April 23, 2014

Panel approves Common Core recommendations

An Assembly committee has approved recommendations on the Common Core standards. There are dissenting views on the process and the final product, dealing with the educational standards on math and English.

“Somewhere down the road, this will be seen as directives,” warned Representative Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains). “Common Core is in jeopardy in the state of Wisconsin, because of the work that we have done here.”

Representative Jeremy Thiesfedlt (R-Fond du Lac) chaired the Select Committee on Common Core, which voted to approve eight recommendations – including calling for legislative oversight, development of “Wisconsin based” standards, and limits on the ability of schools to gather personal information on students.

“Whether Common Core moves forward in the state, or whether it’s changed or whether it’s eliminated as the result of some legislation coming forward, I don’t think there was anything negative to the process that we went through here,” said Thiesfeldt. “I think that what have done here will improve education in the state of Wisconsin.”

The standards on mathematics and language arts were adopted by the state Department of Public Instruction in 2010 with little controversy, and were subsequently adopted by most other states. Still, one committee member couldn’t resist piling on a DPI.

“Bottom line, DPI did an absolute horrible job rolling out and selling Common Core state standards,” said Representative Michael Schraa (D-Oshkosh). “They’re the people that accepted these standards for the state of Wisconsin, and they weren’t convincing to me and a lot of my colleagues on this committee.”

The Assembly select committee and a Senate panel held joint public hearings in Madison and other locations around the state. The Senate committee has not yet released its recommendations.