Vos wants to abandon Common Core -- Democrats, educators disagree with proposal for state-specific standards

2014-03-01T22:30:00Z 2014-03-06T06:49:49Z Vos wants to abandon Common Core -- Democrats, educators disagree with proposal for state-specific standardsLINDSAY BULLOCK lindsay.bullock@journaltimes.com Journal Times

RACINE — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos supports a proposal that would essentially eliminate Common Core State Standards in Wisconsin, instead giving lawmakers the power to approve new Wisconsin-specific standards.

“When the standards were developed, they were not done with Wisconsin’s needs in mind,” the Rochester Republican said last week, explaining the academic standards don’t take into account the state’s needs for things like skilled manufacturers and weren’t created with direct input from regular Wisconsinites.

The Common Core standards were created by state superintendents, governors and curriculum experts, with their adoption by states later supported by the federal government. The standards have support from state Democrats and state and local education leaders including Racine Unified Superintendent Lolli Haws. The standards outline what math and reading skills students from kindergarten through 12th grade should master by the end of each grade.

Common Core is intended to hold all students to the same high standards, no matter what state they’re from, allowing for more accountability and easier comparisons. Common Core standards are more rigorous than Wisconsin’s prior standards.

Common Core has been adopted in 45 states including Wisconsin, where state Superintendent Tony Evers adopted the standards in 2010.

As schools have moved closer to implementation, Common Core has taken heat from vocal political groups. Those opponents often say the standards are an intrusion of the federal government, though the standards were not drafted by the federal government.

Vos has different key issues with Common Core. He likes the idea of more rigorous standards, he said, but wants to make sure Wisconsin has “the highest standards.”

“I want us to not be the same as Michigan, Illinois, Iowa,” he said. “I want our kids to be at a greater level of learning.”

Vos also wants more stakeholders to have a say in what the standards are, he added.

“There’s a whole lot of arrogance in (the state Department of Public Instruction) to think the only people concerned with high standards are educators,” he said.

Proposed legislation

Legislation introduced last month by Republicans in the state Legislature would make the changes Vos wants.

The legislation would ditch Common Core and instead have a new 15-member board create Wisconsin-specific academic standards in English, reading, math, social studies and science.

The governor’s office would select five committee members and DPI would pick four. Other members of the board would include a public school teacher, a public school superintendent, an elementary school principal and the parent of a student using a state voucher to attend a private school — even though private voucher schools would not have to follow the standards created.

The board would submit proposed standards to the state superintendent, who would then send recommendations to a joint legislative committee. That committee could adopt the superintendent’s recommendations or choose the board’s proposed standards instead, media reports show.

Evers has voiced loud disapproval of the proposal, saying legislators should not be put in control of approving standards.

“It just throws it into a political arena and has people writing standards that don’t have a clue,” he has said.

Unified’s Haws has similarly questioned how legislators and board appointees with no educational backgrounds could set standards.

“Are the politicians able to say what a first-grader should know at the end of first grade in reading? They really think that they should legislate that?” she asked. “Or what the end of a biology course outcome should be? They probably would like to legislate some of that around some personal beliefs. But then what happens when the next party comes in and decides something else?”

State Sen. John Lehman, a Racine Democrat, said even though he’s been involved in educational issues for years, he would not be comfortable setting academic standards. He supports Common Core instead.

“To put legislators like myself in charge of writing educational standards is just a big mistake,” Lehman said. “That’s something that specialists need to do and folks that are involved in research and have an educational background.”

But Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who supports the proposed legislation, has said he believes the new board would be able to write standards without lawmakers having to step in. “I’m confident in the end you’re not going to have a debate topic by topic on the floor of the Legislature,” he has said.

For now, the legislation — comprised of a bill in the Senate and a bill amendment in the Assembly — waits in committees.

The Senate Education Committee has scheduled a Thursday public hearing on the bill. The Assembly amendment and its related bill have been referred to the Assembly Education Committee but no meetings or hearings are scheduled, according to the state Legislature calendar.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 Journal Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) Comments

  1. 2brnt2b
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    2brnt2b - March 08, 2014 7:59 am
    Vos wants? Vos wants? Who cares what HE wants.
  2. timbo
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    timbo - March 03, 2014 10:54 pm
    Everyone wants their kids to achieve a greater level of learning. But learning is the student’s responsibility. It is the school’s job to teach. My intuition is that Common Core is so sufficiently over kids’ abilities, they will achieve as great a level of learning with this as with anything else you could dream up, with or without in put from manufacturers and “regular Wisconsinites.” I won’t quibble with DPI’s arrogance. But I don’t think it matters whether we set the bar at 6 foot 2 or 6 foot 4. Most kids will miss. That’s life.
  3. B
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    B - March 03, 2014 12:07 pm
    Absolutely. My point is even education has to be debated cause so many of you know it all based on the political side of the fence you're on. It's not so much just this article it's all political topics. Y'all argue over what walker does, doesn't do, what Obama does, doesn't do, how horrible Dickert is. What I'm sayin to any of you out there is if you have the answers to fix our country stop posting it on the journal times web and do something. Run for mayor, governor, president. Now let me ask you, do know of one republican or democrat that stuck with their blueprint of how they're going to make our country so great? Don't worry I'll wait
  4. Joe Taxpayer
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    Joe Taxpayer - March 03, 2014 11:22 am
    B- Do you even know what's in Common Core?
  5. B
    Report Abuse
    B - March 03, 2014 10:43 am
    You republicans and democrats all sound like a bunch of whiny little kids on a playground fighting over a swing set!!! Who do you think turned this country into a third world country??? Republicans and democrats!!!!! Just cause you sit in front of your tv's and watch Fox News and cnbc and recite what you herd on tv doesn't make any of you any smarter. You want to change the country???? Get off your couch and do something about!!! And I'm out
  6. granny grits
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    granny grits - March 03, 2014 5:20 am
    I see you are still stumped and unable to provide anything interesting to say. Do your knuckles still drag on the ground?
  7. tansandy
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    tansandy - March 03, 2014 5:03 am
    Blogometric Pressure, You holler about the Koc (sp) Brothers, do you have the same disdain for George Soros who is funding a nationwide slam at Walker?? Once again, selective outrage on the part of a liberal!
  8. Zigmond
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    Zigmond - March 02, 2014 10:32 pm
    Common Core does not have provisions for gifted children. Parents have gotten letters stating that it would be a waste of $$$ and time tutoring their children beyond their grade level because they will not recognize it.

    The RJT should do their job and educate Racine on how Common Core was implemented by A VOTE OF ONE! Our RJT should tell the readers how Tony Evers signed us up to prostitute out our Great State for Federal Gov't grant $$$ and signed us up on the 1st day without any public input. Now he is attempting to imped much needed reform to his unilateral decision.

  9. Baby Zorro
    Report Abuse
    Baby Zorro - March 02, 2014 9:47 pm
    Hey Blogometric: According to the Washington Post the Koch brother donations are ranked 59th. Next time you blog, you should really consider mentioning one of the 10 ten or 20. OK

    Will you consider using data next time. Thanks,
  10. tansandy
    Report Abuse
    tansandy - March 02, 2014 12:33 pm
    Must be a slow day in Florida! What, the sun go behind a cloud granny?? Get ready for the early bird special line!
  11. LoveRacine
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    LoveRacine - March 02, 2014 11:15 am
    And just how long will it take Voss and his hand-picked committee members to come up with a set of standards that Walker will approve? He can't even make a decision on the no-brainer casino issue. Walker enacted Act 10 to get rid of union influence and now the state government wants to take complete control, yet they object to the Common Core program because they feel it has too much government influence???

    “There’s a whole lot of arrogance in (the state Department of Public Instruction) to think the only people concerned with high standards are educators,” he said. And there is a whole lot of arrogance to think politicians should personally define educational standards.
  12. Queen
    Report Abuse
    Queen - March 02, 2014 10:16 am
    Recommended reading does not mean required reading.
    What alternative are you proposing?
  13. Timt49
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    Timt49 - March 02, 2014 10:02 am
    You would rather they teach this to 4th graders?

  14. granny grits
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    granny grits - March 02, 2014 9:13 am
    Is this the first step by republicans to rejecting science and adopting creationism?
  15. Blogometric Pressure
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    Blogometric Pressure - March 02, 2014 9:11 am
    I am sorry but what would Robin Vos even know about education. Seriously. The guy isn't the sharpest. Did you ever even hear him speak intelligently about education? He lip syncs to the Koc Brothers lobbyists.
  16. Queen
    Report Abuse
    Queen - March 02, 2014 7:07 am
    I think a prudent approach would be to develop a 'new standard' proposal first, then argue why it would be better for Wisconsin. You don't get a job by going to an interview then declaring "I'll show you my resume tomorrow". Remember, our kids aren't necessarily going to stay in Wisconsin. Any new standard should be greater than common core, but the resources to teach it need to be there as well. For example: if the new standards require a proficiency in creating lasers, the schools need specific equipment to teach the curriculum. Unless your goal is to make them fail.

    Gotta love Vos' quote:
    “There’s a whole lot of arrogance in (the state Department of Public Instruction) to think the only people concerned with high standards are educators,” he said.

    There is also a whole lot of arrogance in the assembly. I don't doubt his concern, but I'm skeptical of anyone who wants to sell a product without letting me see it first.

    Why do I get a gut feeling that the new standards yet to be revealed will favor a start up, for profit, voucher driven technical charter school (I.e. Campaign donor) specializing in one technical aspect, but be exempt from the standards in other areas? We'll see if they ever roll out a draft version to the public.

    I'd still like an answer to what's being done to prevent another LifeSkills academy rip off. Arrogance indeed.

    Argue if you will against common core, but for anyone to take you seriously you need to disclose your alternative in detail.

    And what's behind door number 2 ?

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