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WI lawmakers under pressure to revisit Common Core

By   /   September 11, 2013  /   4 Comments

By Ryan Ekvall | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON – Peer pressure is mounting against the co-chairs of a Wisconsin legislative committee to revisit Common Core State Standards, as requested in the 2013-2015 biennial budget.

Thirty-four GOP lawmakers sent a letter Monday to Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon, and Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, asking them to commission a study and hold three public hearings on the Common Core.

“We find the Joint Legislative Council study committee … is essential for the public and legislature to make an informed decision on CCS. We also feel it fully reflects the intent of the Joint Finance motion…The (implementation) process lacked the transparency and public awareness that it should have received,” the letter states.

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COMMON QUESTION: Nearly three dozen lawmakers have signed on to a letter asking leaders of a legislative committee to further study the Common Core State Standards for Wisconsin education.

Common Core is essentially national education standards developed by the National Governor’s Association and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. While the federal government was hands off in creating the standards, the U.S. Department of Education is incentivizing states to adopt them.

A staffer in the office of Sen. Leah Vukmir’s, R-Wauwatosa, said the senator hasn’t yet received a response from Olsen or Ballweg.

Previously, Wisconsinites, led mostly by tea party activists concerned about the quality of the new standards, the corporate interests involved, lack of transparency in the state’s adoption of the standards and the federal governmental encroachment into local education, pressed the Legislature to slow down implementing Common Core. The same story is playing out in several other states, including Indiana and Georgia.

The Joint Finance Committee inserted the budget motion, for which Olsen voted, calling for a Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis of the costs of implementing or halting Common Core, a Department of Public Instruction evaluation of Common Core, three DPI public hearings on the standards and a Legislative Council study with more public hearings.

The study is supposed to compare and contrast Wisconsin standards with Common Core, compare other existing best standards with Common Core and compare the costs to the state for using either the standardized tests through Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers or the Smarter Balanced Consortium. Wisconsin is currently a governing state of the Smarter Balanced Consortium.

Olsen and Ballweg haven’t moved on commissioning the study. A staffer in Ballweg’s office previously told Wisconsin Reporter the two lawmakers were scheduled to meet to make a decision about commissioning a study, but that the study was not a requirement.

That meeting was scheduled the first half of August.

Several lawmakers, including Olsen and Ballweg, did not immediately respond to Wisconsin Reporter’s request for comment.

Contact Ryan Ekvall at rekvall@wisconsinreporter.com or find him on Twitter @Nockian.

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  • Edward Perkins

    Sen. Olson and Joan Ballweg will be found in Illinios, over the border, before long.

  • Big Shirl

    i, for one, as a tax payer, citizen, resident, and grandparent, am appalled at the arrogance of legislators. They made a committment to the public, and began to act like Washington DC legislators–they ignore the Constitution and their constituents. I can only hope and pray for another huge turnover in the 2014 election similar to the 2010 wave election. Their arrogance is appalling!

  • kenvandoren

    I do not mind so much that Olsen, Ballweg, Kestell may disagree with me and my friends, but their arrogance is unforgivable. Hold the hearings, vote against any change if you must, but hold the hearings.

  • kenvandoren

    And this time, may some of the incumbents be defeated in the primary.

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