LET ME BREAK IT DOWN FOR YA: My son Michael (whom some of you remember from his past and current blogs) attended Madison public schools. When he was in third grade, he was reading at college level—part of the reason why he skipped second grade.
We tried to enroll him in Madison's program for talented and gifted students (TAG for short) and were turned down because "white children are overrepresented"—no, I'm not joking.
I see, from last Sunday's Wisconsin State Journal, that not much has changed since then.
The article (School District to revise plans for talented, gifted) notes: "The three-year plan would replace current TAG policy, which has been out of compliance with state statutes since 1990."
The article neglects to mention that the reason the policy was out of compliance was that the school district refused to address the blatant racism of its implementation, which all but refused admission to white and Asian students.
"The need for a new TAG plan was reinforced by the results of a recent district survey of parents who have taken their children out of Madison schools... Many of those parents said they left because their children weren't challenged enough in math and other academic subjects and found music opportunities lacking."
Back when Michael was enrolled in Madison schools, there was no such thing as "Wisconsin School Choice," which allows children to be enrolled in pretty much any public school the parents choose. Note the sudden interest of the Madison school district, now that white and Asian students are not required to stay put.
But here's my favorite part, complete with a long-overdue S&G fisking:
"We have a very diverse student body, so we want to make sure that our assessments are varied and diverse," [damned impressive, working the d-word into a sentence twice—although I'm not sure it's possible for an assessment to be 'diverse' ] "so that we're more proactive on this." [the p-word too... bonus points!] "One aspect of the plan is to make sure that it's equitable regardless of the school or the grade level or the content area or the child—that the services, programs and quality of the education experience is more systematized," [and that's only one aspect? Never mind that it means absolutely NOTHING—I can't wait to see what happens next!] "that we're sure we're doing this across the district for all students, and it is less dependent on an individual or a particular school." [Did you say ALL students? Does that mean white and Asian students too? Apparently that School Choice thing put the fear of God in y'all... funny how that works.]
Incidentally, the source of this choice bit of barackracy is one Lisa Wachtel, the "Executive Director for Teaching and Learning" for the Madison Metropolitan School District. I'd say she could do with a bit of "teaching and learning" her ownself.
And here's the punchline: "The district also hopes to tap $100,000 in federal stimulus money to purchase identification tools..."
porkulus stimulus money.
"Identification tools." [How about just talking to the kid's teacher?]
Now there's money well spent. I'd say that we're the tools, folks.
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