Governor Scott Walker says he wants lawmakers to move quickly next year to repeal the use of Common Core education standards in Wisconsin. In a one line statement put out late Thursday afternoon, Walker called on “members of the State Legislature to pass a bill in early January to repeal Common Core and replace it with standards set by people in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin endorsed Common Core several years ago, but the debate over it didn’t heat up until last year — when tea party conservatives argued it could lead to a national education system. Other critics say Common Core departs from traditional methods of teaching math, it relies too heavily on student test scores, and smaller schools may not have the technology to administer the new online tests that are due to begin next spring in Wisconsin. Supporters say the tougher standards are needed to get students ready for a more complex world.
Majority Republicans in the Legislature proposed multiple bills this spring that would have repealed Common Core, although all of them failed to win the support needed to pass in both chambers.
As expected, Walker’s request was met with a largely partisan response. A spokeswoman for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) said “the Speaker supports Governor Walker’s call for strong Wisconsin-based standards. This past session, several reforms were put forward after a special task force met and took public input. The Speaker was disappointed the proposals didn’t pass. He looks forward to working again on replacing Common Core with higher standards that are developed in our state.”
Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said the request is a sign that Walker is out of touch with Wisconsin educators. The Kenosha Democrat accused the governor of “playing to extreme elements in his party,” and argued that lawmakers “should not politicize our education standards to cater to extreme political viewpoints. Our future depends on our students’ ability to succeed in higher education and their careers in this 21st Century economy. We need to make sure that each and every student has the tools to succeed and compete against our neighboring states and the world.”