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September 12, 2005

Superintendent's Message

Madison School District Superintendent Art Rainwater is beginning to write a series of monthly articles which he will use as his Superintendent's Report. Listen to this month's report by watching this 5 minute video clip. I looked around the District's site and did not immediately see a text version of this report. UPDATE: The message was circulated via email Tuesday morning, 9/13/2005. Click the link below to read a text version:

* E-MMSD *
* An electronic community newsletter about Madison's schools *
* September, 2005 *

E-MMSD Newsletter subscribers,

This is the first in a series of columns about education by
Superintendent Art Rainwater. You are receiving this because you are a
subscriber to the E-MMSD Newsletter. As such, we think you will find
this column at least informative, and at best the springboard for
thoughts and discussion about public education.


September, 2005

The Need for Public Education

Public Education is inherently political, often based on the critical
issue of the day. Somewhere in all of the rhetoric, though, we have
lost sight of the fundamental need for an appropriate education for
all of our children.

Our free public education system is the cornerstone of our country.
Throughout our history each generation has provided the support
necessary so that the next generation of students receives an
education that allows it to take its place as both economic
contributors and active citizens. It feels like we are losing that
commitment and what a terrible thing it would be to lose.

For the first time people are questioning the need to provide for the
education of "other people's children." As we look to the future
there are no "other people's children." "Other people's children"
*are* our future. They are the leaders and creators who will give us
a better country. But most importantly, they need to be strong,
caring and thoughtful adults who pass on and improve our country's
legacy for their children.

The fulfillment of the dream of our country's past with all of its
promise depends not on us but on this year's kindergarten student who
will enter a world very different to ours. This student is the one
that the continued diminishing of our commitment to a high quality
free public education for all will ultimately handicap. And in
handicapping him or her, we handicap us all.

Are there problems in our current system? Absolutely! Our current
public system of education serves the vast majority of our children
incredibly well. The answer to serving *all* children well lies not
in one size fits all testing and punishments. Rather, it calls for
careful analysis of the underlying causes of problems and attention to
addressing those causes by the whole community. Certainly our public
schools own a share of the solution and must change in many ways.
However, many of the causes are beyond our ability to affect change
and must be a wide community effort.

Through our state constitution the schools belong to all of us -- not
to parents, or students or superintendents, but to everyone. Not only
our community, but all communities throughout the country have to
accept the challenge of providing the best possible chance for every
child to have the opportunity that our country promises. "Our
children" are all of the children, the mathematical genius and the
child who is just learning English; the child who has the latest
computer and the child who doesn't know where he or she will sleep
tonight. If we fail any of them, then we fail all children.

Want more information? Call 663-1879 or check out the district's web
site at .

Madison Metropolitan School District
Public Information Office
545 W. Dayton St.
Madison, WI 53703

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Posted by Jim Zellmer at September 12, 2005 9:43 PM
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