One City Schools’ Expeditionary Elementary School Students (Fall 2019)

Madison has harbored deep disparities in education, housing, employment and entrepreneurship for far too long, and we’ve known it all along.

On Monday, January 20, 2020, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I sent the long list of news reports and publications shown below to a number of business and community leaders in Madison, Wisconsin who should know this history so they understand how seriously important it is that we climb out of our boxes and deepen our personal and professional investments in our children. I truly hope they click on the hyperlinks and read the list, and I hope you do too. I also hope you will consider passing this information on to your friends and colleagues so they can reduce any gaps they might have in their knowledge and awareness of Madison’s legacy of disparities as well.

It is really important that all of us have a solid and comprehensive foundation and perspective of just how long we have been talking the legacy of racial disparities in education, housing, employment, entrepreneurship, economic development and family prosperity in the Greater Madison region. These disparities are deeply rooted in the dejure racism of our nation and city’s past, the slow pace of our efforts to change them since slavery ended and civil rights legislation was won, and the ignorance of our citizens who fail to pay attention, choose to be blind, or live with their faces buried in their handheld devices or gaming units.

With regard to K-12 education, Madison has known about the widespread underperformance of Black children in our city’s public schools for more than 50 years, and the situation has gotten worse. Instead of creating important and transformationl systemic changes, we act like “programs” alone will solve our problems, when we know full well that they will not.

I hope after reading (or scanning) this list, that you join me in becoming extraordinarily and absolutely impatient in your desire to address these challenges, and engage in less talk and more action and investment so we can do a far better job or preparing future generations to climb out the potholes that previous generations, and ours, have created for them.

We have been dealing with these disparities for far too long. In K-12 education in Madison, despite modest investments in efforts to improve things, we have seen little progress. It’s not that we haven’t done anything. You will see below that work has been done and investments have been made. However, we have never really focused on creating and manifesting broad systemic and comprehensive change in the institutions that could help us move forward, such as our public schools. Going forward, we must do more and do better. We cannot afford to lose another generation to our ignorance, soft approaches or inaction.

Please read below and see for yourself just how long we’ve been spinning in circles. This is why Black people in Madison are impatient, and we should be.

  1.  348 Negroes Listed Madison as Home in Federal Census (WSJ — 1931)
  2. Madison Negroes to Talk about Recreational Center (WSJ — 1939)
  3. The Negro in Madison, Wisconsin (Thomas McCormick and Richard Hornseth, American Sociological Review — October 1947)
  4. Race Congeniality Found in Madison: But Few Job Options for Negroes (WSJ — 1947)
  5. Carson Gulley on Housing Bias and Discrimination in Madison (TCT — 1951)
  6. Madison has a Race Bias Problem Mayor Says (TCT — 1959)
  7. Madison Negroes Prefer Mixed Neighborhoods (TCT — 1959)
  8. Urban Program Works Hardship on Madison Negroes (TCT — 1961)
  9. The Negro in Madison: Employment №2 Problem (WSJ — 1963)
  10. Only a Handful of City Firms Hiring Negroes (TCT — 1963)
  11. New Survey Set on Negro Skills (WSJ — 1963)
  12. Madison Negroes Consider Education Key to Future (TCT — 1963)
  13. No Negro Trade Apprentices Here (TCT — 1963)
  14. Negroes Strive to Avoid Ghetto in Madison (WSJ — 1963)
  15. Negroes Told Job Training, Education Needed for Jobs (WSJ — 1963)
  16. The Negro in Madison — Fitness to be Hired (TCT — 1963)
  17. [Madison’s] Choice in Housing: Impact on Negroes (TCT — 1963)
  18. 47 Negroes Employed by 9 Big Firms (TCT — 1963)
  19. You Need Skills Negroes are Told (TCT — 1963)
  20. City of Madison Recognizes Housing Discrimination (TCT — 1963)
  21. Letters Supporting City of Madison’s Equal Opportunity Ordinance (TCT — 1963)
  22. Colston Aims City NAACP Drive at Monied Leaders (TCT — 1967)
  23. Madison Negroes Still Facing Entrapping Circle (TCT — 1965)
  24. U.S. Team Finds Discrimination in Jobs and Housing in Madison (TCT — 1966)
  25. Community Chest OK’s Madison Urban League (TCT — 1967) (Now called “United Way”)
  26. Negroes Complain of City Landlords (TCT — 1967)
  27. Social Agencies: Negroes Have Housing Challenges (TCT — 1967)
  28. Will Madison Lose is Racial Cool (WSJ — 1967)
  29. Madison Negroes Tell Feelings Frankly: Education, Race and Police (TCT — 1968)
  30. Madison NAACP Hosts Forum with School Board Candidates (TCT — 1969)
  31. Black MMSD Teachers Help District Recruit (TCT — 1969)
  32. EOC Claims City [of Madison] Has Own Racism: Few Black Teachers (WSJ — 1970)
  33. 32 Black Teachers Will Join Madison School District (TCT — 1970)
  34. Fleck of Soul in Madison: Started in 1840 (TCT — 1972)
  35. Urban League Looks out for Minorities (TCT — 1974)
  36. Black Student Performance Still Low (WSJ — 1976)
  37. Schools [in Madison] Work at Integration: 44% of Black Students Fail to Graduate (WSJ — 1976)
  38. Black Students Problems Reported in Madison (TCT — 1976)
  39. A School Study on Black Children in Madison (TCT — 1976)
  40. Urban League of Greater Madison — 25% Unemployment Among Blacks (TCT-1976)
  41. Robinson Leaves the Urban League — Says Madison Doesn’t Care About Blacks (TCT — 1976)
  42. Celebrate Culture: The First Blacks in Madison (TCT — 1979)
  43. MMSD Department of Human Relations: A Decade of Development 1969–1979
  44. Office of Civil Rights Complaint about School Closings [in South Madison] — (WSJ — 1979)
  45. [Office of Civil Rights] Says [MMSD] Board Built Bias — (WSJ — 1983)
  46. [MMSD School Board] Election Seen as Test for Integration (WSJ — 1984)
  47. School Bussing Plan Brings Concerns: Burden Falls on Minorities (WSJ — 1984)
  48. High School Blacks Not Measuring Up (TCT — 1987)
  49. MMSD Board Member Berg Pushes New Integration Plan (WSJ — 1987)
  50. [Madison] Blacks Blast Integration Results (TCT — 1987)
  51. Integration Plan Needed Urges [MMSD Superintendent] Travis (WSJ — 1987)
  52. Integration Plan Shift Urged (TCT — 1987)
  53. Minority Grades Emphasis Urged (WSJ — 1987)
  54. Minority Grades Urged as a Priority (TCT — 1987)
  55. Integration Plan Stays, Minority Student a Priority (TCT — 1988)
  56. [MMSD Superintendent] Travis: Integration Needs Time (WSJ — 1988)
  57. Black Students Are Struggling (WSJ — 1988)
  58. Black Students Grades Demand Action (TCT — 1988)
  59. [Black] School Administrator Rips Plan for Minority Student Achievement (WSJ — 1988)
  60. South Siders Say Schools Need [Their] Help — (WSJ — 1988)
  61. Madison School Board Member Jerry Smith — We Need Academic Cures (WSJ — 1988)
  62. School Integration Plan Ok’d (WSJ — 1988)
  63. City Warned it Will Feel ill-Effects of Poorly Educated Blacks (TCT-1988)
  64. Blacks Shift Hope to School Choice (WSJ — 1990)
  65. Madison Schools Goals 2000 Plan (WSJ — 1991)
  66. [MMSD] Schools Failing Minorities? Blacks Give Schools Poorer Grades (WSJ — 1992)
  67. Cheryl Wilhoyte: Excellent Schools Must Get Better (WSJ — 1993)
  68. Editorial: Minority Students Continue to Get Short-Changed by Regina Rhône (TCT 1993)
  69. Madison Schools Rethinking Desegregation: School Choice Plan (WSJ — 1994)
  70. Madison’s African American Ethnic Academy (WSJ — 1994)
  71. A Changing Population in Dane County: Challenges Facing African Americans (WSJ — 1995)
  72. Resegregation and White Flight from Madison’s Public Schools (WSJ — 1995)
  73. MMSD Desegregation History and Small Class Sizes (WSJ — 1995)
  74. MMSD Students Test Scores by Race — Racial Disparities (WSJ — 1996)
  75. Schools of Hope Leadership Group Targets Acheivement (WSJ — 1996)
  76. Eight Committees Develop Plan to Address Achievement Gap (WSJ — 1996)
  77. Editorial: Madison Can Close the Achievement Gap — Blames Parents (WSJ — 1996)
  78. Success for All: Gap Between Blacks and Whites is Growing (WSJ — 1996)
  79. Opportunities Lost: The Black/White Disparity in Preparation for College (WSJ — 1996)
  80. Panel Targets Grades for Minorities (WSJ — 1996)
  81. Eight Committees to Develop [Minority Student Achievement] Plan Details (WSJ — 1996)
  82. Factors Linked to Student Success, Struggle (WSJ — 1996)
  83. John Odom on Minority Student Achievement in Madison (WSJ — 1996)
  84. Community Gatherings focus on Race, Achievement (WSJ — 1996)
  85. Citizens Group Says Race, Not Poverty, At Root of Gap (WSJ — 1996)
  86. Mentoring to Close the Achievement Gap (WSJ — 1996)
  87. Disparities in College Preparation (WSJ — 1996)
  88. People Asked to Help with Minority Student Achievement (WSJ — 1996)
  89. 400 Tutors Recruited to Teach Kids Reading (WSJ — 1996)
  90. Students Speak: Black-White Achievement Gap in Madison (WSJ — 1996)
  91. How to Raise Minority Achievement: Concerned Citizens Tackle Vexing Problem (WSJ — 1996)
  92. The Pain and Promise of Diversity in Madison’s Schools: A History (WSJ — 1997)
  93. Family Ties: Survey of Parents and Teachers in Madison’s Public Schools (WSJ — 1997)
  94. Here’s What We Found: Project to Examine Minority Student Achievement (WSJ — 1997)
  95. Cheryl Wilhoyte: Roof Cost too Heavy for Crumbling Schools (WSJ — 1998)
  96. Achievement Gap — Black Students GPAs in MMSD (WSJ — 1999)
  97. Help Bright Minority Kids_Kaleem Caire and WCATY (WSJ — 1999)
  98. Madison West Zeroes in on Black History; a black history course (TCT — 2000) — Eliminated by MMSD
  99. School Racial Gap Closing Too Slowly NAACP Says (WSJ — 2001)
  100. Black Students in the City Regress (WSJ — 2003)
  101. Black-White Achievement Gap Widens: Madison Plan Failing (TCT — 2003)
  102. Editorial: Black Parents Often Disregarded (WSJ — 2003)
  103. MMSD Schools Tackle Summer Learning Loss (WSJ — 2003)
  104. Urban League of Greater Madison: Moving from the Periphery to the Center (Kaleem Caire — 2010)
  105. History and Background on Student Achievement in MMSD (Kaleem Caire — 2011)
  106. Urban League of Greater Madison (2011–12) Strategic Plan: Review History and Data (Kaleem Caire — 2011)
  107. Urban League of Greater Madison 2013–14 Strategic Plan: Transformational Leadership (Kaleem Caire — 2013)

Other Important Reading Material and a Video

My point: We have been waiting for change for far too long. We have no more time to wait.

Taking informed, thoughtful, decisive and necessary action is the only way forward.