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Walker says Wisconsin can do better than Common Core

By   /   September 24, 2013  /   News  /   40 Comments

By Ryan Ekvall | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON – We can do it better than you.

That was the message from Gov. Scott Walker Tuesday, as he called for Wisconsin lawmakers to hold public hearings on Common Core State Standards.

Walker thinks the state can replace those national standards with its own set of stronger standards.

“I’d like the Legislature to hold those hearings,” Walker said in a response to Wisconsin Reporter’s question on Common Core. “And in the larger context I’d like us to be in the position where we can identify our own unique standards that I think in many ways will be higher and more aggressive than the ones they’re talking about.”

WALKER: Wisconsin can develop better academic standards than Common Core.

Walker’s comments boost Common Core opponents that have pushed for public hearings and legislative study. Those requests were passed in the state budget; however, co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Council committee Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon and Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, the lawmakers responsible for scheduling the hearings and commissioning the study, have not done either.

Olsen previously told Wisconsin Reporter he hadn’t received direction from leadership on how to proceed with the request, and that legislative council studies are conducted in even-numbered years. Several dozen Republican lawmakers have also asked Olsen and Ballweg to schedule the hearings.

Common Core State Standards are a national set of academic standards “aligned with college and work expectations, inclusive of rigorous content and application,” according to the state Department of Public Instruction.

Critics contend the standards are untested, watered-down, include more high stakes testing of kids and invasive data tracking. Some tea party groups call the standards ObamaCore because of federal incentives given to states to adopt them.

State Superintendent Tony Evers signed Wisconsin on to Common Core in June 2010, which made Wisconsin among the first states to commit to the standards.

DPI allowed for public input, but never held any public hearings. The Legislature has never held a public hearing on the standards, but did host an informational hearing that was packed with Common Core opponents earlier this year.

While Common Core supporters have ridiculed Wisconsin’s academic standards, Walker said there are key areas such as ACT scores where the Badger State has excelled. Wisconsin ranked second nationally in the college entrance exams in 2013 and beat national averages for college readiness.

“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,” Walker said.

Contact Ryan Ekvall at [email protected] or find him on Twitter @Nockian.


Ryan formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • chthompson


  • Parent Led Reform Oregon

    Go Wisconsin!!!!

  • Big Shirl

    Last week I made calls to Assembly Reps. One legislative aid told me he would not respond with a comment on that ‘radioactive’ subject.

  • EducationFreedomOhio

    Wow, a Governor who actually listens to parents & teachers and steps out in front, on their behalf? Hey Ohio, “This is what real leadership looks like!”

  • Robyn

    Gov. Walker, why are you so afraid to let Wisconsin educators do their job? Please get out of our way!

  • Edward Perkins

    Ryan Ekvall and the Wisconsin Reporter are owed a big “thank you” for their work in helping our state legislators and Gov. Walker see “the light” regarding Common Core. This is truly a great and possibly historic point in time because it probably indicates LOCAL School Districts will control our children’s eduation NOT the DPI or the Federal Dept. of Education and thereby maintain the Republic in WI.

    Thank you Ryan!!!!!!!!!

  • Edward Perkins

    Robyn what Gov. Walker has done is protect the rights of the LOCAL School District to control curriculum as specified in WI statute 118.30 (1g) (a) (1). Common Core removes the freedom to teach as a teacher wants to teach with its 85% rule which I suspect you have NO knowledge of because if you did you wouldn’t be saying what you are saying.

  • Pamela Deveau Herschleb


  • betsy

    It seems to me that only people with “Skin in the game” should be weighing in on this important subject. IOW, parents. People without children or grandchildren really have no real or imagined business in this extreme business of educating our children. What good does quoting statute do? The opponents to common core need to take a step back and let the educators and parents solve the problem. What Governor Walker has done is commendable and hope that he will carry through..although the people opposed to common core will never stop inteferring with whatever the Governor or the local school boards decide to do. If is isn’t “perfect” it will never be enough.

  • Julie

    even those of us who are not blessed to have our own children do have a stake in this game as the children today will be running this country one day and we will have to live in that world as well. Education of children affects everyone not just parents and teachers.

  • WSM75

    I am an opponent AND a parent. This sets back Math in Wisconsin by at least 2 years. Our kids will be well prepped for community college. Calculus is not in the Common Core curriculum. Even the method for teaching basic math is so convoluted, it makes parental help difficult. I want to be involved, not pushed aside. Wisconsin has a long history of excellent academics! My take major steps backward? Just because “everyone else is doing it”?

  • Paul Bannow

    I wish we had a really Governor in Michigan that actually listened to the people instead of just doing what he wanted to do. We all know he is doing it for the money the Federal Government is giving him..

  • Jack Covill

    What an ignorant statement !!!
    I still have one in school. But I am not so bold as to think that the people that do not, have no stake.
    These are the masses that pay dearly in property taxes, regardless of weather or not the students, the parents or the teachers do their jobs or how many days they attend. If those without children in school, demanded more for their money, the entire system would benefit.

  • Me

    Since that’s the case, Big Shirl, time to vote out your Assembly Rep!

  • Me

    Betsy, the entire public has the right to weigh in on this topic because it has to do with public education. The kids who are under CC are going to be changing your diaper one day, running your automotive repair shops and educating your grand or great-grand children. Everyone gets to weigh in because everyone is affected.

  • Me

    As a teacher and one who tirelessly fights for Gov. Walker, keeping the unions out of our schools and getting Common Core out, I am soooooo pleased and excited to read/hear the Gov. statements on Common Core. I hope Sen. Olsen and Rep. Ballweg are paying attention and now have the “direction” they were so “lacking” prior to this. Folks, Common Core is bad. Trust me, I teach it everyday and watch your children struggle with the asinine concepts. There is no real thinking. I hope you take the time to learn more. http://www.stopcommoncore.org. TGFSW!

  • Karen Bracken

    Sorry. Aren’t you people even a bit curious why he all of a sudden changed his position. The people have been fighting this in WI for over a year and he was resistant up until this point. Could it be his ratings tanked and now he sees his election in jeopardy. BE VERY CAREFUL. I believe they will do nothing more than put a different shade of lipstick on the same pig. BELIEVE ME they ARE NOT going to go against Obama and they ARE NOT going to go up against Bill Gates, Walton Family, Carnegie money. Just not going to happen so BE VERY CAREFUL. They think we are stupid PLEASE DON’T ACT STUPIDLY!!!

  • Karen Bracken

    Getting rid of the assessments DOES NOT GET RID OF COMMON CORE people!!

  • Lucy

    If Common Core is suppose to educate our children, why change the standards? We should not lower the standards but make children attend school and make them accountable for learning. If a child does not meet the standards they should be excluded from sports and other school activities. If they are truant without doctors excuses, they should pay the consequences. Just as an adult does in the work place. We are sending our children to school to prepare them for the work place and for their future.

  • Marcia Alder

    Thank God! He is finally listening. The states must keep control of their education system. Maintaining our own high standards is the best way to achieve this independence and state control. Our campaign to get Gov. Walker to listen to reason has begun to have some effect. Keep it up. – Marcia Alder

  • SamIamHis

    Common Core, which were a set of standards that were created by conservative education experts, started out well. It has been hijacked by the Federal government and instead of setting basic standards for good learning levels in reading and math it has become a data tracker and another tool for indoctrination which is what always happens when the Federal government becomes involved. Once again, states that should have free choice are being held hostage by the Feds to “perform” by adopting common core and then the Feds will dole out tax dollars they have sucked from the states back to the states.

  • Joseph

    The current rating system rates us as: ‘meets expectations’. That is a “C”. When did having a “C” become a virtue?

  • LeAnn Addleman

    For those of us who have had children in the public, government funded system of “education” should have seen the writing on the wall. Those who are of baby boomer age and older should remember when education was really about learning, not about politics, unions, and brainwashing. Any education system developed by the feds is going to further dumb down the children of the future so they can’t even think for themselves. Think of what kinds of jobs will be open to them.

  • Timothy D. Slekar

    He is clueless about why what he is doing is the right thing. The CC are an untested federal mandate that will usher in more high stakes testing than NCLB and will cost local districts millions to implement. The failure rate on the new “smarter” balanced assessments will send all WI public schools down the crapper. Too bad he has no idea. I’m actually amazed that the testing companies and data management companies aren’t sending assassin lobbyists to Walker and others These companies stand to lose billions if the CC go down. Weird times.

  • SamIamHis

    I wrote Senator Olsen this morning regarding public hearings as well as a legislative study. I received this prompt reply:

    “Upon final approval by the Senate Committee on Organization, Senator Farrow has been appointed Chair and stated a hearing on Common Core State Standards will be held on Thursday, October 3rd from 10:00am until 5:00pm in Madison at the State Capitol.

    For more information on the public informational hearing or to share your questions and thoughts with the committee, please contact Senator Farrow’s office by calling toll-free (800) 863-8883 or by email at [email protected].

    Thank you,


    For all who are truly concerned about Common Core this meeting should be open to the public but I am emailing Senator Farrow to confirm this and to be sure that it is actually happening.

  • Jane72

    My heart-felt thanks to Gov. Walker and other Governors around the country who have seen the problematic issues in Common Core. The end result is basically “herd-manuervers” as my college roommate used to say, to treat all children alike to think alike, look to government as their “god”, et.c and some of the issues concerning sex, etc. have been noted as being taught too early for the children to even grasp the concepts. I think we need a lot more info and studying this before we would even consider instituting it in our schools. It seems to smack of socialism and disregard for freedom of thought, and even religion/values.

  • Jean Weymier

    Finally. . . . .One person on here who is telling it like it is. Thank you Karen. We have been making calls, writing letters, etc while the other Freedom Fighters have been trying to do things legislatively to get Walker to change his mind about this horrific garbage that he was so excited about getting into our schools. He is hard to contact and he surrounds himself with liberals. . . go figure.

  • Kris

    There needs to be some accountability by the educators, as well. The effective ones should be kept; the ineffective, let go. And learning is a “family affair” – we parents need to be actively involved in our children’s educations – AND their schools.

  • Robert Morrison

    I suppose I should start this with my bonafides. I am a retired teacher. (Never mind that “bonafides” is not a word!) I have two degrees. ‘Nuff said!

    The educational systems in this country have been failing to perform for many years. For those who do not believe that is the case, move aside. You are one of the main reasons the problem exists. There are those out there who are trying to fix it. I agree that theyare not doing the job either. I hear a lot of rationalities there. And a VERYfew specifics! Let’s get specific!

    If there is a math program anywhere in the world that is doing a superior job in producing superior students, then let’s go get it and incorporate it into our curriculum in our area schools! The same is true of English programs, science programs, music programs, etc. etc.! Never mind the so-called sports programs! They are EXTRA-curricular! (Remember when they really WERE extra-curricular?) Let them take care of themselves AFTER school hours!

    Of course, none of this will EVER happen. The reason is that school boards, school administrators and teachers alike are not sufficiently prepared to do the job they were hired to do, and parents and voters cannot be bothered with understanding the problem.

  • Ryan Blennert

    Common core is an international set of standards that are designed to take our students into the 21st century and compete on the international stage with some of the other countries around the world. School have put in three years of work in being able to implement these standards. If they are changed at this point, school districts will be back at square one and the results of testing will be US is in 20th place in math and reading behind the likes of some african country. No change and business as usual. These standards may not be perfect but they present a monumental shift in education and at least deserve a chance to succeed. Walker has already damaged education by cutting the money schools use to operate and that already is enough damage to public schools. The school districts are running as lean as they can at this point, with some running to lean ( more teachers could be used, smaller class sizes would be helpful). As far as listening to teachers about how schools should be run, no one has listened to them before so why start now.

  • Jo

    Thank you for joining in the fight, Me… we could use more teachers like you!

    There is a direct link between the restructuring of our schools through Federal programs (such as Goals 2000 or School to Work) and the restructuring of our communities through Sustainable Development (aka Smart Growth). Education is no longer about preparing our children to maintain true Liberty in a sovereign America… instead it is about an indoctrinating our children to accept citizenship in the coming global village.

    Common Core: Based on UN Agenda 21, UNESCO Standards

  • Jo

    Common Core is part of Agenda 21…

    There is a direct link between the restructuring of our schools through
    Federal programs (such as Goals 2000 or School to Work) and the
    restructuring of our communities through Sustainable Development (aka
    Smart Growth). Education is no longer about preparing our children to
    maintain true Liberty in a sovereign America… instead it is about an
    indoctrinating our children to accept citizenship in the coming global

    Common Core: Based on UN Agenda 21, UNESCO Standards

  • Mark

    Not sure what your reading but the CCSS doesn’t tell teachers how to teach but what topics to teach, as in addition. Furthermore, Calc is only needed by less than 8% of college majors. The CCSS emphasizes statistics throughout the grades which is a course all students need. A standard is something ALL students need. Not just a select few. The CCSS doesn’t limit a students options such as Calculus.

  • Mark

    Everyone needs to understand that we had our own set of standards. These are more rigorous. Significantly at the upper end in that ALL students need to essentially pass Algebra 2 which is the top math course required by all 4-year schools not named Madison (which wants pre-calc…not calculus).

    The standards do not dictate instruction or impede students from moving “faster” than the core. In fact, in the Appendix of the CCSS for math the even direct an advancement course that would allow all students to get to calc (even though only 8ish percent of college majors require calc. It integrates statistics because almost all majors require stats.

    This is good for schools and Wisconsin. With the mobility of the nation we need a national set of minimum expectations for all students. That is what we have.

  • Dante42

    So under these international standards, the wrong answer is acceptable if you show your work? Pornography is an appropriate reading assignment? Setting up a comprehensive student tracking program is now necessary to guarantee their education?

    Guess what, there are plenty of people on both the right AND left who are opposed to this crap. Stop spouting off nonsense and actually read up on what Common Core is about.





  • Telly

    Really–? Your a teacher and this is your assessment of the CCSS? You obviously interpreted them poorly.

  • Ryan Blennert

    In response to your diatribe, the common core emphasis the why and how things work. The wrong answer in math is still wrong. As far as the book is concerned, that is up to the teachers discression about what is used in the classroom. Your videos do nothing to discredit common core. In the age of globalization, local control is not helping the situation. As the results and latest test scores of US students have shown. Common core may not be the answer, but it deserves a chance to work.

  • Whocares

    If your kid isn’t stupid, he will take more than the “common core” anyways. Thus making this thing a bare minimum that really we should all be smart enough to complete. (At least the people reading this…..). Sure it would be great to say WI is held accountable at a state level for higher than “core” education, but that doesn’t mean Scott is a hero, or an asshole. For all those bashing public schools…..what’s your deal? I made it through public school K-12, went to a state university (not uw-madison, either) and got accepted at one of the medical colleges here in the state. Get real people, life is what you make it. Quit crying about such trivial details. What’s really a crime is taking money away from education. My middle school was over 100 years old, piss running down the walls, and dangerous bricks falling from high walls, sewage leaking into the auditorium, unfixed broken windows, etc. No, I lived in the 2nd richest community in the 5-county Milwaukee area and we were ranked 34/36 for money spent per student. Did it affect my level of education? No. Could I have been placed in a healthier, more sanitary environment and been more proud of my school? Yes.

  • 4 Education

    To the teacher who teaches the standards everyday. You are a moron!! The standards are benchmarks and give you a target that students should reach by the end of the year. You’re supposed to be teaching quality subject matter in an effective manner that includes the skills in the standards and subject matter that is challenging to students that may not be in the standards. It is not a bible and something that you check off when you complete it. There is a lot of research behind these and they are developmentally appropriate, but obviously you are looking at these the wrong way. You need to go back to school and get a better education on how to be a better teacher. You republicans need to stay out of public education because you are really getting on my nerves lately. You don’t know what you’re talking about and you don’t ask anyone who does. You just think you know everything. Grow up and move on. As far as our governor is concerned, he needs to stop creating chaos and making our state something to be ashamed of. He is for big money and looking good for higher government officials not for the working class people. I can’t wait until he’s out of office. Maybe our education system can be fixed after he dismantled and destroyed so many good things. What a joke!

  • nancy kokstis

    We the taxpayers also want good schools. We do have skin in the game. The future of the state depends on people who are well educated. Common Core, besides being a federal government data collection on our kids also pushes for Socialist values opposed to what once were American values. .