Deja Vu: Taxpayer supported Madison high schools moving toward eliminating standalone honors courses for ninth, 10th grades

Scott Girard: Madison Metropolitan School District high schools plan to move away from “standalone honors” courses for freshmen and sophomores in the next few years, with an Earned Honors system expected to replace them. The goal, MMSD leaders told the School Board Monday, is to bring rigor to all classrooms for all students and give … Continue reading Deja Vu: Taxpayer supported Madison high schools moving toward eliminating standalone honors courses for ninth, 10th grades

We asked Wisconsin high schools how many students failed a class during first semester. It’s not pretty. Madison?

Samantha West: In one Wisconsin school district, two in five high school students failed a class during first semester. In another, the fall failure rate was four times what it had been in recent years. Almost all of the 60 school districts responding to a USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin survey reported that more high school students failed … Continue reading We asked Wisconsin high schools how many students failed a class during first semester. It’s not pretty. Madison?

Failing grades. Rising depression. Bay Area children are suffering from shuttered schools

Jill Tucker: Viola Buitoni tried to help her son as he grew increasingly detached, the high school junior’s anger flaring, tears flowing as she begged him to do his schoolwork. Before the pandemic, her son was thriving at San Francisco’s Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, where he was in the vocal music program and … Continue reading Failing grades. Rising depression. Bay Area children are suffering from shuttered schools

Credit recovery isn’t enough: How to manage a surge of failing course grades

Betheny Gross: In a year of educational crisis, fall report cards brought more worrisome news. Failing grades are on the rise across the country, especially for students who are learning online. The results threaten to exacerbate existing educational inequities: students with failing grades tend to have less access to advanced courses in high school, and … Continue reading Credit recovery isn’t enough: How to manage a surge of failing course grades

Middleton-Cross Plains School Board votes to return grades K-4 to in-person classes with blended model

Elizabeth Beyer: The Middleton-Cross Plains School Board voted unanimously Monday to return grades K-4 to in-person instruction with a blended learning model in February. The board will revisit a vote to bring back students in older grades during their Feb. 8 meeting after they’ve had the opportunity to observe virus mitigation measures in school buildings. … Continue reading Middleton-Cross Plains School Board votes to return grades K-4 to in-person classes with blended model

Failing grades spike in Virginia’s largest school system as online learning gap emerges nationwide

Hannah Natanson: A report on student grades from one of the nation’s largest school districts offers some of the first concrete evidence that online learning is forcing a striking drop in students’ academic performance, and that the most vulnerable students — children with disabilities and English-language learners — are suffering the most. Fairfax County Public … Continue reading Failing grades spike in Virginia’s largest school system as online learning gap emerges nationwide

Wisconsin high court must rule on Racine’s power overreach

Racine Journal Times: It’s one thing when an individual school district, such as Racine or Kenosha Unified, decide that they are going to go virtual. It’s another thing for the Racine health department to step in and rule that all schools, including private schools, in its jurisdiction must also shut their doors. Yet that is … Continue reading Wisconsin high court must rule on Racine’s power overreach

Middleton High School student’s petition asks for pass/no pass grading during virtual learning

Scott Girard: Many districts moved to pass/no pass grading in the spring during the sudden switch to virtual as the COVID-19 pandemic forced unexpected closures. But with more time to plan and build their virtual learning environments, schools are moving back to letter grades for high school students this fall. The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District, … Continue reading Middleton High School student’s petition asks for pass/no pass grading during virtual learning

(some) Madison School board COmmentary on Planned West High School Grading Changes

So in a district where this was previously implemented, um, failure went down, but so did rates of students earning A’s and B’s and our level classes, um, and teachers found that it had eroded some students’ motivations. So I was wondering if that’s a concern at all in how the district might address that. … Continue reading (some) Madison School board COmmentary on Planned West High School Grading Changes

Madison School District makes ‘major’ changes to high school grading

Logan Wroge: Starting in the fall, Madison high school students won’t receive less than a 50% grade on assignments; the weight of formal assessments such as exams compared to informal work such as homework on final grades will be consistent across all classes; and the way semester grades are calculated will put less emphasis on … Continue reading Madison School District makes ‘major’ changes to high school grading

Madison School District sticking to ‘pass/no pass’ for high schoolers during COVID-19 closure despite some calls for letter grade option

Scott Girard: A survey with more than 550 signatures is calling for the Madison Metropolitan School District to offer the option of letter grades to high school students during virtual learning, but district officials are maintaining their plan for a “pass/no pass” system. The district announced it would use the “pass/no pass” grading system earlier in April to do … Continue reading Madison School District sticking to ‘pass/no pass’ for high schoolers during COVID-19 closure despite some calls for letter grade option

Madison School District sticking to ‘pass/no pass’ for high schoolers during COVID-19 closure despite some calls for letter grade option

Scott Girard: A survey with more than 550 signatures is calling for the Madison Metropolitan School District to offer the option of letter grades to high school students during virtual learning, but district officials are maintaining their plan for a “pass/no pass” system. The district announced it would use the “pass/no pass” grading system earlier … Continue reading Madison School District sticking to ‘pass/no pass’ for high schoolers during COVID-19 closure despite some calls for letter grade option

Madison School District High School “Grade Flooring” continues….

NBC 15: Under a new pilot program the lowest grade students could get on assignments is 40 or 50 percent, not a zero. Studies show freshman year is the most important year in high school and Geoffrey D. Borman, UW-Madison Education Policy Professor, said it can make or break you. The modern A-F grading system … Continue reading Madison School District High School “Grade Flooring” continues….

Madison West High’s microschool shows attendance, credit improvements for students

Scott Girard: A Madison Metropolitan School District microschool for West High School students at risk of not graduating has shown improved attendance and credit achievement for its participants, according to a presentation to the School Board Monday. The microschool opened in November at the Taft Street Boys and Girls Club of Dane County location with 22 girls … Continue reading Madison West High’s microschool shows attendance, credit improvements for students

What should be taught in high school?

NiloCK: I’m an educator with a CS / programming background. There’s a possibility that I’ll be moving into the ‘Information and Communications Technology’ role next year at my medium sized high school (grades 9-12, ~700 students, diverse student population). My jurisdiction’s curriculum in this area is not well developed, and there are no standardized tests … Continue reading What should be taught in high school?

Madison West High School to test ‘grading floor’ as part of district examination of freshman grading

Logan Wroge: In an effort to keep students who fail early in their high school careers from falling completely out of school, ninth grade teachers at Madison’s West High School are planning to assign classroom grades of no less than 40%, eliminate extra credit and allow up to 90% credit for late work in required … Continue reading Madison West High School to test ‘grading floor’ as part of district examination of freshman grading

Security upgrades, behavior fixes pledged by Madison School District

Karen Rivedal: Police also were sent to West on Feb. 19, when a small group of students “engaged in a loud verbal altercation” in front of the school library, Boran said, even as the “vast majority” of students acted appropriately. Disturbances like that happen dozens of times a year across the four high schools, according … Continue reading Security upgrades, behavior fixes pledged by Madison School District

Texas schools and districts got their letter grades from state

Julie Chang Melissa B. Taboada: School districts across Texas pulled in lackluster preliminary grades under the state’s new letter-grade accountability system that debuts Friday. Various Central Texas districts, including Austin, Leander, Hays, Georgetown, Bastrop, Manor, Elgin, San Marcos, Hutto, Dripping Springs and Elgin received unacceptable grades of Ds and Fs in certain categories, according to … Continue reading Texas schools and districts got their letter grades from state

Florida charter schools post more A’s, more F’s in latest high school grades

Travis Pillow: As is often the case, Florida’s charter schools were likely to earn both A’s and F’s than their district counterparts. Dozens of Florida charter schools withstood tougher high school grading rules and kept their top marks in a new state accountability report released today. For both charter and district schools, there were more … Continue reading Florida charter schools post more A’s, more F’s in latest high school grades

97 Percent of Md. Teachers Receive ‘Effective’ Grades

WNEW: A report card released Tuesday for Maryland public school teachers reveals nearly three percent of those educators are rated ineffective, the Maryland State Department of Education says. Evaluations completed for the 2013-14 school year show that 97 percent of teachers were rated either “highly effective” or “effective” in the state’s three-tiered rating system. The … Continue reading 97 Percent of Md. Teachers Receive ‘Effective’ Grades

O.E.C.D. Warns West on Education Gaps

DD Guttenplan:

Like a school principal handing out a clutch of C grades, Andreas Schleicher unveiled the results from the latest round of the Program for International Student Assessment tests last week.
For Britain, the United States and most of Western Europe, the results ranged from “average” to “poor.” British students, for example, scored exactly average in mathematics and slightly above average in reading and science. French students were slightly below average in science and slightly above in reading and mathematics. The United States were below average in mathematics and science but slightly above in reading.
For Asian countries, the news was much more encouraging, with students from Shanghai topping the chart by a considerable margin, but with students from Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea all closely bunched at the high end.
Mr. Schleicher, the head of education at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the tests every three years to about half a million 15-year-olds in 65 countries around the world, also noted significant improvement in Vietnam. He described it as a poor country whose students outperformed peers from many wealthier nations — and did even better once differences in income were taken into account.
“On a level playing field, the British look even worse,” he said at a press conference here.
Western countries, Mr. Schleicher warned, should not to comfort themselves with the myth that Asian high performance is the result of education systems that favor memorization over creativity.

Grades are in: June’s final exams in math show more failure in Montgomery County Schools



Donna St. George, via a kind reader’s email:

For another semester, Montgomery County high school students flunked their final exams in math courses in startlingly high numbers, according to new figures that show failure rates of 71 percent for Geometry and 68 percent for Algebra 1.
The numbers add to a phenomenon that goes back more than five years and came to widespread public attention this spring, setting off a wave of concern among parents as well as elected officials in the high-performing school system.
Latest math-exam figures show high failure rates persist in the high-performing school system.
The new figures, for exams given in June, show that failure rates worsened in Algebra 1 and Geometry; improved in Precalculus and Bridge to Algebra 2; and stayed fairly even in Algebra 2, Honors Precalculus, Honors Algebra 2 and Honors Geometry.
Overall, 45 percent of high school students in eight math courses failed their June finals — about 14,000 students out of roughly 31,000 enrolled.
Exactly what explains steep failure rates for exam-takers has been an issue of debate in recent months.
In a memo to the school board, School Superintendent Joshua P. Starr released a preliminary figure on test-skipping: As many as 500 students were no-shows for the Algebra 1 exam in June, accounting for one-sixth of the 2,912 students who failed the test.
Starr said student motivation was one of a half-dozen issues under study as a newly created math work group seeks to understand the failure problem and suggest ways to turn it around. Other possible causes cited include alignment between the curriculum and the exam, school system practices and policies, and the “cognitive demands” of the exam.

Related: Math Forum audio & video along with a number of connected matharticles.
2004 (!) Madison West High School math teacher letter to Isthmus on dumbing down the curriculum.

Individualized program showing signs of success in West Allis-West Milwaukee schools

Alan Borsuk:

Paula Kaiser says she is getting a lot of experience as a tour guide these days. She shows people around the Miller Brewery perhaps?
Nope.
It’s Walker School, a kindergarten through fifth-grade elementary school on S. 119th St. in West Allis.
Kaiser’s title gives you an idea of what is bringing folks to the 350-student school: She is “next generation learning lead” for the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District.
In other words, she is one of the key people in reshaping life in a growing number of classrooms in the district in a way that is making them showcases for what might be the future on a much wider basis – a higher tech, more individualized, less structured approach to learning, even in the earliest grades.
The new approach sure looks different.
Walk into Team Respect – that’s the name of a combined grouping of 54 first- through third-graders – and you don’t see much of what you saw when you were in those grades.
No rows of desks, not even many tables. Instead, there’s friendly furniture like bean bags, a selection of comfortable nooks and lots of space on the carpet. Kids seem to be mostly sitting around, even lying around, sometimes milling around, by themselves or in pairs or small groups. Most of the time, no teacher is in the front of the room telling everyone what to do.

Mom Arrested For Hacking School Computers to Change Kids’ Grades

Sydney Lupkin:

A Pennsylvania mom faces six felony charges for allegedly hacking into her children’s school computer to change their grades and read school officials’ emails.
Catherine Venusto, 45, of New Tripoli, worked for the Northwestern Lehigh School District from 2008 through April 2011 and has at least two children in the district, according to the District Attorney’s office.
She has been accused of changing her daughter’s failing grade from an F to an M for “medical” in June 2010, and then changing her son’s 98 to a 99 in February 2012, nearly a year after she quit her job as an administrative office secretary to work at another school district.

Carmen’s proposed northwest-side Milwaukee school looks to fill need

Jim McLaughlin, via a kind reader’s email:

Patricia Hoben, a former Washington, D.C., science adviser, experimented with a different kind of school model when she founded Carmen High School of Science and Technology on Milwaukee’s densely Latino south side.
The school has heightened grading policies, gives quarterly assessments on ACT standards, mandates college application boot camp over the summer, holds a January term to salvage credits or enrich high achievers, and requires four years of math, laboratory science, history and English.
Her five-year test yielded one of the best public schools in the city that don’t require an entrance exam.
Like any good scientist, Hoben is hoping to replicate her results in a new school, this time on the mostly African-American northwest side.
Leaders of the south side’s successful Carmen High School submitted a proposal to the Milwaukee School Board last month to open a new grades six to 12 charter school on the northwest side in fall 2013. The proposal for Carmen Northwest Secondary School, as it will temporarily be referred to, earned a rare perfect rating from the charter review panel, which called the proposal “exemplary” for its longer school year and mandatory summer school programs – features that mimic the south-side campus.

The Middle School Plunge: Students who attend middle schools are at risk of dropping out of high school

Martin West and Guido Schwerdt, via a kind Brian S. Hall email:

As compared to students in K-8 elementary schools, middle school students also score lower on achievement tests. Losses amount to as much as 3.5 to 7 months of learning.
A new study of statewide data from all Florida public schools finds that moving to a middle school in grade 6 or 7 causes a substantial drop in student test scores relative to those of students who remain in K-8 schools, and increases the likelihood of dropping out of high school.
In the past ten years, urban school districts such as New York City, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg have reorganized some middle schools along the once-prevalent K-8 model. The study’s findings support these school conversions and “are also relevant to the expanding charter school sector, which has the opportunity to choose grade configurations” when schools are established. An article presenting the research, “The Middle School Plunge: Achievement tumbles when young students change schools,” is available at www.educationnext.org and will appear in the Spring, 2012 issue of Education Next.
Data on state math and reading test scores for all Florida students attending public schools in grades 3 to 10 from the 2000-01 through 2008-09 years were analyzed. The researchers also conducted a test-score analysis separately for schools in Miami-Dade County, which is Florida’s largest district (345,000 students) and offers a wide range of grade configurations up through grade 8. They find that “the negative effects of entering a middle school for grade 6 or grade 7 are, if anything, even more pronounced in Miami-Dade County than they are statewide.”

The paper can be viewed here.

In Zeeland, an iPad for every high school student in the district

Mark Smith:

As students walk through the halls of Zeeland West High School, their backpacks are a little lighter. Stacks of paper and some textbooks have been replaced by the Apple iPad — one for every high-schooler in the district. That’s 1,800 iPads between the two high schools.
And it’s just the beginning for Zeeland Public Schools, which embarked on an ambitious project this fall that will give a tablet to every student in grades 3-12 — the only district in Michigan to do so.
The program represents one of the most aggressive in the country and has garnered national attention. With each student taking responsibility for one, the school uses the iPad for assigning classwork, testing and communicating with students. Some teachers have gone paperless.

Beating the odds: 3 high-poverty Madison schools find success in ‘catching kids up’

Susan Troller:

When it comes to the quality of Madison’s public schools, the issue is pretty much black and white.
The Madison Metropolitan School District’s reputation for providing stellar public education is as strong as it ever was for white, middle-class students. Especially for these students, the district continues to post high test scores and turn out a long list of National Merit Scholars — usually at a rate of at least six times the average for a district this size.
But the story is often different for Hispanic and black kids, and students who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Madison is far from alone in having a significant performance gap. In fact, the well-documented achievement gap is in large measure responsible for the ferocious national outcry for more effective teachers and an overhaul of the public school system. Locally, frustration over the achievement gap has helped fuel a proposal from the Urban League of Greater Madison and its president and CEO, Kaleem Caire, to create a non-union public charter school targeted at minority boys in grades six through 12.
“In Madison, I can point to a long history of failure when it comes to educating African-American boys,” says Caire, who is black, a Madison native and a graduate of West High School. “We have one of the worst achievement gaps in the entire country. I’m not seeing a concrete plan to address that fact, even in a district that prides itself on innovative education.”
What often gets lost in the discussion over the failures of public education, however, is that there are some high-poverty, highly diverse schools that are beating the odds by employing innovative ways to reach students who have fallen through the cracks elsewhere.

Related: A Deeper Look at Madison’s National Merit Scholar Results.
Troller’s article referenced use of the oft criticized WKCE (Wisconsin Knowledge & Concepts Examination) (WKCE Clusty search) state examinations.
Related: value added assessment (based on the WKCE).
Dave Baskerville has argued that Wisconsin needs two big goals, one of which is to “Lift the math, science and reading scores of all K-12, non-special education students in Wisconsin above world-class standards by 2030”. Ongoing use of and progress measurement via the WKCE would seem to be insufficient in our global economy.
Steve Chapman on “curbing excellence”.

The Process for Discussing Madison School District High School Alignment

Superintendent Dan Nerad:

This is to provide clarity, transparency and direction in improving our high school curriculum and instruction, with ongoing communication.
(As presented to the MMSD Board of Education on January 6, 2011)
The following guiding principles were discussed:

Lots of related links:

Let each high school decide how to motivate students

Jay Matthews

Two demographically similar and academically impressive local high schools – Northwood in Montgomery County and West Potomac in Fairfax County – have been debating grades. Both schools have been accused of letting too many students pass their courses without learning the material.
This is in line with what millions of Americans say about schools in general. But they disagree over whom to blame. Unmotivated students? Lazy teachers? Cowardly administrators? Short-sighted parents?
I wonder if there isn’t a way for all of these people to resolve the dispute by offering school choices that would approach grading and teaching in different ways. I know it sounds chaotic, but bear with me.
Last week in this column, Northwood math teacher Dan Stephens said he can’t motivate his students if his school district lets them pass his course even when they flunk the final exam, written by the county to set a standard for all schools. Contradictory county rules say the test may count as only 25 percent of the final grade.

Moody’s downgrades Waukesha School District credit rating

Amy Hetzner:

For the second time in two years, Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the credit rating of the Waukesha School District, the latest time after the School Board voted to not allocate any money toward a $47.5 million debt owed to a European bank.
According to a Moody’s report, the amount owed represents about 35% of the district’s annual operating budget.
As a rule, lower credit ratings translate into higher interest rates for borrowing. However, Waukesha School Board President Daniel Warren said Monday that the credit rating drop should not have an immediate effect.
“When Moody’s does a downgrade, it primarily affects long-term borrowing, and we don’t have any long-term borrowing on our horizon,” he said.
The A1 rating given to the district, which has a substantial tax base and relatively wealthy residents, is the lowest rating given by the service to school districts in the state, according to information from Moody’s Investors Service.
Warren said his board decided not to allocate any money toward resolving the debt to DEPFA Bank because “the school district was not in a position to afford an additional $48 million in next year’s budget.”

Madison’s current Assistant Superintendent for Business Services, Erik Kass, previously worked for the Waukesha School District.

Study: highly-rated professors are. . . overrated

Daniel de Vise:

How does a university rate the quality of a professor? In K-12 education, you have standardized tests, and those scores have never been more widely used in evaluating the value added by a teacher.
But there’s no equivalent at the college level. College administrators tend to rely on student evaluations. If students say a professor is doing a good job, perhaps that’s enough.
Or maybe not. A new study reaches the opposite conclusion: professors who rate highly among students tend to teach students less. Professors who teach students more tend to get bad ratings from their students — who, presumably, would just as soon get high grades for minimal effort.
The study finds that professor rank, experience and stature are far more predictive of how much their students will learn. But those professors generally get bad ratings from students, who are effectively punishing their professors for attempting to push them toward deeper learning.
The study is called “Does Professor Quality Matter? Evidence from Random Assignment of Students to Professors.” It was written by Scott E. Carrell of the University of California, Davis and National Bureau of Economic Research; and James E. West of the U.S. Air Force Academy

Madison High School REal Grant Report to the School Board

Madison School District [4.6MB PDF]:

District administration, along with school leadership and school staff; have examined the research that shows thatfundamental change in education can only be accomplished by creating the opportunity for teachers to talk with one another regarding their instructional practice. The central theme and approach for REaL has heen to improve and enhance instructional practice through collaboration in order to increase student achievement. Special attention has been paid to ensure the work is done in a cross – district, interdepartmental and collaborative manner. Central to the work, are district and school based discussions focused on what skills and knowledge students need to know and be able to do, in order to be prepared for post-secondary education and work. Systemized discussions regarding curriculum aligmnent, course offerings, assessment systems, behavioral expectations and 21 st century skills are occurring across all four high schools and at the district level.
Collaborative professional development has been established to ensure that the work capitalizes on the expertise of current staff, furthers best practices that are already occurring within the MMSD high school classrooms, and enhances the skills of individuals at all levels from administration to classroom teachers needed. Our work to date has laid the foundation for further and more in-depth work to occur.
Since March of 2010, MMSD district and school staff has completed the following work to move the goals of the REaL Grant forward. Specific accomplishments aligning to REaL grant goals are listed below.
REaL Grant Goal 1: Improve Student Achievement for all students

  • Accomplishment I: Completed year 2 of professional development for Department Chairpersons to become instructional leaders. The work will continue this summer with the first ever Department Chairperson and Assistant Principal Summer Institute to focus on leading and fostering teacher collaboration in order to improve student achievement.
  • Accomplishment 2: Continued with planning for implementing the ACT Career and College Readiness Standards and the EP AS system. Visited with area districts to see the
    impact of effective implementation the EP AS system in order to ensure successful implementation within MMSD.

  • Accomplishment 3: Piloted the implementation of the EXPLORE test at Memorial, Sherman and with 9th grade AVID students at all four comprehensive high schools.
  • Accomplishment 4: This summer, in partnership with Monona Grove High School and Association of Wisconsin School Administrators (AWSA), MMSD will host the Aligned by Design: Aligning High School and Middle School English, Science, Math and Social Studies Courses to College/Career Readiness Skills. To be attended by teams of MMSD high school and middle school staff in July of 2010.
  • Accomplishment 5: Continued focused planning and development of a master communication system for the possible implementation of early release Professional Collaboration Time at MMSD High Schools. Schools have developed plans for effective teaming structures and accountability measures.
  • Accomplishment 6: District English leadership team developed recommendations for essential understandings in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening for 9th and 10th grades. Following this successful model, similar work will occur in Math, Science and Social studies.

Related: Small Learning Community and English 10.
Bruce King, who evaluated the West High’s English 9 (one English class for all students) approach offers observations on the REal program beginning on page 20 of the PDF file.

Accused 21 Year Old Attended Middleton and Madison West High Schools

Gayle Worland & Gena Kittner:

Ivan Mateo-Lozenzo, the man Madison police say shot and killed a gang rival last week, is known to local authorities as a 21-year-old illegal immigrant from Veracruz, Mexico, who worked as an area roofer in 2008.
Middleton High School officials thought he was an 18-year-old junior named Arain Gutierrez who had previously attended West High School in Madison.
So how did the man police still have not captured enroll in area schools?
…..
Criteria for enrollment
The Madison School District requires the parents or guardians of a student present a utility bill, a mortgage document or a lease with their address to enroll their child in school. Under district policy, school officials are directed to “verify age and name” of a student using a birth certificate or “other documentation provided by parent.”
The policy states that if a student’s previous school was in a foreign country, school officials should ask to see a visa. If the student doesn’t have a visa, the student is still enrolled and given an “undocumented visa notice.”
Middleton-Cross Plains also requires a parent or guardian to show residency through a utility bill, lease or mortgage document, said district spokeswoman Michelle Larson. The district requires proof of age and identification through a birth certificate or passport when a student enrolls in kindergarten, but does not require it for later grades, she said.

Rhode Island Education Chief Gist Chat Transcript on Teacher Quality, Parenting, Firing all Central Falls High School Teachers

Deborah Gist & Pamela Reinsel Cotter:

Deborah Gist: Chasm: Seniority is no longer a way in which teachers will be selected and assigned in our state. I sent a letter to all superintendents last fall to remind them that the Basic Education Program Regulation in going in effect this summer, and seniority policies would be inconsistent with that regulation. Unfortunately, state statute requires that layoffs be done on a “first in, first out” policy. Legislation would be required to change that, and I would wholeheartedly support it if it were introduced. I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the very highest quality teacher is in every classroom in our state.
Deborah Gist: I can’t imagine how any district or school leader could interpret my words or actions to be anything other than ensuring the top quality, so “change for change’s sake” would be contradictory to that.
Bob: Please run for governor. I love your go getter attitude!
Deborah Gist: I appreciate your support very much. Make sure to keep watching and hold me accountable for results!
Parent: As a parent of 2 children, I know how crucial parent involvement is. Has anyone looked at educating the parents of the kids of these failing schools? You can replace the teachers….and you can give new teachers incentives to change things around. But this is a band aid. Teachers are blamed for too many problems. They can’t be expected to solve the problems of society. Teachers have many many challenges these days- more so than 25 years ago. Kis and parents need to take responsibility for on education. Just look at math grades around the state. Kids don’t know how to deal with fractions because they don’t know how to tell time on an analgoue clock. But the teachers are blamed. Let’s take a look at the real problems. Educate the kids – the parents- look around the country at other programs. Please don’t make this mistake.
Deborah Gist: Parent involvement is important, and supportive, engaged parents are important partners in a child’s education. Fortunately, we know that great teaching can overcome those instances when children have parents who are unable to provide that level of support. I don’t blame teachers, but I do hold them accountable for results. I also hold myself and everyone on my team accountable.
Matt: Will you apologize for repeatedly saying that “we recruit the majority of our teachers from the bottom third of high school students going to college”? The studies that you cite do not back this up.
Deborah Gist: Matt: As a traditionally trained teacher, I know this is difficult to hear. I don’t like it either. Unfortunately, it is true. While there are many extraordinarily intelligent educators throughout Rhode Island and our country, the US–unlike other high performing countries–recruits our teachers from the lowest performers in our secondary schools based on SAT scores and other performance data.
Deborah Gist: If you have a source that shows otherwise, I’d love to see that. I’m always open to learning new resources. So, I’d be happy for you to share that.

Clusty Search: Deborah Gist. Deborah Gist’s website and Twitter account.
A must read.

Detroit Public Schools challenged by high-quality charter schools From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100211/OPINION01/2110342/Editorial–Detroit-Public-Schools-challenged-by-high-quality-charter-schools#ixzz0fNPgbPTI

The Detroit News:

The evolution of charter schools and education in Detroit is no more sharply illustrated than by these facts: It was Gov. Jennifer Granholm who went to Houston to convince the phenomenally successful YES academies to open a school in Detroit, and it was the Detroit Public Schools that sold YES the school building where it will begin holding classes this fall.
Six years ago, Granholm stood in the schoolhouse door with the Detroit Federation of Teachers and said no to an expansion of charters in the city. Since then, the high performance of the city’s best charter schools, the continued deterioration of the Detroit Public Schools and the demand from parents for alternative education choices has changed attitudes about charters. DPS, under the leadership of Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, now welcomes the competition from charters as an impetus to improve its schools.
In fact, Bobb sold YES the old Winship Elementary School on the city’s northwest side to use as a home for the new academy, serving grades 6-12.

2008-2009 Madison West High School ReaLGrant Initiave update

57K PDF, via a kind reader’s email:

The School Improvement Committee has spent this year investigating academic support models in other schools to begin to develop an effective model for West High School. The committee visited Memorial High School, Evanston High School, Wheeling High School, and New Trier High School, in IL. Some of the common themes that were discovered, especially in the Illinois schools, were as follows:

  • Many schools have an identified academic team who intervene with struggling students. These teams of support people have clearly defined roles and responsibilities. The students are regularly monitored, they develop both short and long term goals and the students develop meaningful relationships with an adult in the building. The academic support team has regular communication with teaching staff and makes recommendations for student support.
  • There are mandatory study tables in each academic content areas where students are directed to go if they are receiving a D or F in any given course.
  • Students who are skill deficient are identified in 8th grade and are provided with a summer program designed to prepare them for high school, enhanced English and Math instruction in 9th grade, and creative scheduling that allows for students to catch up to grade level.
  • Some schools have a family liaison person who is able to make meaningful connections in the community and with parents. After school homework centers are thriving.
  • Social privileges are used as incentives for students to keep their grades up.

Recommendations from the SIP Committee

  • Design more creative use of academic support allocation to better meet the needs of struggling students.
  • Create an intervention team with specific role definition for each team member.
  • Design and implement an after school homework center that will be available for all students, not just those struggling academically.
  • Design and implement student centers and tables that meet specific academic and time needs (after school, lunch, etc.)
  • Identify a key staff person to serve in a specialized family liaison role.
  • Develop a clear intervention scaffold that is easy for staff to interpret and use.
  • Design and implement enhanced Math and English interventions for skill deficient students.

Related topics:

Texas schools with high dropouts get a break in state rankings

Terrence Stutz:

Texas schools with student dropout problems are getting a break in the state’s performance ratings this year – a move likely to spare dozens of school districts and campuses from being slapped with “academically unacceptable” ratings.
State Education Commissioner Robert Scott has decided to excuse schools that fail to meet minimum criteria under the new federal definition for dropouts as long as their passing rates for all student groups on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills are satisfactory.
The decision means that no school district or campus can receive an unacceptable rating solely for dropout or student completion rates that fall short of the federal standards.
Those standards basically require a high school completion rate of at least 75 percent and an annual dropout rate of no more than 1 percent of the students in grades 7 and 8. The current completion rate refers to the percentage of ninth graders from five years ago who graduated in the Class of 2007.

Madison West High Bids Adieu to Their Writing Lab

Reuben Henriques:

Today, my English teacher shared with our class the quite saddening news that the West High Writing Lab [Ask | clusty | google | Live | Yahoo], a venerable institution of many years, is slated to be cut next year as part of the annual round of budgeting. For those on this listserv who don’t know, the Writing Lab provides a place for students of all grades and abilities to conference one-on-one with an English teacher about their work. Everyone — from the freshman completely lost on how to write his first literary analysis to the AWW alum who wants to run her college application essay by someone — is welcome to stop by during three or four hours of the day as well as before school, during lunch, and after school. I know that in my four years at West, I’ve found this an immeasurably useful resource, not only to help me polish papers for my classes, but also as a way to get editing help on college essays and other extracurricular writing. And judging by the reaction in my English class, I’m far from alone.
Which is why I am so distressed by this development. I’ve always considered the English department, by and large, as one of West’s finest. The array of classes at every ability level is wonderful, and the fact that I’ve been able to take IWW and AWW — two classes designed solely to improve my writing itself — has been great. These classes do a fabulous job of teaching students to write — but an important part of writing well is being able to receive feedback on that writing, being able to dialogue with someone about it, and then being able to “have another swing at things.” But of course, it’s simply impossible for a teacher in any English class to meet, one-on-one, with every student. The Writing Lab has provided a great way for students to ensure that they will have this valuable opportunity.

It would be interesting to find out what’s happening with the high school budget allocations. The only information I’ve found on the 2008-2009 MMSD Budget is this timeline, which mentions that “Allocations & Formula $ to Buildings” occurred on March 5, 2008. The School Board is not scheduled to see the balanced budget until April 3, 2008.
Related:

New York Grades Set Off Debate on Judging Schools



Elissa Gootman & Jennifer Medina:

Not long after Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced plans last year to give grades of A through F to schools, principals at some of New York City’s coveted specialized high schools grew concerned. With the city looking to reward gains among the lowest-achieving students, how would the elite schools be judged?
The principals peppered the administration with ideas for extra credits for their schools: perhaps counting how many Advanced Placement tests students pass or the college credits they accumulate. In the end, the city decided to tie bonus points for these schools to high scores on state Regents exams.
That served the gold-standard Stuyvesant High School well, propelling it from a high B to a comfortable A. But the principal of Brooklyn Technical High School, Randy J. Asher, called the decision “ridiculous,” saying it contradicted a core principle of the report cards: the need to gauge how far students have come, rather than simply how they perform.
“I think we all really came to the table saying, let’s find something fair for schools like ours,” Mr. Asher, whose school earned a B, said in a recent interview. “And I don’t think we succeeded.”

If You Want Good High School Grades, Move to Texas

Jay Matthews:

Ten years ago, I had the good fortune to win the confidence of two energetic teachers, Cliff Gill and Don Phillips at Mamaroneck High School in Westchester County, N.Y. They told me exactly how they assessed their students.
Gill, a math teacher, was tough. If a student missed two homework assignments, five points were subtracted from the student’s 100-point report card grade. A third missed assignment meant another five points off. Everyone at that school knew how hard it was to get an A in Mr. Gill’s class.
Phillips, a social studies teacher, was easy. He called himself the Great Grade Inflator. If a student with poor writing skills did his best on a paper, Phillips was inclined to give the student just as high a grade as a top student who turned in college-quality work. About 90 percent of the grades in Phillips’s history courses were 90 or above on that 100-point scale.
No one asked Phillips to raise his standards. No one asked Gill to ease up. Grading at Mamaroneck High, as at most of the public high schools I have visited, is considered the teacher’s prerogative, a matter of academic freedom. A teacher who gives many F’s may be pressured to raise some of those grades to keep parents happy, but that is about as far as principals will go in interfering with teachers’ assessment decisions.
Robert M. Hartranft, a retired nuclear engineer in Simsbury, Conn., does not like this at all. He cannot understand why public school administrators, who so often declare their commitment to equal treatment of every student, put up with such outrageous and inexplicable variation in what remains the most important assessments their students get–grades on report cards.

Cartoonist among role models for high school boys.

Oh, that every one of our high schools had a “AAA” (“African American Achievement”) Team. —LAF Susan Troller The Capital Times 8/1/2007 The only guy who can truly hold you back is the guy in the mirror,” cartoonist Robb Armstrong told a group of mostly male, mostly African-American students at La Follette High School on … Continue reading Cartoonist among role models for high school boys.

West HS English 10: Time to Show Us the Data

According to the November, 2005, report by SLC Evaluator Bruce King, the overriding motivation for the implementation of West’s English 10 core curriculum (indeed, the overriding motivation for the implementation of the entire 9th and 10th grade core curriculum) was to reduce the achievement gap. As described in the report, some groups of West students … Continue reading West HS English 10: Time to Show Us the Data

2007 Challenge Index: Ranking America’s High Schools

Memorial is the only Madison High School in the top 1200 (1084), while Verona ranked 738th. Washington Post: The Washington Post Challenge Index measures a public high school’s effort to challenge its students. The formula is simple: Divide the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge tests a school gave by the number of … Continue reading 2007 Challenge Index: Ranking America’s High Schools

3/5/2007 Madison School Board Candidate Forum: West High School

The Madison West High School PTSO held a school board candidate forum Monday night. Topics included: Madison High School Comparison A candidate’s ability to listen, interact and work successfully with other board members Past and future referenda support Candidate views on the $333M+ budget for our 24,000 students Extensive conversations on the part of Marj … Continue reading 3/5/2007 Madison School Board Candidate Forum: West High School

One Small Step in the Right Direction at West HS …

In light of recent events regarding curriculum and other issues in our high schools, there has been a small step in the right direction at West HS. Superintendent Rainwater announced at our 11/29 MUAE meeting that he has been in discussion with West HS Principal Ed Holmes about providing West 9th and 10th graders who … Continue reading One Small Step in the Right Direction at West HS …

Revamping the high schools

If Jason Shepard is correct, West will stay as is during the review process, heterogeneous classes is the goal and the study committee will not include parents or teachers.
If the BOE doesn’t step in right now, it’s all over. I hadn’t quite understood what Ed Blume has been writing about here structurally as much as I do at this moment. This process will be driven to Rainwater’s foregone conclusions. The BOE must frame the questions and decide who is on this committee. And if it’s truly a tabula rasa, let’s put West on the same footing as East, that is, undo the changes the Rainwater administration shoved through.

More Than English 10: Let’s REALLY Talk About Our High Schools

First, I want to say BRAVO, RUTH, for putting it all together and bringing it on home to us. Thanks, too, to the BOE members who overrode BOE President Johnny Winston Jr’s decision to table this important discussion. Finally, deepest thanks to all of the East parents, students and teachers who are speaking out … … Continue reading More Than English 10: Let’s REALLY Talk About Our High Schools

East High School to Follow West’s One Size Fit’s All 9/10 Curriculum?

From a reader involved in these issues: The plan for East HS is to have only regular classes (that is, no Advanced (formerly AcaMo) and no TAG classes) and AP classes (which, presumably, only juniors and seniors will be able to take). East currently offers 9 AP classes. This means there will be a core … Continue reading East High School to Follow West’s One Size Fit’s All 9/10 Curriculum?

Still On the Slippery Slope of West HS’s English 10?

Last week, families of rising juniors at West High School received a copy of the Junior School Counseling Newsletter. On page 2, there is a section entitled “English Course Selections for 2006/07.” The paragraph reads as follows: Students are required to earn four credits of English for graduation, and this must include one semester of … Continue reading Still On the Slippery Slope of West HS’s English 10?

High School Rigor: Iowa AP Index and a Michigan School Board Member

The University of Iowa: Every May a large number of high school students across America take AP exams. In May 2005 over 1.2 million high school students took over 2.1 million AP exams. AP allows students to pursue college-level studies while still in high school. Over 3000 colleges accept AP exam scores for either college … Continue reading High School Rigor: Iowa AP Index and a Michigan School Board Member

6% Success Rate: From High School to the Future: A first look at Chicago Public School graduates’ college enrollment, college preparation, and graduation from four-year colleges

Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago: Following CPS (Chicago Public Schools) graduates from 1998, 1999, 2002 and 2003, this report uses records from Chicago high schools and data from the National Student Clearinghouse to examine the college experiences of all CPS alumni who entered college in the year after they graduated … Continue reading 6% Success Rate: From High School to the Future: A first look at Chicago Public School graduates’ college enrollment, college preparation, and graduation from four-year colleges

A different student viewpoint of West High

This was forwarded to the West High listserve with the request that it be posted as part of the current discussion about changes at West High. When I read the anonymous email from a current West freshman who is defined as “talented and gifted,” I could not help but feel that I should write about … Continue reading A different student viewpoint of West High

Report from West High PTSO Meeting

Some 70 parents were in attendance at Monday evening’s PTSO meeting to hear about West High School’s plans for 10th grade English. This was the largest turnout for a PTSO meeting in recent history. Approximately one-third of those there were parents of elementary and middle school students who will be attending West at some point … Continue reading Report from West High PTSO Meeting

WestEd Book: How California’s Most Challenged High Schools are Sending More Kids to College

Jordan Horowitz’s Inside High School Reform, Making the Changes that Matter details the turnaround approaches that are preparing more students for college – disadvantaged students who wouldn’t get there otherwise. TOP TEN TIPS FOR IMPROVING HIGH SCHOOLS Treat teachers as the trained education professionals they are. Hold students to high expectations. Continually use school, teacher, … Continue reading WestEd Book: How California’s Most Challenged High Schools are Sending More Kids to College

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school District continues to resist open records requests

Chris Rickert: Fourteen districts eventually responded with at least some of the data. The county’s two largest and most racially and socioeconomically diverse, Madison and Sun Prairie, required the newspaper to file public records requests for the data. To date, they remain unfilled. In Madison, students could be marked present simply by exchanging messages with … Continue reading Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school District continues to resist open records requests

Mass. middle schools will be required to reopen full time on April 28, state school officials announce

Felicia Gans: In the latest push to get Massachusetts students back into classrooms full time this year, state education officials announced Tuesday that middle schools will be required to reopen full time on April 28. The forced return to in-person classes comes just days after state Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley was given the authority to … Continue reading Mass. middle schools will be required to reopen full time on April 28, state school officials announce

Madison’s Taxpayer Funded K-12 Governence Commentary; 2021 Edition

Scott Girard: Superintendent Carlton Jenkins shared the data from the family survey that went out Feb. 17 with the School Board this week. He said about 65% of families — or about 7,790 families — with a student in those grades, which will be among the first to return in a phased reopening process, had … Continue reading Madison’s Taxpayer Funded K-12 Governence Commentary; 2021 Edition

A progressive parent’s rant about the politics surrounding school reopening

Rebecca Bodenheimer, PhD: I think we’re at a crucial point in this debate on school reopening right now. Case rates are dropping quickly, the surge is over, and people are starting to get vaccinated — though way too slowly of course. The public health community, including the CDC, have reached consensus that reopening schools is … Continue reading A progressive parent’s rant about the politics surrounding school reopening

Biden Airlifts the Goalposts on School Reopening: 1 Day a Week!

Matt Welch: “Biden vows to reopen most schools after 1st 100 days on the job,” ran the Associated Press headline on December 8. Advocates of reopening who follow the issue closely could see the potential wiggle room—it’s not the federal government’s call, the full statement was shot through with hedges and conditions, “most” just means 50 percent … Continue reading Biden Airlifts the Goalposts on School Reopening: 1 Day a Week!

Fear and Loathing in the Classroom: Why Does Teacher Quality Matter?

Mike Insler, Alexander F. McQuoid, Ahmed Rahman and Katherine A. Smith This work disentangles aspects of teacher quality that impact student learning and performance. We exploit detailed data from post-secondary education that links students from randomly assigned instructors in introductory-level courses to the students’ performances in follow-on courses for a wide variety of subjects. For … Continue reading Fear and Loathing in the Classroom: Why Does Teacher Quality Matter?

Surge of Student Suicides Pushes Las Vegas Schools to Reopen

Erica Green: The reminders of pandemic-driven suffering among students in Clark County, Nev., have come in droves. Since schools shut their doors in March, an early-warning system that monitors students’ mental health episodes has sent more than 3,100 alerts to district officials, raising alarms about suicidal thoughts, possible self-harm or cries for care. By December, … Continue reading Surge of Student Suicides Pushes Las Vegas Schools to Reopen

Madison Teachers Union opposes return to classroom; district says little about child care program

Chris Rickert: Public Health in August issued an order barring schools in Dane County from holding in-person classes for all but grades kindergarten through second grade, but the Supreme Court blocked it from taking effect and many private and religious schools in the county have been open to in-person learning since the start of the … Continue reading Madison Teachers Union opposes return to classroom; district says little about child care program

Twin Cities schools glad to reopen, but small towns bristle at rules

Josh Verges: New state guidance that will enable Minnesota’s youngest learners to head back to school next month is getting cheers from urban districts, jeers from rural schools and a mixed response from teachers. Within hours of Gov. Tim Walz’s announcement Wednesday that elementary schools soon can operate at full capacity, even as coronavirus case … Continue reading Twin Cities schools glad to reopen, but small towns bristle at rules

Teacher Shortage Compounds Covid Crisis in Schools

Valerie Bauerlein and Yoree Koh: School districts are recruiting parents as substitute teachers, online class sizes are soaring to 50 children or more and bus drivers are baby-sitting classrooms. Some are considering allowing asymptomatic teachers who were exposed to Covid-19 to continue to show up. Public-school employment in November was down 8.7% from February, and … Continue reading Teacher Shortage Compounds Covid Crisis in Schools

Middleton, Verona parents plan Monday protests in favor of in-person learning

Stephen Cohn: Parents at Verona High School and in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District are planning separate protests Monday in favor of returning to in-person learning next semester. A peaceful protest to reopen schools for in-person learning has been scheduled by the Bring Kids Back Verona Area Schools Facebook page. Organizers said they plan … Continue reading Middleton, Verona parents plan Monday protests in favor of in-person learning

Virginia schools plan gradual reopening as evidence of online learning gap piles up

Hannah Natanson: More evidence emerged this week that online school is taking its worst academic toll on Virginia’s most vulnerable students, as superintendents in the state — facing mounting pressure to reopen schools — took tentative steps toward in-person instruction. Loudoun County Public Schools went the furthest, welcoming back more than 7,300 elementary school students this … Continue reading Virginia schools plan gradual reopening as evidence of online learning gap piles up

$1.2 Billion in Property Tax Increases Up for Vote in November School Referenda (Madison, by far the largest)

Ola Lisowski: Voters will consider nearly $1.2 billion in property tax increases in the November election, thanks to school district referenda. Taxpayers in 41 school districts across the state will consider a total of 51 questions on their ballots for projects ranging from brand new buildings, upgrades to existing facilities and permission to spend beyond … Continue reading $1.2 Billion in Property Tax Increases Up for Vote in November School Referenda (Madison, by far the largest)

San Diego Unified School District Changes Grading System to ‘Combat Racism

Alexis Rivas: Students will no longer be graded based on a yearly average, or on how late they turn in assignments. Those are just some of the major grading changes approved this week by California’s second-largest school district. The San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) is overhauling the way it grades students. Board members say … Continue reading San Diego Unified School District Changes Grading System to ‘Combat Racism

RUN FOR OFFICE – 2021 SPRING ELECTIONS: MADISON SCHOOL BOARD SEAT 2

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results. 2017: West High Reading interventionist teacher’s remarks to the school board on madison’s disastrous reading results MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [May, 2020] Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021. MMSD Budget Facts: from … Continue reading RUN FOR OFFICE – 2021 SPRING ELECTIONS: MADISON SCHOOL BOARD SEAT 2

Run for Office – 2021 Spring Elections: Madison School Board Seat 1

Despite spending far more than most taxpayer supported K-12 school districts, Madison has long tolerated disastrous reading results. 2017: West High Reading interventionist teacher’s remarks to the school board on madison’s disastrous reading results MMSD Budget Facts: from 2014-15 to 2020-21 [May, 2020] Property taxes up 37% from 2012 – 2021. MMSD Budget Facts: from … Continue reading Run for Office – 2021 Spring Elections: Madison School Board Seat 1

Covid-19 and Madison’s K-12 World

Hi, I’m cap tines K-12 education reporter Scott Gerard. Today. Our cap times IDFs panel will discuss how will COVID-19 change K-12 education. I’m lucky to have three wonderful panelists with me to help answer that question. Marilee McKenzie is a teacher at Middleton’s Clark street community school, where she has worked since the school was in its planning stages.

She’s in her [00:03:00] 11th year of teaching. Dr. Gloria Ladson billings is a nationally recognized education expert who was a U w Madison faculty member for more than 26 years, including as a professor in the departments of curriculum and instruction, educational policy studies and educational leadership and policy analysis.

She is also the current president of the national Academy of education. Finally dr. Carlton Jenkins is the new superintendent of the Madison metropolitan school district. He started the districts top job in August, coming from the Robbinsdale school district in Minnesota, where he worked for the past five years, Jenkins began his career in the Madison area.

Having worked in Beloit and at Memorial high school in early 1990s before moving to various districts around the country. Thank you all so much for being here. Mary Lee, I’m going to start with you. You’ve been working with students directly throughout this pandemic. How has it gone? Both in the spring when changes were very sudden, and then this fall with a summer to reflect and [00:04:00] plan, it’s been interesting for sure.

Um, overall, I would say the it’s been hard. There has been nothing about this have been like, ah, It’s really, it makes my life easy. It’s been really challenging. And at the same time, the amount of growth and learning that we’ve been able to do as staff has been incredible. And I think about how teachers have moved from face-to-face to online to then planning for.

Wisconsin’s largest teachers unions again ask state leaders to move all schools to virtual-only instruction

Annysa Johnson: The news conference, which also featured Madison Teachers Inc. President Andy Waity, was part of a national day of action by teachers unions across the country, calling for safe working conditions in schools during the pandemic. The renewed push to bar in-person instruction comes as the number of COVID-19 cases has spiked in the … Continue reading Wisconsin’s largest teachers unions again ask state leaders to move all schools to virtual-only instruction

Colorado governor pleads with parents to sign their kids up for school as state faces enrollment declines

Jesse Paul and Erica Breunlin: Gov. Jared Polis on Tuesday pleaded with Colorado parents to enroll their children in school, saying that districts have seen declines in the number of kids signed up for classes during the coronavirus crisis, especially among younger grades. “Your kid will return to school someday,” Polis said at a coronavirus … Continue reading Colorado governor pleads with parents to sign their kids up for school as state faces enrollment declines

Grants help parents form ‘equity pods’

Joanne Jacobs: Pods and microschools aren’t just for affluent parents who can afford to hire a teacher or tutor, writes Beth Hawkins on The 74. Lower-income and minority parents are using small grants to create “equity pods” and microschools. With a $10,000 grant from the National Parents Union, Brandice Hatcher is opening her Righteous Voice Mentoring … Continue reading Grants help parents form ‘equity pods’

Madison School Board strikes tentative property deal for referendum-envisioned elementary, amidst declining enrollment

Logan Wroge: The district has made it a priority to bring an elementary school to the racially diverse neighborhood where most students need to take long bus rides out of the area to attend Allis Elementary on the Southeast Side. About 450 elementary students live in the neighborhood bounded by the Beltline to the north, … Continue reading Madison School Board strikes tentative property deal for referendum-envisioned elementary, amidst declining enrollment

Preschool of the Arts expands to include elementary students amid COVID-19 pandemic

Pamela Cotant: The early childhood center on Madison’s West Side, which previously served children from ages 17 months to about 5, has added kindergarten through second grade this fall as it pivots to address the new realities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The new arrangement helps the preschool families who were juggling jobs and assisting their … Continue reading Preschool of the Arts expands to include elementary students amid COVID-19 pandemic

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

Scott Girard: Schools in Dane County that want to open for in-person education can do so immediately for all grades after the state Supreme Court temporarily blocked enforcement of the Public Health Madison & Dane County order requiring virtual learning for grades 3-12. The court’s conservative majority issued the 4-3 ruling [PDF document], which combined … Continue reading State Supreme Court puts pause on Dane County Madison public health order barring in-person school

Madison’s new grading policy will only let students fall through the cracks

Jillian Ludwig: The implications of this grading floor are even more important considering that MMSD is known to have a significant racial achievement gap. There is a stark difference between a grade of 0% and 50%, and it has value. By getting rid of this important distinction, the district risks letting students fall further through the cracks … Continue reading Madison’s new grading policy will only let students fall through the cracks

Parents Press For Dane County Schools To Teach In-Person During Pandemic

Shamane Mills: Dane County parents upset over online instruction at schools that were intending to hold classes in-person are speaking out following a recent emergency order by the local health department, which restricted all public and private schools to virtual instruction for grades 3-12 because of COVID-19. Parents and their children carried signs outside city … Continue reading Parents Press For Dane County Schools To Teach In-Person During Pandemic

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

Scott Girard: Students with disabilities who need some in-person instruction will be allowed to go to schools this fall after Public Health Madison & Dane County amended its previous order Tuesday. PHMDC had announced on Friday, Aug. 21, that no students beyond grades K-2 were allowed for in-person instruction until certain metrics were met. After a challenging spring for … Continue reading Dane County Madison Public Health amendment allows in-person instruction for students with disabilities

K-12 Tax, Spending, Referendum and School Climate: Germany eyes a four-day week to help prevent mass layoffs

Charlotte Edmond: Germany’s largest trade union, IG Metall, is proposing its members call for a four-day week to offset economic pressures heightened by the pandemic. The proposal has had a mixed reception, with the German labour minister open to the possibility, while others are fundamentally opposed. The idea of a reduced working week has already … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending, Referendum and School Climate: Germany eyes a four-day week to help prevent mass layoffs

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

Scott Girard: Two separate lawsuits are seeking to block a new public health emergency order that allows only a fraction of elementary school students to attend classes in person in Dane County. The legal challenges come days after Public Health Madison and Dane County officials in their ninth emergency order restricted in-person schooling to grades K-2 and … Continue reading Lawsuits challenge Dane County Madison Public Health’s authority to close private schools

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

Sarah Gray: A lawsuit was filed in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court on Tuesday arguing that Janel Heinrich, the Public Health Officer of Madison and Dane County, does not have the legal authority to keep children home from school. Public Health Madison and Dane County issued Emergency Order #9, which went into effect Monday. It orders all … Continue reading Lawsuit filed against head of Public Health Dane County madison over emergency order requiring virtual start to school year

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

Chris Rickert: A group of parents and private religious schools is asking the Wisconsin Supreme Court to void a Dane County order barring in-person school for most students, saying the order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic infringes on the right to worship and to an education. “This case challenges the authority of one … Continue reading Parents, private schools ask state Supreme Court to toss Dane County Madison Public Health order limiting in-person school

Group of Black leaders opposing $350M Madison schools referendums

Logan Wroge: An advocacy group of Black leaders is opposing the Madison School District’s $350 million ask of taxpayers this fall, arguing the proposals are under-developed and the district hasn’t done enough to support African American children to get their endorsement on the two November ballot referendums. In a statement sent to some media members … Continue reading Group of Black leaders opposing $350M Madison schools referendums

Monopoly Power Lies Behind Worst Trends in U.S., Fed Study Says

Craig Torres: The concentration of market power in a handful of companies lies behind several disturbing trends in the U.S. economy, like the deepening of inequality and financial instability, two Federal Reserve Board economists say in a new paper. Isabel Cairo and Jae Sim identify a decline in competition, with large firms controlling more of … Continue reading Monopoly Power Lies Behind Worst Trends in U.S., Fed Study Says

“The Shame of Progressive Cities, Madison edition”

Chris Stewart discusses our long term, disastrous reading results with Kaleem Caire. mp3 audio transcript 2011: A majority of the Madison School Board aborted the proposed Madison Preparatory IB Charter school. Kaleem Caire notes and links. Let’s compare: Middleton and Madison Property taxes Madison property taxes are 22% more than Middleton’s for a comparable home, … Continue reading “The Shame of Progressive Cities, Madison edition”

K-12 Tax, Referendum and spending climate: What Will Not Recover: Government

Jeffrey Tucker: What becomes of government credibility in the post-lockdown period? There are thousands of politicians in this country for whom this is a chilling question, even a taboo topic.  The reputation of government was already at postwar lows before the lockdowns, with only 17% of the American public saying that they trusted government to … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Referendum and spending climate: What Will Not Recover: Government

A summary of community feedback (website) on Madison’s recent Superintendent candidates

Scott Girard: Records released by the Madison Metropolitan School District show feedback from staff and community members included plenty of praise and criticism for the two finalists for the district’s superintendent position this summer. Both Carlton Jenkins and Carol Kelley received positive feedback from many who filled out the forms, which asked respondents to answer … Continue reading A summary of community feedback (website) on Madison’s recent Superintendent candidates

K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum climate: Parents and closed schools

Chris Hubbach: After a spring of pandemic lockdowns and a summer of uncertainty as coronavirus infections surged, working parents with school-age children now face what could be a year of online schooling, presenting a buffet of bad options. Sacrifice earnings and career advancement to stay home. Hire a nanny, if you can afford it. Lean … Continue reading K-12 Tax, Spending & Referendum climate: Parents and closed schools

“That is all tied up in the bargaining so there’s nothing I can say about it,” Robinson wrote in an email.

Dahlia Bazzaz: The district and the union have been discussing work expectations for this fall, sparring over the prospect of some instructors providing in-person services. This marks the third straight summer when bargaining talks have cast doubt over the first day of school. Robinson denied that the idea of a delayed start was being explored … Continue reading “That is all tied up in the bargaining so there’s nothing I can say about it,” Robinson wrote in an email.

Rather Than Reopen, It’s Time to Rethink Government Education

Cathy Ruse & Tony Perkins: There is no better time to make a change than right now, when public education is in chaos. What’s that popping sound? Could it be a million figurative lightbulbs clicking on above public-school parents’ heads? The vast majority of American families send their children to public schools. Only 11 percent … Continue reading Rather Than Reopen, It’s Time to Rethink Government Education

Madison School Board President’s Rhetoric on growing gun violence

Gloria Reyes: We must prepare and implement a plan of action to prevent violence and to stop this horrific rise in violence.” David Blaska: Our word of the day is ‘Chutzpah’ (Yiddish for “what nerve!”) This is the school board president who kicked cops out of Madison’s troubled high schools NEWS ALERT: Detectives from the … Continue reading Madison School Board President’s Rhetoric on growing gun violence