity will “breed ourselves to extinction.” On the contrary, we need to worry about the potential ill-effects of depopulation, including a declining workforce, torpid economic growth, and brewing generational conflict between a generally prosperous older generation and their more hard-pressed successors. The preponderance of low fertility in wealthier countries also presages a growing conflict between the child-poor wealthy countries and the child-rich poor countries.

Abortion links: choose life.




A Deeper Dive Into the CDC Reversal



Jeffrey Tucker:

In English: everyone can pretty much go back to normal. Focus on illness that is medically significant. Stop worrying about positive cases because nothing is going to stop them. Think about the bigger picture of overall social health. End the compulsion. Thank you. It’s only two and a half years late. 

What about mass testing? 

Forget it: “All persons should seek testing for active infection when they are symptomatic or if they have a known or suspected exposure to someone with COVID-19.”

Oh. 

What about the magic of track and trace? 

“CDC now recommends case investigation and contact tracing only in health care settings and certain high-risk congregate settings.”

Oh. 

What about the unvaccinated who were so demonized throughout the last year? 

“CDC’s COVID-19 prevention recommendationsno longer differentiate based on a person’s vaccination status because breakthrough infections occur, though they are generally mild, and persons who have had COVID-19 but are not vaccinated have some degree of protection against severe illness from their previous infection.”

Remember when 40% of the members of the black community in New York City who refused the jab were not allowed into restaurants, bars, libraries, museums, or theaters? Now, no one wants to talk about that. 

Also, universities, colleges, the military, and so on – which still have mandates in place – do you hear this? Everything you have done to hate on people, dehumanize people, segregate people, humiliate others as unclean, fire people and destroy lives, now stands in disrepute.




Notes on Wisconsin Governor Evers’ 2022 K-12 Education Campaign Advertisement



MacIver:

Claim 1: Tony Evers has Taken Wisconsin Schools into the Top 10 in the U.S.

The ad repeats a brag Evers has been making for months.  The top 10 ranking issued by US News, shows Wisconsin’s rank improved 10 places since the 2018 list.  Evers has been taking credit for the improvement although the current ranking uses data largely from the years when Scott Walker was governor, and the lower 2018 ranking was after nearly a decade of Evers’ leadership as DPI Superintendent.

First, let’s start with the obvious. K12 student achievement numbers are trending the wrong way in Wisconsin and the most recent proficiency scores were abysmal.

Despite $2.6 billion additional federal dollars to prevent learning loss and to keep our kids on track academically, Fs increased dramatically during COVID. School funding increases every year – the most recent budget sends $2.5 billion more state aid to K12 schools than the 2015-17 budget, yet more than two-thirds of our children are not proficient in math or English language arts.

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 Gov Evers’ Mulligans run their course?



Libby Sobic:

Gov. Tony Evers’s recent vetoes put him at a historic rate of total vetoes compared to previous governors. Of the more than 100 vetoes he executed a week ago Friday, about a quarter were related to education. In many veto messages, the governor cited his previous role as state schools superintendent. Yet his vetoes demonstrate a bias towards the public school establishment and how out of touch the current administration is with Wisconsin parents.

The pandemic created a great awakening for parents across the country. Many families, who were happy with their local public school, were thrown into a difficult dynamic when their district placed the interests of adults over their students in returning to the classroom. In Wisconsin, families fled their local districts and enrolled their children in alternative options. But some parents became determined to hold their local district accountable for their decisions and are trying to change the public school status quo.

What started as a parent grassroots movement to hold local school board officials accountable quickly led to debates in the state Legislature. The Legislature responded to these concerns, passing several bills this session pertaining to education reform. For example, Wisconsin was the first legislature in the nation to pass a classroom transparency bill for local public schools this past September.

But as quickly as parents demanded action and the Legislature responded, Evers used his veto pen. Over the last several months, the Legislature passed bills expanding educational options for families through the existing school choice program and public charter schools, establishing parents’ rights against government intrusion. Each of these bills were in response to Wisconsin parents demanding change, yet Evers denied them again and again.

What will these vetoes this mean for elections this fall? The grassroots parent movement is not slowing down, and many parents claimed victories in the recent elections for school board and local government. Nationwide, other governors are signing school choice bills and other bills pertaining to public schools, including West Virginia, Iowa, Georgia, New Hampshire and Kentucky, among others.

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?




A summary of k-12 reform bills vetoed by Wisconsin Governor Evers



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 Governor Evers Friday Afternoon K-12 Vetoes: parents vs the taxpayer supported system



Molly Beck:

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers on Friday vetoed legislation that would have dramatically overhauled education in Wisconsin by making all children eligible to receive a taxpayer-funded private school voucher, regardless of their household income.  

Parents would have been able to sue school districts for violations of a new “parental bill of rights” under another bill Evers vetoed on Friday. 

Evers, a former public school educator and state superintendent of the Department of Public Instruction, rejected the legislation as Republicans hoping to unseat him in seven months make the policy idea central to their campaign against him.

Republican lawmakers passed a number of bills this session that would overhaul K-12 education knowing Evers would veto them. Evers has long opposed expanding the state voucher programs without overhauling how schools are funded in Wisconsin. 

GOP lawmakers said Friday Evers was siding with school officials rather than parents in issuing his vetoes.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Notes on transparency in University of Wisconsin System Admission, and a Governor Evers veto



Kelly Meyerhofer:

Republican lawmakers criticized the Regents’ decision and have pushed for more transparency in the admissions process. They passed a bill requiring UW campuses to rely only on “objective” admissions criteria and publish the criteria on their websites.

Democratic Gov. Tony Evers vetoed the bill Friday, echoing concerns raised by UW officials that the bill would reduce enrollment and harm workforce development. He also pointed out that nowhere in the bill is the “objective” criteria Republicans want to be used in admissions defined.




Dumbing Down: The Crisis of Quality and Equity in a Once-Great School System—and How to Reverse the Trend



Magnus Henrekson & Johan Wennström:

  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access
  • Utilizes official statistics and policy papers
  • Examines education trends from the 1960s onward
  • Examines the challenges and issues caused by a move to a privatized education system in Sweden

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




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



Laura Meckler and Matt Viser:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Commentary on Wisconsin Governor Evers’ Curriculum Vetoes



Paul Finland:

On that Friday, Evers vetoed legislation that would have banned Wisconsin’s K-12 schools from teaching students and staff about systemic racism, part of the national Republican effort to prevent any discussion of racial history.

“I object to creating new censorship rules that restrict schools and educators from teaching honest, complete facts about important historical topics like the Civil War and civil rights,” wrote Evers, a former public teacher and state school superintendent.

“I trust parents, educators, and schools to work together to do what is best for our kids — work they have long been doing without political interference and micromanagement from politicians in Madison.”

Other education censorship bills that have not yet reached Evers’ desk — one aimed at public higher education, another at diversity training for state employees — have the same racist undertones as the K-12 measure.




Wisconsin Governor Evers vetoes “critical race theory” bill



Alexander Shur:

In vetoing the critical race theory bill, Evers said he is objecting to creating new censorship rules that would prohibit educators from teaching “honest, complete facts about important historical topics.”

“Our kids deserve to learn in an atmosphere conducive to learning without being subjected to state legislative encroachment that is neither needed nor warranted,” said Evers, a lifelong educator.

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?




UChicago Reverses Discriminatory Policy Against Unvaccinated After Thinker Starts Asking Questions



Daniel Schmidt:

Last week, University of Chicago administrators informed on-campus students and the Chicago Thinker that unvaccinated students are banned from eating in dining halls—a policy that appears to be inconsistent with city law. After the Chicago Thinker further inquired, the dining policy was reversed with no explanation. It is unclear whether the university ever actually enforced the policy. Currently, the university is ignoring all questions from the Chicago Thinker

On January 22, UChicago students living in Liew House, a UChicago dorm community, were informed by a university-employed resident head that unvaccinated students “are not allowed to eat in the dining halls” because “per the Chicago ordinated in place, any unvaccinated individual is not allowed to eat inside a restaurant. This also means that those unvaccinated now have unlimited to go meals.”




Letter to Wisconsin Governor Evers on His Roadmap to Reading Success Veto



State Senator Kathy Bernier and State Representative Joel Kitchens:

Literacy in Wisconsin is in crisis: 64% of Wisconsin 4th graders can’t read at grade level, with 34% failing to read at even the basic level. As co-chair of Governor Walker’s Read to Lead Task Force, you know that high quality universal literacy screening is the undisputed cornerstone of evidence-based reading instruction. Unfortunately, your veto of Senate Bill 454, The Roadmap to Reading Success, delays the inevitable adoption of desperately needed science-based standards for how we screen and identify struggling readers to get them the help they need.

For too long we have relied on the now disproven pet theories and guesswork of the education establishment and it has left a full two-thirds of our 4th graders struggling to read. How many more children need to pass through Wisconsin’s failing reading system while state specialists hold endless meetings to puzzle over this crisis?

When you vetoed the Roadmap to Reading Success, you said more money is needed. Governor Evers, under the budget you signed into law in July, the state already reimburses schools for 100% of the costs of literacy screeners. Sadly, what you vetoed are the science-based high standards that would ensure we use screeners that actually get the job done with accurate, actionable data.

Our recent budget invests $15.3 billion into K-12 education, or nearly 40% of all state spending. On top of this, Wisconsin schools are receiving an unprecedented $2.7 billion in federal COVID funds and you recently committed an additional $110 million in no-strings-attached federal ARPA funds. Governor Evers, if more funds are needed to take this inevitable and critical first step toward solving our reading crisis, you have sole control over nearly $1 billion in additional federal COVID dollars. That’s why today, we’re introducing an amendment to Assembly Bill 446, calling on you to release any portion of these funds you see fit and sign this bill into law. When a full one-third of fourth graders can’t read at the basic level, we simply cannot wait.

As red and blue states across the country are adopting the reforms in this bill and seeing stunning improvement in reading achievement, Wisconsin’s children are being left behind. If you need further convincing that the Roadmap to Reading Success is the foundational change we need to begin addressing our literacy crisis, some of the most significant research driving literacy reforms across the country is happening right here at UW-Madison’s Language and Cognitive Neuroscience Lab. Dr. Seidenberg, one of the world’s foremost researchers on neuroscientific understanding of how children learn to read, spearheads groundbreaking research. We urge you talk with Dr. Seidenberg and learn firsthand why he supports the Roadmap to Reading Success.

The time to act is now. As more and more Wisconsin parents, teachers and local school leaders are waking up to this reading crisis and taking the challenge head-on, they are crying out for desperately needed statewide leadership. The Roadmap to Reading Success isn’t speculative, wishful thinking about what might work. It is the best of evidence-based screening practices. It’s not a question of if, but when Wisconsin will adopt these science-based reforms. Governor Evers, if you don’t sign this bill into law, someone else will. So, for the sake of our kids, do your homework on this quickly and sign this bill into law.

State Senator Kathy Bernier

State Representative Joel Kitchens

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?




A bizarre and abrupt reversal by scientists regarding COVID’s origins, along with clear conflicts of interest, create serious doubts about their integrity. Yet major news outlets keep relying on them.



Glenn Greenwald:

That COVID-19 infected humanity due to a zoonotic leap from a “wet market” in Wuhan — rather than a leak from a lab in the same Chinese city — was declared unquestionable truth at the start of the pandemic. For a full year, anyone dissenting from this narrative was deemed so irresponsible that they were banned from large social media platforms, accused of spreading “disinformation.” No debate about COVID’s origins was permitted. It had been settled by The Science™. Every rational person who believed in science, by definition, immediately accepted at the start of the pandemic that COVID made a natural leap from bats or pangolins; that it may have escaped from a lab in Wuhan which just so happens to gather, study and manipulate novel coronaviruses in bats was officially declared a deranged conspiracy theory.

The reason this consensus was so quickly consecrated was that a group of more than two dozen scientists published a letter in the prestigious science journal Lancet in February, 2020 — while very little was known about SARS-CoV-2 — didactically declaring “that this coronavirus originated in wildlife.” The possibility that COVID leaked from the Wuhan lab was dismissed as a “conspiracy theory,” the by-product of “rumours and misinformation” which, they strongly implied, was an unfair and possibly racist attack on “the science and health professionals of China.”




Governor Evers Vetoes Legislation to Provide Parents with Access to Classroom Materials



WILL

The News: Governor Tony Evers vetoed curriculum transparency legislation (SB 463/ AB 488), Friday, denying parents access to the classroom materials in our public schools. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) supported the legislation to require all public schools to publicly provide access to the material taught in our public-school classrooms.

The Quotes: WILL Director of Education Policy, Libby Sobic, said, “Governor Evers’ veto of the curriculum transparency legislation, authored by Sen. Stroebel and Rep. Behnke, denies parents access to taxpayer-funded classroom materials. By vetoing this important legislation, the Governor is telling parents that their concerns are less important than the status quo in Wisconsin public schools.”

Bill Brewer, a parent from Slinger, Wisconsin, said, “Governor Evers chose politics over parents when he vetoed SB 463, legislation that would have required transparency for public school learning materials. When we send our children to school, we entrust their education to our teachers and school districts. But as parents, we also want access to what our kids are learning. Governor Evers and his veto pen has denied every public-school parent a path for easier and more timely access to this information.”

Why WILL Supported This Legislation: The pandemic provided parents with a unique peek into the classroom. Many demanded to know more about what their children are learning in public schools. WILL supported this legislation because parents deserve to access curriculum material and information without having to jump through hoops, like submitting open-records requests and paying exorbitant fees.

Commentary from Co-sponsor Senator Duey Stroebel.

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




Reversing American Decline



Education consumers foundation:

From A Nation at Risk, 1983:  “We report to the American people that while we can take justifiable pride in what our schools and colleges have historically accomplished and contributed to the United States and the well-being of its people, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future as a Nation and a people.”

The SAT scores since since 1967 clearly document the decline and tide of mediocrity referenced by A Nation at Risk .

John F. Kennedy said that the ignorance of one voter impairs the security of all, yet the issues on which America’s future hinges are irrelevant and incomprehensible to a huge swath of today’s electorate.  For forty years, ineffective public schools have flooded the population with voters who are low-information and without economic prospects.

Reversing American Decline discusses the impact of ineffective schooling, analyzes its causes, and proposes a path to reversing it that can be implemented today.




Rise in International Students at U.S. Colleges This Fall Reverses Pandemic Decline



Melissa Korn:

International-student enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities is showing signs of a rebound this fall after plummeting when the pandemic pushed classes online last year and the Trump administration all but closed the nation’s borders.

An early snapshot of this school year’s enrollment landscape, released Monday by the Institute of International Education and nine partner higher-education associations, shows a 4% increase in international students taking undergraduate, graduate and nondegree courses or in postgraduate Optional Practical Training programs.

That provides a partial recovery from the 15% decline in the 2020-2021 school year, when international enrollment dropped to 914,095, according to a related report published by the Institute and the U.S. State Department. It was the first time the number dipped below one million since the 2014-2015 school year. Declines were sharpest in nondegree offerings like intensive language courses and exchange programs.




Commentary on Wisconsin Governor Evers Redistricting Map Commission



Joe Handrick:

His commission presented a map that, by my calculations, would reduce the number of Black Assembly districts from six to two and eliminate one of the two Black Senate districts. Furthermore, the commissioners drew the Latino district that was the center of the 2012 trial at a lower Latino level than the judges rejected at that trial.




Governor Evers Signs Public School Spending Transparency Bill into Law



WILL:

The News: Governor Tony Evers signed public school spending transparency legislation (AB 378 / SB 373) into law, Friday, initiating a new process to shed more light on how public schools spend public dollars. The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) supported the bipartisan legislation to establish a commission of public-school representatives to determine how to collect and display the information online.

The Quote: WILL Director of Education Policy, Libby Sobic, said, “WILL is proud to work with Senator Felzkowski and Representative Magnafici to craft and champion legislation to create much-needed transparency about public school funding. For the first time, the public will be able to determine just how taxpayer funds are allocated and whether it is benefitting our students and teachers.”

Josh King, a parent from Oregon, Wisconsin, said, “As a parent and a proud family member to many lifelong public school teachers, this legislation is an important first step to create a benchmark in transparency about school funding. This will help parents to engage schools on resourcing agreed upon priorities.”




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



Governor Evers:

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

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

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

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

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

Molly Beck:

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

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

LaKeeshia Myers on AB446

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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




In support of Wisconsin AB446, urging Governor Evers signature



By Kadjata Bah, Josepha DaCosta and Moises Hernandez

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

Notes and links on AB446.

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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




Civics: Google Report Shows ‘Reverse Warrants’ Are Swiftly Becoming Law Enforcement’s Go-To Investigative Tool



Tim Cushing:

But, if this report is any indication, geofence warrants aren’t going away. It’s up to legislators to change that. And until legislators are willing to ban or restrict use of these warrants, it’s up to the courts to thoroughly vet these requests that burden hundreds of people with a presumption of guilt until the thousands of data points gathered by a third party can exonerate them.




Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ school choice veto shows he doesn’t care about education



Shannon Whitworth:

School Choice advocates across the nation were given a gem of an opportunity this past year to prove the value of their programs when teachers unions refused to return teachers to classrooms when it was demonstrably safe to do so. In fact, across 30 states nearly 50 school choice bills were introduced this year, according to the Wall Street Journal. However, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers showed again on June 18 that he does not care about children’s education — except to the extent that he can continue to bolster Wisconsin’s failed public school establishment — when he vetoed a bill which would have expanded school choice in the state.

The bill would have broadened the income restrictions to three times the poverty level for the Wisconsin Parental Choice Program, which would have increased access for students and parents desperate to get their kids out of failing Wisconsin public schools.

Wisconsin voters should remember that Evers, immediately prior to becoming the state’s highest elected official, was the superintendent of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction for a decade. Presiding over public schools with the worst achievement gap between Black and white students in the nation and a Milwaukee Public School District in which his own agency graded nearly 75% of the schools as failing to meet expectations for over 50,000 children, Evers is also a staunch school choice opponent.

Expanding school choice would not only benefit urban children. According to a study the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty put out last summer, 44,000 rural students in Wisconsin do not live within 10 miles of a high-quality school. By vetoing this bill, Evers has not only failed inner-city Black children, but children in rural Wisconsin.

Evers’ rationale for the veto was that expansion of the choice program would necessarily take funds away from the public school system. This argument has been debunked a myriad of times. In fact, after a student leaves a district, the public school still receives funds for the student for a rolling period of three years. The real question is, why give a school that is continuing to fail children even more taxpayer money? Outside of government, employees must improve their skills and productivity to merit being paid more money by their employer, and our schools should be no different.

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




Culture war targets high achievers



Joanne Jacobs:

The movement for academic equity — that is, for equal outcomes — is splitting the Democratic coalition, warns David Frum in The Atlantic.

Eighty-three percent of Americans support testing for entry into honors programs, he writes, citing a PDK poll. Yet, “blue-state educational authorities have turned hostile to academic testing in almost all of its forms.”




Wisconsin Governor Evers chooses organization over mission



Kelly Meyers:

The governor says he doesn’t want to expand the program because he doesn’t want to take money away from traditional public schools.

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




N.J. district reverses course, will add holiday names back onto school calendar



Chris Sheldon:

The Randolph Board of Education did an about-face Monday evening on its decision to remove holiday names from the school calendar following tremendous backlash from the public.

Following the board’s action, all holidays will be listed by name on the school calendar, including Columbus Day.

At its May meeting, the board voted to refer to Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

Then on June 10 — over loud objections — the board voted to label holidays generically on its one-page calendar. Holidays including Christmas and Veterans Day were just listed as a “Day Off,” with no mention of the holiday name.




Wisconsin Governor Evers Vetoes an update to the Parent Choice Program



Statement:

TO THE HONORABLE MEMBERS OF THE ASSEMBLY:

I am vetoing Assembly Bill 59 in its entirety.

This bill increases the income eligibility threshold for the Wisconsin Parental Choice

Program (WPCP) for the 2021-22 school year to 300 percent of the federal poverty level; allows pupils to submit full-time open enrollment applications to more than three nonresident school districts in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years; and prohibits a resident school board from denying an alternative open enrollment application in the 202021 and 2021-22 school years if the application is made on the basis of best interest of the pupil. I am vetoing this bill because I object to its proposed changes to the WPCP and open enrollment processes for multiple reasons.

First, I object to diverting resources from school districts to private schools. While the bill authors present this bill as a temporary increase in the income threshold, students who participate in any choice program are not required to meet the income requirement in subsequent years of participation. Therefore, a one-time change in the WPCP income threshold has the potential for long-term financial impacts. Additionally, participation in the WPCP increased by over 30 percent in the 2019-20 school year and 25 percent in the 2020-21 school with the 220 percent income threshold in place, indicating that the current income threshold does not prevent program growth.

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




S.F. school board may reverse its vote to rename 44 schools



Jill Tucker:

Just over two months after voting to rename 44 schools, the San Francisco school board is poised to reverse that decision Tuesday to avoid costly litigation.

The upcoming vote represents the latest development in a months-long initiative that culminated amid the pandemic. In late January, the board voted 6-1 to change dozens of school names associated with slavery, oppression, genocide and colonization as public schools districtwide remained closed.

The process began in 2018 with a resolution to create a committee to advise the board. The committee ultimately recommended changing 44 school names, including Lincoln, Washington, Mission and Balboa high schools, as well as Alamo, Jefferson and Serra elementary schools.

Many communities supported the effort, with parents saying it was hurtful to have their children wearing school sweatshirts with the name of James Denman, a former district superintendent who denied education to Chinese students, for example.

Others considered the effort too far-reaching and expensive, with no cost estimate on what it would take to rebrand more than three dozen school sites. Examples across the country put the price tag at somewhere between $20,000 and several million dollars per school, depending on the school’s size, signage and other items related to the previous name, like band uniforms.




One City Schools expands – in Monona (Governor Evers’ proposed budget would once again abort this school, by eliminating the UW charter office)



Logan Wroge:

With a $14 million donation from American Girl founder and philanthropist Pleasant Rowland, One City Schools announced plans on Tuesday to purchase an office building in Monona that will become a new home for the fast-growing independent charter school.

One City will use the donation to buy a 157,000-square-foot office building on the campus of WPS Health Solutions for $12 million and transform it into a school.

Kaleem Caire, founder and CEO of One City, also said the school received conditional approval earlier this year from its charter authorizer — the University of Wisconsin System’s Office of Educational Opportunity — to start teaching middle- and high-schoolers in the fall of 2022.

“This is huge, having Pleasant Rowland’s support like this,” Caire said in an interview. “It’s a sign that the opportunity’s here for us to do something great, there are a lot more people that want to do great things for our children and the schools that we’re creating.”

Hard Road

Caire said securing the building and charter expansion to operate a full-fledged 4K-12 school feels like “vindication” nearly a decade after a bitter battle to open a charter school failed.

As then-president of the Urban League of Greater Madison, Caire approached the Madison School Board to operate Madison Preparatory Academy — a charter geared to low-income minority students in response to slow progress on closing Madison’s longstanding, yawning racial achievement gap.

But the School Board rejected the proposal during a lengthy December 2011 meeting, prompting Caire to eventually seek a charter through the Republican-created method of authorizing charters independently of local school boards.

“Just because it was a charter school, people just lost their minds,” Caire said of the Madison Prep debate. “To see where the community is now, we’ve gotten a lot more support.”

2011: A majority of the Madison School Board aborts an independent charter school: On the 5-2 Madison School Board No (Cole, Hughes, Moss, Passman, Silveira) Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School Vote (Howard, Mathiak voted Yes)

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

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

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

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

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

Channel3000:

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

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

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

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

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

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

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

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




3 Attacks on School Choice in Governor Evers’ Wisconsin Budget Proposal



Will Flanders:

Governor Tony Evers’ 2021-23 budget includes a Christmas tree for teachers unions in the form of higher spending and no requirements to get kids back into the classroom. But it also represents a renewed assault on the state’s high-performing school choice and charter programs. Below are three school choice takeaways from the governor’s budget proposal.   

Enrollment Caps on Choice Programs  

The budget proposal includes an enrollment cap on all of Wisconsin’s school choice programs—Milwaukee, Racine and statewide. These programs serve students whose families are low-income—under 300% of the federal poverty limit in Milwaukee and Racine and under 220% of the limit statewide. The cap would begin in fiscal year 2023, using the enrollment from the 2022 school year. While an enrollment cap can sound innocuous, the practical effect would be to prevent additional students from accessing the program. Make no mistake: this freeze would make the programs unviable for many schools that participate.     

Currently, enrollment in the statewide program (Wisconsin Parental Choice Program) is capped at 5% of district enrollment. This number is set to increase by 1% per year until the caps come off in 2025, when the programs reach 10% of district enrollment. Setting an enrollment cap next year would limit choice enrollment to 6% of district enrollment. This would make it impossible for school choice to flourish like it has in Milwaukee, where many schools exist to primarily to serve low-income students who would not otherwise be able to afford private schooling.   

Parents clearly want educational options. Enrollment in the statewide program has grown from 499 students in 2013-14 to 11,740 students this year—an increase of more than 2200% over just eight years. This is likely because school choice has a track record of improving outcomes. WILL’s annual Apples to Apples study has found higher achievement on the Forward Exam for students in the state’s choice programs relative to traditional public schools, a finding that is supported by national data. This provision can be seen as little else than protecting public school enrollment counts.   

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.

When asked about Act 10, I often suggest that interested parties explore the Milwaukee pension scandal. Successful recall elections lead to the first Republican County Executive in many, many years – Scott Walker.

A few links, just before Act 10 require contemplation, as well.

2009 “an emphasis on adult employment” – retired Ripon Superintendent Richard Zimman, speaking at the Madison Rotary Club..

2010, WEAC: Four (State) Senators for $1.57 million (!)




The social patterning of autism diagnoses reversed in California between 1992 and 2018



Alix S. Winter, Christine Fountain, Keely Cheslack-Postava, and Peter S. Bearman:

Rates of autism diagnosis in the United States have historically been higher among more advantaged social groups—Whites and those of higher socioeconomic status (SES). Using data from all births in the state of California in 1992 through 2016, we find that these trends reversed during our study period. By 2018, diagnosed autism incidence rates for 3- to 6-y-old children were higher for children of Black and Asian mothers than children of non-Hispanic White mothers and were higher for children of lower SES than of higher SES parents. These reversals point to the fundamental role that access to knowledge and resources plays in driving increased autism prevalence and shifting patterns of autism cases over the past quarter-century.




Civics: Judge orders Gov. Evers to turn over emails to FOX6



Amanda St. Hilaire:

A recent spot check on two weeks of state lawmakers’ emails uncovered the practice of using personal email addresses to communicate about sensitive government information.

MILWAUKEE – After a year-long battle over Governor Tony Evers’ emails, a Dane County Circuit Court judge ruled this week in FOX6’s favor.

In September 2019, FOX6 requested just over four weeks of emails to and from Governor Tony Evers and his chief of staff, Maggie Gau. FOX6 regularly conducts open records spot checks on public employees’ emails. A recent spot check on two weeks of state lawmakers’ emails uncovered the practice of using personal email addresses to communicate about sensitive government information.

The governor’s assistant legal counsel Erin Deeley denied the request and FOX6’s subsequent attempt to narrow the request to emails from one week.




Civics: Evers still failing open government



empower Wisconsin:

Nearly 14 months ago, the Associated Press reported the Evers Administration was “evaluating how to better present “accurate information about public records to the public.” The promise to do better – or at least evaluate how to do better – was in response to criticism of Gov. Tony Evers not following former Gov. Scott Walker’s executive orders on open government. Unfortunately, since then, there has been little, if any, signs of progress. In fact just the opposite.  

That’s disappointing because open government is an essential fabric of our republic, necessary to build trust with the other branches of government, media, and public. 

Walker won a nonpartisan award for his open government policies. Evers’ predecessor crafted a number of good government reforms, including the creation of a website that makes it easier to show how responsive state agencies are to records requests from the public. This was a common-sense tool to evaluate state bureaucrats accountability to the public. 

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




Black boys need believers access



Joanne Jacobs:

A new documentary called Black Boys tries to humanize children who often are seen as dangerous, writes teacher Kelisa Wing on Education Post. “This film shows the many facets of our Black men and boys as fathers, sons, cousins, friends, dreamers, lovers, poets, deep thinkers, prolific, gifted, beautiful.”

Her nephew “went to college on a full academic scholarship, but one wrong move, a simple misjudgment to post himself on social media with a firearm, landed him in jail at 19,” Wing writes.

This one mistake led to the loss of his scholarship, loss of college education, and a loss of societal acceptance. . . . Like my nephew, there are so many Black boys out there who do not get to make a mistake, who do not get to have society’s benefit of the doubt — especially when they encounter law enforcement.

Black boys don’t need white saviors, writes Jay Wamstead, who teaches math to black and brown high school students in Atlanta. They need “believers.”

Wamstead, who’s white, fears the film will inspire whites to “performative allyship” on social media rather than a commitment to finding out more about complex problems. “Don’t watch Black Boys and be inspired to go fix this or that community in your city,” he tells white readers.




Waunakee school board reverses decision on all-virtual start to school year



WKOW-TV:

The Waunakee Community School District Board of Education voted to reverse its decision on an all-virtual start to the school year.

During a meeting Monday night [video], members of the board talked about recent coronavirus numbers and learning options that would best fit the community.

In a 4-3 vote, the board was in favor of a four-day schedule for K-4 students. The younger children will have half-days, either AM or PM, every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

During the meeting, parents expressed they were interested in having their kids attend in-person classes, especially at that young age.

“I believe that in-person schooling is in the best interest of the kids, and that’s what we need to be focused on,” one parent said.

However, some teachers expressed their concerns for students and members of the community.

“I am extremely concerned about the safety of our students, teachers and community members,” Molly Petroff, the music department chair said.

“Teachers have access to materials in their classrooms that are not available at home,” – despite million$ spent on Infinite Campus

Costs continue to grow for local, state and federal taxpayers in the K-12 space, as well:

Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes:

Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, based on this comparison of 2017 sales.

Fall 2020 Administration Referendum slides.

(Note: “Madison spends just 1% of its budget on maintenance while Milwaukee, with far more students, spends 2%” – Madison’s CFO at a fall 2019 referendum presentation.)

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [July, 2020]

Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021.

MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21
1. 4K-12 enrollment: -1.6% (decrease) from 2014-15 to projected 2020-21
2. Total district staffing FTE: -2.9% (decrease) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
3. Total expenditures (excluding construction fund): +15.9% +17.0% (increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
4. Total expenditures per pupil: +17.8% +19.0%(increase) from 2014-15 to proposed 2020-21
5. CPI change: +10.0% (increase) from January 2014 to January 202
6. Bond rating (Moody’s): two downgrades (from Aaa to Aa2) from 2014 to 2020
Sources:
1. DPI WISEdash for 2014-15 enrollment; district budget book for projected 2020-21 enrollment
2. & 3.: District budget books
5. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/data/)

– via a kind reader (July 9, 2020 update).

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




As the Madison School district plans for more budget cuts, Evers hopeful no budget repair bill necessary



Briana Reilly:

While MMSD is heavily reliant on property taxes instead of state aid compared to other districts, a decrease to the revenue authority or other measures that would lower the levy limit would serve as a funding cut. The district already cut $8 million from the 2019-20 budget in the preliminary 2020-21 budget.

Contingencies could include cutting as many as 92 full-time staff positions or undoing much of the planned wage increases for staff, based on a survey the district sent to staff last week.

Ruppel wrote that the district will move forward with its “core values at the forefront” as it considers the 2020-21 budget.

“We aim with all of our decisions to put students at the center,” she wrote. “Through our standard budget feedback process, we’ve spoken to parents, community leaders, principals and staff about the uncertainty ahead of us. All feedback at the highest levels have been consistent: protect student programming, student mental health and social emotional supports first, as they are needed now and in the fall more than ever.”

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

“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”.




Gov. Evers Budget: EV charging stations > $10m For school Buses…



Riley Vetterkind:

The first case argues Evers violated the state Constitution by fundamentally altering the Legislature’s policies in the state budget, usurping a power not given to the governor in the Constitution. WILL contends Evers, in approving the state budget passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature with several partial vetoes, stripped the appropriation bill of integral language and therefore violated the principle in the state Constitution that “legislative power shall be vested in the Senate and Assembly.”

The four vetoes

WILL is targeting four of the 78 partial vetoes Evers made to the state budget when he signed it in early July. The vetoes:

Second case

The second case challenges two of Walker’s partial vetoes in the 2017-19 budget. The first was one that effectively suspended a law until 1,000 years later, in 3018, that would have allowed school districts to raise the legally imposed ceiling on how much revenue they can collect for spending on projects to increase energy efficiency. The budget bill the Legislature signed placed a one-year moratorium on the project until Dec. 31, 2018. Walker struck the “1” in December 31 and the comma and “2” following it and connected the remaining language together to arrive at “December 3018.”

Related: Volkswagen agrees to build massive US charging station network as part of the “dieselgate” settlement.

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




Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers stands by warning journalist of prosecution over Child Abuse reporting



Molly Beck:

But media law experts say the First Amendment protects journalists’ possession and publication of truthful information in the public’s interest, regardless of how the information was released to them — and even trying to stop a reporter from publishing violates the U.S. Constitution.

“Yes, I get it that if some reporter gets some information that frankly they shouldn’t have gotten they’re going to report it. I get that, but I think it’s very important that somebody sticks up for that kid and that’s us,” Evers said Tuesday. 

Hixenbaugh, the NBC News reporter, obtained records related to a child protective services case involving a former emergency room doctor at Children’s Wisconsin Hospital who has been charged with physical abuse of his newborn daughter. The reporter did not ultimately cite the records in his reporting.

The story includes details of the case, including information from medical records, and raises questions about whether the child was injured by an accident, rather than by abuse. 

In the warning to NBC News over release of the case’s investigation file, the department cited a portion of state law that says a person who receives such information may not “further disclose it.” The department did not allege NBC News directly participated in the illegal release somehow and does not plan to pursue criminal charges.

“When the agency turns over records to parties under this statute, we are very forward with these warnings as a normal course of action,” Department spokesman Tom McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “The letter we sent to NBC was to inform them of these laws and what may happen if they violate them, while also maintaining our duties.”

McCarthy said Tuesday the department did not intend to threaten prosecution with its letter to NBC News.




Gov. Tony Evers calls on lawmakers to take up $250 million plan to bolster K-12 education



Briana Reilly:

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is calling on lawmakers to use $250 million in newly projected surplus dollars to bolster K-12 funding through school-based mental health services and special education aid in districts across the state.

The former state schools superintendent, who signed an executive order Thursday ordering a legislative special session to act on the sweeping plan, also aims to restore the state’s commitment to fund two-thirds of what’s required to educate students and direct $130 million of the funds for property tax relief through the state’s equalization aid formula. 

The push comes after recent revenue projections show Wisconsin is expected to see $452 million more in its general fund to end the biennium than previously anticipated, opening up a discussion about how the state should spend the extra money. 

Republicans have advocated for spending some of the funding on tax relief. But Evers in a state Capitol news conference Thursday said his proposal would both lower property taxes and “invest in our kids,” adding: “We can do both.” 

“We need to help around the issue of rising property taxes. We get that,” he said. “Investing in our schools will do that.”

Democratic leaders Sen. Jennifer Shilling and Rep. Gordon Hintz applauded the effort in a statement, saying the investment would give kids better opportunities and give a boost to Wisconsin’s education system. 

“We need to ensure we are retaining quality teachers, investing in modern facilities and meeting high education standards to give students the best chance at getting ahead,” Shilling, D-La Crosse, said. “We need to put our money where our mouth is if we want to re-establish Wisconsin’s reputation as a leader in K-12 education.” 

But GOP legislative leaders were skeptical of the idea, with Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald taking to Twitter to knock the proposal as one driven by teachers’ unions that are “calling all the shots in the East Wing.” 

The Wisconsin DPI, long lead by Governor Tony Evers, has granted mulligans to thousands of teachers who failed to pass this reading content knowledge examination.

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




A long-term rise and recent decline in intelligence test performance: The Flynn Effect in reverse



Thomas Teasdale and David Owen:

In the 1980s reviewed evidence indicated that, through the preceding decades of the last century, population performance on intelligence tests had been rising substantially, typically about 3–5 IQ points per decade, in developed countries. The phenomenon, now termed the ‘Flynn Effect’, has been variously attributed to biological and/or to social and educational factors. Although there is some evidence to suggest a slowing of the effect through the 1990s, only little evidence, to our knowledge, has yet been presented to show an arrest or reversal of the trend. Substantially replicating a recent report from Norway, we here report intelligence test results from over 500,000 young Danish men, tested between 1959 and 2004, showing that performance peaked in the late 1990s, and has since declined moderately to pre-1991 levels. A contributing factor in this recent fall could be a simultaneous decline in proportions of students entering 3-year advanced-level school programs for 16–18 year olds.




Commentary on Wisconsin Governance, including K-12 (no mention of Mr. Evers teacher mulligans)



Mitchell Schmidt:

The former educator’s first year in office came with its share of partisan battles, including disagreements over his appointed cabinet heads and efforts by Republicans to limit the governor’s power. Divided government stalled attempts to appease constituents on both sides of the aisle: Republicans refused to take up gun control measures and marijuana legalization; Evers vetoed GOP-driven anti-abortion bills and tax cuts.

Evers said he has “partially delivered” on his campaign promises so far. He pointed to the budget, which included an increase in spending on K-12 education and a Republican-supported 10% income tax cut for the middle class, as a positive step.

In addition, a WisPolitics.com analysis found Evers’ 61 executive orders in 2019 was more than any Wisconsin governor in more than 50 years.

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

Evers signs record number of executive orders in first year.




Milwaukee TV station sues Gov. Tony Evers for withholding copies of his emails



Briana Reilly:

A Milwaukee TV station has sued Gov. Tony Evers for withholding copies of his emails — records his office eventually released, in part, minutes after the lawsuit was filed earlier this week. 

The lawsuit, filed in Dane County Circuit Court on Tuesday, came after Fox 6 repeatedly filed requests dating back to September for a month’s worth of emails, a week’s worth of emails and finally a day’s worth of emails to and from Evers and his chief of staff, Maggie Gau. 

The governor’s staff later sent Fox 6 a copy of a single day’s worth of emails from June 14 only from Evers — records that were released some 10 minutes after the suit was filed Tuesday afternoon. 




‘No silver bullet’ to reverse UW-Madison’s slide in national research ranking (?)



Kelly Meyerhofer:

Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville and chairman of the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, said the drop to eighth in the country indicates UW-Madison has some “catching up to do.”

But he said UW-Madison has almost all of the tools it needs to improve its standing, such as a fund to make counteroffers for professors being poached by other institutions.

Related: controversy at the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

Administrative roadblocks set back life-saving research at UW




Civics: Staff shields Governor Tony Evers’ emails from public access



Amanda St. Hilaire:

Governor Tony Evers’ office is denying open records requests for his emails. The governor’s attorney says the decision saves taxpayer resources; transparency advocates say they’re worried about the erosion of the public’s right to know.

“If you want to see what government is up to, you have to see the emails that they are sending,” Wisconsin Freedom of Information Council President Bill Lueders said. “I don’t think [this denial] is a legal interpretation of our open records law.”




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



Wiseye @ 24 September WisPolitics Lunch:

Jim Zellmer:

Thank you for your service Governor Evers.

Under your leadership, the Wisconsin d.p.i. granted Mulligan’s to thousands of elementary teachers who couldn’t pass a reading exam (that’s the “Foundations of Reading” elementary teacher reading content knowledge exam), yet our students lag Alabama, a state that spends less and has fewer teachers per students.

What message are we sending to parents, citizens, taxpayers and those students (who lack proficiency).

Governor Evers: I’m not sure how many mulligans we issued but they are all mulligans that the local school districts are asking for because there are people that generally speaking were people that worked in those schools while they are trying to pass that test they are very close to getting there hitting the mark there.

So I believe that the mulligans that we did issue were were the right thing to do.

The other thing that concerned me and I supported putting that piece in place around passing that test and I still do but the data that concerned me was that the test may have been biased and that it was probably.

34:09

Yes disproportionate number of people of color were not passing that test and this I know the state of Massachusetts had that problem and the state of Wisconsin had that problem. so given that there were we were and I can honestly say I don’t know what came out of the study but we are working with Massachusetts to take a look at that issue and see how how we can correct it.

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.

2009: “An emphasis on adult employment”.

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

2010: WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

2011: A Capitol Conversation on our disastrous reading results.

The followup legislation lead to the MTEL based Foundations of Reading: an elementary reading teacher content knowledge examination.

Subsequently undermined:

The Wisconsin Department of Public instruction, long lead by our new Governor, Tony Evers, has waived thousands of elementary teacher reading content knowledge requirements (Foundations of Reading, based on Massachusetts’ best in the States MTEL requirement)

Alan Borsuk on MTEL and our disastrous reading results.

“the majority of ALL 11th-grade students in Madison read and write below basic proficiency. Translated: they are functionally illiterate.

“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 

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

2021: Friday Afternoon Veto: Governor Evers Rejects AB446/SB454; an effort to address our long term, disastrous reading results

More on our long term, disastrous reading results, here.

Interestingly, a number of local and state media folks attended this event, but I’ve seen no coverage of this vital question.

“an emphasis on adult employment”.

Evers signs record number of executive orders in first year




The City University of New York moves to eliminate objective testing—reversing the very reforms that had pulled it out of a long decline



Bob McManus:

The City University of New York has announced plans to eliminate objective testing intended to determine which of its incoming students can do college-level work and which require remediation. Politico reports that CUNY chancellor Félix Matos Rodríguez plans to move the university “away from high-stakes testing” while “reducing its reliance on placement tests students must take to determine whether they need remedial interventions.”

CUNY has been here once before—and the results nearly killed the university. Adjusted for euphemism, the decision points toward a reversal of 1990s-era reforms that pulled the university out of a long period of stagnation and decline. Abandoning testing would represent an effective return to so-called open-admissions policies from the 1960s and 1970s. Those allowed virtually anybody who could stumble through CUNY’s front door to enroll. Eventually, the university’s classrooms filled up with unqualified students, severely degraded the quality of education, and reduced the once-great university to a national laughingstock. CUNY’s rescue, a joint venture of then-governor George Pataki, then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, and others, was not easily achieved—and it will doubtless take some time for the university’s new admissions policy to start showing damaging effects. But that’s just a matter of time.

The new policy is a huge win for teachers’ unions and unaccountable bureaucrats because it greatly relieves pressure on New York City’s public schools to do better. It was achieved with the silent acquiescence of Governor Andrew Cuomo, the only politician in the state who could have stopped it. Back in 2012, Cuomo declared himself the chief lobbyist for New York’s public school students, and for a while, he really was—promoting and protecting charter schools, strengthening accountability for teachers and school administrators, and—critically—supporting student-performance benchmarks. In recent years, though, he’s been silent, standing aside as the Albany legislature refused to allow New York City’s astonishingly effective charter school movement to expand; as hard-won teacher-accountability reforms were peeled away and discarded; and as the state Board of Regents moved to abandon its 150-year-old practice of proficiency testing of high school students statewide. And now CUNY is following suit, embracing a new open-admissions era.




Wisconsin Governor Evers’ Backdoor Plan to Stop School Choice



Libby Sobic and Will Flanders:

This change in accreditation also makes it more difficult for existing private schools to join the parental choice program because it is one more regulation that the school must comply with. The plan is even more ridiculous when one considers that Wisconsin’s public schools aren’t required to go through any accreditation process at all.

While some states such as Indiana and Michigan require schools to be accredited, Wisconsin has no such provision in law. If the governor believes that further onerous accreditation requirements are needed on some of Wisconsin’s best performing schools, surely one would expect that he wants the same regulations on the public schools that he oversaw for a decade.

But that is not the case because this is not about school quality. Rather, this is little more than yet another attempt to cut off the pipeline of high performing private voucher schools that provide too much competition to his teachers’ union donors.

Evers knows exactly what he is doing with his accreditation proposal. He is looking to create more red tape for private schools and add to the number of requirements that already make the Wisconsin choice program one of the most regulated in the country. This proposal is well designed attack on the school choice programs and it must not stand.

The Wisconsin DPI, long lead by new Governor Tony Evers, has waived thousands of elementary teacher reading content knowledge exam requirements. This, despite our long term, disastrous reading results.




Commentary on Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers’ proposed budget



WILL Policy Brief:

Today WILL is releasing “A Deep Dive into Governor Evers’ K-12 Budget Proposal” that goes through nearly every single education proposal in Evers’ budget while utilizing new research as well as LFB analysis and JFC testimony. For each proposal, we explain how it impacts schools and students across Wisconsin.

We dive deep into nearly every provision in his budget, from his infamous voucher freeze – which would cost Wisconsin $110 million in lost economic benefits – to the ending of the Special Needs Scholarship Program – that has a 56% higher parental satisfaction score than public schools for educating students with disabilities. The report looks at lesser known provisions, such as new private school accreditation requirements, new teacher licensing requirements, changes to the early college credit program, the elimination of the private school tuition tax deduction, and more mandates from Madison on local school districts.

Evers’ budget should concern parents and lawmakers alike. It would end school choice as we know it – freezing the expansion of vouchers and charters but also implementing stifling regulations that would halt the growth of private schools in the choice program. It also goes after Wisconsin’s incredibly popular Open Enrollment Program, limiting funding increases for the program and making it less desirable for public schools to participate. Evers’ budget would exacerbate Wisconsin’s teacher shortage problem, making it harder for teachers to work at private and public schools. All in all, Evers’ budget:




Wisconsin Governor Evers seeks to freeze voucher school enrollment and suspend charter school expansion



Molly Beck:

He said in the Milwaukee program especially, enrollment freezes in private voucher schools would disproportionately affect children of color living in low-income households.

“Most of our families don’t have the kind of income where they would have realistic choices,” he said at the time.

Under Evers’ proposal, voucher schools also would be banned from charging tuition for students living in poverty under the proposal and would be required to allow students to opt out of religious activities.

All teachers working in schools receiving taxpayer-funded vouchers would be required to be licensed like public school teachers, and all voucher schools would be required to be accredited before receiving taxpayer funds, under Evers’ proposal.

In another provision, increases in the amount of money private voucher schools receive per student would be tied to increases in the amount of money school districts could raise in revenue and receive through the state’s funding formula.

Suspend charter school expansion

Evers in his spending plan also would suspend programs created by Republicans in recent years to expand independent charter schools in school districts that have persistent gaps in academic achievement between groups of students.

The University of Wisconsin System Office of Educational Opportunity, which was created in 2015 and may authorize independent charter schools over the objection of school district officials, would be barred from authorizing new schools until 2023.

The budget proposal also seeks to prevent a flurry of new independent charter schools from opening.

Under state law, charter schools may be authorized by technical colleges, the City of Milwaukee, all UW System chancellors, the state’s tribal leaders, and the Waukesha County Executive. Evers’ budget proposal suspends the organizations’ authority to authorize new charter schools until 2023.

A spokesman for UW System did not respond to a request for comment on the proposals to suspend the system’s ability to create new charter schools.

Another program known as the Opportunity Schools and Partnership Program would be eliminated. The program was created in 2015 and required public school districts receiving persistent failing grades from the state to be taken over by county officials.

The program, which was created to address low-performing schools in Milwaukee, requires the county executive to appoint a special commissioner to take over a select number of schools in a district receiving failing grades and turn them over to an outside operator.

Scott Bauer:

Evers is also calling for requiring all teachers working in private schools that accept taxpayer-funded voucher students to be licensed like public school teachers. He also wants to give taxpayers more information on property tax bills about how much of their money is going to fund voucher schools. He’s also calling for a cap on enrollment in the voucher program for students with disabilities.

Jesse Opoien:

Evers is set to deliver his first budget address Thursday evening, but has shared some details from the spending plan with reporters in the weeks leading up to it. His plans for voucher and charter schools were first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Monday, then shared with other reporters later that day.

Aides to the governor framed the proposal as a way to reduce property taxes and to discuss funding sources for the voucher program without affecting currently-enrolled students.

Opponents of the plan accused Evers of favoring teachers’ unions over students.

“Evers’ budget would end school choice as Wisconsin knows it,” said C.J Szafir, executive vice president of the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty, in a statement.

Related: The DPI, lead by Mr. Evers, granted thousands of elementary teacher reading content knowledge requirement exemptions.

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




Here’s another view of what the research says about Tony Evers’ proposals



Will Flanders:

Perhaps the most egregious omissions are in the discussion of school funding and its effect on student outcomes. While the author cites one study – not yet peer-reviewed — the preponderance of evidence for decades has suggested little to no impact of per-student funding on educational achievement. This study, and others like it based on court-mandated increases in spending, hinge on the assumption that court-mandated increases in spending are random events when of course they are not. Courts are most likely to act to increase spending in places where there is a public push to improve educational outcomes, or where disparities are so great that legal action is required. None of these situations apply to Wisconsin.

A meta-analysis of about 400 studies by Eric Hanushek of Stanford University finds no relationship between spending and student outcomes. Our research on Wisconsin school districts has found no relationship between student outcomes and spending once important control variables are taken into account. Data points like this ought not to be ignored in the funding discussion.

On the subject of early childhood education, the author says that students enter pre-K more prepared than they otherwise would. However, there is an extremely important caveat here that is not included. While the best research suggests that students do enter kindergarten better prepared, the same research also shows that these effects dissipate rapidly, and even become negative by third grade — meaning students who didn’t have early childhood education were actually performing better by that age. The bottom line is that the preponderance of the evidence is negative on the impacts of pre-K, and to claim that the evidence shows otherwise is a disservice to readers.

When it comes to the achievement gap, the assessment that Wisconsin has some of the largest gaps in the nation is absolutely correct. But Evers’ well-documented anti-school-choice agenda is often at odds with what the evidence suggests can improve outcomes for these students. Particularly for students living in Milwaukee, research shows that private schools in the voucher program and charter schools offer students a better opportunity to succeed academically, graduate, and attend college.

Evers has suggested ending or reducing enrollment in these programs, which would eliminate access to alternatives for many low-income, minority families. Ending programs used by more than 30,000 students is likely to have a far more deleterious effect on minority students than the implementation of softer suspension policies that is suggested in the article, which our research has actually found can have a negative impact on student outcomes.

While running the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Mr. Evers waived thousands of teachers’ required content knowledge tests (Foundations of Reading).




How to reverse grade inflation and help students reach their potential



Amber M. Northern, Ph.D. and Michael Petrilli:

One of us recently mused that perhaps the reason dismal state test scores don’t resonate with parents is because they conflict with what parents see coming home from school. Who knows their kids better: their teachers or a faceless test provider? The teachers, of course. But what if the grades that teachers assign don’t reflect the state’s high standards? What if practically everyone is getting As and Bs from the teacher—but parents don’t know that?

That was the impetus for Fordham’s newest study, Grade Inflation in High Schools (2005–2016). We wanted to know how easy or hard it is today to get a good grade in high school and whether that has changed over time. We can’t develop solutions until we’ve accurately identified the problem. And in this case, we suspect that one reason for stalled student achievement across the land is that historically trusted grades are telling a vastly different story than other academic measures.

So we teamed up with American University economist Seth Gershenson, who is keenly interested in this topic, and whose prior research on the role of teacher expectations in student outcomes made him a perfect fit to conduct the research.

The study asks three questions:

How frequent and how large are discrepancies between student grades and test scores? Do they vary by school demographics?
To what extent do high school test scores, course grades, attendance, and cumulative GPAs align with student performance on college entrance exams?
How, if at all, have the nature of such discrepancies and the difficulty of receiving an A changed in recent years?

Related: Seeing the Forest: Unpacking the Relationship Between Madison School District (WI) Graduation Rates and Student Achievement.




Gubernatorial Candidate Tony Evers Proposal: Spend 12.3% (10%?) more taxpayer funds on Wisconsin K-12 school districts; while killing substantive reading improvement efforts.



Jessie Opoien:

Evers, a Democrat, is asking for $1.4 billion in additional funds for the state’s K-12 schools in the 2019-21 budget. The $15.4 billion request, submitted by Evers on Monday, comes less than two months before Walker and Evers will meet on the ballot — and Evers’ budget letter includes a swipe at the governor.

“Wisconsin has a proud history and tradition of strong public schools. Our state’s education system — from early childhood through higher education — has served as the pathway to prosperity for generations of Wisconsinites and the key to a skilled workforce and strong economy,” Evers wrote. “In recent years, however, historic cuts to education have impeded our progress.”

Evers’ budget request includes $606 million in new funding for special education programs, bringing funding for the programs up to $900 million by 2021. It also dedicates an additional $58 million to mental health programs, and an additional $41 million for bilingual-bicultural programs.

The DPI budget would also expand and fund new programs in the state’s five largest school districts — Milwaukee, Kenosha, Green Bay, Madison and Racine — which have disproportionate shares of students with significant achievement gaps. The proposals targeted toward those districts include expanding summer school grants, offering new funding for 3K programs and offering extra funding to National Board certified teachers who teach in high-poverty schools in those five districts.

The amounts noted above exclude substantial local taxpayer property taxes, redistributed federal taxpayer dollars and various grants. (The proposed taxpayer expenditure increase was 12.3% a few days ago).

Madison has benefited substantially from a $38B+ federal taxpayer electronic medical record subsidy.

Madison spends far more than most, nearly $20k per student.

Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), lead for years by Mr. Evers, has killed our one (!) attempt to follow Massachusetts’ successful teacher content knowledge requirement(s) – MTEL.

The DPI has granted thousands of annual waivers for the elementary teacher reading content knowledge exam: Foundations of Reading.

An emphasis on adult employment (2009).




Gubernatorial Candidate Tony Evers Proposal: Spend 12.3% more taxpayer funds on Wisconsin K-12 school districts; while killing substantive reading improvement efforts.



Kelly Meyerhofer:

Walker proposed $13.7 billion in total state support for public schools for the 2017-19 biennium. That includes about $2.2 billion in property tax credits that are counted as K-12 funding, but don’t go directly into the classroom.

Walker’s campaign spokesman Brian Reisinger touched on the record amount in a Saturday statement:

“Scott Walker made record actual-dollar investments in our schools, the most in state history in what Tony Evers himself called a pro-kid budget,” Reisinger said. “He will continue to make historic investments in schools without raising taxes on hard-working families and seniors to do it.”

Evers’ spokesman Sam Lau referred questions to DPI’s McCarthy.

McCarthy said in an interview Saturday that the last time school finance was overhauled in Wisconsin this way was for the 1995-97 budget cycle when the state added $1.37 billion.

Evers’ request for $15.4 billion in state support for K-12 schools in 2019-21, up 12.3 percent from the $13.7 billion distributed to school districts in the 2017-19 cycle, is similar to what the Legislature agreed to more than two decades ago, McCarthy said.

Molly Beck:

Britt Cudaback, spokeswoman for the Evers campaign, did not say how Evers would pay for the increase if elected governor, but indicated he would make education funding a priority.

“Budgets are about priorities. If we can find $4.5 billion for a foreign corporation, we can make the investments needed in our students,” Cudaback said, referring to incentives passed for Foxconn to build $10 billion worth of facilities in Wisconsin. “Tony’s priority is to fully fund our schools which can be done without increasing property taxes or forcing over a million taxpayers to go to referenda to pick up the tab. Tony is prepared to make tough decisions as governor and will do whatever is necessary to ensure we’re doing what’s best for our kids.”

Walker, a Republican, and Evers, the only Democrat leading a major state agency, have been at odds for years over how much funding to provide schools and where to spend it.

In the current state budget, Walker adopted much of Evers’ budget request, which included $649 million in new funding — a plan similar to requests that had been rejected by Walker previously.

Walker spokesman Brian Reisinger didn’t release details of the governor’s plans for school spending in the 2019-’21 state budget, but signaled that he also would continue to make K-12 education spending a priority.

“Scott Walker made record actual-dollar investments in our schools, the most in state history, in what Tony Evers himself called a ‘pro-kid budget,’ ” Reisinger said, referring to Evers’ remarks when the current budget was passed. “He will continue to make historic investments in schools without raising taxes on hard-working families and seniors to do it.”

The amounts noted above exclude substantial local taxpayer property taxes, redistributed federal taxpayer dollars and various grants.

Madison has benefited substantially from a $38B+ federal taxpayer electronic medical record subsidy.

Madison spends far more than most, nearly $20k per student.

Unfortunately, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), lead for years by Mr. Evers, has killed our one (!) attempt to follow Massachusetts’ successful teacher content knowledge requirement(s) – MTEL.

The DPI has granted thousands of annual waivers for the elementary teacher reading content knowledge exam: Foundations of Reading.

An emphasis on adult employment (2009).




Male, pale and stale university professors to be given ‘reverse mentors’



Camilla Turner:

The EPSRC, a government agency, is funding eleven “Equality, Diversity and Inclusion” projects as part of an £5.5 million anti-discrimination drive in engineering and physical sciences.

It has previously been claimed that Oxford porters should be given “unconscious bias” training, amid claims that they assume black students are trespassing when they enter College grounds.

The university’s students’ union published their Liberation Vision document, which recommends that porters should also be trained in how to respond to reports of sexual violence and mental health issues among students.

The document says that and cleaners, known as “scouts”, tutors, supervisors and senior tutors should also partake in the training.




Tony Evers’ Election Rhetoric (running for Governor), despite presiding over disastrous reading results



Jessie Opoien:

There was once a time when Tony Evers didn’t like cheese. But there was also a time when he didn’t see himself running for governor, and now multiple polls show him leading the field of Democrats vying for a chance to challenge Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Evers, 66, won his third statewide victory as Superintendent of Public Instruction in April 2017. Before he was elected to head the state Department of Public Instruction, Evers served for eight years as deputy superintendent of schools. He grew up in Plymouth, and worked as a science teacher, high school principal and district superintendent in Baraboo, Tomah, Oakfield and Verona.

Two Marquette University Law School polls over the course of the summer have shown Evers leading the eight-person Democratic primary field, and an NBC News/Marist Poll released last month showed him leading Walker in a hypothetical match-up.

Tony Evers notes and links.




Strengthening Reading Instruction through Better Preparation of Elementary and Special Education Teachers (Wisconsin DPI, lead by Tony Evers, loophole in place)



Elizabeth Ross:

This study examines all 50 states’ and the District of Columbia’s requirements regarding the science of reading for elementary and special education teacher candidates.

Chan Stroman:

“Report finds only 11 states have adequate safeguards in place for both elementary and special education teachers.” Make that “10 states”; with Wisconsin PI 34, the loophole (created by a succession of emergency rules) waiving the Foundations of Reading Test is now permanent.

Much more on Tony Evers and Scott Walker, along with Act 10 and the DPI efgort to undermine elementary teacher english content knowledge requirements.

Foundations of Reading

MTEL

A capital conversation.




At Democratic forum Matt Flynn says Scott Walker will eat Tony Evers for lunch



Matthew De Four:

It wasn’t until the end of Wednesday night’s Democratic gubernatorial forum at the Madison Public Library that someone took a swing at the candidate who has led in all of the polls.

Former party chairman Matt Flynn in his closing statement called State Superintendent Tony Evers “Republican lite” and criticized him for describing Gov. Scott Walker’s most recent budget as “pro-kid.” Evers, given a chance to respond, called Flynn’s attack “an outrageous comment” to which Flynn replied that Walker would “eat you for lunch.”

Much more on Tony Evers and Scott Walker, along with Act 10 and the DPI efgort to undermine elementary teacher english content knowledge requirements.

Foundations of Reading

MTEL

A capital conversation.




Election Year Taxpayer Spending Rhetoric: Tony Evers Edition



Politifact:

“Tony misspoke,” his campaign spokeswoman Maggie Gau told us. “We acknowledge it’s not correct. As much as we try to prevent them, no one is perfect and mistakes happen on the trail.”

UW System’s funding streams

The UW System is composed of 13 campuses, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, that offer four-year and advanced degrees, and 13 campuses that offer two-year degrees. Currently, its operating budget is about $6 billion per year, with about $1 billion — 17 percent — coming from state funding.

To see whether that percentage has changed during Walker’s tenure as governor, we turned to a state agency, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau. (Federal funding and tuition are the two other largest sources of funding, and there are others, as well.)

Here is how much of the UW System operating budgets has come from state funding since the year before Walker took office as governor:

Mr. Evers currently serves as the Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction, an organization fighting attempts to improve elementary teacher English content knowledge requirements (Foundations of Reading).

Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.

MTEL

A capitol conversation




Tony Evers vows to restore state (taxpayer) commitment to fund two-thirds of schools in 2019-’21 budget



Annysa Johnson:

A brief summary of the proposal, provided by Evers’ office, said the budget would, among other things:

Ensure that no district receives less in aid than they previously received.

Allow districts to count 4-year-old kindergarten students as full time for state funding purposes. They are currently funded at 0.5 and 0.6 full-time equivalent.

Index revenue limits for the lowest-spending school districts to inflation so they would rise over time to the state average. Revenue limits cap the amount of money schools can collect in state and local taxes. The change is meant to help districts that were locked in at low-revenue limits when the caps were created in 1993-’94.

Mr. Evers is currently Superintendent of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, an organization that has fought the implementation of just one elementary teacher content knowledge requirement “Foundations of Reading“.

Related:

MTEL

Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.

A capitol conversation.




Teacher revocations spike under Tony Evers after GOP accuses him of being tardy on issue



Daniel Bice:

“Tony Evers refused to take action when it was time to protect children, but he moved pretty quickly when his political career was in danger,” said Alec Zimmerman, spokesman for the state GOP.

Maggie Gau, spokeswoman for Evers, was dismissive of the criticism: “The Republicans are now attacking Tony for doing his job and disciplining bad actors who could hurt kids? Give me a break.”

Tom McCarthy, a spokesman for DPI, said there are two concrete things that effect the ability to revoke licenses: the facts of the cases and DPI staffing. He said the education agency had experienced some turnover in the past that limited the number of cases the agency could review.

“Nothing about this process has changed in the wake of Andrew Harris or due to any criticism we received,” McCarthy said.

Records show Evers and his agency has revoked or negotiated the surrender of teaching licenses with 86 professional educators between July 2009 to the end of 2017.

During 2010, for instance, DPI revoked the licenses of only two teachers.




Supreme Court gives win to Tony Evers over Gov. Scott Walker in case challenging authority



Molly Beck:

“The constitution creates the role of a state superintendent and gives the superintendent authority to supervise public instruction. That is all the constitution confers upon the superintendent,” Bradley wrote. “The majority creates a dangerous precedent. It brandishes its superintending authority like a veto over laws it does not wish to apply. In doing so, it thwarts the will of the people.”

She said if Evers does not like state laws on how state agencies are represented, “he should take it up with the Legislature to amend them.”

Evers is the only Democrat to oversee a major state agency and he and previous Democratic DPI chiefs have been at odds with Republican governors going back to the 1990s and prevailed in each challenge to their authority.

Evers called the court’s decision a win for common sense and said he expects more challenges to the office’s authority.

“Yipee!” Evers said. “The idea of having no say so in your defense in court makes no sense to anybody — it was good to have common sense prevail.”

Johnny Koremenos, spokesman for DOJ, said though DOJ would not be representing a party in the case, the department would file briefs with the court to argue Evers should be subject to the new law.

Koremenos also said the ruling was narrow and did not give Evers the authority to choose his own lawyer in future cases.

Much more on long time Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Tony Evers, here.




Scott Walker vs. Tony Evers: The governor and a Democratic challenger go before the Supreme Court



Patrick Marley:

Attorneys for Evers contended Schimel and his aides were violating ethics rules for lawyers because they were not pursuing the case in the way Evers wanted, were not conferring with him and did not honor his decision to fire them.

Past court rulings have determined the schools superintendent has broad authority and that includes the ability to direct litigation strategy, Evers attorney Ben Jones contended.

But Solicitor General Misha Tseytlin argued decisions about litigation belong to the attorney general, not Evers.

“With respect, independent litigation is not the supervision of education,” he said.

Both sides heard comments from the justices they liked.

“There’s nothing specific in Article 10 (of the state constitution) that says you have the power to litigate,” conservative Justice Daniel Kelly told Evers’ attorney.

But Justice Annette Ziegler, also a conservative, noted a recent high court ruling concluded Evers has vast powers. Ziegler dissented in that case, but acknowledged what her colleagues had ruled.

“Coyne set forth fairly strongly that Mr. Evers … is a constitutional officer and certain things cannot be taken away from him by the Legislature or elsewhere because it’s given to him by the constitution,” Zeigler said

She was referring to Coyne v. Walker, the 2016 state Supreme Court decision that handed a victory to Evers’ allies after a yearslong legal fight. That legal battle is being revived with the latest lawsuit.

Much more on Tony Evers, here.




Governor Candidate & Wisconsin Public Instruction chief Tony Evers Governance Commentary (track record?)



Tony Evers:

As state superintendent, I’ve fought Walker’s school privatization schemes. I’ve proudly stood by our educators and fought for more funding for our public schools, while Walker has cut funding. We must never forget that under Walker, over a million Wisconsinites voted to raise their own taxes to adequately fund their schools.

This isn’t political theater for me; it’s a job I take seriously. These are our kids. This is our future. This is about fighting for the constitution, and the trust that Wisconsinites have three times overwhelmingly given me. The people of Wisconsin deserve better than desperate politicians rigging our judicial system for their own political gain.

Mr Evers has not mentioned student achievement on his watch:

2017 Wisconsin 4th grade student reading results… “Wisconsin ranked 34th nationally, compared to 25th in 2015

35% of Wisconsin 4th graders score proficient or advanced, down from 37% in 2015

Reading and Wisconsin DPI “administrative rules“.

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

“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”.

Wisconsin has only one teacher content knowledge requirement examination (unlike Massachusetts): Foundations of Reading.




In a medical first, drugs have reversed an inherited disorder in the womb



Antonio Reglado:

The injection of a protein at just the right moment during pregnancy appears to have spared a set of twins—and one other child—from being born without sweat glands.

The daring pregnancy intervention is being described as the first time a drug has been used to treat a developmental disorder in utero.

The experiment, described in a case report today in the New England Journal of Medicine, took place in Germany in 2016 at a clinic that specializes in rare, inherited skin diseases—particular one called XLHED, in which patients are born with fang-like front teeth and without the ability to sweat.

The problem: their bodies don’t produce a specific protein required to make sweat glands.

The German clinic, at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, had already participated in a clinical study testing a protein replacement treatment in young children.

But the drug did nothing for the children, the study was abandoned, and the drug maker, Edimer Pharmaceuticals, shut down.




Broward County’s Reverse Jail-to-School Pipeline



Paul Sperry:

At the same time the Broward County school system was dismantling the “school-to-prison pipeline” under policies that failed to stop accused shooter Nikolas Cruz, it was building another pipeline, funneling back into regular classrooms thousands of other potentially dangerous students released from local jails, county and school district records reveal.

Through a little-known “re-engagement” program for serious juvenile offenders, the Florida district has “transitioned” back to school almost 2,000 incarcerated students, a number comparable to student bodies at many high schools, according to district data obtained by RealClearInvestigations. Local probation officers warn that these offenders have a high risk of reoffending.

Another initiative, the Behavior Intervention Program, attempts to mainstream a smaller number of “students who exhibit severe, unmanageable behavior,” according to a 2017-2018 program handbook, including those who are “convicted of a serious crime such as rape, murder, attempted murder, sexual battery or firearm related [offense].”




Wisconsin Education Superintendent Tony Evers ‘fires’ DOJ lawyer, Brad Schimel says he won’t step aside



Jesse Opoien:

State Superintendent Tony Evers said Tuesday he is declining legal representation from the Wisconsin Department of Justice in a lawsuit brought by a conservative law firm. Attorney General Brad Schimel said he will not step aside.

Evers, a Democrat, is one of several candidates seeking to challenge Gov. Scott Walker in 2018. Both Walker and Schimel are Republicans.

The impasse could require the state Supreme Court to determine who represents Evers. The court has not yet agreed to hear the case in question in the first place.

Much more on Tony Evers, here.




Gov. Scott Walker, AG Brad Schimel block Tony Evers from getting his own attorney



Patrick Marley:

Superintendent Evers should welcome greater accountability at (his Department of Public Instruction), not dodge it,” Evenson said in his email. “It’s not politics, it’s the law.”

The lawsuit centers on the powers of Evers. It was brought Monday by two teachers and members of the New London and Marshfield school boards, represented by the conservative Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty.

The group filed its case directly with the state Supreme Court, which last year ruled Evers had more power and independence than the heads of other state agencies.

The group argues the Department of Public Instruction is ignoring a new law that its backers say is meant to keep rules written by state agencies in check. The law, which took effect in September, says state agencies must run the scope of state rules past Walker’s Department of Administration before putting them into place.

Such rules are written to carry out state laws and include more details than the laws themselves.

Evers’ department issued rules this fall without first going to the Department of Administration. That’s because a divided state Supreme Court ruled last year that Evers did not have to abide by a similar law governing administrative rules because he is an independently elected official under the state constitution.

The latest lawsuit essentially asks the state’s high court to revisit that earlier ruling.

Much more on Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Tony Evers, here.




Schools superintendent Tony Evers to make run for Wisconsin governor official Wednesday



Jason Stein

State schools superintendent Tony Evers will formally announce his gubernatorial run Wednesday, making him the third Democrat to commit to a bid and the first statewide office holder to challenge GOP Gov Scott Walker.

Evers, who heads the state Department of Public Instruction, will announce his run at a suburban Madison park for children, according to an email sent to supporters Sunday and obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The venue at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg will highlight Evers’ main credential for voters – his years working on behalf of children as a local school leader and state education official.

“On Wednesday, Tony will officially announce his run for governor because we need a real change here in Wisconsin. That change starts with putting our kids first, investing in our schools, and rebuilding Wisconsin’s middle class,” according to an email sent from the personal account of Jeff Pertl, a top aide to Evers in the superintendent’s office.

The Evers campaign had no comment except to note that Pertl is a volunteer.

Much more on Tony Evers, here.




EFF Urges Supreme Court to Take On Unconstitutional NSA Surveillance, Reverse Dangerous Ruling That Allows Massive Government Spying Program



Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) asked the Supreme Court to review and overturn an unprecedented ruling allowing the government to intercept, collect, and store—without a warrant—millions of Americans’ electronic communications, including emails, texts, phone calls, and online chats.

This warrantless surveillance is conducted by U.S. intelligence agencies under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The law is exceedingly broad—Section 702 allows the government to conduct surveillance of any foreigner abroad­—and the law fails to protect the constitutional rights of Americans whose texts or emails are “incidentally” collected when communicating with those people.




Wisconsin State Superintendent Tony Evers considers run for governor



Molly Beck:

Since he was first elected state superintendent in 2009, Evers has asked Walker and the Legislature four times to significantly increase funding for schools, by raising state-imposed revenue limits and changing the equalized aid formula to account for districts with high poverty, declining enrollment and rural issues. His proposal to revamp the state’s funding formula has repeatedly been ignored until this year, when Walker included some of his proposals.

Have their been acheivement improvements over the past decade?

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results, despite spending far more than most.




Superintended Evers’ Debate Remarks



WILL:

“Our study compared outcomes between all K-12 schools in Wisconsin – traditional public, public charter, and private schools in the choice programs. In doing so, it controlled for a variety of socioeconomic factors such as race, poverty, etc. As we acknowledged, we did not control for special needs or learning disabilities because the data simply do not exist for an accurate comparison of the two populations. An academic study found that reported disability rates in MPCP schools were lower than actual disability rates because MPCP schools lack the financial incentives to report disabilities that are available to public schools. Our study does control for socioeconomic status – something which may be correlated with special needs status, but we cannot control for what we cannot measure.

“We hope that someday it will be possible to do such a comparison and we have made a request to DPI for such data. This request has, thus far, been ignored. There are reforms that could enhance the likelihood that special needs students will participate in the choice program – such as expanding access to the Special Needs Scholarship Program and increased voucher funding – but, unfortunately Superintendent Evers is not an advocate for that.




DPI race between Tony Evers, Lowell Holtz centers on future of education in Wisconsin



Annysa Johnson:

“Wisconsin is the worst in the nation for achievement gaps and graduation gaps,” said Holtz, who believes public charter and private voucher schools could do a better job than some public schools. “We’re leaving a generation of students behind.”

Evers says Wisconsin schools have raised standards, increased graduation rates and expanded career and technical education programs during his tenure. He characterized Holtz as a political opportunist who would expand the state’s voucher program at the expense of public schools and shepherd in the massive cuts proposed by President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that would eliminate before- and after-school programs, teacher training grants and a host of other programs that benefit Wisconsin students.




Tony Evers seeks a third term after battles with conservatives, cancer and Common Core



Molly Beck:

“The ability for school boards to use charters as kind of an incubator — I think that’s great,” Evers said, who lamented that the public often conflates private voucher schools with charter schools.

Evers, who now opposes the expansion of taxpayer-funded school vouchers in Wisconsin, also once voiced support for them in 2000 — when only students in Milwaukee could use them.

“To me, the key is student learning. I don’t care if we find success in voucher schools, charter schools or Milwaukee public schools. The idea is to find what works and replicate it as soon as possible. So from that standpoint, I believe the (voucher) experiment needs to continue,” Evers said in 2000.

By 2001, however, while running against former West High School principal Libby Burmaster, who would go on to beat him, Evers had publicly opposed the expansion of vouchers beyond Milwaukee and said the system’s level of financial and academic accountability must increase.

Evers said he has tried to “thread the needle” on the issue since then.

Much more on Tony Evers, here.




Evers, liberal group rip Humphries and Holtz over meeting about mutual support



Dave Umhoefer:

Humphries alleged Wednesday that another candidate, Lowell Holtz, offered to drop out in exchange for a promise of a $150,000-a-year job in a potential Humphries administration, plus a driver and vast power to break up or take over urban school districts.

“This is a massive power grab,” Evers’ campaign said.

Humphries also charged that Holtz offered some of the same things to him in hopes of persuading Humphries to get out.

Humphries said he declined. Holtz disputed some aspects of Humphries’ claims.

To try to back up his claim, Humphries made public a document he says Holtz gave him at a meeting convened in December at the behest of business people who wanted to see the pair cooperate as they vied to take on Evers.




Wisconsin DPI Superintendent Tony Evers Responds to Madison Teachers’ Questions



Tony Evers (PDF):

1. Why are you running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction?

I’ve been an educator all my adult life. I grew up in small town Plymouth, WI. Worked at a canning factory in high school, put myself through college, and married my kindergarten sweetheart, Kathy-also a teacher.

I taught and became a principal in Tomah, was an administrator in Oakfield and Verona, led CESA 6, and have twice been elected State Superintendent. I’ve been an educator all across Wisconsin, and no matter where I worked, I put kids first. Always.

But I have to tell you, I worry for the future. Years of relentless attacks on educators and public schools have left a generation of young people disinterested in teaching. The words and actions of leaders matter.

We have to restore respect to the teaching profession.

For teachers in the field, endless requirements and policies from Washington, Madison, and district offices are drowning our best educators in paperwork and well-intended “policy solutions” you never asked for.

I know we need to lighten the load.

As your State Superintendent, I have always tried to find common ground, while holding firm to the values we share.

I worked with Gov. Doyle to increase funding for schools and with Gov. Walker around reading and school report cards. But when Walker wanted to use school report cards to expand vouchers and take over low performing schools, we pushed back together-and we won.
When Walker proposed Act 10, I fought back. From the halls of the Capitol to rallies outside, my union thug wife and I stood with the people of Wisconsin.

I champion mental health in schools, fight for school funding reform, and work to restore
respect to the teaching profession.

But I am not a fool. The world has changed.

In my previous elections, we faced weak opponents we outspent. I won 62% of the vote and all but the three counties voted Evers last time.

But last November, Diane Hendricks and Besty DeVos dropped $5 million into the “Reform America PAC” at the last minute and took out Russ Feingold. Devos is likely to be Education Secretary and Henricks has the ear of the President.

And these people are coming for us.

They’ve recruited a field of conservative candidates vying for their support.

The folks at the conservative Wisconsin Institution for Law & Liberty are doing everything they can to undermine the independent authority of the elected state superintendent. These folks have powerful friends and allies through the state and federal government.

But we ore going to win.

We hired great a campaign team in Wisconsin. We’re raising more money than ever, and we
will need to raise more. We’re mobilizing voters and activating social media.

While Wisconsin went for Mr. Trump, those voters overwhelmingly passed 80% of the referenda questions. They love their public schools. That is what we need to connect with to win.

But I need your help. You’ve stood with me before, and I need your help again. I need you to do more than you’ve ever done before. This is the last office they don’t hold, and it is the first electoral battle in the new world. We cannot afford to lose.

2. Do you believe that public schools are sufficiently funded? If no, describe your plan to provide sufficient funds?

No.

My current state budget request restates our Fair Funding proposal. Under my proposal, all students will receive a minimum amount of aid. To provide an extra lift for some students, the general aid formula will weight students living in poverty.

Additionally, the per-pupil categorical aid will be weighted to account for foster kids, English learners and students that come from impoverished families.

Furthermore, changes to the summer school aid formula will incentivize all schools, but
especially those districts that have students who need extra time to achieve at higher levels to engage in fun, summer learning activities.

The people of Wisconsin are on record that they want to keep their schools strong. An
astounding 88% of the districts (600,000 voters) approved revenue limit exemptions just this last November. Ultimately, I come down on the side of local control and support the eventual elimination of revenue limits. In my budget proposal, I requested a reasonable increase in revenue limits. In the future, these increases should be tied to the cost of living.

3. Madison schools have experienced increasing attrition over the past five years and increasing difficulty in attracting highly qualified candidates in a growing number of certification areas. What factors do you have as the causes of this shortage? What measures will you take to promote the attraction and retention of highly qualified teachers and other school employees?

There are several main factors impacting these issues. The first is the negative rhetoric that occurs all too often around the teaching profession. The second is that Wisconsin educators’ pay has taken a significant hit in recent years -an actual decrease of over 2 percent over the past few years (and changes to benefits and retirement have further eroded take home pay). Our current high school students pick up on this, and increasingly they are not look at teaching as a viable career path, and in Wisconsin, our teacher preparation programs are reporting record lows.

We need to continue to highlight the excellent work our teachers do each and every day and bring back teacher voice in to what goes on in the classroom. I am currently working with a small group of Wisconsin educators, including several from Madison, on a project we are calling “Every Teacher a Leader,” an effort to highlight and promote instances of excellent teacher voice and leadership. Let’s highlight the leadership and critical decision-making our educators use every day in their roles. The cultures of our schools must be strong and support teachers as they work with our students. I continue to advocate for additional resources in our schools to address the most pressing needs of our students and to provide resources for teacher to do their jobs.

4. What strategies will you enact to support and value Wisconsin’s large, urban school districts?

I have championed several initiatives to support large, urban school districts, including
expanding access to:

Small class sizes and classroom support staff to help teachers effectively manage behavioral issues;

Restorative justice and harm reduction strategies that reduce the disproportionate impact of discipline on student of color;

Fun summer learning opportunities for students to accelerate learning or recover credits (increased funding, streamlined report requirements);

Community schools, wrap around services and out-of-school time programs that because schools are the center of our communities;

Culturally-responsive curriculum and profession development that helps educators meet the needs of diverse students;

Mental health services and staff integrated with schools to meet students’ needs.

I also support school finance policies that recognize that many students in poverty, English learners, foster youth, and students with special needs require additional resources to succeed.

Finally, I strongly support a universal accountability system for schools enrolling
publicly-funded students. All schools should have to meet the same high bar.

5. What strategies will you enact to support and value Wisconsin’s rural school districts?

In addition to the proposing the Fair Funding changes, my budget:

Fully-funds the sparsity categorical aid and expands it to more rural schools;

Expands the high cost transportation programs; and

Provides funds for rural educator recruitment and retention.

6. How do you feel about the present Educator Effectiveness (teacher) evaluation system? What changes would you like to see to that system?

I support the Educator Effectiveness (EE) system. It was created with input from teachers, administrators as well as school board members and legislators. I believe we have administered the EE program with great care, listening to stakeholders from across that state.

That said, I believe changes need to be made. Recently, I have recommended that results from the state achievement test (Forward Exam) not be a required element in the evaluation process.

We must also continually message that the EE system was created to support professionals through a learning centered continuous improvement process. Evaluation systems implemented in isolation as an accountability or compliance exercise, will not improve educator practice or student outcomes.

7. What is your plan to work with Milwaukee Public Schools to assure that all students receive a quality public education?

While achievement gaps persist across the state, our city of the first class presents unique challenges and requires a multi-pronged approach. Milwaukee is ground zero for our state’s efforts to accomplish major reductions in achievement gaps.

I have worked closely with Dr. Darienne Driver, MTEA and Milwaukee community leaders to support improvement efforts. We are working hand-in-hand to provide more learning time when needed, expand access to summer school, establish community schools, and create a best-in-state educator workforce.

We must continue to have honest conversations about our challenges and provide the resources and support for improvement. Divisive legislative solutions from Washington and Madison have not worked. We need more support for our students and schools, not less.

8. Do you believe the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction should continue to be an elected position as currently provided in the State Constitution?

Absolutely yes.

The creators of our constitution got it right. Public education was so important they made the State Superintendent independently elected and answerable directly to the people. However, Governors and special interests always try to usurp this authority. The Supreme Court has consistently held up the independent power of the State Superintendent-mostly recently in the Coyne case advanced by MTI. Undeterred by their loss, the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty is currently working to circumvent the authority of the State Superintendent over the federal ESSA law. Rest assured we are fighting back and must again prevail.

9. Describe your position on the voucher program?

Powerful special interests and the majorities in Washington and Madison have spent years cutting revenue, growing bonding, and expanding entitlement programs like school vouchers. The result: historic cuts to education followed a slow trickle of financial support for public school amidst the statewide expansion of vouchers.

My friend former Sen. Dale Schultz often said, “We can’t afford the school system we have,
how can we afford two-a public and private one?”

It is a good question. A recent Fiscal Bureau reports indicate that over 200 districts (almost half) would have received more state aid without the changes in voucher funding that shifted cost to loca I districts.

When we move past the ideological battles, we’re left with tough choices about priorities and responsibilities. Bottom line: we have a constitutional obligation to provide an education for every kid in this state, from Winter to West Salem.

Our friends and neighbors are stepping up to pass referenda at historic rates to keep the lights on in rural schools. It is an admirable, but unsustainable effort that leaves too many kids behind. Expanding vouchers while underfunding rural schools exacerbates the problem.

That said, we all know the current majorities and proposed U.S Education Secretary support voucher expansion, so here are some key principles for moving forward:

1. The state should adequately fund our public school system before expanding vouchers;

2. The state, rather than local school districts, should pay the full cost of the voucher program;

3. Accountability should apply equally to all publicly-funded schools, including voucher schools;

Finally, we should talk more about the great things Wisconsin schools are doing and less about vouchers. They suck the air out of the room and allowing them to dominate the
conversation is unhelpful.

Around 96 percent of publicly-funded students go to a school governed by a local school board. Regardless of whether legislators support or oppose vouchers, they need to support our public schools. That’s where our focus needs to be and what I will champion.

10. Describe your position on independent charter schools.

In general, charter schools work best when authorized by a locally-elected school board that understands their community’s needs, and is accountable to them.

As both State Superintendent and a member of the Board of Regents, I am concerned the new UW System chartering authority could become controversial and disruptive. New schools are best created locally, not from a distant tower overlooking the city.

11. Wisconsin teacher licensing has the reputation as being one of the most rigorous and respected systems in the country. Recently, proposals were made that would allow any individual with a bachelor’s degree or work experience in trades to obtain a teaching license. Do you support these proposals? Why or why not?

I do not support any proposal that would ignore pedagogical skills as a key component of any preparation program. Content knowledge is not enough. A prospective teacher must know “how” to teach as well as “what’ to teach.

12. Teachers report a significant increase in mandated meetings and “professional development” sessions that are often unrelated or not embedded to the reality of their daily work with children. What will you do as State Superintendent to provide teachers with the time needed to prepare lessons, collaborate with colleagues, evaluate student work, and reflect on their practices?

When I travel the state and talk to educators, I hear this sentiment a lot, but it’s quickly followed by an important caveat: When educators believe that the meeting, the professional development opportunity, the extra responsibility, or the new idea will truly make a difference for kids they serve, they become the first and best champion of it–always.

We absolutely must find ways to lighten the load for our teachers so that the work we do out of the classroom is meaningful, manageable and powerful for kids. My Every Teacher a Leader Initiative focuses on highlighting cultures that support teacher leadership, and this often means that a principal or a superintendent has created systems that value and honor the expertise teachers bring to an initiative. They involve teachers early in decisions rather than convening them after a decision is made to implement it.

I just heard from an educator in a school district that is receiving national attention for its dramatic academic improvement over the past five years. When asked what the recipe for success was, she said the superintendent convened a team of veteran educators on his first day, listened to what they needed, worked long and hard to meet those needs, andkept them involved the whole way. That’s it.

13. Do you support restoring the rights of public sector workers to collectively bargain over wages, hours and conditions of employment?

Yes.

I have been a champion for collective bargain and workers’ rights my entire career. I signed the recall petition over Act 10 – and I haven’t changed my mind about it.

14. Are you interested in receiving MTI Voters endorsement? If so, why?

MTI has been a great partner of mine over the years. I would be honored to continue that collaboration going forward. Additionally, I have five grand-kids Madison Public Schools, and I want to them to continue to be proud of the strong relationship I have with Madison educators.

15. Are you interested in receiving financial support for your campaign from MTl-Voters?

Yes, my opponents will be seeking funding from organizations that have very deep pockets and MTI full financial support is more important than ever.

16. Is there anything else you’d like MTI members to know about your candidacy and why you are seeking election to the State Superintendent of Public Instruction?

I hope our work together, mutual commitment, and shared values continue for another four years.

Much more on Tony Evers, here.

The 2017 candidates for Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Superintendent are Tony Evers [tonyforwisconsin@gmail.com;], Lowell Holtz and John Humphries [johnhumphriesncsp@gmail.com].

League of Women Voters questions.




Wisconsin Education Superintendent Tony Evers faces re-election amid big GOP wins, union membership losses



Molly Beck:

John Matthews, former longtime executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., called Evers a “hero” and said he deserves to be re-elected. He said Wisconsin “residents know of his advocacy for their children.”

“That said, I do worry that the far right and the corporations which want to privatize our public schools and make them for-profit private schools will spend millions in an attempt to defeat him,” Matthews said.

A spokeswoman for WEAC did not respond to a request for comment.

Pro-voucher group American Federation for Children’s political arm spent heavily on behalf of Republican candidates in legislative races this year.

An AFC official said the group has not made any decisions about the superintendent’s race, including whom to support and whether to spend money.

Evers declined to comment on the campaign.

“I have been focused on my budget and focused on several other issues that are important to the state and I haven’t paid attention to what any potential opponents are saying,” he said.

Much more on Tony Evers, here.




Wisconsin Superintendent Tony Evers: Stop bad-mouthing teachers



Todd Richmond:

Wisconsin can slow a growing shortage of teachers if people stop bad-mouthing educators and pay them more, the state’s schools superintendent said Thursday.

Superintendent Tony Evers warned during his annual State of Education speech in the state Capitol rotunda that fewer young people are entering the teaching profession and districts are having a harder time filling high-demand positions in special, bilingual and technical education.

He offered almost no specifics on anything he spoke about, but he told the Wisconsin State Journal in an interview this week that he will propose to “level the playing field” among school districts by giving more money to schools in rural areas that have trouble matching salaries offered by wealthier districts.




Letter: Tony Evers did not object to DOJ dropping DPI as a client in lawsuit



Molly Beck:

But in a May 25 letter to Walker’s office, DPI’s chief legal counsel, Janet Jenkins, said Evers had no objection to DOJ withdrawing from a federal lawsuit over a transportation dispute with a private school in Hartford.

“I don’t think he objected to them withdrawing but objected to the manner with which they withdrew,” DPI spokesman Tom McCarthy said Friday when asked about the letter.

While Evers did not object to DOJ’s withdrawal, Jenkins did inform the governor’s office of the DOJ’s handling of the case — noting in a May 16 letter that DOJ told DPI it would no longer represent the agency in the case three days before the deadline to respond to the lawsuit’s complaint and that DOJ would not provide details to DPI about why representation was discontinued.




France bids to reverse tech brain drain



Hugh Schofield:

A popular French TV advert for pasta sauce from the 1980s showed a jolly rustic fellow chasing after a train that was laden with all sorts of lovely food.

“Reviens Leon! (Come back, Leon!),” shouts his portly wife. “I’ve got the same at home.”

Today the catchphrase “Reviens Leon!” has been commandeered for a very different campaign: to lure back to France the thousands of tech whizz-kids who spent the last decade fleeing abroad.

In an open letter in Le Monde, the heads of 10 successful French start-ups pleaded with Silicon Valley expatriates to book their return flights to Paris.




‘We have to do better’ – Trenton school officials seek reversal of low test scores



Jenna Pizzi:

For students from third to eighth grades, achievement has remained stagnant over the last five years. Last school year, the district had 26.9 percent of third graders ranked as proficient or above in language arts. That proficiency stayed in the low 20 percent range for grades four through seven. In eighth grade, 42.2 percent were ranked as proficient or higher in language arts and literacy.

Math scores hovered between 44 and 32 percent proficient in the 2013-2014 school year for grades three through six. For grades seven and eight, scores sank to 20 and 25 percent, respectively.

In the HSPA test given to 11th graders, there was a 71 percent proficiency in language arts and a 39 percent proficiency in math. There has been an improvement in language arts in the last four years, said Edward Ward, supervisor of instructional technology and accountability.

Johnson said her team is crafting a response by gathering information from teachers in high achieving schools in the district about their best practices and proven methods while also examining what works throughout the state and country.

Via Laura Waters.

Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results.




Pupils on free school meals for only a year become ‘invisible underachievers’



Richard Adams:

Children who qualify for free school meals for just one year become “invisible underachievers” who receive little government support but achieve similar results to those who remain on free school meals during their entire school career.

Research from education data analysts FFT found that the group makes up around 7% of year 11 pupils, meaning that almost 40,000 students suffer similar levels of deprivation but receive fewer of the benefits, in most cases because their household income is just above the £16,000 threshold.

Those who received FSM for only one year average a D grade at GCSE – only slightly above those who are on the meals continuously, but almost a grade lower than pupils who have never received them.

Locally, Madison plans to expand its “free meal” program. Will this address Madison’s long standing disastrous reading results?




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