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An update on One City Schools (Monona, WI)



Kaleem Caire

One City Preschool continues to attract far more children than we can enroll, and is ready to grow and expand. Our two public charter schools, One City Elementary School and One City Preparatory Academy, are making notable progress as well:

  • Our benchmark assessments show our Scholars growing academically across grade levels.
  • Our Scholars are earning recognition for modeling our 5 Habits of Character (compassion, integrity, persistence, risk, and self-respect) at home, at school, and in the community.
  • 97% of our 456 seats in grades 4K to 8 are already filled for the 2024-25 school year, with 94% of our current Scholars returning in the fall.
  • 95 of our 98 staff members said they want to return next year: a 97% retention rate.
  • Our staff and Parent Council are doing a beautiful job of engaging families in our schools, and our volunteers and partners are helping our children reach for their North Star and grow. Nearly 600 family members attended our first Winter Wonderland Family Ball and trained volunteers are tutoring our Scholars in reading.
  • Our advocacy efforts helped inspire, facilitate, and secure the largest increase in state spending on K-12 education ($1.3B) in Wisconsin history.

In July 2025, we will host our 10th anniversary celebration and first 8th grade graduation. This will be just the second time we have hosted a large community gathering to promote and support our Scholars and schools: the first time was our coming out event that TruStage Foundation (formerly CUNA Mutual Foundation) hosted at its headquarters in Madison in March 2015.

——-

Kaleem Caire and One City.




One city hits a high school graduation record but few ninth graders are predicted to end up with a college degree
Experts worry that Washington, D.C. trends are playing out across the nation



Jill Barshay:

A troubling post-pandemic pattern is emerging across the nation’s schools: test scores and attendance are down, yet more students are earning high school diplomas. A new report from Washington, D.C., suggests bleak futures for many of these high school graduates, given the declining rate of college attendance and completion.

The numbers are stark in a March 2023 report by the D.C. Policy Center, a nonpartisan research organization. Almost half the students in the district – 48 percent – were absent for 10 percent or more of the 2021-22 school year. Seven years of academic progress were erased in math:  only 19 percent of third through eighth graders met grade-level expectations in the subject in 2021-22, down from 31 percent before the pandemic. 

At the same time, the high school graduation rate rose to a record 75 percent, up from 68 percent in 2018-19. Although the city is producing more high school graduates, fewer of them are heading off to college. Within six months of high school graduation, only 51 percent of the class of 2022 enrolled in post-secondary education, down from 56 percent from the class of 2019.

“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?




Compare Legacy Taxpayer Supported Madison K-12 Spending with the One City Startup



Kaleem Caire, via email:

February 28, 2023

Dear One City Parents,

This is an important time for One City Schools and for education across the state of Wisconsin. Over the next several months our legislature and governor will be engaging with one another and individuals and organizations from across the state to inform what will be Wisconsin’s state budget for the 2023-2025 Biennium. In order for One City to sustain our public charter schools and build upon our mission, we must secure more state funding for our schools.

To do this, we must convince our state legislators and governor that schools like One City and the children and families that are part of our community, deserve equal funding! Students who attend independent public charter schools should not be funded at a rate lower than students attending traditional public schools. In 2020-21, One City received just $10,203 per student in public funding to support our “public” charter school compared to the $25,877 in public funding that the Madison Metropolitan School District received. Yet, we both spent a similar amount per student, with One City spending more on innovation in the classroom, on our healthy school meals program, and our longer school day and year.

How does One City currently fill this significant funding gap? We do so through private fundraising – by asking local businesses, philanthropy and supporters like you to give financially to our schools. In 2020-21, we had to raise $15,000 per student privately to educate our students. We are now joining together with other independent public charter schools statewide to tell our legislature why it is not fair to require us to raise so much money for our “public” schools.

Convincing our legislature and governor requires telling our story. They must know why One City is special, why families choose One City and why the state should invest and fund schools like One City.

We need your help over the next few months to tell One City’s story!

If you are interested in this opportunity to be one of our Parent Advocates please complete this form.

During this Spring session we will organize to engage in direct advocacy activities such as meetings with legislators, attending public hearings and more.

We are partnering with City Forward Collective who will offer a series of zoom trainings during the month of March to get us started. Please mark your calendars for March 2, March 9, March 16, and March 23rd. See this flier (and below) for more details about these training sessions. Those who sign up via the link above will be added to the list for the training.

Please consider joining us to do this important work on behalf of our One City community. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact One City’s Chief of Staff, Latoya Holiday at lholiday@onecityschools.org.

Onward.

Latoya Holiday
Chief of Staff
One City Schools

Marilyn Ruffin
VP of Family and Student Engagement
One City Schools

Kaleem Caire
Founder and CEO/Superintendent
One City Schools

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?




One City Schools CEO talks what led to partial closure, plan to bring 9,10th grades back



Arman Rahman
Arman Rahman
Arman Rahman
Reporter


Author email
:

According to Caire, the school was forced to take its foot off the gas by closing 9th and 10th grades, when five core subject teachers left between last September and December.

“We didn’t hire teachers, enough teachers, that could retool their curriculum to serve students that were 5,6,7 years behind academically,” he said.

But in literature distributed to parents, Caire laid out their plan to start bringing the grades back in 2025.

According to the Founder and CEO, over 67% of their 9th and 10th graders tested five or more years behind in reading, and 59% tested five or more years behind in math, on the “nationally-normed STAR assessment.”

Caire says they did not test all of their students before the first day of last school year, making it hard for new teachers.

Going forward, that will change and their prep-year program, an “intense, customized, remedial instruction,” for 6th-8th graders on the first day.




Why is One City Charter School Facing Legacy Madison Media Blowback?



Kaleem Caire:

Thank you CapTimes for printing my OpEd. Interestingly, in a conversation with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction yesterday, state officials told us that we are legally obligated to count our students who are enrolled and present on the day of the pupil count (tomorrow, Friday). This is state law. They also told us we “should keep the money”.

As a side note, see a second article that I posted in the comment below about this. Our counting or not counting our Scholars will not have an impact on MMSD. What will impact them and other districts more is if our Scholars enroll with them or not. So, why did One City Schools get singled out and why do people expect us to do what NONE of the 423 traditional public school districts or 60 independent public charter school districts in Wisconsin do? One word answer: Politics.

It’s funny how in my home town (Madison), I am personally and constantly expected to go above and beyond everyone else and work magic with a too little funding. MMSD will receive and spend $23,000 per student, on average from the state, federal government and local property taxes. One City will only receive approximately $13,000 per student from the state and federal government, and not one dime of local property tax money, even though we operate “public schools” that educate the public’s children. Tell me if that’s fair. I have to raise $9,000 per student (multiplied by 400+ students) from private philanthropy, foundations, corporations and people like you in order to operate our schools.

This is totally not fair.

Public school districts like MMSD, Middleton, etc also get to count our charter school students in their annual property tax levy if our Scholars reside within their districts, and keep that money.

They do not “transfer” this money to us…but this wasn’t mentioned in any of the press releases or articles other organizations wrote about us. Why not?

Why not point out that traditional public school districts get to keep thousands of dollars per child for students they don’t educate and are not enrolled in their schools? It’s very disingenuous and unfair, and is only meant to draw negative public attention to public charter schools and One City. It’s sad, very sad.

Independent public charter schools like One City are also expected to produce dramatic test score improvements annually when each year we enroll many new students who are two or more years behind academically. We also had to alter our entire school model just 18 months after opening our first charter (elementary) school after the pandemic arrived in March 2020. Thankfully, this school year, we have been able to shift back to our original school design and are enjoying doing our work with our Scholars the way we always intended.

This is how innovators in education who go against the status quo in Dane County and Madison are treated. We get questioned, ridiculed and smacked for trying to do something new, despite 90 percent of Black and 80 percent of Brown students failing miserably in our public schools – EVERY YEAR.

BUT YOU DON’T SEE MANY ANY HEADLINES about that, or about the BUT YOU DON’T SEE MANY ANY HEADLINES about that, or about the fact that just 35 PERCENT OF ALL third graders in Wisconsin, including students from all racial backgrounds, can read to learn by the end of 3rd grade. That’s all – 35%…..and just 8% of all Black third graders and 18% of all Latino third graders in Wisconin.

The $250,000 One City Schools might receive for our Scholars is more important than addressing the massive failure of thousands of our children in Madison, Dane County and our state?

Our priorities continue to be jacked up and off-base, people. Our chickens will come home to roost, and in many ways, they already are.

No, schools are not solely at fault for the failure of our children BUT One City focuses holistically on the family, community, students and their habits of character), and our educators and school at the same time. We have expectations and supports for everyone. We go at these challenges head on and are transparent about our challenges and results so we and others can learn from them.

One City Schools is an asset to Madison, Dane County and Wisconsin, and should be treated and supported this way. Who else is trying to tackle the challenges the way we are? Onward.

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

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




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



Scott Girard:

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

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

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

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

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

One City statement:

January 10, 2023

Good Afternoon Jim,

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

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

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

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

We continue to appreciate your support.

Onward,

Gail Wiseman
VP of External Relations
gwiseman@onecityschools.org

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




One City Schools shutting down ninth and 10th grades



Chris Rickert:

Citing an exodus of core-class teachers, Madison charter school One City Schools told parents of about 60 students Thursday that it would shut down its first ninth- and 10th-grade classes after only one semester.

The school’s vice president of external relations, Gail Wiseman, said the school lost five teachers since the beginning of the school year and had to make the “really difficult decision” to close the grades effective Jan. 20, or the last day of the semester.

Madison School District Superintendent Carlton Jenkins was at the Thursday meeting and pledged the district’s assistance in transitioning students to Madison schools, Wiseman said, but One City has also been in touch with officials from the Sun Prairie, Middleton and Verona school districts to serve students who live in those districts.

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?




Staving off the ‘summer slide’ through year-round learning at One City Schools



Rhonda Foxx:

Some education experts and parents fear the “summer slide” may be more troublesome due to the lasting impacts the pandemic has had on learning.

For students at One City Schools, the learning doesn’t stop.

Students at One City Schools eagerly don pajamas for spirit week in July because for them, it’s a regular day of class.

Kaleem Caire, founder and CEO of One City Schools said, “We really asked our parents what type of school do you want and having something for their children to do during the summer was important.”

Even the students seem to enjoy going to school in the summer.

Caydence, a 3rd grader said, “My favorite thing is about school is like that, like we stay all year to get like smart.”

Brandyn, a 2nd grader said, “My favorite subject is recess. Why? Because I get to play basketball, and play with my friends.”




One city (charter) schools changed teacher work week: 4 days



Chris Rickert:

The free charter school is required to meet minimum instructional hour requirements contained in state law, which Davis said the school exceeds because its school day runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and its year from Sept. 1 to July 31, longer than most traditional public schools. The school will continue to exceed those minimums under the new schedule, he said.

It’s not clear what other traditional public, public charter or private schools in the state’s voucher program might have similar alternative staff schedules or are planning for them.

Nearby Oconomowoc High School changed their teaching and compensation model nearly 10 years ago.




First Report on Groundbreaking Longitudinal Study of One City Schools Released!



Kaleem Caire, via a kind email:

Dear Community Members,

In November 2019, the Wisconsin Partnership Program, located within the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health, awarded One City Schools a five-year, $1 million grant to support the implementation of our education programs, and the design and launch of a long-term longitudinal evaluation of our organization and schools. We are pleased to share highlights from the first report of the longitudinal study, published by Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative and the Center for Research on early Childhood Education (CRECE).

Over the next several years, evaluators will assess the implementation process, outcomes and impact of One City’s organization and schools on children, parents/caregivers, teachers, community partners and systems. The evaluation began in January 2020 and is currently funded through 2024.

We encourage you to review the executive summary of the report, and the initial public announcement of the grant award. Together, they explain the purpose and goals of the evaluation.

The evaluation is designed to (1) inform One City Schools about its areas of strength and need for change and/or improvement, (2) inform the growth and expansion of its schools and educational strategies, and (3) inform the fields of early childhood and K-12 education, nationally and internationally, about the impact and efficacy of One City’s education models and strategies.

Elizabeth Beyer:

The report is a part of a four-year evaluation process, broken up into phases, which began in 2020 and is funded through 2024. UW-Madison researchers in partnership with the Wisconsin Evaluation Collaborative interviewed teachers, staff, including leadership staff, and families between January 2021 and September; observed preschool and elementary classrooms; sent surveys to staff, teachers and families; and analyzed documents from One City Schools including reports, newsletters and administrative documents to compile the first phase of the report

Scott Girard:

The first recommendation, to “keep innovating, keep dreaming big,” also recognized “that One City has undertaken a critical task of lifting up all children, but particularly Madison’s Black children who have been long underserved by our community.”

“In a short time, One City has mapped a plan for success by thinking outside of the box to create a unique set of schools,” the report states. “These schools are vibrant places that exemplify innovation.”

The areas for improvement are also often challenges for traditional public schools. Staffing, for example, has become a nationwide challenge for schools exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.




One City Charter Schools continues to fundraise and grow (Monona)



Elizabeth Beyer:

A contract, inked in February with the UW System, greenlit Caire’s 33-year dream of growing One City Schools from early childhood education and elementary to include students through grade 12, roughly a decade after the Madison School Board rejected a similar proposal for a charter school overseen by the Madison School District that would have been called Madison Preparatory Academy.

The Charter School Growth fund, a nonprofit, philanthropic venture capital fund, will contribute $850,000 over the next two years to One City. That along with a recently awarded $900,000 grant to the school from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction through a federally funded program, will total $1.75 million in funds for the opening of the academy over the course of the next two years.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Notes on One City Schools’ Monona Expansion



Elizabeth Beyer:

Caire, UW-Oshkosh and Madison Area Technical College are hashing out a dual enrollment partnership that would allow students to gain college credits while in high school and potentially earn an associate degree, too, which could be used to transfer to a UW campus or an institution outside the System.

The idea may even go beyond dual enrollment, he said, with some students potentially able to earn a bachelor’s degree at the end of five high school years due to the school’s longer, three-semester schedule.

“This will be a revolutionary exercise in education,” he said.

Former Wisconsin governor and current UW System interim President Tommy Thompson, who has been a supporter of Caire and One City for years, was present at the Wednesday signing.

Students in grades 4K-4 are currently learning on the third floor of the new facility, purchased by One City Schools in March through a $14 million donation from American Girl founder and philanthropist Pleasant Rowland. Caire said his plan for the 157,000-square-foot office building, on the campus of WPS Health Solutions in Monona adjacent to South Madison, is to build a full K-12 charter school with an enrollment of nearly 1,000 students by the 2024-25 school year.

Mandates, closed schools and Dane County Madison Public Health.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Frautschi’s dónate $1m to Monona’s (Madison suburb) One City School



Scott Girard:

One City Schools received a $1 million donation from the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation to support the school as it expands to serve students in grades 4K-12.

“The Frautschi family has a long history of investing in initiatives to make Madison a great city for everyone, dating back to their contributions to downtown and the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the early 1900s,” One City founder and CEO Kaleem Caire said in a press release announcing the donation. “We are truly grateful to be a part of Mr. Jerome Frautschi’s extraordinary personal legacy of giving to projects that inspire the heart and art of human kindness, community and innovation in our capital city.”

Renovation of a 157,000-square-foot facility at 1707 W. Broadway in Monona is scheduled to be complete by August 2022. The school announced its plan to move there and an initial $14 million donation from Pleasant Rowland in March.

Notes and links on One City schools (Governor Evers latest budget proposal would have aborted the University of Wisconsin’s charter school authorization authority – thus killing One City).

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




One 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.




Expanding One City charter school moves into new south Madison space



Scott Girard:

The leadership of the Madison charter school signed the lease Aug. 28 after a search for new space, and D’Abell recalled the busy weekend of preparing the building while also communicating with parents about where the year would begin.

“We didn’t know where we were going to be,” D’Abell said during a recent interview in his office. “We looked at potentially having school in Penn Park, at least when it was still warm, and having tents. We looked at mobile classrooms.”

One City first opened in 2015 offering preschool and 4- and 5-year-old kindergarten. It now has students from age 2 through second grade, split between two sites. The new Coyier Lane building is set up for 101 students in grades K-2, with 40 of them learning remotely.

For D’Abell’s first year on the job, a new building combined with setting up instruction during a pandemic has kept him busy.




Chinese model for early learning part of One City Schools’ educational approach



Logan Wroge:

A Chinese approach to teaching preschool students has made its way to Madison.

One City Schools, a Madison charter school founded by former Urban League president Kaleem Caire and authorized by an office within the University of Wisconsin System, was the first school in the United States to practice Anji Play and is now among a handful of early learning centers and schools in the country using the approach.

The early childhood education model, developed and implemented in kindergartens throughout Anji County, China, allows young children to determine how and with whom they play and encourages them to analyze and reflect on their play.

A crack in Madison’s non diverse K-12 governance model: independent charter One City Schools




A crack in Madison’s non diverse K-12 governance model: independent charter One City Schools



Logan Wroge:

In a previous attempt at a charter school, Caire proposed the Madison Preparatory Academy, which would have served a similar population as One City Schools, but would have been for grades 6-12. The Madison School Board rejected the idea in December 2011.

Caire sought to bring his “change-maker” approach to the Madison School Board, but lost an election last month to Cris Carusi.

“Almost half the electorate, they know what I do, and they like the message I was bringing about trying to implement these changes in the school system, and so we think that Madison is ready,” he said.

School Board president Mary Burke said she has no specific concerns with One City and is supportive of “innovative approaches” meant to lessen the gaps between students of color and their white peers. But she remains concerned about the financial impact charter schools cause on the Madison School District as state aid is moved from the district to charters.

“I’m not saying one way or the other whether it’s the best use of resources,” Burke said. “I’m just saying that expansion comes at a cost for MMSD.”

Doug Keillor, executive director of Madison Teachers Inc., said the union shares similar concerns about the fiscal impact on the Madison School District, but sees some elements in the school’s model he likes.

“I’m particularly interested in the full-day 4K model and what that could mean for Madison schools,” he said. “Even though we disagree with the way it’s funded and the politics of it, we’re still intrigued with the work they’re doing.”

With the school’s expansion into new grade levels comes added personnel, instructional and capital costs.

For the 2018-19 school year, One City has budgeted $2.2 million to operate the entire school, which includes the private One City Junior Preschool for children between ages 1 and 3 and the public One City Senior Preschool. The public 4K and kindergarten components educate 62 children and are expected to cost $1.2 million this year, said Ramakrishnan, of which approximately $413,000 is covered by state funding.

One City also has a federal five-year charter implementation grant, is eligible for school lunch reimbursement, and received less than $10,000 in other federal funding, according to Ramakrishnan.

Curiously, Mr Wroge’s article includes this budget note: :

The Madison School District’s adopted 2018-19 operating budget, which covers traditional costs associated with education like teacher pay and instructional materials, results in spending $15,440 per student. The district’s total budget for this year, which includes among other things capital maintenance and community programming, is $17,216 per student.

Ramakrishnan said the average salary for a lead teacher is $47,000. The starting salary for kindergarten and 4K teachers in the Madison School District is $41,970, according to district spokeswoman Rachel Strauch-Nelson, and the average salary for all district teachers in those grades is $55,382.

Yet, the district’s budget documents stare that total 2018-2019 spending is $518,955,288, October 31, 2018 Madison School District 2018-2019 2 page budget summary, about $20k/student

Much more on the taxpayer supported Madison school district budget, here

A majority of the Madison school board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory IB charter school.

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

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

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

The Madison School District’s “Strategic Framework”.

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

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

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

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

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

2013: What will be different, this time?

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




One City to Establish Elementary School in South Madison



Kaleem Caire, via a kind email:

Madison, WI – One City Schools Founder and CEO Kaleem Caire — with support from One City parents, Board of Directors, and partners — is pleased to announce that One City’s plan to establish One City Expeditionary Elementary School in South Madison has been approved.

Last Friday, One City received notice from the University of Wisconsin System that its proposal to add grades one through six to its existing public charter school was authorized. One City will add first grade next school year and will begin enrolling children in grades 4K, 5K and first grade for the 2019-20 school year during its upcoming enrollment period: March 4 – 22, 2019.

With this expansion, next year, One City will enroll up to 116 students at its elementary school and 28 children in its 5-star, accredited preschool that currently serves children ages 1 to 3. At full capacity, the elementary school will enroll a maximum of 316 students.

Reviewers called the proposal “superior” and said the proposal “is very well developed and can contribute to school reform efforts to improve the quality of education for all students, especially those that are traditionally underserved.”

Kaleem Caire hailed the decision. “We took this proposal very seriously because we know the incredible stakes for our children and their families, and we are dedicated to establishing a new model of public education that holistically prepares children for a globalized economy and complex future. While our plans to grow vertically included consultation with a wide range of community partners, including the leadership of the Madison Metropolitan School District, our plans for our elementary school primarily grew out of a strong desire among our parents to continue their children’s enrollment in One City. They are 100 percent behind us, and we are honored to extend our commitment to their kids’ future.”

In January 2019, One City was accepted into the Expeditionary Learning Network of Schools by EL Education, pioneers of personalized and project-based learning. For over 25 years, EL has been bringing to life a three-dimensional vision of student achievement that includes mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality student work. EL promotes active classrooms that are alive with discovery, problem-solving, challenge, and collaboration.

One City is proud that is has kept its commitment to families and to the City of Madison. “We said we would open a school in South Madison, we said we would renovate a building, we said we would start kindergarten, and we have done it all in four years. Now, we are honored to meet this next commitment by allowing students to stay enrolled continuously,” said Caire.

One City has also partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s new Center for Research on Early Childhood Education (CRECE), UW Research Collaborative and the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) to launch a longitudinal evaluation of One City’s student outcomes. This research will inform the field of early childhood and K-12 education and provide valuable insight into the impact that preschool has on children’s outcomes as they persist through elementary and secondary school. A copy of the Evaluation Plan can be accessed by clicking here.

One City is supported by a Board of prominent leaders including:

Marcus Allen, PhD, Senior Pastor, Mount Zion Baptist Church
Robert Beckman, CPA, CEO, Wicab, Inc.
Bethe Bonk, One City Parent and Mental Health Therapist, Pathway to Wellness Community Clinic
Gordon Derzon, Retired President & CEO, UW Hospitals & Clinics
Carola Gaines, Badger Care Outreach Coordinator, UW Health/Unity and Past President, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Joseph Krupp, Owner, Prime Urban Properties and Food Fight Restaurant Group; Founder and former owner, Krupp General Contractors
Gloria Ladson-Billings, PhD,Retired Professor of Education and Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education, UW-Madison
Lynn McDonald, PhD, Retired Professor of Social Work at UW-Madison and Middlesex University in London, and founder of the internationally acclaimed FAST (Families and Schools Together) Program
Jodie Pope Williams, One City Parent and Academic Advisor, Madison College
Noble Wray, Retired Chief, City of Madison Police Department

Note: Questions have been raised about One City’s fiscal impact on the Madison Metropolitan School District. Click here to review a memo that One City has prepared that explains its fiscal impact on MMSD, and the impact of other programs that MMSD supports financially.

Logan Wroge:

According to the One City expansion application:

One City will phase the new grades in over four years, adding first grade in 2019-20, second and third grade in 2020-21, fourth and fifth grade in 2021-2022, and sixth grade in 2022-23.

By the end of the expansion, One City plans to enroll 316 students across 4-year-old kindergarten through sixth grade. This school year, there are 63 children in the 4K and kindergarten programs covered under the current independent charter agreement, the majority low-income and students of color.

“As One City Elementary school is built out, we are committed to recruiting, reaching and serving a diverse population of families that reflect the demographics of immediate neighborhoods that we serve,” the application said.

Class sizes for 4K through first grade would average around 10 students, while grades two through six would average about 15 students

Related: Madison spends far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, despite tolerating long term, 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”.

A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School (2011).

Much more on Kaleem Caire, here.




One City Schools Admitted to EL Education’s National Network of Schools



Kaleem Caire, via a kind email:

One City Schools, Inc., a local nonprofit operating an independent preschool and public charter school, announced today that it has been accepted into a coveted network of more than 150 schools nationwide in the EL Education (EL) program.

EL Education (formerly Expeditionary Learning) is an educational model that balances both personalized and social learning to help students succeed in learning and in life. For over 25 years, EL has been bringing to life a three-dimensional vision of student achievement that includes mastery of knowledge and skills, character, and high-quality student work. EL promotes active classrooms that are alive with discovery, problem-solving, challenge, and collaboration. Through the partnership, One City will receive, and complete, intensive on-the-job training, co-teaching and mentoring required for teachers and school leaders.

The EL program is research-based, and has shown academic gains for children. After three years in an EL program, students outpace their peers in reading and in math; and further in standardized test-scores.

One City Founder and CEO Kaleem Caire hailed the achievement “Our leadership, our teachers, and our families are fully vested in this school and what it will do for children. With EL, our teachers will be given the very highest opportunities to impact learning for children.”

EL Education focuses its work on schools in diverse communities across the country. For eligibility, at least 40% of the students in a school must be from low-income families. It also requires intense commitment from teachers who facilitate learning as well as be required to document and measure results required by EL.

“Our teachers came to One City because they are dedicated to the cause. EL will make sure we are fitted with the best tools to achieve success” said Bryan Grau, One City’s principal of the Senior Preschool. EL schools are provided resources and support from other schools across the nation through open-source sharing. EL is also working closely with One City on its plans to expand into elementary school starting in the fall 2019.

“This is another huge achievement for One City. We are dedicated to providing the best for our kids, and to demonstrating our results to stakeholders. We will continue to move forward to help our parents and community create pathways to an awesome future for our kids.” Caire said.




One City CEO Selected to Participate in Distinguished Fellowship Program



One City Schools, via a kind Kaleem Caire email:

On Monday May 7, the Pahara and Aspen Institutes announced a new class of leaders that were selected to participate in the distinguished Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship. One City’s Founder and CEO, Kaleem Caire, will join 23 other leaders in this highly prized two-year fellowship program.

The Pahara-Aspen Education Fellowship is a two-year, cohort-based program that identifies exceptional leaders in the educational excellence and equity movement, facilitates their dynamic growth, and strengthens their collective efforts to dramatically improve public schools, especially those serving low-income children and communities.

The Fellowship is a partnership between the Pahara and Aspen Institutes. The Aspen Institute has created a leadership development model through its renowned Henry Crown Fellowship program, which focuses on inspiring Fellows to make a lasting difference in their spheres of influence through the application of effective and enlightened leadership. Pahara-Aspen Fellows become part of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, which currently includes more than 2,500 Fellows from over 50 countries who are collectively making tremendous positive change in the world. Click here to review the full press release and learn more about the Pahara-Aspen Fellowship.

Donna Hurd and Joseph Krupp to Lead One City’s Board of Directors

At its annual retreat on May 5, 2018, One City’s Board of Directors elected Madison business and civic leaders Donna Hurd and Joe Krupp to lead the Board. Donna will serve a two-year term as One City’s Board Chair and Joseph Krupp will serve a two-year term as Vice Chair. Torrey Jaeckle of Jaeckle Distributors, was also elected to continue as Board Treasurer.

Donna has served as the Director of Administration for Perkins Coie LLP since September 2013, where she manages the Madison Office, supervises all non-attorney staff, maintains positive contact with internal and external clients and is responsible for the fiscal management of the office. Prior to Perkins Coie, Donna was the Executive Director for Boardman & Clark law firm of Madison. She currently serves as President of the Rotary Club of Madison, President of Board of the Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools and is a member of the Literacy Network’s Board of Directors. Her term as Rotary President expires this summer. When she’s not volunteering her services to the community, Donna enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.

Joe is currently the owner of Prime Urban Properties, a local real estate development and management company involved in both commercial and multi-family projects. He founded Krupp General Contractors in 1976 and served as the CEO for 35 years until retirement in 2006. In addition, Joe is a founding partner in the local restaurant group Food Fight Inc. and continues to serve on its Board of Directors. He is also a proud University of Wisconsin-Madison alum who has been active in industry organizations and has served on numerous community boards of directors. He and his wife Diana Grove were early supporters of One City’s first capital campaign and he served as the campaign’s co-chair.

Torrey is vice president and co-owner of Jaeckle Distributors, a business started by his grandfather in 1958. Jaeckle Distributors is based in Madison and employees 115 people (50 in Dane County), with branches in Minneapolis, Chicago and St. Louis. They distribute floor coverings and countertop surfacing materials throughout the Midwest to floor covering retailers, contractors, and countertop fabricators.

Torrey is a native Madisonian. He attended Edgewood High School and later the University of Wisconsin Madison where he received his BBA in Finance and Marketing in 1995. After college, he joined his family’s business. He and his brother now run the business full time and are the third generation of Jaeckles to lead the company. For six years, Torrey served on the board of the North American Association of Floor Covering Distributors, holding the position of president in 2016. On a personal level, Mr. Jaeckle first and foremost enjoys spending time with his wife Stephanie and their two daughters. He also enjoys the outdoors, reading, writing, his hometown and state sports teams, and playing poker.

Click here for more information on One City’s Board of Directors.

Notes and links:

One City Schools

Kaleem Caire

A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School.

Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.




University of Wisconsin System Approves One City’s Charter School Application



Via a kind email:

Dear Friends.

Last night, we learned that our application to establish One City Senior Preschool as a public charter school serving children in 4 year-old and 5 year-old kindergarten was approved by the University of Wisconsin System. We are very excited! This action will enable us to offer a high quality, tuition-free education to young children living in Dane County that prepares them for school success prior to beginning first grade.

We currently offer an exciting and proven curriculum that emphasizes early reading and math literacy development, creativity, and STEM learning through play. Our program features a full-time chef, healthy meals program, field trips, Family Perks, great partnerships, and a diverse and highly qualified staff. Beginning in the summer of 2018, we will implement our new co-curricular Sports and Fitness Program for children enrolled in our school. As a year-round preschool, our program will include fun summer, fall, winter and spring sports and fitness learning and activities.

We have other exciting news to share with you this month, too. Please look out for this, along with information about our staff hiring and enrollment for 2018-19 school year.

Stay tuned!

Kaleem Caire
Founder & CEO

Beginning September 1, 2018, One City will operate two different preschools in our current facility: One City Junior Preschool for children ages 1 to 3 and One City Senior Preschool for children ages 4 and 5. We will offer two 4K classrooms and two kindergarten (5K) classrooms.

Our Senior Preschool will be tuition-free while our Junior Preschool will continue to offer scholarships to families who need assistance with paying our lower than average weekly tuition rates. Wisconsin currently does not offer per-pupil funding for public school children younger than age 4, so families must continue to pay tuition for children ages 3 and younger.

Why two schools? We were required by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to create a separate school to receive state-funded tuition aid for our 4K/5K charter school.

Because we will operate two different schools, we are changing our name from “One City Early Learning Centers, Incorporated” to “One City Schools, Incorporated”. We will begin using the new name on March 1, 2018.

In the mean time, we look forward to working with the Madison Metropolitan School District, University of Wisconsin System and its campuses, Edgewood College and other partners to expand educational access and opportunities for children in our city and region.

Much more about One City Early Learning Centers, here.

Kaleem Caire

A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory Academy IB charter school, and more recently the Montessori charter school.




You’re Invited: One City to Launch Preschool Movement and Charter School



One City Early Learning, via a kind Kaleem Caire email:

A high quality preschool education, from birth to age 5, should be available and accessible to every child in the United States of America. Please join us on Tuesday, October 31, 2017 from 11:30am to 1:00pm for lunch and an important presentation and dialogue.

We would like to get your input and feedback about two significant steps One City is taking to make high quality preschool available and accessible all children. First, we are planning a major community fundraising event for 2018 that we hope to draw 7,000 to 8,000 people to attend. One City will be the host and organizer, but we plan to dedicate funds generated from the event to support tuition scholarships and teacher training at other high quality preschools so that more children have access, and more children are better prepared for school success.

Second, we will also talk with you about our plans to establish a public charter school that would provide economically disadvantaged families greater access to high quality preschool, and potentially create a pathway to educational success for children beyond kindergarten.

These two initiatives will be central to our efforts to initiate an effective and impactful preschool movement in Dane County. It’s one that we hope will positively impact children all across Wisconsin in the future, as well. We truly hope that you will join us.

Madison has long tolerated a non diverse K-12 governance structure, despite long term disastrous reading results.

Madison spends nearly $20,000 per student.

A majority of the Madison School Board rejected the proposed Madison Preparatory IB Charter school.




Edgewood College and One City Partner to Train Educators



Kaleem Caire, via a kind email:

Today, One City Early Learning Centers of Madison and Edgewood College’s School of Education announced a new partnership they have formed to provide preschool teachers-in-training with significant hands-on experience in early childhood education in a community setting.

Beginning this month, Edgewood College will teach its Pre-student Teaching Practicum Course, Ed 381: Pre-reading and Literature for the Young Child, at One City’s preschool located at 2012 Fisher Street in South Madison. The course engages pre-service teachers in the analysis and investigation of literature written for young children. It also addresses the relationships between language development, reading and early childhood experiences in school and home settings.

Edgewood’s students will work with One City teachers to identify quality reading materials for young children from diverse backgrounds, and engage One City’s children in the classroom in pre-reading and literacy development activities. Storytelling, bookmaking and writing children’s books will be explored in the course as well.

One City’s Founder and CEO, Kaleem Caire, hailed the partnership as “a huge win for One City, its children and the City of Madison”, and “a great opportunity for pre-service teachers to enhance their professional knowledge, cultural awareness and dexterity in a diverse school and community setting in South Madison”. Caire further shared that, “Having one of the state’s leading schools of education working in our preschool and neighborhood provides the bridge we need to attract more young people into the teaching profession. Emerging teachers want to do hands-on work throughout their training, and this partnership gives them the opportunity to do so.”

Tim Slekar, Dean of Edgewood’s School of Education said, “Our partnership with One City directly reflects our commitment to the short and long-term success of the thousands of children and adults that our graduates will impact in the future. It also supports our desire to provide the most relevant and high quality educational experience possible to our teachers-in-training. This is a win for everyone involved.”

Edgewood’s course will be taught by Dr. Cynthia Perry, professor of early childhood education. The practicum course will take place from 8:30am – 11:30am every Wednesday during the Spring 2017 semester. One City will also serve as a host site for Edgewood’s student teachers during the summer of 2017.

For more information, contact:

Tim Slekar, PhD
Dean, School of Education
Edgewood College
Email: TSlekar@edgewood.edu
Phone: 608.663.4861

Kaleem Caire
Founder, President & CEO
One City Early Learning Centers
Email: KCaire@onecityearlylearning.org
Phone: 608.268.8004




One City Early Learning 2016 Investors Report



Kaleem Caire, via a kind email (PDF):

Our children all come into the world with similar bright eyes. For most of them, it takes more than their parents to pave the way and light a path for them. Thank you for being a part of our children’s community of support. We are living our name – One City – because of you. It truly does take a village to raise a child.

Because of you and our growing community of supporters, we made great
progress in our first year of operation. It was quite the journey to get to where we are today, but with hundreds of helping hearts and hands pitching in their time, money and expertise to help us move One City from an idea to a reality, we were able to achieve many awesome milestones with our children, team, families and school.

At the same time, as with any new project, our pathway to success hasn’t always been easy or smooth. The development, opening and first year of One City was not without its challenges. In this report, we decided to do something different than you might typically see in an annual report. As an investor in One City, we want you to know about our accomplishments and how we are doing. We want you to know where we are succeeding, what we are learning, what our challenges are, and how we are addressing them. We also want you and others to learn with us: to learn about the development and operation of our preschool and the unique program and revenue model we are implementing.




Madison’s One City Early Learning preschool implements new international play system



Lisa Speckhard:

My mom and dad would let me go run the neighborhood. I would play with friends and I was back before the sun went down. I think kids, especially in this generation, have lost some of that, so this is giving them the play back,” he said.

Bailey acknowledges that much of what makes AnjiPlay great is common sense. While adults are busy reading books about play written by other adults, the play experts — kids — are busy playing, she said.




One City Early Learning Centers of Madison, WI named first U.S. pilot site outside of China to implement revolutionary new education approach



Kaleem Caire, via a kind email:

One City Early Learning Centers of Madison, Wisconsin will be the first U.S. pilot site for the ground­breaking AnjiPlay curriculum. One City will feature environments and materials designed by AnjiPlay program founder Ms. Cheng Xueqin, and One City teachers and staff will receive training from Ms. Cheng and Dr. Chelsea Bailey of AnjiPlay World. Additionally, a series of AnjiPlay related events will be held in Madison from July 20­26, 2016 making the city of Madison a leader in bringing the AnjiPlay approach to children outside of China.

AnjiPlay is a comprehensive educational approach grounded in a philosophy of love,risk,joy,reflectionandengagement.AnjiPlayiscurrentlythefull­timecurriculumof 130 schools serving 14,000 children ages 3­6 in Anji County, China. The AnjiPlay approach was developed over a period of 15 years by Ms. Cheng, Director of Pre­primary Education for Anji County. It was recognized by the President of China in 2014 with the National Award for Achievement in Early Childhood Education and will be adapted as a national curricular standard in China this year. Over the past two years, the world has begun to learn about AnjiPlay through conferences and talks at Mills College, Stanford University, Columbia University and MIT.

One City is a new preschool utilizing a two­-generation model to prepare children, ages 1 to 5 years old, for school and life success, while working in partnership with parents and the broader community to move its children’s families forward. One City believes that strong families and neighborhoods produce strong children. Presently, the school is serving 30 children on the South Side of Madison, Wisconsin, one of the most racially, ethnically and economically diverse neighborhoods in Wisconsin. It will grow to serve 110 children in its present location, with an eye to serving more than 1,000 children in Dane County, Wisconsin in the next 10 years.

One City CEO and Founder Mr. Kaleem Caire and AnjiPlay founder Ms. Cheng Xueqin first met during Ms. Cheng’s February 2016 visit to Madison, WI in a meeting organized by Dr. Marianne Bloch, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin­Madison. Ms. Cheng was deeply moved by Mr. Caire’s commitment to ensuring access to affordable, high quality preschools in partnership with parents and the community. Mr. Caire was similarly moved by Ms.Cheng’s vision of how complex, self­organized play can shape the global future of early childhood education. Mr. Caire and Ms. Cheng agreed on­the­spot to work together to bring the joys of complex learning through true, creative and innovative play to the children of Madison.

Mr. Caire stressed that “It is important to us that our children develop the knowledge, habits, skills, consciousness, and passion for learning, and learning about all matter of different things, at a very young age. We also want active learning taking place, as we look to nurture more creative, innovative and analytical thinkers, doers and leaders among our children. Through AnjiPlay, our children get to learn and play while creating their own play every day. Through Anji, we can accomplish our mission and goals.”

Ms. Cheng added, “children benefit from love in their environments, love expressed by one another, by families, by teachers, by schools and by communities. Children must also be trusted to take risks and encouraged to seek their own understanding of the world. Children should enjoy challenging, open­ended environments and materials. All children should have access to these opportunities and resources. It is their right. In Anji, our views of childhood and approach to early childhood education involve entire communities and particularly the efforts of leaders in the community like Kaleem Caire. I am grateful that he has committed to providing all of the children in his community with access to the joys of a childhood filled with love, risk and discovery.”

Training of One City teachers in the AnjiPlay approach began in June and will continue through the summer of 2017. Dr. Bailey with work closely with Mr. Bryce Pickett, One City Director of AnjiPlay, and the One City teaching staff on site and virtually throughout the year, including site visits to the kindergartens of Anji, China. The first shipment of AnjiPlay materials will arrive in Madison from Anji during the second week of July. These sophisticated, minimally structured, nature­based materials were designed and developed by Ms. Cheng over 15 years of testing and observation in the kindergartens of China. These materials have been further standardized by RISD professor and noted toy designer Cas Holman.

Ms. Cheng will visit Madison from July 19 to 23 to take part in training of One City’s staff. Ms. Cheng, Dr. Bailey and Mr. Caire will be available to members of the press for interviews and comment. Ms. Cheng will participate in a series of events and activities during her visit to Madison, including a public presentation “The Benefits of Risky Play” hosted by the Madison Public Library (Saturday, July 23 from 2:30pm – 4:00pm, Central Library).

CLICK HERE: Download Flier of Madison Public Library Event
A selection of high­resolution images: www.anjiplay.com/pressroom
More information about AnjiPlay: www.anjiplay.com
More information about One City Early Learning Centers: www.onecityearlylearning.org




One City Learning Invites You to a Special Event



Via a kind Kaleem Caire email:

Mobilizing One City: Early Experiences Elevate Everything

High quality preschool education contributes significantly to a child’s long-term success. Their first 1,000 days of life set the stage for the rest of their lives. We can close the achievement gap that’s holding back children if we start early. Join us as Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, MD discusses how preschool makes a big difference, and how you can help.




One City Early Learning Center looks to help revitalize South Madison



David Dahmer:

Two facts that we know to be true: One, children who can read, who love to learn, and who can work effectively with others will be best prepared to lead happy lives and raise happy and healthy families as adults. Two, many children of color in low-income families don’t start their learning in accredited childcare centers and quickly fall behind their peers. Most never catch up.

Kaleem Caire, founder and president of One City Early Learning Center on Madison’s south side, knows that his new endeavor will help create opportunities for struggling young people and their parents. One City Early Learning Centers believes in the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child.

“It’s huge to be able to say that in South Madison we have this organically grown thing created by a native Madisonian from Fisher Street who was born and raised in the area,” Caire told Madison365. “It gives some inspiration to what we are doing, but the focus is really trying to get these kids ready for school.

Related: Kaleem Caire and the rejected Madison Preparatory academy IB charter school.




An Update on One City Early Learning Centers & Reading….



Kaleem Caire, via a kind email:

We had a great time at our campaign kick-off event for One City Early Learning Centers at the CUNA Mutual Conference Center on March 6! More than 350 friends and champions for children joined us on a Friday night to learn about our plans to raise $1.4 million to establish a new type of preschool in the Madison area.

One City will take a two-generation community impact approach to providing young children with the learning and developmental experiences they need to become compassionate and high potential learners, leaders and students in school and life, and to be reading-ready by the time they reach kindergarten.

Attendees learned about our three strategic priorities:

  1. Empowered and Happy Children
  2. Strong and Happy Families, and
  3. Healthy and Resource-Filled Neighborhoods

We shared our educational approach and plans for establishing One City’s Parent University and Family Resource Network. We highlighted the partnerships we are developing to support strong families and cultivate talented and successful children. We also shared how One City will be an active partner in efforts to continue the revitalization of South Madison. We want to ensure that children in our neighborhood and preschool are raised in safe, sustainable and enriching environments, and that parents have access to high quality, affordable and accessible early education opportunities for their children while they work and continue their education.

Additionally, Forward Community Investments announced their purchase of the South Madison Day Care facility for One City. This marks the first time FCI has purchased property and made such an investment in their 19-year history. The details of this unique partnership inspired everyone in attendance and we raised $40,126 towards our goal that night!

Thank you for your support, encouragement and partnership. We appreciate you! We also thank and appreciate CUNA Mutual Group Foundation, Forward Community Investments and Urban Assets Consulting for hosting and supporting the event, and supporting the launch of One City.

Building the Bridge to a Bright Future for Kids.

Onward.

Kaleem Caire
Founder, President & CEO
kcaire@onecityearlylearning.org
Phone: 608.268.8004

LEARN MORE

To take a virtual tour of our preschool (pre-renovation), which is located at 2012 Fisher Street on Madison’s South Side, click here.

To view photographs of our kick-off event, click here. As Dr. Frank Byrne, the recently retired president of St. Mary’s Hospital noted, “One City was here in this room this evening. It was beautiful.”

To review and download the PowerPoint presentation we gave at the kick-off event, and that many in attendance expressed an interest in obtaining, click here. To arrange a presentation, please contact Quinn Heneghan at quinn@urbanassetsconsulting.com or 608.819.6566.

To view a list of our early supporters, our Bridge Builders, click here.

Give what you can. We’ve had investors contribute $10, $10,000 and $50,000. We want as many people, businesses and institutions to contribute as possible so we can (a) achieve our fundraising goal, (b) get our school opened by September 1, 2015 and (c) live out the meaning and intent of our name – One City coming together to invest in the potential and future of its children.

To make your tax-deductible investment in One City and join our list of Bridge Builders – click here. You can also download and complete our pledge form by clicking here and mailing it along with your contribution (payable to One City Early Learning) to:

One City Early Learning Centers
c/o Scholz Nonprofit Law
16 North Carroll Street, Suite 530
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.268.0076

Related:

Madison’s long term, disastrous reading results.

Kaleem Caire attempted to create the Madison Preparatory Academy IB Charter School. Unfortunately, it was rejected by a majority of the Madison School Board.




One City: New School, New Look, Great Progress



Kaleem Caire, via a kind email:

We’ve been quiet because we’ve been building. We have some exciting updates to share with you as we move forward to establish One City Early Learning Centers on Madison’s South Side. Since August, we have:

Established a 15-member Board of Directors
Filed for nonprofit recognition with the IRS
Identified a site for our preschool on Fisher Street
Selected our logo mark (see above)
Identified an exceptional Director for our school
Recruited some wonderful volunteers
Secured the support, guidance and encouragement of key stakeholders in early childhood education, the Greater Madison community and the State of Wisconsin

Now, the heavy push to secure partnerships and financial support to get this preschool open begins. We would love to hear from you if you can help. Please email or contact us at our information below.

We hope to share the details of our plans and our excitement about this preschool with every single person we know, because this is that important. We’d love to share our plans with you, your friends and your colleagues at your home, office, service group, place of worship or community organization. To download the one page summary on One City, click here. We’ve also placed two short videos below that speak to the critical need for communities to nurture and support children early. Watch. Learn. Be inspired. We are!

Our mission: To prepare young children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life, and ensure they enter grade school reading-ready.

Our vision: A Greater Madison where every child is reading and succeeding at grade level by the time they complete third grade.

Our philosophy: A child’s ecosystem of support and the environments in which they are educated and raised must be healthy, safe, inspiring and provide adequate resources and stability in order for them to reach their full potential.

Our focus: Strong children, families and neighborhoods. Wherever we develop a One City preschool, we will also work to strengthen families, build community and partner with residents to develop the neighborhood. If the family and the village are healthy, the children will be, too.

We hope you will join us on this journey. Thank you.

Much more on Kaleem Caire’s relentless drive to improve rigor and opportunity in Madison.




High School Teacher’s Computer Science Vision, but Done City’s Way



Jennifer Miller:

At last year’s State of the City speech, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the creation of a public high school called the Academy for Software Engineering. The school would be part of an ambitious expansion of computer science education in the city, and Mr. Bloomberg called it the “brainchild” of a local teacher named Michael Zamansky.
Mr. Zamansky was seated on the stage, a few steps from the mayor. But by that point, he said recently, the project was his in name only: he said he had been effectively cut out of the school’s planning process, and his vision of an elite program had given way to one that was more focused on practical job skills.
“I don’t know if they think my plans are too grandiose, or too unrealistic or if I’m an elitist snob,” he said.
The mayor spoke about other efforts to train the city’s future engineers and entrepreneurs. But Mr. Zamansky worried that the new school would be too small: not enough students, not enough ambition.
Mr. Zamansky, 45, had spent two decades developing the computer science program at Stuyvesant High School. Former students now working at Google and Facebook call him a mentor, a role model, a man who showed them their future.

Related: Primary School Computer Science (!) Curriculum in Vietnam and, Dave Winer comments.




The Beverly Hills, California, City Council voted unanimously not to enforce a Los Angeles County mask mandate should one be adopted.



Michael Lee:

“I feel it is our job to lead and I support the power of choice,” Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse said after the vote Monday evening, according to reporting from Fox 11.

The comments come as the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has publicly weighed the possibility of adopting an indoor mask mandate in the county, which has seen a steady rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. The mandate was reportedly set to go into effect Friday, but Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters cases in the country may be leveling off and “we are likely to want to take a pause on moving too quickly on universal indoor masking.”

But Beverly Hills, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, decided not to wait around for a decision from the health department.




In a citywide overhaul, a beloved Black high school was rezoned to include white students from a richer neighborhood.



Minneapolis, among the most segregated school districts in the country, with one of the widest racial academic gaps, is in the midst of a sweeping plan to overhaul and integrate its schools. And unlike previous desegregation efforts, which typically required children of color to travel to white schools, Minneapolis officials are asking white families to help do the integrating — a newer approach being embraced by a small group of urban districts across the country.

The changes included redrawing school zones, including for North. “This plan is saying, everyone is going to be equally inconvenienced because we need to collectively address the underachievement of our students of color,” Mr. Moore added.

Research shows that de facto school segregation is one major reason that America’s education system is so unequal, and that racially and socioeconomically diverse schools can benefit all students.

But decades after Brown v. Board of Education, the dream of integration has remained just that — a dream.

Today, two in five Black and Latino students in the United States attend schools where more than 90 percent of students are children of color, while one in five white students goes to a school where more than 90 percent of students look like them, according to the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

Locally, Madison taxpayers recently expanded our least diverse schools (despite space in nearby facilities). Boundaries have not been adjusted in decades.

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?




Philly’s school reopening is pushed back again. City councilmembers questioned the plan.



Kristin Graham:

The Philadelphia School District has pushed back its reopening date for a third time.

Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. said Wednesday 9,000 prekindergarten through second-grade students won’t return on Feb. 22 as planned but will instead go back March 1 amid an ongoing building safety dispute between the district and its teachers’ union. Students had been scheduled to return Monday.

The news left him “deeply disappointed,” the superintendent said.

Hite maintains that schools are safe but said he will not bring children back to classrooms that aren’t ready for them. Teachers were due back Feb. 8 but, at the direction of Philadelphia Federation of Teachers president Jerry Jordan, refused to report to school buildings and have been working from home. City school buildings have been closed since March 2020.




“Most MMSD schools are not over capacity. Six of the 32 elementary schools and one of the 12 middle schools had Third Friday enrollment numbers above their calculated capacities.”



Somewhat ironically, Madison has unused capacity in a number of schools, yet a successful Spring, 2015 referendum will spend another $41M+ to expand certain schools, including some of the least diverse such as Hamilton Middle School.

Madison School District (PDF):

Key Findings
1. Most MMSD schools are not over capacity. Six of the 32 elementary schools and one of the 12 middle schools had Third Friday enrollment numbers above their calculated capacities.
2. Thirteen of the 32 elementary schools, two of the 12 middle schools, and one of the five high schools had Third Friday enrollment numbers above the ideal 90% of capacity.




A Dutch city is giving money away to test the “basic income” theory



Maria Sanchez Diez:

Some people in the Dutch city of Utrecht might soon get a windfall of extra cash, as part of a daring new experiment with the idea of “basic income.”

Basic income is an unconditional and regular payment meant to provide enough money to cover a person’s basic living cost. In January of 2016, the fourth largest city in the Netherlands and its partner, the University of Utrecht, will create several different regimes for its welfare recipients and test them.




OneCity Early Learning Centers: A New Plan for South Madison Child Development Incorporated (DRAFT)



OneCity Early Learning Centers by Kaleem Caire and Vivek Ramakrishnan (PDF), via a kind reader

In the fall of the 2013-14 school year, public school children across Wisconsin completed the state’s Knowledge and Concepts Exam, an annual test that measures their knowledge, ability and skills in reading and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and 10, and in language arts, science, social studies and writing in grades 4, 8 and 10. Just 13% of Black and 15% of Latino children who completed these assessments were reading at grade level (proficient or advanced) in elementary schools across Dane County. The numbers are even more striking than the percentages: just 207 of the 1,497 Black children and 266 of 1,688 Latino children enrolled in grades 3, 4 and 5 were reading at grade level. Despite better outcomes among White and Asian students, their rates of 51% and 48% reading at grade level are disturbing as well.

Tap for a larger version.

We need your help. We have a plan to facilitate greater educational and life success among children and their families in Dane County and hope you will join us in our efforts. That is why you are receiving this paper. We hope that when you are finished reading it, you will call or email us and say, “Yes, I’m signing up to assist you with establishing One City Early Learning Centers so that many more children in our community are ready to read, compute and succeed at grade level by the time they enter first grade, regardless of their race, ethnicity or socio- economic pedigree.”

In April 2014, after months of consideration, the Board of Directors of South Madison Child Development Incorporated (CDI), one of Dane County’s oldest and most heralded childcare providers, decided that it was time to reorganize, rebrand and re-launch its Center with a new mission, new leadership, a new educational program, and new plans for future expansion. Beginning in the fall of 2014, South Madison CDI will become One City Early Learning Centers Incorporated and will change the name of its centers located at 2012 Fisher Street on Madison’s South Side and the Dane County Job Center.




One Man’s Mission to Save City College of San Francisco



Jim Carlton & Caroline Porter:

The fate of City College of San Francisco, one of the nation’s largest community colleges, rests largely on the surgically repaired shoulder of a state-appointed trustee named Robert Agrella.
The 70-year-old former community-college president is in a race against time to slim down the bureaucratic behemoth with 80,000 students and 1,900 faculty before it implodes.
“In community colleges in general, we tried to be all things to all people,” he said. “We cannot afford to do that any longer.”
In July, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, said it plans to revoke the school’s accreditation at the end of the school year, giving the college a year to prove that it can turn around or be shut down.




Saving the city’s young men, one boy at a time



James Causey:

The task was simple: Bring 25 at-risk black boys together, put them in a classroom, ask them questions about their lives and then have them write down their “true fears.”
Easy, right? Wrong.
None of the students mentioned money, even though 83% of the students at Westside Academy II, 1940 N. 36th St., receive free or reduced-priced lunch, a proxy for poverty.
Instead, these fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders listed the basics, the things we take for granted: having a relationship with their father, having someone help them with their homework and not having the awful sounds of gunfire break the silence of their dark nights.
As community activists and spoken word poets Kwabena Antoine Nixon and Muhibb Dyer began to gain the trust of the youths, the conversation went even deeper.
The boys were sitting in a circle as Nixon and Dyer explained how senseless violence and incredibly high rates of incarceration were making the black males an endangered species.




NY city’s controversial ban on cellphones in schools has persuaded kids to leave their devices at a stranger’s home



textually:

New York city’s controversial ban on cellphones in schools has persuaded some kids to leave their devices at home — a stranger’s home! The New York Post reports.

Dozens of students at the former Bushwick HS campus have been paying $1 per day to store their phones at an alumnus’ apartment — just down the street from the Brooklyn campus.
Academy of Urban Planning graduate Giovanni Monserrate — known affectionately as either “Gio” or “The Mayor” — has padded his income as a Broadway usher by serving as a cellphone-storage site for between 30 and 100 teens daily over the last seven years.




Missouri Education Commissioner Outlines Options for Kansas City Schools



infozine:

Citing a critical need to not underestimate the stakes at hand, Commissioner of Education Chris Nicastro presented to the State Board of Education today her analysis of ways the state could assist the Kansas City Public Schools in regaining accreditation.
The State Board met in Branson on Dec. 1-2, where discussion of the Kansas City Public Schools was part of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s recommendation for revamping a statewide system of support. This system would identify risk factors and target limited resources to assist unaccredited school districts and those that are at risk of becoming unaccredited. Currently, nearly one dozen schools would receive focused attention.




Judge Jolts Little Rock Ruling Cuts Money Meant to Desegregate Schools in City at Center of 1957 Fight



Leslie Eaton:

A federal judge has halted longtime state payments intended to help integrate three Arkansas school districts, including Little Rock, site of one of the most bitter desegregation fights in U.S. history.
U.S. District Court Judge Brian S. Miller, who oversees the districts’ federally ordered desegregation efforts, found the payments were “proving to be an impediment to true desegregation” by rewarding school systems that don’t meet their long-standing commitments.
Judge Miller’s recent rulings triggered protests by the school districts. But some lawmakers and state officials hailed the decision to shut off the payments, which totaled roughly $1 billion over the past two decades.
Lawyers for Little Rock and the other districts said the loss of as much as $70 million for the year that begins in August would cause budgetary chaos. The state payments amount to about 10% of the Little Rock budget and about 9% for each of the other two districts. The parties have until Friday to seek a stay of the order.




To Speak Out Against the City’s School System, One Man Turns to the Power of Parody



Jennifer Medina:

Nearly 50 New York City school principals were fired immediately in what Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein declared a “warning shot across the bow.” Blackwater USA was awarded a no-bid contract to take over school security. And a national education foundation offered a $100 million endowment to any university that established a degree in “high-stakes test-taking.”
Those satirical news items, which appear on an education blog, are always slightly off-kilter, but several have seemed believable enough to prompt inquiries to the Education Department’s headquarters from parents and journalism students asking to follow up on a story they saw elsewhere.
“The best part is when people can’t distinguish their reality from the reality that is made up,” said Gary Babad, the writer of dozens of mock news items dealing with the Education Department. “I think of it as a kind of therapy and my form of quiet dissent. And it’s a stress reliever.”




Plagiarism and Disparities: There is no reason to expect an even distribution of academic dishonesty



Christopher Rufo:

Journalism, in part, is the work of turning up stones. Sometimes a reporter finds nothing underneath. Other times, he uncovers shock, scandal, or corruption.

An entire twentieth-century lore, beginning with The Jungle and culminating in the Watergate reporting, portrays the reporter as a man who stands against the corruption of institutions. But as the Left, which invented muckraking, has consolidated its power over those same institutions, the story has been recast.

Now, reporters for prestige publications defend, rather than interrogate, the organs of power. They seek to propagate official narratives and to discredit those who would question them. The establishment’s watchdogs have become its guard dogs.

I have observed this dynamic in recent months regarding academic plagiarism. I have been one of a handful of reporters, including Christopher Brunet, Aaron Sibarium, and Luke Rosiak, who flipped the rock in academia and discovered widespread fraud, plagiarism, and dishonesty. We exposed the president of Harvard, several DEI administrators, and professors in the grievance disciplines.

——-

It’s true: by failing to plagiarize, Harvard’s white African-American studies professor, @Jenniferhochsc2, is contributing to racial disparities in plagiarism. She is the new face of white supremacy.




Veracity and the “ai” space



Tim Marchman

Earlier this week, WIRED published a storyabout the AI-powered search startup Perplexity, which Forbes has accused of plagiarism. In it, my colleague Dhruv Mehrotra and I reported that the company was surreptitiously scraping, using crawlers to visit and download parts of websites from which developers had tried to block it, in violation of its own publicly stated policy of honoring the Robots Exclusion Protocol.

Our findings, as well as those of the developer Robb Knight, identified a specific IP address almost certainly linked to Perplexity and not listed in its public IP range, which we observed scraping test sites in apparent response to prompts given to the company’s public-facing chatbot. According to server logs, that same IP visited properties belonging to Condé Nast, the media company that owns WIRED, at least 822 times in the past three months—likely a significant undercount, because the company retains only a small portion of its records.

We also reported that the chatbot was bullshitting, in the technical sense. In one experiment, it generated text about a girl following a trail of mushrooms when asked to summarize the content of a website that its agent did not, according to server logs, attempt to access.




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



Lucas Robinson:

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

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

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

——

Letter to the editor:

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

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

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

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

Commentary.

——

Looming substantial Madison tax and $pending increases.

—-

Yet:

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

Yet:

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Civics: The ‘Hong Kong 47’ Convicted in the City’s Largest Trial to Crush Democracy.



FreedomHK:

Today, the Hong Kong courts convicted 14 pro-democracy activists in the city’s largest national security trial.  The Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation unequivocally condemns these sentences and calls for the immediate release of the 47 and all other political prisoners currently being held in Hong Kong prisons.

The sentences come after the trial of 47 pro-democracy figures, 31 of which have already pleaded guilty. Of the 16 who pleaded not guilty, 14 individuals were found guilty of ‘conspiracy to subvert state power.’ The ‘Hong Kong 47’ were arrested in February 2021 for participating in primary elections. Their trial began in February 2023. Prosecutors alleged that the activists held primary elections to ‘overthrow the government.’ The convicted activists will be sentenced at a later date, together with the 31 who entered a guilty plea.




The Nonprofit Industrial Complex and the Corruption of the American City



by Jonathan Ireland

Yet nonprofit organizations are frequently the exact opposite of what they appear to be. As a consequence of the benefit of the doubt provided to nonprofits, there is rarely enough oversight to guarantee that they are doing what we pay them to do. In some cities, upwards of a billion dollars of public funds are paid to nonprofit organizations every year with glaringly insufficient safeguards to ensure that the money is used in a manner likely to serve the public interest.

This money is then spent in ways that would shock the taxpayers whose hard-earned dollars are being effectively stolen from them. Non­profits that self-righteously declare themselves providers of homeless services actively lobby to make homelessness worse in order to increase their own funding; nonprofit organizations hire convicted felons—including murderers, gang leaders, sex offenders, and rapists—who go on to commit more felonies while receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in government contracts; and the executives of nonprofits, the very people in charge of institutions whose stated purpose is not to make money, earn millions of dollars while catastrophically failing to deliver the public services we are paying them to provide.

And as all of that is going on, the nonprofits in question receive tax breaks from the IRS, ensuring that the incompetent organizations wors­ening your city’s homelessness crisis exert their corrupting influence all the way to the halls of power in Washington, D.C.




Rebuilding a safe, pro-learning culture at an inner-city school



By Shannon Whitworth

It’s been a rough cultural transition back to schools since the lockdowns, and we are starting to see the price that will be paid for keeping our kids out of the nation’s schools for as long as we did. We are fighting to reclaim our schools for the sake of the children we serve. Some schools, like mine, have been up to the task, but many others have not recovered.

I am the Director of the Free Enterprise Academy at Milwaukee Lutheran High School.  Milwaukee Lutheran is a school of approximately 860 students, most of whom are inner-city, economically disadvantaged, black kids who attend using a school choice voucher.  Like most schools during the closures, Milwaukee Lutheran went to virtual learning, with varying levels of success.  When we returned to in-person instruction, little did we know the problems were only just beginning.

Many people have written about the drops in proficiency and attendance since our return from the lockdowns. One of the most important aspects often not considered is the damage done to a school’s culture. Anti-social behavior, insubordination, fighting, and tardiness seemed to be the norm.




St Albans aims to be smartphone-free for under-14s



Sally Weale

“This is mega!” said Daisy Greenwell from the Smartphone-Free Childhood campaign. “We are absolutely thrilled and we believe it’s going to have a domino effect.”

She was reacting to news that St Albans in Hertfordshire is attempting to become the first UK city to go smartphone-free for all children under 14.

Before St Albans, it was Greystones in Irelandlast year, where parents banded together to collectively tell their children they could not have a smartphone until secondary school. Greenwell believes others will now take similar steps.

“People are going to feel emboldened to follow suit,” said Greenwell, whose local WhatsApp group on the issue “exploded”, attracting 100,000 supporters in a matter of months. “The groundswell of support we have seen has been completely mindblowing.”

Headteachers in 30-plus primaries across St Albans got together to draw up a joint letter to send to families, in which they declared their schools smartphone-free and urged parents to delay giving their children a smartphone until at least year 9 of secondary school.




How a one-year hiccup in Florida’s school grading system unmasked glaring disparities in the classroom



Marlene Sokol and Ian Hodgson

Each day, 18,000 students take their seats inside Hillsborough County’s most struggling schools, enough to fill a small city.

The county by far logged more schools with D or F grades than any other in Florida, according to state numbers released in December. In all, 33 elementary and middle schools.

The vast majority of students in those schools come from poor families, with stresses at home that can hamper their ability to learn.

They are kids who need the most from their school district. Yet they are more likely to be greeted in class by a substitute teacher, or one with far less experience than those at higher-performing schools, a Tampa Bay Times analysis found.




Abigail Shrier’s astute and impassioned analysis of the mental-health crisis afflicting American adolescents



Kay Hymowitz:

Shrier’s new book Bad Therapy, an astute and impassioned analysis of the mental-health crisis now afflicting adolescents, may cause a similar emotional meltdown in some corners of American culture. Shrier’s target is more expansive than it was in Irreversible Damage; she aims her fire at the therapeutic mindset that pervades not just the offices of psychologists and counsellors, but elementary, middle, and high school classrooms, best-seller lists, middle-class homes, and government agencies. It’s a pernicious development because a therapeutic mindset easily paralyzes kids’ natural defenses and resilience, hence the crisis we confront today. Assuming a Bad Therapy backlash comes, it is unlikely to be as heated as it was in the case of Irreversible Damage—therapists, who have the most to lose if Shrier’s analysis were to win out, are a more sedate crowd than trans activists—but one hopes that for the sake of the rising generation, any pushback won’t prevent people from heeding the warnings of this important book. 




What makes a literary city?



Nilanjana Roy:

One of the unexpected pleasures of travelling as an author is the sense of feeling immediately at home in an unknown city because it has libraries, bookshops, a culture of reading and creating spaces for readers.

I’ve felt this on first visits to great cities such as New York and London, but also in places such as Dublin or Kozhikode in Kerala, which last year became one of Unesco’s 53 Cities of Literature — and India’s first.

When I visited two years ago, Kozhikode was hosting an exuberant festival for writers across India on its magnificent beach, on the legendary Malabar Coast. It has nurtured Malayalam authors, from SK Pottekkatt to MT Vasudevan Nair and Indu Menon, and has a remarkable 550 libraries, over 70 publishers, and about 100 bookshops strung out across lanes fringed with coconut palms.

Most of all, though, Kozhikode felt welcoming because it so gladly made space for readers as part of the ebb and flow of city life.

Cities have to apply to be a Unesco City of Literature, a list that includes obvious choices such as Edinburgh, Iowa City and Beirut, but also more unexpected places, from to Taif in Saudi Arabia to Lviv in Ukraine, which has since transformed itself into a hub for refugees and those affected by the war. The Unesco committees rate applicants on factors such as quality and quantity of publishing, number of bookshops, literary festivals and events, and an active translation scene.




Can Billions of Dollars in Prize Money Solve the World’s Problems?



Ben Cohen:

Innovation isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think about a sanitation department.

But a few years ago, when New York City officials found themselves in the market for a better garbage can, they followed a strategy to spark creativity that has worked for centuries, producing breakthroughs from the oceans to the heavens and everywhere in between.

They started a contest.

By setting a goal and engaging the crowd for help with all sorts of tricky problems—driverless cars, missions to space, trash cans—organizations can find novel solutions in places they never would have looked and from people they never would have asked.

Last week, I wrote about the Vesuvius Challenge, a $1 million competition with the goal of using artificial intelligence and machine learning to read 2,000-year-old papyrus scrolls. I’m still thinking about the way a bunch of students pulled off the seemingly impossible—and not just because using modern technology to crack an ancient mystery is undeniably amazing. It’s also because the success of this contest should inspire a lot more contests.




Young Kansas City Chiefs Fan Sues Deadspin Over Racism Allegations



Eugene Volokh:

From the Complaint filed today in Armenta v. G/O Media Inc. (Del. Super. Ct.):

Nine-year-old H.A. loves the Kansas City Chiefs—and he loves his family’s Chumash-Indian heritage. On November 26, 2023, H.A. displayed that love by attending the Chiefs-Raiders NFL football game wearing a Chiefs jersey and necklace, his face painted half-red and half-black, and a costume headdress— just as Chiefs fans and other avid sports fans have done for decades.

During the CBS television broadcast, H.A. was shown for three seconds, where the audience can clearly see his red-and-black face paint. Immediately thereafter, CBS panned to a Raiders fan in black-and-white face paint. Together, they represented fervent fans with their faces painted for game-day battle, each wearing their team’s respective colors and costume garb ….

Those few seconds provided just the opportunity for Deadspin Senior Writer Carron Phillips to, on behalf of himself and his employer Deadspin, maliciously and wantonly attack a nine-year-old boy and his parents for Phillips’ own race-drenched political agenda. By selectively capturing from the CBS broadcast an image of H.A. showing only the one side of his face with black paint on it—an effort that took laser-focused precision to accomplish given how quickly the boy appeared on screen—Phillips and Deadspin deliberately omitted the half of H.A.’s face with red paint on it.




In Times of Scarcity, War and Peace, a Ukrainian Finds the Magic in Math



Thomas Lin:

Inside, the office is spare, pragmatic: just a computer, printer, chalkboard, papers and books, with few personal effects. The place where the magic happens seems not so much a physical location in space-time as a higher-dimensional world of abstractions in Viazovska’s mind.

Across the small table in her office, the world’s preeminent sphere-packing number theorist begins to recount her story in her usual matter-of-fact manner. Gradually, she breaks form and smiles, her eyes light up and lift upward, and she grows ever more animated while summoning memories from the past.

The earliest memory is of walking with her grandmother as a 3-year-old from her family’s utilitarian Khrushchyovka apartment building (named after the former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev) down a wide boulevard to a monument of the geochemist Vladimir Vernadsky, where her grandmother lifted her up and tossed her into the air. The late 1980s were a difficult time in the Soviet Union, said Viazovska, now 37. “It took people many, many hours to buy even basic things.” When a shop was low on goods like butter or meat, her mother felt bad about taking more for her three children and worried that others waiting in the long line would get angry at her. Her family didn’t have much, because there wasn’t much to have, but her parents made sure she and her sisters never went hungry or without heat. No stores carried nice clothes, but workers were sometimes offered a chance to win a stylish pair of shoes made in Czechoslovakia as an incentive for doing good work. The shoes might not fit, her mother explained to her, but if you won a pair, you could trade with someone who had won a pair in your size.




Higher education, veracity and the public square



Andrew Jack:

Critics of America’s elite universities have been quick to declare that the departure of Harvard University president Claudine Gay last week was just an early victory in a very long campaign.

Gay’s resignation followed criticism of her handling of antisemitism on campus and claims of plagiarism. But her shortlived tenure as the first female black leader of the US’s oldest university has also fed into the country’s broader “culture wars” against higher education.

Christopher Rufo, the conservative activist who helped spark the campaign against her, wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “Gay was a scholar of not much distinction who climbed the ladder of diversity politics, built a [diversity, equity and inclusion] empire as a Harvard dean, and catered to the worst instincts of leftwing ideologues on campus . . . While her resignation is a victory, it is only the beginning.”

Alan Garber, Gay’s interim successor, and the Harvard Corporation, which oversees the university, must rebuild links with faculty, students, alumni, donors and politicians at a time of intense scrutiny over governance, affirmative action, freedom of speech and campus protests that could threaten Harvard’s future applications and revenues.

As Bill Ackman, the billionaire hedge fund manager and a Harvard graduate who has led attacks on the university, wrote on X: “There is a lot more work to be done to fix Harvard than just replacing its president.”




Has Anyone Noticed How Cheap it Was to Bribe the Biden Crime Family and Our Universities?



Kevin Jon Williams:

They sold America, the greatest nation on Earth, for next to nothing because that’s what they believe it’s worth.

The Ukrainian energy company Burisma paid Mr. Hunter Biden up to a million dollars a year! Wow! It seems like a lot of money.

But what were the Bidens selling? Not Hunter’s expertise in, say, energy, economics, international law, Ukrainian culture, or actually anything that he could do on his own. They were paying him because of his proximity to his father, President Joseph Robinette Biden.

The Bidens were selling the greatest country on Earth.

And this is, to me, perhaps the most troubling part of the story. The Biden crime family so undervalued my country that they sold it for chump change—not merely disloyal, but deeply dismissive and disrespectful.

What should it cost to sell America? I’d start at 50 trillion dollars—that’s 5 followed by 13 zeros. Elon Musk’s net worth is estimated to be around 200 billion dollars—that’s two followed by 11 zeros. In other words, I’d demand 250 times the net worth of the planet’s richest man. And then I’d walk away.

But not the Bidens.

Let’s assume for a moment that every accusation is true. My guess is that at least 90 percent of them are true because many major concerns about the Bidens have been confirmed from Hunter’s laptop. Moreover, we have finally been permitted to know that the laptop was really his—and not some Russian hoax, as President Biden and his leftist operatives in the foreign policy establishment and the legacy media had falsely alleged.




When You Roam, You’re Not Alone



Ronald J. Deibert, Gary Miller

However, hidden within this seemingly routine transaction lies one of the most extensive, yet lesser-known surveillance risks of our age: the technical vulnerabilities at the heart of the world’s mobile communications networks. Accompanying the complex arrangement of global networks, international roaming service providers, and financial agreements are surveillance actors who access and covertly manipulate decades-old protocols to extract your sensitive personal information from the mobile network. Human rights and national security risks abound. A new report by the Citizen Lab (a research center with which we are affiliated) details how it all works.

Telecommunications companies constantly exchange huge volumes of messages using a private global network to “signal” when users attempt to roam and use services on partner networks in virtually any country around the world. This private network, called the IP Exchange (IPX), was originally conceived to provide a single connection from one mobile network to other partner networks to facilitate the transport of signaling messages needed for ubiquitous international roaming. Because these signaling messages provide essential user authentication, registration, and service information, they also allow telecommunications companies to retrieve extraordinarily detailed information about a user, including whether a phone number is active, which services are available to them, to which network the phone is currently connected, and most importantly, where they are geolocated at any time relative to the multitude of cell towers to which they connect as they traverse a city.

While at one time this information was restricted to a relatively small club of mobile telecommunications companies, membership has since diversified to private companies selling geolocation surveillance services. Some of these entities gain access to these highly sensitive signaling protocols by buying entry into the club from country network operators seeking more profit—such as small Caribbean, Asia-Pacific, eastern European, and African-based telecommunications firms as revealed in a 2020 article by the Guardian. In other cases, telecommunications firms are compelled by their country’s government to integrate a vendor’s software system into country networks to become an element of their surveillance apparatus—allowing that vendor to access the location and communications of domestic users or those using other country networks connected to the IPX.




Decline has consequences: One of them is more decline.



Paul Mirengoff:

Yesterday, Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Wizards (NBA) and the Washington Capitals (NHL), announced that he has reached a non-binding agreement under which both teams would move to Alexandria, Virginia. Gov. Glenn Youngkin appeared with Leonsis to tout the relocation, for which the Commonwealth will make a major financial commitment. 

The original owner of the two teams, Abe Pollin, moved them from Maryland to D.C.’s Chinatown neighborhood in 1997. The move transformed a deteriorating, crime-ridden part of town. New restaurants and bars flourished. The area became what Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post calls “a neighborhood that used to pulse with life even when the Caps and Wizards weren’t home.” (Emphasis added) 

But the key words in the Svrluga quotation are the ones I emphasized — “used to.” The neighborhood surrounding the area has undergone a sharp declinein recent years. There’s an open-air drug market nearby. Homelessness is evident.  Crime has spiked (as is the case throughout D.C.).

This decline isn’t the only reason why Leonsis approached Virginia about taking his teams there. But it likely played a significant role. As Svrluga puts it, the equation is more complex than, “‘The District’s going downhill, so the teams had to leave’, but damned if it doesn’t feel that way.”

It feels that way for good reason.

Left-liberals writing about Leonsis’ planned move blame the pandemic for the decline of the Chinatown area. During the pandemic, a great many workers who live outside of D.C. but whose jobs are in the city, started working remotely. After the pandemic, the federal government was extremely lenient in permitting its employees to continue working from home. As a result, there are many fewer people in the city when the workday ends.

But people won’t come at night to an area riddled by homelessness, open drug use, and crime. Just yesterday night, I passed on a big high school basketball game between two great D.C. rivals — a matchup I’ve attended for years except during the pandemic — because it was played in a sketchy neighborhood.

——-

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 & Spending Climate: City of Madison plans 5.9% spending increase



Alison Garfield:

The mayor’s operating budget, however, is up 5.9% from 2023’s $382 million budget and would increase the city portion of taxes by $109 on a home with Madison’s average value of $424,400, to a total of $3,016, according to the proposal.

Every budget since at least 2011 has seen a gap between the cost to serve residents and the funding available to do so, Rhodes-Conway said, and as Madison’s population has grown, so has that gap.

While one-time revenues from tax incremental financing and COVID-19 grants have helped fill the budget deficit in the past, those options are limited moving forward. Already there are 10% fewer city employees per 1,000 residents than there were in 2011.

“This is the final year that we will be able to use federal COVID relief funds and other one-time monies to balance the budget. Beyond 2024, to be honest, the forecast is pretty bleak because our costs continue to grow,” Rhodes-Conway said.




Inadequate literacy coverage in New York City



Kappan:

In the third installment of our series on literacy coverage, one of the parents featured in “Sold a Story” describes a dispiriting media response to problems at his daughter’s New York City school that continues to this day.

By Alexander Russo

Even before the pandemic, New York City parent Lee Gaul had sensed something seemed off about his daughter Zoe’s reading. “She would use a word that was completely wrong even if it conveyed the same idea,” he told me in a recent interview.

Then, like many other parents, he saw what was being taught in Zoe’s classroom during remote learning.

Looking around for answers to what was going on, Gaul eventually came across Emily Hanford’s documentary “At a Loss for Words” and found out that his daughter’s school was— like many other NYC DOE schools—using the Lucy Calkins (TCRWP) “balanced literacy” approach to teaching reading.

There was even a picture of Calkins schmoozing with the administrative staff in the familiar halls of his daughter’s school.

Trying to get some media attention to address the problems he was seeing, Gaul tried contacting several major local news outlets to tell them about the situation.

But no reporters ever got back to him with substantive interest until he was contacted by APM Reports’ Hanford.




Stacy Davis Gates wants choice for her son, but not for everyone else.



Wall Street Journal:

Chicago Teachers Union President Stacy Davis Gates has called school choice racist and made it her mission to kill an Illinois scholarship program for low-income children. So how did Ms. Gates try to explain herself this week after press reports that she has enrolled her son in a private Catholic high school?

“Dear Union Sibling,” began her email to fellow teachers. She said that black students have “limited” options on the city’s south and west sides: “It forced us to send our son, after years of attending a public school, to a private high school so he could live out his dream of being a soccer player while also having a curriculum that can meet his social and emotional needs.”

Ms. Gates’s desire to do what’s best for her child is laudable. What’s not is to do that while denying other families the same choice. The school where her son is enrolled reportedly costs her $16,000 a year. What about those who can’t afford such a school? Illinois’s Invest in Kids program funds about 9,000 scholarships, and last year it had 31,000 applications. But the program is scheduled to sunset, and that’s exactly what the teachers unions have demanded.

“Here is the truth: If you are a Black family living in a Black community, high-quality neighborhood schools have been the dream, not the reality,” Ms. Gates’s email says. There’s no arguing about that. For some schools on the south side, the percentage of students who can read or do math at grade level is in the single digits. But then she insists, as the teachers unions always do, that the answer is spending yet more money to “undo the decades of systemic underinvestment.”




Kansas City schools rent homes to teachers starting at $400 a month to recruit more amid a national shortage



Christian Robles:

Alexandria Millet found a way to sharply cut her rent this year and move closer to her job at Central High School in Kansas City, Mo.—live in a duplex built to house teachers.

A 10th-grade English and journalism instructor, Millet, 24 years old, now pays $400 a month to live with two other teachers in a home provided through a partnership between Kansas City Public Schools and Teachers Like Me, a nonprofit building housing to help recruit Black teachers.

KCPS is one of several school districts across the country—in urban and rural areas from California to West Virginia and Florida—that are trying to use affordable housing to hire and retain teachers amid a nationwide shortage of both. The efforts join state and federal programs that have for years provided teachers grants and down payment assistance to purchase homes.

“Not having to pay high rent and having a program that supports you specifically in terms of housing” made it easier to stay in Kansas City, Millet said, as she wanted to do after working there a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer.

The low-cost housing “made it come together,” said Millet, who is from Milwaukee. She earns about $48,000 a year in a metropolitan area with a typical monthly apartment rent of $1,437 in July, according to Zillow estimates.

Teachers Like Me opened its first duplex in February and has plans to house up to 25 teachers, said Trinity Davis, the organization’s founder and a former Kansas City school administrator.




North Iowa city relies on AI in banning of 19 renowned books, including Bissinger’s bestseller about a high school football team and the world in which it lived



Mike Hlas:

“Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream,” the 1990 non-fiction bestseller by H.G. “Buzz” Bissinger about a prominent west Texas high school football team and societal issues in its Odessa, Texas home is one of 19 books recently removed from school shelves in Mason City.

Others include Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple,” Theodore Dreiser’s “An American Tragedy,” and Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

“I’m flattered to be in the same company,” Bissinger said by phone Wednesday. “These are great, great books.”

The rest of what he said wasn’t so flattering, and with good reason.

Iowa Senate File 496, passed this year, requires every book available to students be “age-appropriate” and free of any “descriptions or visual depictions of a sex act” according to Iowa Code 702.17.

Mason City Community School District Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Bridgette Exman said it was “simply not feasible to read every book and filter for these new requirements.” So, as Popular Science reported this week, that district is using ChatGPT. That’s an artificial intelligence software, to help provide textual analysis of each title.

“This use of AI is ridiculous,” Bissinger said, “There’s no sex at all. I’ve never depicted a sex act. I don’t know what the (expletive) they’re talking about. I purposely stayed away from that.”

As for the book possibly not being age-appropriate?

“My book is being falsely depicted,” said Bissinger. “The tragedy is, this is a great book for kids. It is a great book for teenage males because they don’t like to read anything. But they devour this book, and I know because I’ve had over 30 years of emails telling me that.




Viewpoint Discrimination: The District allowed “Black Lives Matter” protestors to violate the city’s defacement ordiance, but enforced the law against groups with a different political message



Jonathan Adler:

Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit revived a lawsuit agaisnt the District of Columbia for selective enforcement of the district’s defacement ordinance in violation of the First Amendment. Judge Rao wrote for the court in Frederick Douglass Foundation v. District of Columbia, joined by Judge Childs, reversing the district court’s dismissal of the Foundation’s First Amendment claim, but affirming dismissal of an Equal Protection claim. Judge Wilkins concurred in the judgment.

Judge Rao’s opinion for the court summarizes the case and decision as follows:

The First Amendment prohibits government discrimination on the basis of viewpoint. “To permit one side … to have a monopoly in expressing its views … is the antithesis of constitutional guarantees.” City of Madison Joint Sch. Dist. No. 8 v. Wis. Emp. Relations Comm’n, 429 U.S. 167, 175–76 (1976). The protection for freedom of speech applies not only to legislation, but also to enforcement of the laws. This case concerns a constitutional challenge to the selective enforcement of the District of Columbia’s defacement ordinance against some viewpoints but not others.

In the summer of 2020, thousands of protesters flooded the streets of the District to proclaim “Black Lives Matter.” Over several weeks, the protesters covered streets, sidewalks, and storefronts with paint and chalk. The markings were ubiquitous and in open violation of the District’s defacement ordinance, yet none of the protesters were arrested. During the same summer, District police officers arrested two pro-life advocates in a smaller protest for chalking “Black Pre-Born Lives Matter” on a public sidewalk.




Police stage ‘chilling’ raid on Marion County newspaper, seizing computers, records and cellphones



Kansas Reflector:

In an unprecedented raid Friday, local law enforcement seized computers, cellphones and reporting materials from the Marion County Record office, the newspaper’s reporters, and the publisher’s home.

Eric Meyer, owner and publisher of the newspaper, said police were motivated by a confidential source who leaked sensitive documents to the newspaper, and the message was clear: “Mind your own business or we’re going to step on you.”

The city’s entire five-officer police force and two sheriff’s deputies took “everything we have,” Meyer said, and it wasn’t clear how the newspaper staff would take the weekly publication to press Tuesday night.

The raid followed news stories about a restaurant owner who kicked reporters out of a meeting last week with U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner, and revelations about the restaurant owner’s lack of a driver’s license and conviction for drunken driving.




‘Misinformation’ Is The Vocabulary Of A Culture That Has Lost Its Capacity To Discuss ‘Truth’



Elle Purnell:

In a preliminary injunction issued against the White House and federal agencies on Tuesday in Missouri v. Biden, Judge Terry Doughty eviscerated government actors for colluding with social media companies to censor users’ protected speech in the name of eliminating “misinformation.”

Doughty, as others have done, compares the government censorship to Orwell’s hypothetical “Ministry of Truth.” But Orwell’s satirical title gives the speech police too much credit: It assumes “truth” is still a functional part of their vocabulary. No, our censors speak in terms of “misinformation.”

The perversion of truth is falsehood; misinformation is just the perversion of information. Truth has a moral component; information doesn’t. Years of moral relativism have eroded our cultural understanding of “truth” as a knowable, agreed-upon concept — and in our modern world, all we’re left with is an infinite supply of information.

Truth, Discerned in Nature by Reason

For most of Western history, philosophers and laymen alike have agreed upon the existence of “truth,” as a factual concept but also as a moral one.




City of Portland, OR Inclusive Writing Guide



Office of Equity and Human Rights:

Language is fluid. Some individuals within groups disagree about terminology, which can discourage some from participating in discussions about identity because they don’t want to “get it wrong” or offend someone. If we avoid difficult conversations, we are not helping to build an inclusive environment.

As our understanding of race, gender, socioeconomic status, and disability evolves, we must make informed choices about language and adopt a continuous improvement approach— striking a balance between following the lead of the individuals most affected, while using resources developed by experts to avoid overburdening those most affected.

Culturally conscious writers stay up to date on inclusive and equitable language, observing and learning how people and groups self- identify. This guide is a City- wide collaboration and will be updated as terms and language evolve, and the Office of Equity welcomes ongoing input and feedback from all City staff.




Phonics Finally Gets Its Due in New York: It took the city’s education bureaucracy 20 years to recognize that the Success Academy approach works.Phonics Finally Gets Its Due in New York:



Eva Moskowitz:

American students continue to suffer the effects of pandemic learning loss, as this week’s miserable National Assessment of Educational Progress scores demonstrate. But school closures and lockdowns explain only so much. If you truly wish to understand the dysfunction plaguing U.S. public schools, consider the remarkable story of Joel Greenblatt. A hedge-fund manager with no training or experience in education, Mr. Greenblatt nevertheless figured something out 20 years ago that New York City’s sprawling $38 billion school system is only now starting to realize—phonics is the key to early childhood literacy.

In 2005, as chairman of the City Council’s Education Committee, I heard about a school in Queens where the proportion of fourth-graders reading proficiently had doubled, from 36% to 71%, in four years. This school, P.S. 65, was using a phonics-based curriculum called Success for All that had been developed in the 1970s by Robert Slavin and Nancy Madden at Johns Hopkins University. The curriculum’s design was ingenious. It broke down reading skills into bite-sized pieces that children could understand. Students were evaluated every six weeks, placed into small groups at the same level of reading mastery, and taught exactly what they needed to progress to the next level. Success for All’s materials were so detailed and clear that even a relatively inexperienced teacher could use them.

Implementing Success for All didn’t require tons of money or brilliant teachers making heroic sacrifices. All it required was some modest additional funding so that students could learn in small groups for 100 minutes a day. Mr. Greenblatt, who picked up the tab, thought the school could make the money go further by asking other educators—such as the assistant principal or the art teacher—to pitch in.




Politics and teaching children to read: Mother Jones Edition



Kiera Butlers

Ten years ago, Marilyn Muller began to suspect that her kindergarten daughter, Lauryn, was struggling with reading. Lauryn, a bright child, seemed mystified by the process of sounding out simple words. Still, the teachers at the top-rated Massachusetts public school reassured Muller that nothing was wrong, and Lauryn would pick up the skill—eventually. Surely they knew what they were talking about. Their reading curriculum was well-regarded, and one that encouraged children to use context clues when they couldn’t decode a word. The class was organized into leveled reading groups—bronze, silver, gold, and platinum—with everyone starting out the year in the bronze group. By year’s end, everyone had moved up to a new level—except Lauryn. Muller’s daughter was the only kindergartner stuck in bronze all year.

First grade was no better. The teachers continued to brush off Muller’s concerns—but she couldn’t help but worry for all sorts of reasons, especially because not being able to read was starting to affect her daughter emotionally. Tears started each day, as Lauryn began to refuse to go to school in the mornings. Finally, Muller brought Lauryn in for a private neuropsychological evaluation, and the psychologist who tested her found that her daughter was dyslexic. After a long battle with the school, Muller eventually convinced them to provide appropriate services—something to which all students are entitled by law.

In Lauryn’s case, this meant that her current reading curriculum should have been replaced by a method of known as the structured literacy approach. Instead of guessing and looking for context clues, structured literacy—also known as phonics—teaches students how to map sounds onto letters to decode words. There was only one problem: Muller discovered that the teacher the school assigned to Lauren wasn’t trained in structured literacy. Lauryn continued to struggle.

Muller didn’t know it at the time, but she had stumbled into an educational controversy that in recent months has turned into something of a scandal. A spate of recent reporting—in podcasts, national magazines, and major newspapers—has highlighted new research finding that the balanced literacy approach wasn’t as effective as a phonics-based approach for most students—learning disabled or typical. And the national embrace of balanced literacy was particularly bad for low-income students of color. Today, a staggering third of all children—and half of all Black children—read below grade level. In May, leaders in the country’s largest school system of New York City officially announced plans to transition away from a balanced literacy curriculum and apologized for the harm they had caused. Addressing students and parents in a recent New York Times interview, Chancellor David C. Banks said, “It’s not your fault. It’s not your child’s fault. It was our fault. This is the beginning of a massive turnaround.” Understandably, parents are outraged.

“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?




Bill tweaking college tuition reciprocity deal with Minnesota gains momentum in Wisconsin Legislature



Rich Kremer:

An effort to rework a tuition reciprocity agreement with Minnesota that would send millions of additional dollars to Wisconsin universities is gaining momentum with state lawmakers. But as drafted, the legislation could temporarily kill reciprocity if Minnesota officials don’t approve.

Under the decades-old reciprocity agreement, students from Minnesota and Wisconsin pay in-state tuition costs while attending public universities in their neighboring state. Since tuition costs more at Minnesota universities, Wisconsin receives a “differential” that varies based on what tuition expenses are at University of Wisconsin campuses. For example, Minnesota students attending UW-River Falls pay around $5,883 per year, while tuition for Wisconsin students attending the same school is around $3,896. 

Under the current reciprocity agreement, any extra money from Minnesota students is sent to Wisconsin’s general fund. This year, a bipartisan group of Wisconsin lawmakers introduced a bill requiring that money to instead be sent to the UW System school enrolling those students from across the border.

During a public hearing Thursday, UW-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo told members of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee the shift would have a big impact on her campus.




The Parents Who Fight the City for a “Free Appropriate Public Education”



Jessica Winter:

Travis came to live at his ninth home the day before he started kindergarten. When his new foster parents, Elizabeth and Dan, enrolled Travis at their neighborhood public school, in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in Brooklyn, they learned that Travis was eligible for special-education services. (Some names in this story have been changed.) Several languages had been spoken in Travis’s past homes, which had included foster-care placements and homeless shelters, and he had not begun speaking until he was three and a half. A neuropsychiatric evaluation of Travis, conducted when he was four, estimated that he had a grasp of twenty words; it also noted that he still wore pull-up diapers and “tends to speak very loudly to his peers.”

Elizabeth noticed a line in Travis’s paperwork that read “Disability Classification,” and, next to it, the initials “E.D.” The school’s principal told her that they stood for “emotional disturbance.” Elizabeth and Dan, who later adopted Travis and his infant brother, Kieran, did not yet know that Travis had suffered abuse and neglect in previous homes. Nor did they know that Travis had been kicked out of two preschools for violent behavior. But, Elizabeth told me, “it was almost immediately apparent that he had aggressive and violent coping skills. That was how he interacted with the world, because that was how the world had interacted with him.”

That fall, when Elizabeth visited Travis’s kindergarten classroom for her first parent-teacher conference, one of the teachers gestured toward a comfy reading nook, piled with pillows. “See that calm-down corner? We built that for Travis,” the teacher said. Elizabeth, who is a stay-at-home mother, began receiving frequent calls about Travis acting out at school: tantrums, hitting other children, throwing books. A behavioral paraprofessional was assigned to Travis, but the incidents persisted. “We started getting calls like, ‘There’s a field trip coming up, and it would probably be best if Travis stayed home.’ Or, ‘Could he not come into school tomorrow? It would just be easier,’ ” Elizabeth said.




“an overwhelming 74 percent thought that race or ethnicity should not be a factor in college admissions”



Ray Teixeira

Democrats are very shaky indeed on the idea of merit today but that wobbliness goes back quite a way to the origins of affirmative action as a tool for allocating jobs and school admissions. As it evolved in practice, affirmative action became bound up with preferences based on race (later also on gender) that were used to override allocations based on conventional measures of merit. While these practices have been with us for a long time, they have never been popular. Voters have been stubbornly resistant to the idea that it’s fair to allocate sought-over slots on the basis of race rather than merit.

This is true today as the Supreme Court prepares to render a decision next month on affirmative action in higher education as practiced byHarvard and the University of North Carolina. The Harvard case turns particularly on whether Asians have been discriminated against in admissions to that college. Given the proclivities of the Court and the blindingly obvious pattern of such discrimination—denying it seems as plausible as professing one’s belief in the Easter Bunny—it is a safe bet that the Court will decide against the universities. In so doing, the Court will find itself on the good side of public opinion and Democrats, who will no doubt denounce the decision in histrionic terms, will find themselves very much on the wrong side.

In typical polling from Pew in 2022, just 7 percent of the public thought high school grades should not be a factor in college admissions and a mere 14 percent thought standardized test scores should not be a factor. But an overwhelming 74 percent thought that race or ethnicity should not be a factor in college admissions.




New New York City Reading Programs



Alex Zimmerman:

New York City’s elementary schools will be required to use one of three reading curriculums, a tectonic shift that education officials hope will improve literacy rates across the nation’s largest school system.

Beginning in September, elementary schools in 15 of the city’s 32 districts will be required to use one of three programs selected by the education department, Chancellor David Banks and Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday. By September 2024, all of the city’s roughly 700 elementary schools will be required to use one of the three. Chalkbeat first reported the plans in March. 

The new mandate won support from the teachers union, whose leaders expressed faith in the city’s efforts to train thousands of teachers on new materials. Training for the first year is expected to cost $35 million, though city officials declined to provide an estimate of the effort’s overall price tag, including the cost of purchasing materials.

Meanwhile, the plan earned a strong rebuke from the union representing principals, who have long had wide latitude to choose which materials their teachers use. That freedom has allowed school leaders to use programs that vary widely in their approach and quality, Banks has argued.




Narrowing permitted ideas on both left and right, one unsuitable voice at a time



Matt Taibbi:

That interview says it all, doesn’t it? 

Not long ago I was writing in defense of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. When she first entered Congress as an inner-city kid who’d knocked off longtime insider Joe Crowley with a Sandersian policy profile, her own party’s establishment ridiculed her as a lefty Trump. Nancy Pelosi scoffed that her win just meant voters “made a choice in one district,” so “let’s not get carried away.” Ben Ritz, director of the Progressive Policy Institute, an offshoot of the old Democratic Leadership Council, groused, “Oh, please, she just promised everyone a bunch of free stuff.” 

This was before AOC decided to be the next Pelosi, instead of the next Sanders. The above sit-down on MSNBC shows the transformation. Having shed the mantle of an outsider who shook the old guard with online savvy, she appeared in soft light for a softball “interview,” by a literal Biden official (Inside With Jen Psaki is as close as you can get to a formal dissolution of the line between White House and media). In it, she seemed to argue for the outlaw of Fox News. “We have very real issues with what is permissible on air,” she said, adding people like Tucker Carlson are “very clearly” guilty of “incitement to violence,” a problem in light of “federal regulation in terms of what’s allowed on air and what isn’t.”

I was attracted to liberalism as a young person precisely because it didn’t want to ban things. Every liberal morality play in the seventies, eighties and nineties featured a finger-wagging moralist who couldn’t stomach an obscene joke (Jerry Falwell, over a Hustler parody), “obscene” art (Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center, over Robert Mapplethorpe’s photos), “objectionable” music (Tipper Gore, in the now-seems-tame record-labeling furor), or unpredictable humor (NBC, in its attempts to put Richard Pryor on tape delay for Saturday Night Live). Pryor’s favored writer Paul Mooney objected so much to all the hoops they had to jump through to be allowed on air, he ended up writing a parody “job interview” skit that sent SNL’s ratings soaring, though ironically it would probably never air today:




In 2014, the city of San Francisco decided to try to improve equity in math education by barring kids from taking algebra in 8th grade.



Noah Smith:

The results were highly disappointing — Black and Latino kids’ math skills did not improve, and the achievement gap widened, thanks to richer White and Asian families hiring private tutors to teach their kids algebra.

This incident — whose results are sad but entirely predictable — highlights how some Americans think we can increase equity in math education by simply teaching less math. But this doesn’t make the world more equal — rich kids have the private resources to learn on their own, while poor kids need the state to teach them. Paring back the role of the state is rarely a recipe for equity. 

But there’s probably a wider consequence of this type of shenanigan as well. At a time when America is desperately trying to re-shore strategic industries like semiconductors, we need a broad workforce with basic numeracyeven more than usual. The more we refuse to teach our kids math — not the well-prepared upper crust, but the broad middle of the distribution — the more we’ll be dependent on immigration to run the fabs. And while immigration is great, I don’t have infinite confidence in our government’s willingness to open the gates. We need to train our own people too.

Which means we need to get more serious about broad-based math education. A couple years ago, I wrote a post about why the fights over meritocracy vs. equity ignore the larger imperative of broad-based numeracy and technical competence. Here is that post, which I think is more relevant than ever.




S.F. bureaucrats give woman a choice: Remove free library or pay $1,400 after one anonymous complaint



Heather Knight

For more than a decade, Susan Meyers’ front sidewalk proved a cheerful hub in her Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood — until one anonymous grump called 311. In this city notorious for giving tremendous credence to solitary complainers — who have the right to halt housing projects, foil their neighbors’ housing remodels and stall emergency transit projects — that one call compelled a visit from a Public Works inspector.

And soon, Meyers’ adorable little library had a notice affixed to it with bright blue tape giving her two choices: Remove the bench and the library or pay $1,402 for a “minor encroachment permit.”




Civics: Chicago’s pursuit of ‘criminal justice reform’ an utter failure: Windy City homicides top nation for 11th year in a row with crime still rising



Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner

Rising crime is the number one crisis facing Chicago today. More specifically, the city’s propensity for murder. Chicago was the nation’s extreme outlier for homicides in 2022, with 697 deaths. More people were murdered here than anywhere else. 

What’s worse, Chicago has out-paced the entire nation in murders for 11 years in a row. It’s become an embedded, chronic wound for the city.

That’s not a surprising result given the failed policies of Chicago’s leadership in recent years, from a dramatic drop in arrests to ever-fewer prosecutions to reduced sentencing. The pursuit of “equity” and “social justice,” instead of actual justice, has only increased the protection of criminals, crushed police morale and increased the violence inflicted on ordinary Chicagoans.




Civics: Legacy Media Veracity – Pulitzer Edition



Ivy Exile:

(I once asked Sig Gissler, the longtime prize administrator, why we hadn’t retracted the infamous award to Walter Duranty, the New York Timescorrespondent whose dishonest dispatches from the Soviet Union were critics’ go-to talking point. No way we’d give the right wing that satisfaction, he told me.)

As a free agent now I can’t emphasize enough how empty the prizes had become even a decade ago—Thomas Friedman sauntering from car service up to Pulitzer Hall’s famed World Room—and that was before the bottom really fell out. They were a sad cartoon well ahead of Donald Trump descending that golden escalator.

For years I attended prize luncheons at Columbia’s Low Library as reporter and warm body filling photo ops in exchange for rubbery chicken with mashed potatoes and wine. University President Lee C. Bollinger would boast of his First Amendment scholarship and landmark Supreme Court case, followed by awardees waxing poetic about their own historic significance.

Whether the beat was race, refugees or the environment, the prescription was almost always the same: more expert administrators and many more grants and subsidies for selfless global truthtellers like them, along with doing more to suppress disinformation from the bad guys. Accordingly, the arts prizes went largely to poets, playwrights, et al peddling variations on the same theme.




“I was born in Cuba, and it doesn’t sound good when people are trying to achieve equal outcomes for everyone,” said one parent.



Emma Camp:

One California high school has eliminated honors classes for ninth- and 10th-grade students. While school officials claim that the change was necessary to increase “equity,” the move has angered students and parents alike.

“We really feel equity means offering opportunities to students of diverse backgrounds, not taking away opportunities for advanced education and study,” one parent who opposed the change told The Wall Street Journal.

Starting this school year, Culver City High School, a public school in a middle-class suburb of Los Angles, eliminated its honors English classes for ninth- and 10th-graders. Instead, students are only able to enroll in one course called “College Prep” English. The decision, according to school administrators, came after teachers noticed that only a small number of black and Hispanic students were enrolling in Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses.

“It was very jarring when teachers looked at their AP enrollment and realized Black and brown kids were not there. They felt obligated to do something,” said Quoc Tran, the district’s superintendent. According to an article by The Wall Street Journal‘s Sara Randazzo, data presented at a school board meeting last year showed that Latino students made up 13 percent of 12th-grade A.P. English students, despite comprising 37 percent of the student body, while black students made up 14 percent of A.P. English students while comprising 15 percent of the student body.

Deja vu: One size fits all in Madison – English 10

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




“I was born in Cuba, and it doesn’t sound good when people are trying to achieve equal outcomes for everyone,” said one parent.



Emma Camp:

One California high school has eliminated honors classes for ninth- and 10th-grade students. While school officials claim that the change was necessary to increase “equity,” the move has angered students and parents alike.

“We really feel equity means offering opportunities to students of diverse backgrounds, not taking away opportunities for advanced education and study,” one parent who opposed the change told The Wall Street Journal.

Starting this school year, Culver City High School, a public school in a middle-class suburb of Los Angles, eliminated its honors English classes for ninth- and 10th-graders. Instead, students are only able to enroll in one course called “College Prep” English. The decision, according to school administrators, came after teachers noticed that only a small number of black and Hispanic students were enrolling in Advanced Placement (A.P.) courses.

“It was very jarring when teachers looked at their AP enrollment and realized Black and brown kids were not there. They felt obligated to do something,” said Quoc Tran, the district’s superintendent. According to an article by The Wall Street Journal‘s Sara Randazzo, data presented at a school board meeting last year showed that Latino students made up 13 percent of 12th-grade A.P. English students, despite comprising 37 percent of the student body, while black students made up 14 percent of A.P. English students while comprising 15 percent of the student body.

Deja vu: One size fits all in Madison – English 10

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Chicago Mayor Lightfoot’s campaign sent 9,900 emails seeking support from CPS, City Colleges staff, documents show



Sarah Karp and Tessa Weinberg:

When news broke last month that Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s reelection campaign had solicited help from Chicago Public Schools and City Colleges of Chicago educators to recruit student volunteers, the incumbent candidate apologized, calling the effort a “bad mistake” by one young staffer.

But the campaign had for months been sending CPS and City Colleges staff thousands of other emails unrelated to the student volunteer solicitation — some from multiple campaign staffers. The emails ranged from generic fundraising appeals to invitations to private town halls and requests for help gathering petitions, records newly obtained by WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times show. 

Four emails were sent to City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Juan Salgado — who reports to the mayor — at his work email address inviting him to a Lightfoot campaign event.

In all, the mayor’s reelection campaign sent more than 9,900 emails to CPS and City Colleges staff since last April, according to documents obtained through public records requests that reveal the previously unreported breadth of the outreach to government employees. The emails went to at least 64 City Colleges staff members since July. It’s unclear how many individual CPS staff members were emailed, as those details were not provided.




Civics: No one should be convicted for solving a problem the government refused to address



Tom Knighton:

What these two women were doing was using food to trap these feral cats, then taking them and getting them fixed so they wouldn’t keep creating more and more generations of feral cats.

It’s similar to what the nearby city of Montgomery did with great success.

And they weren’t hurting anyone by doing so, either. They’d been directed to set up their operation on public land, away from private property—which they did—and they started dealing with a problem in the city of Wetumpka.

Now, in fairness, I’ve been to Wetumpka a number of times over the last couple of years. I’ve got a friend who lives there and I visit semi-regularly. I never noticed an excess of stray cats, but that only means there were few in the area I happened to be.

So the question you may have is just what crime was committed, and that’s a fair question.

To be honest, I’m not really sure, either. If you read the story, you see that the trespassing charge deals with public land, which doesn’t sound like trespassing in that case; claims of interfering with the arrest of one woman which has body cam footage showing the one supposedly interfering was sitting in the car until she was physically removed of it.




Virus Veracity: The virus would become endemic. All would be exposed.Virus Veracity:



Holman Jenkins:

More generally, he and other officials seemed eager to abet the censorious segment of the public to berate others about masks, vaccinations and lockdowns beyond their merits.

At times he also seemed to wave off responsibility for the downside of his advice aimed at reducing absolutely the number of cases, saying it was somebody else’s job to consider the trade-offs in lost employment, depression, missed schooling, suicide.

And not for Dr. Fauci or any other official was the advice advertised from day one on the CDC website (until it mysteriously disappeared): “In the coming months, most of the U.S. population will be exposed to this virus.” At worst, he and others thought it wouldn’t be good for their personal brands to be seen delivering this unwelcome but realistic news to the American people.

In Mr. Brennan’s suggestion Dr. Fauci did his best, a fair conclusion from a grown-up perspective if we understand doing his best to mean making judicious decisions about when to mislead.

Consistently misunderstood, especially by the relentless Trump critic Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, officials were under a de facto mandate to avoid panic.

The mayor of New York, the governor of California, Dr. Fauci and CDC’s Dr. Nancy Messonnier all declared that Covid was nothing to worry about, by which they really meant don’t worry yet. Their quotes now seem indefensibly glib. But under the textbook plan of “flatten the curve” the goal was to slow the spread only as needed to ease the burden on hospitals. Virtually any politician who paid attention to briefings understood job one to be playing down the new virus until it was time to institute specific measures.




“One of the best resources we have when it comes to making sense of these races – and those are oftentimes college kids”



Tate LaFrenier:

In a Zoom interview with The Michigan Daily, Galen Metzger, University of Denver student and prominent ET user, described ET as a community “where a whole bunch of nerdy 20-somethings routinely have the most accurate information and predictions about elections as a group.”

It’s difficult to dispute this. Twitter user @umichvoter (who, in a Zoom interview with The Michigan Daily, requested anonymity after being doxxed before) is a University of Michigan Class of 2021 graduate — yet in late August, they correctly predicted the makeup of the Senate and the margins in the House within a few seats, back when many outlets were handing control of Congress to the GOP.

And they’re just one example. Similar accounts have been cited by networks like TIMEAPMSNBC and more, and have been recognized for their work by prominent figures such as Rachel Maddow

Despite this, ET hasn’t been widely written about outside of its own sphere. The community has existed in some capacity since the early days of Twitter, but many active users seem to have gotten their start sometime between 2018 and 2020. Considering Gen Z’s increased voter engagement since 2018, this makes sense.

James Miles Coleman, the associate editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia, said in a Zoom interview with The Michigan Daily that Twitter was one of his main sources of election news.

“One of the best resources we have when it comes to making sense of these races,” Coleman said, “is people on (Election) Twitter … and these are oftentimes college kids.”




Six Unsettling Features of DEI in K-12: A guide for parents, educators, and anyone concerned about new curricular interventions



Free Black Thought:

The purpose of this article and its associated downloadable Powerpoint is to make available, for parents, educators, and all who care about K-12 education, information about some of the potentially harmful ideas and practices around race that have become increasingly prevalent in K-12 education. For convenience, we call these new ideas and practices “DEI,” that is, “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” Other terms you may have seen for roughly the same phenomenon include “Critical Race Theory (CRT),” “(critical) social justice,” “diversity work,” and “antiracism.” This is not to say that there are no constructive alternative-DEI / alternative-to-DEI frameworks out there. There are, and we discuss some in the final section. It is merely to say that the broad mainstream of the DEI industry, now asserting itself in classrooms everywhere, tends to evince some unsettling features. Some of these features are the subject of this post. 

In the following six sections, we explore six of these unsettling features of DEI as it manifests in K-12. A final coda offers some alternatives to traditional DEI that are worth exploring. This post is long. We hope, however, that you find it to be a useful resource. Each section is independent of the others and so may be consulted independently. You may click on a section number to jump to that section:

          1. "Oppressed vs. oppressor" framing
          2. "White supremacy culture" framing
          3. Segregating children by race or ethnicity in “affinity groups”
          4. Constructive vs. Critical/Liberated Ethnic Studies
          5. Lowering/eliminating standards in math education
          6. Misrepresentation of “Implicit Bias”

Coda: For what may we hope? Alternatives to DEI



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



Complete Interview.

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

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

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

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

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

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

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

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




Civics and elections: “But Democrats need to be honest about the consequences of their actions after the 2016 election”



Lev Golinkin:

Trump’s mendacity is arguably the Second Big Lie. Four years earlier, the Hillary Clinton campaign and leading Democrats refused to acknowledge the outcome of the 2016 election, by claiming Donald Trump was not a legitimate president. These actions, while certainly not as dramatic or as immediately damaging as the events leading to Jan. 6 (and today), helped bring us to our current situation.

“He lost the election and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” ex-President Jimmy Carter said in 2019, continuing to deny Trump’s victory three years after the election.

“He knows he’s an illegitimate president,” said Clinton, also three years later. She repeated this sentiment in 2020, telling The Atlantic the election “was not on the level,” and again when she called Trump’s win illegitimate. She piled on to this by saying, “You can run the best campaign, you can even become the nominee, and you can have the election stolen from you,” clearly referring to how she saw her 2016 campaign.




Tired tropes about scarcity and backwardness obscure stories about diversity and innovation.



Nick Fouriezos:

Close your eyes and imagine a rural person. What do you see?

Now hold on to that image … we’ll get back to it.

Growing up, I traded urban and rural values each Wednesday and every other weekend while being shuttled between one parent who lived in the Atlanta suburbs and the other in the rolling foothills of Appalachia.

Even with that partial education in rural life, I find myself constantly contending with my blind spots, which I’ve become even more acutely aware of since last October, when I joined Open Campus and became the nation’s only national reporter dedicated to rural higher education.

Take a recent piece I wrote co-published with Open Campus and The Washington Post about rural broadband, headlined Despite pandemic promises, many rural students still lack fast internet.




In Chicago, the city’s largest children’s hospital has partnered with local school districts to promote radical gender theory.



Christopher Rufo:

I have obtained insider documents that reveal this troubling collaboration between gender activists at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and school administrators throughout the Chicago area. According to these documents, and a review of school district websites, Lurie Children’s Hospital has provided materials to school leaders promoting radical gender theory, trans activism, and sexually explicit materials in at least four Chicago-area public school systems: District 75, District 120, District 181, and District 204. According to a whistleblower, these documents were circulated to administrators, teachers, and other staff at the middle school and high school level as part of ongoing employee-training programs.

The primary training document, “Beyond Binary: Gender in Schools,” follows the basic narrative of academic queer theory: white, Western society has created an oppressive gender binary, falsely dividing the world into the categories of man and woman, that has resulted in “transphobia,” “cissexism,” and “systemic discrimination” against racial and sexual minorities. Versions of the document were attributed toJennifer Leininger, associate director of Lurie’s Community Programs and Initiatives, and Hadeis Safi, a “nonbinary” gender activist who uses “they/them” pronouns and works for the hospital’s LGBTQ and Gender Inclusion program—which advertises its care for children with “gender expansive” identities and offers “gender-affirming” medical procedures, including puberty blockers for children.

The presentation encourages teachers and school administrators to support “gender diversity” in their districts, automatically “affirm” students who announce sexual transitions, and “communicate a non-binary understanding of gender” to children in the classrooms. The objective, as one version of the presentation suggests, is to disrupt the “entrenched [gender] norms in western society” and facilitate the transition to a more “gender creative” world.




Researchers Found Puberty Blockers And Hormones Didn’t Improve Trans Kids’ Mental Health At Their Clinic. Then They Published A Study Claiming The Opposite. (Updated)



Jesse Signal:

An article called “Mental Health Outcomes in Transgender and Nonbinary Youths Receiving Gender-Affirming Care” was published in JAMA Network Open late in February. The authors, listed as Diana M. Tordoff, Jonathon W. Wanta, Arin Collin, Cesalie Stepney, David J. Inwards-Breland, and Kym Ahrens, are mostly based at the University of Washington–Seattle or Seattle Children’s Hospital. 

In their study, the researchers examined a cohort of kids who came through Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic. They simply followed the kids over time as some of them went on puberty blockers and/or hormones, administering self-report surveys tracking their mental health. There were four waves of data collection: when they first arrived at the clinic, three months later, six months later, and 12 months later.

The study was propelled into the national discourse by a big PR push on the part of UW–Seattle. It was successful — Diana Tordoff discussed her and her colleagues’ findings on Science Friday, a very popular weekly public radio science show, not long after the study was published.

All the publicity materials the university released tell a very straightforward, exciting story: The kids in this study who accessed puberty blockers or hormones (henceforth GAM, for “gender-affirming medicine”) had better mental health outcomes at the end of the study than they did at its beginning. 

The headline of the emailed version of the press release, for example, reads, “Gender-affirming care dramatically reduces depression for transgender teens, study finds.” The first sentence reads, “UW Medicine researchers recently found that gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary adolescents caused rates of depression to plummet.” All of this is straightforwardly causal language, with “dramatically reduces” and “caused rates… to plummet” clearly communicating improvement over time.




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schoolinfosystem.org