Madison schools focused on ‘Racial Equity’
(aka Making the Numbers Work)
Discipline? Not so much
In the last installment of your favorite blogge, the Policy Werkes reported a veteran teacher admits defeat by the Madison district’s addiction to race-based school discipline.
Karen Vieth is quitting teaching in the Madison public schools after 16 years “because I cannot serve the children I love in the current climate. I have never seen a building as deeply in crisis as Sherman Middle School, yet my cries for help went unanswered for three years.”
Apparently, word got out on Ms. Vieth’s blog, posted Monday, June 11. Since then, fellow teachers and parents have chimed in to support her experiences. So, too, has the Madison school district central office. In a big and surprising way.
Align your criticisms with racial equity, dammit!
Remarkably, the school district responded with a letter to Sherman parents that — are you ready? — PLAYED THE RACE CARD because, apparently, the principal of Sherman M.S. is black!
Dear Sherman Community,
We are reaching out in response to feedback and questions that have been communicated to us about leadership at Sherman Middle School. … Throughout the year, our central office support team worked alongside the principal, Kristin Foreman, and the Sherman leadership team to hear feedback from families and staff members. … [but] ….
We have grave concerns regarding the type of personal, public shaming of a principal, in this case a principal of color, that has taken place in recent days. We do not believe this type and tenor of dialogue represents who we are or how we want to solve problems in MMSD. While we fully embrace the feedback, it is important that our words and actions align with our core values of belonging, inclusion and racial equity.
A poster named Jackie Woodruff came to Ms. Vieth’s defense:
Karen, the truth shall set you free. Those of us that have been involved in MMSD know that you speak the truth. Unfortunately many of us have seen it with our own eyes at other schools with other failed leaders. It is sad that the race card is played every time there is conflict. This is not about race, but competency.
Confusing incompetence with race
“Sherman Alumn” addressed herself to MMSD Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham:
It sounds like you are confusing incompetence with race. The teachers at this school as well as the parents uniformly condemn racism in all its active and passive aggressive guises. What they are concerned about, and leaving the school in droves to avoid, is gross incompetence, laziness, disinterest in student outcomes covered by a feeling of untouchability.
My question for the Administration is: at what point does a person of color get censured, suspended or fired when evidence is provided that they are failing at all their basic job accountabilities? Would you be getting on this blog and complaining that the folks who are posting these stories are only complaining because “he’s a white man” or “She’s an Asian woman?”
Leave race out of it. That you even had the indecency to bring it up is shameful. This is about the kids. Remember them?
Ms. Vieth describes student fighting, swearing, teachers injured breaking up fights, do-nothing restorative justice, and nap time in Room 120 — all since adoption four years ago of the school district’s legalistic and impenetrable Behavior Education Plan (BEP). A Rubik’s cube of political correctness. Do read her blog post, “Closing the door on the Madison Metropolitan School District.”
We’ve written about the 81-page BEP extensively. It was adopted in subservience to the Left’s obsession with implicit bias and racial equity. Too many children of color were suspended (or not enough whites. Take your pick). So the district had to rejigger its discipline code. In the process, they made it about as understandable as the IRS tax code.
The Manhattan Institute defines racial equity as “the all-purpose justification for dubious educational policies:
Equity proponents view “disparate impact” — when the same policies yield different outcomes among demographic groups — as conclusive proof of discrimination. On the education front, “equity” does not seek equal treatment for all students. Instead, it demands statistical equivalence in discipline referrals and suspensions for students of every racial group, regardless of those students’ actual conduct.
Blaska’s Bottom Line: Being data-driven is fine but the 81-page MMSD Behavior Education Plan is too abstruse, requires too much teacher paperwork, and picks too many nits. Boil the damn thing down to 8 pages and give our dedicated teachers more discretion. Sure, this teacher may be a soft touch and that teacher a hard nose. So what? Quit compiling racial statistics. Make punishment swift and certain. Create a residential, court-ordered charter school for suspended students. And don’t be afraid to get physical. One more prescription: If you’re going to ban guns, ban the ACLU, as well.
For Extra Credit:
- School Suspensions up despite all that restorative stuff
- School Board gets an earful from La Follette parents
- Schools beset by brawls considers removing cops
- Three Madison schools erupt in one day
- 18 cops respond to brawl that injures three
- Prioritizing troublemakers over students