If you have a kid in school, you're pretty much your own authority on education. Because everything that happens in the schools is filtered through its impact on your child. More or less, that's the conceit behind the 4,000 words-plus I wrote on the Madison schools for Wisconsin Interest, the quarterly publication of the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute.
The piece (titled "My Life and Times with the Madison Public Schools") is a personal look at how various school issues over the past decade have affected my two daughters. About two-third through, alert readers will figure out that the piece is a much expanded version of an Isthmus column I wrote in June 2006 on globalization and education.
One reader has already questioned how I can be so critical of the Madison schools yet write a column in Isthmus expressing regret that Supt. Art Rainwater is retiring.
The answer? Well, as much as the parent in me has disliked some of Rainwater's decisions I also recognize that he's done some things very well. And that ambivalence is at the heart of this essay: As a parent, I am both a critic and defender of the Madison schools.