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By Ryan Ekvall, Wisconsin Reporter
submitted by Watchdog.org
MADISON – We can do it better than you.
That was the message from Gov. Scott Walker Tuesday, as he called for Wisconsin lawmakers to hold public hearings on Common Core State Standards.
Walker thinks the state can replace those national standards with its own set of stronger standards.
“I’d like the Legislature to hold those hearings,” Walker said in a response to Wisconsin Reporter’s question on Common Core. “And in the larger context I’d like us to be in the position where we can identify our own unique standards that I think in many ways will be higher and more aggressive than the ones they’re talking about.”
Walker’s comments boost Common Core opponents that have pushed for public hearings and legislative study. Those requests were passed in the state budget; however, co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Council committee Sen. Luther Olsen, R-Ripon and Rep. Joan Ballweg, R-Markesan, the lawmakers responsible for scheduling the hearings and commissioning the study, have not done either.
Olsen previously told Wisconsin Reporter he hadn’t received direction from leadership on how to proceed with the request, and that legislative council studies are conducted in even-numbered years. Several dozen Republican lawmakers have also asked Olsen and Ballweg to schedule the hearings.
Common Core State Standards are a national set of academic standards “aligned with college and work expectations, inclusive of rigorous content and application,” according to the state Department of Public Instruction.
Critics contend the standards are untested, watered-down, include more high stakes testing of kids and invasive data tracking. Some tea party groups call the standards ObamaCore because of federal incentives given to states to adopt them.
State Superintendent Tony Evers signed Wisconsin on to Common Core in June 2010, which made Wisconsin among the first states to commit to the standards.
DPI allowed for public input, but never held any public hearings. The Legislature has never held a public hearing on the standards, but did host an informational hearing that was packed with Common Core opponents earlier this year.
While Common Core supporters have ridiculed Wisconsin’s academic standards, Walker said there are key areas such as ACT scores where the Badger State has excelled. Wisconsin ranked second nationally in the college entrance exams in 2013 and beat national averages for college readiness.
“I’d like Wisconsin to have its own unique standards that I think can be higher than what’s been established, or what’s been talked about, at the national level,” Walker said.