The public can expect to hear more about Common Core standards in 2015. The Wisconsin legislature took a bipartisan vote to adopt the educational standards for Math and English in 2011, and they are now fully implemented in Wisconsin schools. But Republican legislators and Governor Scott Walker made Common Core a partisan issue, with Walker calling for repeal of the standards earlier this year. Lawmakers held extensive public hearings, but in the end took no votes.
State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald expects action in the next legislative session, something he says the Republican base is asking for. “The one thing I would say about it is . . . the discussion about common core now is much different than I think it was two years ago,” Fitzgerald said. “We’ll see where we end up. I don’t even like to say full repeal, because I don’t know what you’d repeal.”
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos noted that concerns have been raised over the Common Core standards, which have been adopted in 46 states and the District of Columbia. “It’s an area where if Democrats are willing to sit down and work with us, we can find consensus,” Vos said.
“We are hearing from parents and teachers and administrators and employers locally that these standards are impactful, and they are really helping kids learn more,” said Johnson Johnson, a spokesman for the state Department of Public Instruction. “That’s a good thing for everybody in Wisconsin.
That assessment of the standards by teachers is not universal, according to GOP state Representative John Nygren, whose wife is a public school teacher. “I hear from her. I hear from her colleagues. And they have a lot of concerns about how Common Core is being implemented, and how it’s affecting their ability to teach.”
“If it’s an issue that people want to talk about again, certainly I think the education community should be at the table,” DPI’s Johnson said. “Certainly I think the Superintendent of Public Instruction should be at the table. We would look forward to really figuring out with legislative leaders what we’d like to do.”