Badgers United to Legislature: Lift Tuition Freeze

Badgers United, a new nonprofit organization, launched in June to undergird the financial position of the University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus.

Executive Director Amber Schroeder said the organization hopes to highlight how UW-Madison helps the entire state succeed.

“We look forward to sharing information with citizens and stakeholders alike to create a greater understanding of the powerful economic value of UW-Madison and help folks understand the wealth of data out there and what it is telling us to do,” Schroeder said.

Here are the 26 People Vying for One Open School Board Seat

As Madison school board members prepare to appoint a replacement for longtime Madison Metropolitan School Board (MMSD) member Mary Burke, they have 26 applications to look through. 

MMSD policy requires that the Board choose an immediate replacement to fill Burke’s seat within 60 days of her departure. However, a Wisconsin state statute requires that appointees win election in the next possible spring, in 2020, to continue their service on the board.  Additionally, because the person appointed to Burke’s seat would be serving out her original three-year term, that person would be up for re-election yet again in 2021. 

Those interested in applying for the vacant board seat was asked to complete a short statement describing their views on critical issues facing the district, and early thoughts about how those issues might be addressed. Those applications were due July 19, and were posted online for public transparency. 

Board members plan to discuss potential applicants and select a new board member at its July 22 meeting.  

Here’s a look at the applicants, in alphabetical order:

David Aguayo is an executive assistant in the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and has previously held positions as a paralegal in with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and as a commissioner with the Washington D.C. Commission on Latino Community Development. He expressed interested in seeking alternatives to detention as a disciplinary practice, and highlighted the need to attract and retain more teachers of color in MMSD schools. 

Erin Arango-Escalante is the administrator for the Division of Early Care and Education at the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, and previously held positions at WIDA within the Wisconsin Center for Education Research and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Arango-Escalante, a graduate of MMSD schools, identified issues with funding streams for English Language Learner (ELL) students, community-based early education opportunities, and family outreach as core to her goals as a potential board member. 

Micah Ariel-Rohr is a former Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teacher, and currently serves as assistant director at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Hillel.

Creating Opportunities for Madison’s Latinx Communities

Since it grew out of Madison’s Latino Family Resource Center in 2010, the Latino Academy of Workforce Development has provided general education, workforce training, and safety programs to a community hungry for learning opportunities. Before the Latino Academy’s inception, Latino Family Resource Center coordinators like Baltazar de Anda Santana provided basics like food and English classes to Madison’s Latinx population. But there was a growing desire among the LFRC’s clients for something more substantial. “There were the participants who were okay receiving the help, but there were other participants who were more interested in learning how to do things,” said de Anda Santana, now executive director of the Latino Academy. The effort to make clients self-sufficient came not from coordinators but from the clients themselves. “The participants wanted that, they wanted to be the ones to learn English, they wanted to learn computers,” de Anda Santana said.

School board members want a new leader to build on Cheatham’s strategic framework for MMSD

Less than two weeks after newly elected school board members were sworn into their positions, Dr. Jen Cheatham announced her resignation from her position as Superintendent of the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD). Her resignation came as a surprise to at least one of the new members. While this announcement gives the school board an unexpected challenge, it also gives them an opportunity to appoint a new leader of Madison schools. “I was definitely surprised by Jen’s announcement,” said Ananda Mirelli, who was among the new school board members sworn in at the April 29th meeting. “But this is a good opportunity for the school board and the community to re-think and recalibrate what type of leader we want.”

Cris Carusi, a new school board member agrees.

SSFP: Mental Health In College Students

Have you ever considered the stress the average college student goes through? Or the many difficulties they face while studying for their careers and the problems these mental health issues can lead to? Depression among college students is high with 36.4 percent reporting some kind of depression including feeling helplessness, overwhelmed, sadness, hopelessness, and powerless. A survey conducted by the Association of University and College Counseling Center directors in 2013 stated that depression is the main cause of college dropout students. If untreated, it can lead to serious problems later in life, including taking one’s own life.

Madison teachers incorporating mindfulness and self-care to instruction, see positive results

A movement has begun. While teachers across the US have made headlines for striking to protest their working conditions, there is also a growing movement among teachers to incorporate theories of mindfulness and self-care to generate social change in their classrooms.

This movement began in Madison. Before Ilana Nanking moved here from San Francisco to earn a Ph.D  in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Wisconsin-Madison, she had worked as a pre-kindergarten teacher. To cope with the stress of her job, she took up yoga and mindfulness. When she incorporated those practices into her classroom, Nanking said she saw “profound academic and social emotional growth” among her students.

Meet the Candidates for Madison Board of Education

During the primary campaign we asked candidates running for the Madison Board of Education the same five questions to understand their vision for education in Madison. For the general election, we took a different route and asked the candidates a set of questions to understand where and how they would focus their energy if elected. The election for Madison Board of Education takes place Tuesday, April 2. Candidates responded to our questions through email or over the phone. We only publish direct quotes from candidates responding to the following questions:

What is the biggest challenge facing Madison schools?

Ad-hoc committee finds contract with Madison police fraught with challenges

Members of the ad-hoc committee tasked with evaluating the contract between the Madison Police Department and the Madison Metropolitan School District found a complex situation for which there was no obvious solution, according to committee members interviewed by Madison Commons. Nonetheless, the committee produced a list of recommended changes to the Educational Resource Officer contract that seek to address the problems of police presence in schools as comprehensively as possible, barring termination of the contract. Although some committee members believed that terminating the contract with Madison police should be the district’s long-term goal, the committee did not recommend doing so immediately in its final report to the Board of Education last December. “I was surprised how much [EROs] were built into the infrastructure of school functioning, and how much they were perceived [by staff] to be essential. And for me that raised concerns about a complete and abrupt removal,” said Abra Vigna, one of nine community members on the committee, which also included three MMSD school board members.