Thank you to Greendale,
My supporters and the hard fought battle we undertook. We shined a light on several issues, and we got a very good candidate in that will keep fighting for our kids and our falling test scores.
My top priority as Greendale School Board Member:
My top priority is raising the bar on academic achievement while maintaining fiscal responsibility. The school district needs to remain the heart of the community! I feel we have a very good Superintendent, but she has inherited a sad fact. Since 2010, I am seeing a decline in academic achievement. Specifically, in Math and English Language Arts.
I look for the root cause in things that are failing. I must walk before I run, since I am not a School Board member yet, but in this short time researching things for my first ever campaign, I have found that Greendale School District is faltering in Math and English Language Arts. I will also say that my research and experience putting two kids through GSD, that Greendale has excellent Teachers! Our falling reading scores are not the fault of the Teachers. They are doing the best they can with programs that have been proven ineffective.
One specific area is the balanced literacy methodology, consisting mostly of the Lucy Calkins and Fountas & Pinell programs. My rudimentary research utilizing the DPI website, points to very clear data that it is not effective as there has been steep declines. Examples:
1) In GSD ELA Scores, district wide, in 2014-15 school year, we were 73% proficient or advanced. By the 2020-21 school year, we dropped to 51%.
2) Looking at it the other way, in 2014-15, only 28% of the kids were basic or below proficiency and by the 2020-21 it shot up to 49%.
1) For black students, in 2014-15, their ELA scores, district wide were 49% proficient to advanced. By 2020-21, they dropped to 23%. To me, this is a solid, concrete equity talking point. Obviously, these programs do not work, but especially for black students.
There is a second negative affect to all of this. As schools become more and more diverse, we will see younger and younger kids where English is NOT their first language. I realize that word decoding is taught, but it’s not the primary strategy. With young minds that are first learning the English language, decoding is essential, because context for these words are lost. As they are slowly starting to lose the proficiency of their first language to learn English, there is a “limbo between the two language worlds” that is created. The price we are paying is eventually, 15 year olds reading at a 6th Grade level.
• Rebecca Kleefisch – Candidate for Governor
Endorsements alone do not win elections. It’s a combined track record of Community Service and building a positive, helpful and nurturing network over a long period of time. And THAT, I am proud to say that I have done quite well.