Assembly Committee on Common Core Releases Findings on Educational Standards

Committee Recommends Safeguards for Student Privacy, Review of Practices in the Future

MacIver News Service | December 11, 2013

The Assembly Select Committee on Common Core released its findings today, suggesting that safeguards be put in place to protect student privacy along with a review process to ensure that standards are working. Those are two of the key conclusions reached by Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) and members of the Committee on Wednesday.

Thiesfeldt released the Committee’s findings and recommendations after more than two months of public hearings regarding the controversial nationally-normed K-12 standards. The eight-point list included provisions to ensure that student data is secure and that pupils cannot be subject to invasive biometric analysis. It also recommended policy that would ensure that curriculum and instructional methods would remain decisions that can only be made at the local level by Wisconsin’s school districts.

While the Assembly Select Committee pointed out several flaws in the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the group’s recommendations did not set out to repeal the CCSS, which were approved for use in the Badger State back in 2010. Instead, the Committee cautioned against adopting intrusive federal guidelines in the future, including using CCSS regulations in subjects outside of reading and math. The group also proposed that the state’s standards, be they CCSS or otherwise, fall under legislative and public review every few years to help ensure that Wisconsin does not fall behind the national curve once again.

While the document suggested that the state would be “best served” by creating its own standards, it did not lay out guidelines for creating that metric. However, the Committee did suggest that DPI create a program that adds an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education in Wisconsin’s high schools.

These recommendations came after a tense review process that collected testimony at four different public hearings across the state. Many of Wisconsin’s public school teachers and administrators came out in favor of the standards. However, critics from across the state testified that CCSS’s data collection methods and standards were troubling enough to compel the state to create and implement its own stringent academic controls.

The Senate Select Committee on Common Core Standards is expected to release their recommendations related to CCSS in Wisconsin in the coming weeks.