MacIver News Service | September 25, 2013
[Madison, Wisc...] On Tuesday, Governor Scott Walker publicly questioned the application of national Common Core of Data standards in Wisconsin, hinting that there could be a replacement in the works for the Badger State.
"I'd like Wisconsin to have its own unique standards that I think can be higher than what's been established, or what's been talked about, at the national level," said Walker. The Governor was addressing the media after delivering a speech at the Wisconsin Counties Association's annual meeting. In the scrum, he suggested legislators hold mandated public hearings on Common Core that were passed in the 2013-2015 Wisconsin State Budget.
Walker compared a potential Common Core replacement to how the state phased out No Child Left Behind's standards by developing its own report cards with which to grade public schools. However, the state was able to borrow parts of that design and implementation plan from other states as several other states worked to free themselves from NCLB regulations. With less cooperation nationwide, the pressure to create a new set of educational standards would be high for the Department of Public Instruction and educational stakeholders throughout the state.
To get there, the state will have to gather feedback from its citizens first. This spring, the Joint Finance Committee inserted language into the state budget that called for three public hearings regarding the implementation of Common Core standards in Wisconsin. So far, those hearings have yet to happen, despite pressure from outside groups as well as lawmakers.
Now, that pressure will intensify after the Governor's statements on Tuesday. These comments will put a greater spotlight on Common Core's role in Wisconsin than ever before.
UPDATE: The Senate and Assembly have announced the formation of two Select Committees on Common Core to look into the matter more deeply. Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) will head the Assembly committee, while Senator Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) will be the chair of the Senate side. The Senate committee will have five members, including Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), and two Democrats to be named at a later date by Senator Chris Larson.