Article by Urban Media News
In 2010, Wisconsin joined 45 states across the country to adopt the Common Core educational standards for what students should learn in english and math. The standards won’t be fully implemented until next year, but a chorus of Tea Party Republicans are already looking to end Common Core before it reaches Wisconsin classrooms. A proposal created by Gov. Scott Walker’s office to undo the Common Core standards would create a brand new 15 member state board appointed by the governor and state superintendent of public instruction. The board’s function will be to create standards for english, reading, social studies, science, and math.
The proposal gives the board an incredible amount of power in shaping education standards - including the ability to completely ignore any suggested changes that may come from the Department of Public Instruction. Putting legislators in control of what gets taught in schools makes educators and parents nervous - fearing that the plan will lead to a partisan takeover of schooling decisions. Education should have a long-term focus, but with a committee of legislators calling the shots, it’s likely that Wisconsin’s education system will be at the whim of the next election cycle.
The growing chorus in opposition to the bill includes Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke. Burke knows a thing or two about education, she serves on the Madison School Board and helped create the highly praised AVID/TOPS program, a unique public-private partnership that works to close the achievement gap.
Burke fears that the proposed plan will not only politicize education, but that it will also waste three years of work and resources. Since adopting Common Core, Wisconsin’s school districts have spent an estimated $25 million creating curriculum to fit the standards. A move to scrap Common Core would mean school districts shelling out even more money to train teachers, review instructional materials, and review curriculum. In districts that receive little or no state general aid, the cost will largely fall upon the taxpayers, not the state. The bill essentially makes taxpayers pay more to implement education standards tiers below the national model.
Ultimately, this plan hurts children the most. The rigorous Common Core standards make sure educators understand what will prepare children for college and a career. A plan to halt the implementation of new and improved standards only makes that harder to do. Without any upside to the bill drafted by Scott Walker’s staff it’s a no-brainer to give Common Core the chance to work.
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