What Madison Prep Doesn’t Want You to See

Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine” (click to listen or download)

Earlier this week The Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM) provided the Madison Metropolitan School District  with new, draft documents, a “Business Plan” and another Budget.  I learned of these documents this morning and was told at that time they would be posted on the district web site by Noon.  When at the request of ULGM that didn’t happen,  I called to ask for a copy.  After some time elapsed and calls from me and others, I was told copies could be obtained only by going to the Doyle Building in person.  I’m remedying that by posting them here (click the link above).

I’ve only had a chance to skim one of them, but there doesn’t appear to be too much new (although some of this has been on the Madison Preparatory Academy website and not in an official document before).  I’ll be digging in later.  For now just three observations.

  1. A major concern with charter schools is turning over children and money to a private group that lacks transparency and openness.  I realize these are draft documents, but the fact that ULGM thought they were ready to give the district, but wanted to make it hard for the public to review them does not demonstrate a commitment to openness or transparency.  It demonstrates that there is reason to be concerned.
  2. As I’ve said before, what we have seen thus far is a marketing plan, not a plan to open a school.  This gets a very little bit closer to a plan to open a school, but it is clear that more time and energy has been spent selling than planning.
  3. The clock is still ticking and the criteria for a “detailed proposal” have still not been met.  November 28 is the projected vote, which means the Administrative Analysis needs be be done by November 13.  They need all the information possible before completing that analysis and the sooner the better.

More later.

Thomas J. Mertz

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4 Comments

Filed under "education finance", Accountability, Best Practices, Budget, education, Equity, Gimme Some Truth, Local News

4 responses to “What Madison Prep Doesn’t Want You to See

  1. Ted Lewis

    While I sympathize with those who seek alternatives to the current public school system, Madison Prep is not the answer. In other cities, similar ventures have very high attrition rates and performance on standardized tests that is inferior to that of minority students in the Madison Public Schools. We should invest more in and expand what is already working, rather than try a radical departure that has a poor track record across the United States.

    • Wendy Cooper

      Mr. Lewis,

      Can you be more specific about the “other cities”, and “similar ventures” to which you are referring?

      You cite “very high attrition rates and performance on standardized tests that is inferior to that of minority students in the Madison Public Schools”. I am wondering what the logic of comparing other unnamed school districts, cities and specific schools to Madison without any details.

      Please clarify your accusation.

      Wendy Cooper

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