Isthmus has paid a lot of attention to Madison schools through the years, especially the last few, when we've had the advantage of Jason Shepard's experienced reporting. The reason for our attention is simple: The fate of the schools is important to citizens, especially those with children, and their governance has been especially contentious.
I find it ironic that during mayoral races, there is hardly ever a mention of school issues outside of service delivery. As vital as schools are to the health of a community, you'd think that mayors would chafe over how little influence they have on school policy. But that's a discussion for another time.
Our main news story this week, Shepard's "How Can We Help Poor Students Achieve More?" deals with the issues of poverty and achievement in our public schools and reveals a road not taken to confront them. Was the reason for rejecting fourth-grade-kindergarten budgetary, as some suggest? To the extent that it was, considering that enhancing the preschool environment is essential to closing the achievement gap, and closing the achievement gap is essential to creating an equitable society, perhaps the supposed value of fiscal restraint is too high a price to pay.
This week's issue also includes the League of Women Voters' Candidates Answers, and, once again, we direct your attention to "Election Watch" on TheDailyPage.com for more election coverage. Reviewing this material should give you a pretty good bead on where all the candidates stand on a variety of issues.
Speaking of online activity, I'm pleased to report the latest accomplishments of our webonauts. They have been awarded two second places in the Milwaukee Press Club's Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism Competition. Placing in the "best news story originally published on a Web site" category was the team of Kristian Knutsen, David Michael Miller, Jason Joyce, Ben Broeren and Adam Hinterthuer for their running coverage of Halloween 2006. And TDP was also runner-up in the "best original design" category. Thanks to our contractors, Planet Propaganda, for their considerable work on the design, and thanks to the in-house staff for their considerable work in realizing it. The team has had other recognition lately. More on that next week.
Hold the presses! This just in! Isthmus contributor Nathan Comp has delivered us a first place in the newspaper competition at the Milwaukee Press Club - best single news story over 30 inches - for "War Without End," his investigation of the post-conflict price that our soldiers have to pay. We congratulate him and are extremely proud of all our successful contenders.