Madison middle school teacher quits because her school is in chaos, Part #1

Nap time in Room 120

Rushed to the hospital after breaking up a fight

Madison schools will fail if they continue to allow race to get in the way of education.

The race-inspired behavior education plan (BEP) is destroying Madison schools more surely than Democrats’ favorite boogeyman, Act 10.

Vieth-Board-768x1024More evidence comes from a teacher and former union rep named Karen Vieth who is leaving the district after 16 years because her school is in chaos. She’s not the only one. Vieth claims 23 vacancies had been posted for positions at Sherman Middle School for next school year, out of a total staff of 67.

Ms. Vieth describes herself as dedicated “to closing the pervasive achievement gap.” But, writing in an on-line cri du coeur, concludes “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.”

Vieth describes student fights, cursing, a dysfunctional restorative justice program, short-staffing and, in particular, an inattentive principal with an open door policy but a closed-door practice.  She writes:

Our Positive Behavior Support Coach [ Seriously?! ] asked to go home sick. He was told he could not and that the building was short staffed. Later in the day, this same staff member was rushed to the hospital after breaking up a fight. This was not the first time he was injured in such a manner, but this time it put him out on medical leave for the remainder of the school year.

One staff member had his hands full, because some high school students had stopped by to engage in a fight with some of the middle schoolers. Another staff member was struggling to deal with a student who was swearing, yelling, and causing quite a scene. The principal was in her office with the door closed. At one point, her door cracked open and she peeked out into the mayhem. Though the situation was far from being under control, she quietly closed her door again without saying a word.

Sherman MSSherman Middle School is located a little north of the former Oscar Mayer plant on Madison’s northeast side. The district describes Sherman as “a diverse, fully inclusive learning community” of 418 students that is 24% African-American and 29% hispanic and 69% low income.

Nap time in Room 120

Ms. Vieth writes:

Four years ago, I approached implementation of the district’s Behavior Education Plan (BEP) with a mixture of trepidation and hope. The goal of the BEP was to increase the time students spent in the classroom by replacing punitive, disciplinary actions with restorative practices. At the time, Sherman was under strong leadership and it seemed like we would continue to thrive. The plan looked good on paper ….

With discipline removed and no true restoration happening, our climate quickly degraded over the course of three years. Students can swear at teachers, use hate language, talk about blowing up the school, walk out of classrooms, or hit a peer. They would take a quick break out of the classroom and be back to start all over again exhibiting the same behaviors five to ten minutes later. …

Students have pushed staff, broken multiple panes of glass in the windows and doors, and brought weapons and drugs to school. The hallways have been filled to the brim with yelling, swearing, pushing, and shoving. Students walked out of class on a regular basis or asked outright to be taken to “Room 120”, which was meant to be the restorative center, where they would catch a quick nap, hang out, or talk to the staff who supervised the room, but restoration and followup did not happen.

Other teachers, parents agree

Discipline hard

This ‘Positive Behavior Support Coach’ is not welcome in the Madison Schools

This morning, three days after her June 11 posting, her blog had attracted over 40 responses, all supportive. A high school teacher agreed: 

The BEP is a disaster at our school for some of the same reasons you have mentioned. There is no sense of restorative justice or discipline WITH compassion. While we do not want to be punitive, there is absolutely no accountability for our student either socially or academically. I have students who constantly watch their cell phones, yell across the classroom, curse in my face, and generally disrupt the class.

Once the “team” comes in, the students return after five minutes and act up again. One child said to me when I said I would call the team, “go ahead…they aren’t going to do S&%t anyway.” Sadly, the student is correct. The school year does not start out this way. Children are often well-behaved, well-mannered, and eager to learn. It degrades over time as students find the BEP to be a joke.

A Sherman Middle School parent agreed. “The students behavior is out of control, and the ones who suffer are the kids.” The parent was allowed to enter the school with his child’s forgotten backpack unescorted because “security was busy with two fights that happened around the time I arrived.”

A commenter posting as “A former employee” writes: “Nothing unique about what’s happening at Sherman School. This happening many places at MMSD. The discipline policy is a joke.” 

Another MMSD teacher who left the district added: 

I too left MMSD after teaching here for 25 years. Many of the same circumstances at my middle school caused me to leave as well. I took a job with substantially less pay and worse benefits, but could no longer stay in a district that did not support teachers …  I felt guilty leaving knowing what my students were going to be left facing in classrooms often in chaos. 

I, too, am saddened by what is happening in Madison’s schools,” added Becky Garcia, who says she quit after 33 years, overwhelmed by the intensive record-keeping required by the 81-page BEP. “I felt powerless to stop the tsunami of demands on teachers that left little time to actually plan and teach effective lessons. Add to that the new policies that teach students that they have no accountability for anything.”

Blaska’s Bottom Line: Where can I sign up to be a positive behavior support coach?

Coming next blog! School District Central Office throws a curve ball!

About David Blaska

Madison WI
This entry was posted in Critical Race Theory / Identity politics, Madison schools and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Madison middle school teacher quits because her school is in chaos, Part #1

  1. madisonexpat says:

    Because it is not about the children and never was. No wonder Madison could not allow charter schools.
    Being Progressive is all form and no function.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dave,

    There was a time when Black students didn’t dare act out in school! Our parents would come to the school and give you a butt whipping in front of the whole class! “Racial achievement gap?” Every school that I attended was in a Chicago housing project and I graduated from UW-Whitewater with high honors (BSW) and from USC School of Social Work (MSW) with a 3.85 GPA! This is all a bunch of BS!

    On Wed, Jun 13, 2018 at 10:51 AM, Stately Blaska Manor wrote:

    > David Blaska posted: “Nap time in Room 120 Rushed to the hospital after > breaking up a fight Madison schools will fail if they continue to allow > race to get in the way of education. The race-inspired behavior education > plan (BEP) is destroying Madison schools more surely than ” >


    • Cornelius Gotchberg says:


      That reminds me of a post awhile back about the oppression of Blacks that resonated to the extent that I archived it:

      (bolds mine throughout))
      “That (all Blacks are oppressed) is a bold, and wide ranging claim to make. And, as I have invoked before (and at times you’ve shot down, at times legitimately, and at times not, IMO), how can a country that oppresses an entire race of people, a group of people that share the same race as I, somehow not oppress me? Not oppress my father? My brother? My sister, uncle, niece, cousins?

      ”If there is something that makes us different, that makes Thomas Sowell, and Jason Riley, and Walter E. Williams, and Derrick Green (writer for Project 21, a leadership network for Black Conservatives), and many other blacks who are apparent immune to this different, then why is no time devoted to identifying what that secondary component is, that causes us to be excluded from this oppression?

      We spend so much time discussing intersectionality, but ignore the intersection where systemic racism meets some unknown, unspoken characteristic possessed by some of us, where we become immune to that aforementioned systemic racism.

      “If that’s our goal, eradicating racism, why is no one asking those of us who aren’t finding racism around every street corner, what our secret is?

      Why are the cameras consistently shoved in the faces of the victims of our racist society, but never us? (You and I both damn well know the answer)”

      The Gotch


  3. wadwizard says:

    I think that the taxes I pay for this insane failed, savage educational environment are way too high. I call this situation child abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gary L. Kriewald says:

    When I saw the term ‘Positive Behavior Support Coach’ in the photo caption (before reading the post), I assumed it was a cleverly satirical term invented by DB. I should have known better. It’s nigh unto impossible to parody Madison liberals–they’re already a parody of themselves, especially when it comes to their educational doctrines.

    A few years ago, I saw a documentary on the Berkeley public school system, which, of course, operates on the same crackpot theories as the Madison system: constant indoctrination in the wonders of multiculturalism and “inclusivity”, total lack of student accountability, image over substance, free passes for bad behavior by minorities, etc. The highlight (for me) came when the cameras witnessed a fight breaking out at an assembly between Latino students and black students. The theme of the assembly? You guessed it, a celebration of ethnic diversity.

    I’ve made this point on previous posts on this subject, and I’ll make it again. All the high-minded, well-meaning policies in the world are useless if students go home at the end of the school day and find their parents (or more likely parent) engaging in exactly the kind of behavior that they’re told is unacceptable at school. It’s unrealistic to expect a kid to be a model of decorum at school if he or she lives in an atmosphere of total dysfunction at home. Until parents are forced–yes, forced–to shoulder part of the responsibility for preparing their kids to behave in a civilized manner at school, nothing will change. (Oops, did I use the word “responsibility”? Apologies to any liberal reading this who is no doubt red-faced and sputtering.)

    A final thought: If chaos reigns in Madison’s public schools, why is it never mentioned (let alone covered in-depth) by the local media? I’m inclined to believe they’re as invested in promoting the image of Madison as a harmonious, multi-ethnic fantasyland as are the clueless elites who run the school system.

    Liked by 1 person

    • richard lesiak says:

      Just what kind of “force” are you calling for? You conservatives have been chipping away at our school system for years. Now your wringing your hands. I’ve seen plenty in the local media. Blaska himself has written about the cops being called to schools, fights in the streets, etc. “Clueless elites who run the school system”? The gop runs everything in this state. The schools run on walkers budget. And we always get the typical scooter BS. 3 years of cutting schools, election year he gives back 20% of his cuts and crows about it.


      • Katarina says:

        GOP doesn’t run the insane policies of Madison schools. Teachers rushed to hospitals due to the actions of out of control students is not because of a GOP policy. It is liberal LaLa Land policy when out of control students are not disciplined beyond a 5 minute time out for acting out or injuring a school employee.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eric Z says:

        Ummmmm, the GOP does NOT run the emerald city. The extreme left runs the helm. The city thumbed its collective nose at act 10 and negotiated contracts illegally with money it didnt have. so be it. That worked out about as well as restorative justice. Mr. Kriewald make most excellent points.


      • Gary L. Kriewald says:

        Silly me, I should have realized it’s all Walker’s fault. The favorite fallback position of Madison liberals–second only to blaming racism for every ill in society. BTW, by “force” I meant penalizing the parent(s) of any kid who can’t or won’t conform to the standards of civilized behavior while in school.


    • Batman says:

      Most excellent post GLK.
      You offer a simple solution that would be an effective workaround the restorative justice failure.
      Apparently the violence and chaos that is destroying the learning environment for all, has great teachers quitting and others going to the hospital, will have to get even worse before anything is done. We shall see just how stubborn those in charge are before they concede the current paradigm is a failure.

      I am pro Union but not a work contract that insures firing a terrible employee is like pulling teeth with a tweezer. This is true with state and federal unions.

      Looks like the parents/community will have to organize and protest the current situation, loud and long. This along with picketing the school will garner media attention. Picketing can be extremely effective.

      Reading Ms Vieth’s blog page and the following comments is infuriating.


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  6. Kevin Wymore says:

    As if on cue, one contributor boldly offered a solution on the blog post where Ms. Vieth described this unmitigated chaos.

    “More money!” he said, laying bare the intellectual bankruptcy that reigns in this city.


    • richard lesiak says:

      Check out today’s article about the Arena school closing FOREVER. Lone Rock closed last year FOREVER. Problem…NO MONEY. It’s not just in Madison. Come visit Adams-Friendship They will gladly tell you about all the program cuts, staff cuts, facility cuts that they are struggling with. My sister is a retired teacher. By the time she left she was buying her own chalk.


      • Gary L. Kriewald says:

        Was she also fighting off assaults by students, or is that just a Madison thing?


      • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

        Looky here folks, @richard lesiak is just telling part of the story…AGAIN.

        Why? Because the part he likes furthers a Lefty narrative at which a fact-based reality and the rest of the known Universe laugh their @$$e$ off.

        That stupid narrative? Throwing $ at the schools will produce better results.

        What the resident idiot savant forgot to add is something even the bedrock Conservative NYT even saw fit to include:

        (unforgiving budgets) AND “a dearth of students and an aging population have made it impossible to keep the (Arena) school open.”

        And what senseless, fact-bereft screed would be complete without an obligatory jab at our thrice-elected Governor Walker; it’s waaaaah, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah “statewide!”

        To listen to @richard lesiak’s drivel, Walker’s influence apparently reached beyond America’s Dairyland’s statelines: “The same scene is playing out across rural America. Officials in aging communities with stretched budgets are closing small schools and busing children to larger towns.” (bolds mine)

        The humanity! Even the Lefty paper-of-record is flipping youse off!

        The Gotch


      • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

        Someone ought remind @richard lesiak that the residents in the towns (Arena & Lone Rock) about which he’s slobbering effusively are well-represented in the Hillarity “basket of deplorables” demographic AND had signs for President Trump and our thrice-elected Governor Walker in their yards, and likely will again.

        Maybe then he’ll return to his glassy eyin’ lock-steppin’ & unquestionin’ secular worship of meta Lefty Madison/Dane County and democrat sh*th**e Milwaukee.

        The Gotch


  7. PLW says:

    No wonder outcomes are so bad on the east side. I went to school on the east side for a bit. Parents couldn’t give a rip about what their kids did. White trash run amok.


    • Batman says:

      So you don’t like fair skinned people PLW. That’s helpful.


    • richard lesiak says:

      There’s a big, empty Sears store in Baraboo. I’m sure they would sign a lease, bring in some cots, build a fence. Fill it with those kids. That would make all the righties happy.


      • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

        The above is something a monumentally blithering addlepate posts when they think they’re being clever.


        The Gotch


      • madisonexpat says:

        So the Arena school closing is NOT about money.
        Were you mistaken or mendacious?


    • Cornelius Gotchberg says:

      Whoopsie! Should read:

      Soooooooo, the Black Trash…how are THEY doin’?


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