MADISON - Bill that would undo Common Core academic standards all but dead
A bill that would give the Legislature power to write and approve Wisconsin’s academic standards is unlikely to pass in its current form, the leader of the state Senate said Thursday as hundreds of teachers, school administrators and business leaders converged on the Capitol to oppose it.
And the chairman of the Senate Education Committee, which held a hearing on the measure, said at least five Republican senators told him they opposed the measure that would likely scrap the Common Core State Standards adopted in 2010. That would leave the bill at least four votes shy of the 17 needed to pass.
“The bill isn’t dead, but it looks unlikely to pass in its current form,” Republican Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau said in an email. Fitzgerald, who is in charge of setting the Senate’s agenda for the last two or three days it plans to meet this year, said the proposal is “still a work in progress.”
At a charged hearing Thursday that lasted more than eight hours, Madison superintendent Jennifer Cheatham was among superintendents who urged lawmakers to oppose the bill.
“The ultimate tragedy of this bill is that it distracts from our crucial day-to-day focus on teaching and learning, which is the key to any urban school district’s success,” Cheatham said. “If passed, both our teachers and students would be taking a huge step backwards.”
Wisconsin is one of 45 states that adopted the Common Core standards covering what students learn in language arts and math. Wisconsin schools have spent an estimated $25 million linking their curriculum to Common Core since 2010 in anticipation of new tests next year tied to those standards.
The bill would undo all of that and create new standards and a new test.
Supporters, including Gov. Scott Walker, argue that Wisconsin should write its own standards that are more rigorous than Common Core. Walker’s spokesman Tom Evenson issued a statement prior to the hearing reiterating his support for the bill.