MADISON, Wis. –The Common Core debate in the Wisconsin legislature has been filled with a series of twists and turns, but none have been bigger than the latest development.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that both the Assembly and the Senate are considering legislation that would create a “Model Academic Standards Board” to “submit proposals for standards in subjects such as reading, math and science to the state superintendent, who would then submit recommendations to a joint legislative committee.”
However, if the lawmakers on the joint legislative committee don’t like the state superintendent’s recommendations, they could pick the board’s recommendations instead, the Journal Sentinel reports.
The Model Academic Standards Board would be populated by six appointees from Gov. Scott Walker, and four from the State Superintendent Tony Evers. Appointees would have to come from a variety of different backgrounds, including representatives of private voucher schools, the Journal Sentinel notes.
Essentially, the legislation – Assembly Bill 617 and Senate Bill 619 – would prevent Evers from unilaterally deciding which learning standards are taught in Wisconsin schools, and would disperse that power to the Model Academic Standards Board and the lawmakers who sit on the joint legislative committee.
In plain English, the legislation would likely cause the national standards known as Common Core to disappear from the Badger State. That’s why State Superintendent Evers “gasped” when he heard of the legislation, which appears to be on a fast track to approval.
“The bottom line is (this bill) would have the ability to completely defeat the Common Core and replace it with something else, and that would happen with legislators writing standards,” Evers warned.
Such a scenario could lead to lawmakers barring the teaching of evolution, the state superintendent warned.
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Gov. Scott Walker dismissed Evers’ alarmism as a “worst-case scenario.”
“In the end you’re not going to have the debate topic by topic on the floor of the Assembly or the Senate,” Walker said. “You’re going to have this panel working on it for the next year.”
Walker supports the creation of a standards board because it would ensure that Wisconsin’s learning standards – which inform educators which concepts they need to teach at each grade level – are “set by people in Wisconsin and not people outside the state.”
It gets even better for Common Core opponents.
The Journal Sentinel notes that the proposed legislation “also calls for a new statewide test based on the recommended standards, which would undercut the march toward the Smarter Balanced assessment that’s scheduled to replace the current state achievement test in reading, language arts and math next school year.”