Wisconsin Governor Calls for End of Common Core Standards

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has explicitly called for an end to the Common Core standards for the state’s schools.

“Today, I call on the members of the state Legislature to pass a bill in early January to repeal Common Core and replace it with standards set by people in Wisconsin,” Walker said in a written statement.

The Common Core standards set up what students should know at certain grade levels.  The standards move away from traditional teaching methods, saying children need to understand how numbers relate to each other, causing some parents to disagree with their use.

Many conservatives are against the standards, saying they take away local control from education.

Other critics do not like the heavy reliance on test scores, or how they influence teacher evaluations.

“My problem with Common Core is, I don’t want people outside Wisconsin telling us what our standards should be,” Walker said Sunday at the governors’ conference.

Walker’s move has left many questioning his motives.

“He offers zero explanation for why (he) wants to undermine efforts to improve our educational standards from 38th in the country and zero plan for moving forward,” Joe Zepecki, spokesman for gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, said in an email. “Why the sudden change of course after three years of DPI (the state Department of Public Instruction) working on implementing these standards?”

In the latest polling information from website Real Clear Politics, Walker has a narrow 2-point lead on Burke.

The Wisconsin Association of School Boards is concerned over the money that will have been wasted on revising curriculum to meet the Common Core standards if they are repealed. The standards have been in place for four years, and many worry that leaving them behind would “bring chaos to our children and our classrooms.”

“The idea behind the Common Core State Standards was to try to make the academic standards used from state to state uniformly more rigorous,” the nonprofit group said in a statement. “There is widespread consensus that the Common Core State Standards are more rigorous than the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards they replaced.”

This year the state spent $23 million on implementing new tests tied to the standards.

The announcement came directly following the Cedarburg School Board vote to sway the state to delay the implementation of new tests tied to the standards.  Walker stated that he wanted his position on the matter to be made clear.

“Governor Walker will work with the Legislature to repeal Common Core and replace it with strong Wisconsin-specific standards developed by Wisconsin teachers, administrators, and parents,” Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said in an email.

Walker is not the first to call for an end to the standards.  Indiana Governor Mike Pence did so in April, and recently Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal called to block tests linked to the standards.

State Superintendent Tony Evers adopted the standards in Wisconsin in 2010.