VIDEO REPORT: Addressing the Achievement Gap

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UPDATED Tuesday, September 4, 2012--5:40p.m.
MADISON--After a year where community meetings and high-profile plans to address the achievement gap grabbed headlines, the question is: is Madison better off today than it was a year ago?

"I think we have come a long way," said Superintendent Jane Belmore. "The district, as you may know, developed a pretty ambitious achievement plan last year and came out to the community and talked with folks in the community about it, got a lot of buy-in and there are lots of community organizations that are really behind us on that."

Superintendent Belmore says it will take a number of years to complete the process--but says they're fortunate to have the resources to help put it into play this year. "We have a plan that we're now looking at, really what I'm calling kind of sorting the priorities of the priorities, because it's very ambitious," she said. "We're not going to be able to do everything at the same level, at the same time, but we're really figuring out what the things are that are going to give us the most leverage."

The Urban League of Greater Madison has been on the forefront of the fight to address the achievement gap. President and CEO Kaleem Caire says he thought the achievement gap plan was too broad to begin with.

Superintendent Belmore is the interim for that position. Caire spoke to the importance of choosing the right successor--in order to help address the gap. "Who understands what these issues are that are driving the achievement gap, that understands strategies that can be put in place to mitigate that, is not afraid to engage politically," he described.

And while she's not here permanently--Superintendent Belmore says she's hoping to do a lot of good things in one year. "My focus is to do short term actions for the long term good."
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Tuesday, September 4, 2012--3:50p.m.

MADISON--Even as a crop of fresh students enters the Madison Metropolitan School District today, eyes are focused on tackling the district's achievement gap going forward.

The achievement gap--that's the difference between minority students and their white counterparts-- has garnered plenty of attention over the last year.

The district's interim superintendent says she thinks they've come a long way since this time last year. "We have a plan that we're now looking at," said Superintendent Jane Belmore.

"Really what I'm calling kind of sorting the priorities of the priorities, because it's very ambitious. We're not going to be able to do everything at the same level at the same time, but we're really figuring out what the things are that are going to give us the most leverage." Superintendent Belmore says it is a plan that will take a number of years to complete--but that they are fortunate to have that planning done.