A public hearing on a bill that would move Wisconsin away from using federal Common Core education standards drew a big crowds to the Capitol Thursday, as hundreds turned out to voice their opinion on the proposal.
The bill from Republican lawmakers would establish a state panel to review education standards and recommend new guidelines for Wisconsin’s public schools. State Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) says it allows the state to have standards that reflect Wisconsin values “that will set our students on a path for success.” Vukmir testified Thursday that she doesn’t believe Common Core does that, adding that “we should not work to be common, we should work to be exceptional.”
While the hearing turned out several supporters, lawmakers heard overwhelming opposition from school district officials and other residents from across the state. North Fond du Lac School District Superintendent Aaron Sadoff was among those who argued Common Core is just getting started and the state should give them the opportunity, as experts of education, to “help every child, no matter where they are on their learning journey, move forward.”
Opponents of the bill also questioned the wisdom in changing course from Common Core just a few years after the state adopted the standards. Districts have spent millions of dollars working to implement the guidelines, which set minimum education benchmarks for math and reading.
The future of the bill in the waning days of the legislative session remains in question. State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), the chair of the committee considering it, says he does not support the proposal in its current form. Olsen also indicated Thursday that as many as five GOP lawmakers may not be willing to vote for the bill, which would leave it short of the votes needed to pass in the Senate.