The term "Doom Loop" describes a vicious cycle. An attempted solution makes a situation worse by not addressing the root of the problem. In finance, this refers to the boom-bust structure that leads to economic crises. Sometimes Madison uses the same doom loops many times before learning hard lessons.
Local kids pay the price.
Madison school administrators recently posted a Black Excellence plan on the district’s website. The Department of Family, Youth and Community Engagement proposes a new commission. The first goal is to “begin awareness and engagement about Black Excellence.”
The district commits to “creating new narratives about our Black youth and highlight that excellence that already exists.” The district’s plan also says, “we do not believe that excellence only shows up in academic metrics.”
It seems obvious district administrators have their minds made up—at least on this point. That makes it past time for public explanations. A new plan focused on Black Excellence, in particular a plan that launches a new commission, requires the fierce urgency of now. It requires meticulous transparency. We’ve been let down too many times before.
If the district plans to lead with a simple outline plan, meatier ideas than this should be close behind. The public won’t see a press conference and a website as a new plan. Dr. Cheatham and school board members must know that. We expect more.
Our kids deserve a real plan right now. There is a crisis out here. Parents and the public know what counts. They know reading and math scores count. College readiness counts. The district’s outline plan uses the term ‘metrics’ several times but doesn’t offer specifics.
We applaud the term and certainly support Black Excellence. We’re anxious to support a new plan. But a new commission and more perfunctory downtown meetings sounds suspiciously like Madison’s old plan. It’s clear how that turned out. The old plan was a classic doom loop. We can’t get fooled again. Local kids are depending on us.
Outline of Black Excellence Plan as Posted on MMSD's Website
Retrieved January 15, 2019
- We will commit to creating new narratives about our Black youth and highlight that excellence that already exists.
- Competencies we want all of our graduates to possess: A growth mindset, interpersonal skills, confidence, cultural competence, community connection, wellness, creativity and self-knowledge.
- We do not believe that excellence only shows up in academic metrics.
Evidence: Share progress with Board of Education on June 28, 2019 ___________
Project Goals and Associated Metrics
For 2018-19 the goal is to establish the Black Excellence Coalition.
- Begin awareness and engagement about Black Excellence
- Finalize purpose of the Coalition, refine description based on feedback
- Work in collaboration with the MMSD Communications department to create web and social media presence
- Determine existing groups and collaborations that can support the work
- Set up engagement sessions / finalize meeting schedule
- Hold initial meetings to review data, gather additional information
- Hold meetings, review data, determine way to assess impact and identify recommendations for future work
- If applicable, review progress on any immediate actions for this year
- Continue to work in collaboration with MMSD Communications department
- Hold summer meetings if necessary
Measures of Success
- Coalition is formed (and/or we are leveraging other existing groups to identify key recommendations)
- We will form an internal MMSD cross-functional team to monitor the highest impact action steps happening towards Goal 3 so that the District can report its progress
- The Communications Department will have stories, photos, videos and other materials developed to highlight Black Excellence.
- We will use Climate Survey responses from Black students, staff and families to create a baseline of experiences across the District.
- Final report of our progress and recommendations
- Communications materials
- Potential new supports/events