Wisconsin Superintendents Overwhelmingly Support Review of Common Core Standards

However, Grassroots Activists Still Voice Concerns over Common Core

MacIver News Service | December 11, 2013

More than 80 percent of Wisconsin superintendents favor a program that would review the state’s academic standards every five to seven years. That’s according to the results of a survey sent out to the state’s public school districts by the Select Committees on Common Core this winter.

When asked if they would support a formalized review process for state standards in K-12 schools in order to gauge Wisconsin’s progress and standing compared to other states, administrators overwhelmingly supported the idea. A policy that would authorize state-led investigations into whether standards are stringent enough would mirror changes that states like Minnesota, Iowa, and Massachusetts have taken in recent years. The goal behind that legislation is to ensure that local benchmarks don’t fall behind national and global standards.

The results of the survey mirrored one of the key themes that the Assembly Select Committee on Common Core had touched on earlier this fall. While many of the legislators in that group disagreed over the implementation of the nationally-normed standards, several agreed that creating a policy to ensure that Wisconsin has a plan to update and correct state standards in the future was a good idea. Ideally, this system would prevent Badger State schools from using ineffective and inefficient data – something Wisconsin has struggled with when the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Examination was used as the state’s standardized test.

This proposed reform would allow legislators and educational stakeholders to review Common Core State Standards (CCSS) once or twice a decade and make changes as needed according on the results of that review. This would allow for districts to implement CCSS and observe actual student results before making any potentially drastic changes to the program.

Additionally, administrators in the survey seemed to downplay the costs of updating their standards in order to fall in line with CCSS regulations. Many superintendents noted that the costs of implementing CCSS initiatives were no greater than the usual cost of updating curricula, materials, and professional development. While some district’s costs were higher than others, nearly all respondents suggested that these changes had been budgeted for and handled in the three years since CCSS was approved in Wisconsin.

The Select Committee survey went out to all 424 school districts in Wisconsin. Ninety-four of those districts responded, including the Green Bay, Milwaukee, Sheboygan, and Waukesha school districts.

The Assembly Select Committee on Common Core is expected to release their findings on CCSS in Wisconsin on Wednesday, December 11. They will hold an Executive Session on Thursday to review their report.