Legislators in Wisconsin could undo the state's adoption of the Common Core, as two bills up for a vote Thursday would prevent any further implementation of the controversial academic benchmarks.
Meanwhile, state Superintendent Tony Evers sent a letter urging the public to contact their representatives to prevent the vote. Evers said in the letter that he is particularly concerned with the bills because they would not only reverse the adoption and implementation of the Common Core standards, but also turn over the power of developing academic standards to the Legislature. Generally, that duty falls to state education departments or boards of education.
Allowing the Legislature to develop the standards, Evers wrote, would "radically change the way educational standards in Wisconsin are developed, instead creating a politicized process that gives the Legislature the ability to develop academic standards."
"Regardless who controls the Legislature or governorship, as a grandfather, I am frightened that Wisconsin will turn over what our kids learn to the whims of an increasingly polarized Legislature," Evers said. "Further, this proposal would throw out not only the expertise, but the time, energy, and expense our educators, parents, and students have invested in learning our new college and career ready standards and preparing for our new state tests."
Both the Senate and Assembly bills require the creation of a Model Academic Standards Board, which would be responsible for developing academic standards. Although the bills require that many members come from the education sphere (teachers, parents and school district superintendents) many are to be appointed by the governor or legislators.
According to the Senate bill, the board would consist of 15 members: the state superintendent of public instruction (or his or her designee), four members appointed by the state superintendent, six appointed by the governor, one member appointed by each of the senate majority and minority leaders, one member appointed by the speaker of the assembly and one appointed by the assembly minority leader.
Aside from the reversal of the Common Core and changes in the authority of which entity develops standards, Evers said the proposal sets an "unrealistic timeline" for new standards to be developed and for appropriate assessments to be put in place. He even goes so far as to say the changes could put the state's No Child Left Behind waiver in jeopardy because it does not guarantee that any new standards would be "college and career ready," and therefore in compliance with federal requirements.