Common Core Compromise Introduced in the Legislature

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MacIver News Service | Feburary 19, 2014

[Madison, Wisc…] A new compromise to replace the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) was introduced in the Legislature on Tuesday. Senate Bill 619 would create new academic standards developed by a 15-member state board comprised of educators, parents, and other stakeholders.

If passed, Common Core would be replaced by a new set of state-specific standards as early as the 2016-17 school year according to legislators.

The Model Academic Standards Board would be comprised of six appointees from Gov. Scott Walker including a public school teacher, a private school teacher and a parent participating in the school choice program, a public school superintendent, and an elementary school principal.

The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) will be required to appoint four individuals including a high school principal, a school board member, the parent of public school student, and a college professor. State Superintendent Tony Evers would serve as co-chair on the board.

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Legislative leaders from both parties in the Assembly and Senate would appoint the other members of the board.

On top of creating a new set of standards for Wisconsin, the board would also be charged with reviewing the set of standards a minimum of every six years. Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), the bill’s Assembly author, said that is a major step for the state.

“We are establishing a process that should have been in Wisconsin long ago. We are creating a review process for academic standards,” Thiesfeldt told the MacIver News Service.

Evers came out in opposition to the bill after it was announced.

“The bottom line is (this bill) would have the ability to completely defeat the Common Core and replace it with something else, and that would happen with legislators writing standards,” Evers told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Sponsors of the bill expect the bill to move quickly through the legislature after months of public hearings and debate that started almost a year ago.

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“We put together a thoughtful board, and we can bring together the smartest people from Wisconsin and across the country to come up with a good set up standards,” Sen. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) said in an interview with MacIver. “This gives us the opportunity to make sure Wisconsin has the best academic standards for Wisconsin.”

SB 619 requires the board to submit new standards to Evers within 12 months of the enactment of the bill in English, reading, and language arts and in mathematics. Standards for science and social studies would be due within 36 months.

The Assembly and Senate are expected to take up the bill in committee in the coming weeks.

Sen. Vukmir’s EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with the MacIver Institute on the bill: