Committee discusses collaborations to close achievement gap - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Committee discusses collaborations to close achievement gap

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The achievement gap has long been an issue for public schools. At Wednesday night's education committee meeting in Madison, members discussed why it will take a number of groups and agencies to close it.

They invited three guests to join in on the discussion, representing the city of Madison, Dane County and the local school district. They're trying to find ways where all three can help each other in education.

"Talking about how we can increase our collaboration partnerships and focus on the school districts mission of student learning and lifting up learning for all students," Interim School Superintendent Jane Belmore explains.

One strategy was to prepare them when they're young, making sure every student starts school on a level playing field.

"So that they're not starting off behind which is what we hear," says Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. "You can go all the way down the chain. Kids who aren't succeeding in high school, they didn't meet those milestones in middle school and on down."

Both Parisi and Madison Mayor Paul Soglin believe that public education goes beyond the four walls of the child's school. Once at home and in the community they face several challenges that need to be addressed.

"It's absolutely critical that the parent understands the education plan for the child," says Soglin.

Kaleem Caire of the Urban League of Greater Madison, who spoke during the public input part of the meeting, was thrilled to see the three entities working together. He's happy to see all the programs currently available, but says much more is needed.

"We are vastly different than what we were 20 years ago, but we are still operating a school system with the same level of service and same level of support as we were 20 years ago," Caire says.

After talking about so many ideas the group is excited to develop them and eventually put them into action. The school district talked about its 17-point plan to close the achievement gap over the next five years. Both the mayor and county executive also talked about programs they're looking to expand in the coming years.

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