MADISON, Wis. – Now the people of Wisconsin and Michigan can closely examine federal Common Core standards and let their elected representatives know how they feel about the program.
Officials in both states previously signed on to Common Core, a set of new national math and English standards for K-12 students being pushed by the Obama administration.
But lawmakers in both states have decided to put on the brakes until they learn more about the federal standards and how they might impact schools and students.
In Wisconsin, the legislature’s budget committee approved an amendment 13-3 on Wednesday to have the state’s Department of Public Instruction, Legislative Fiscal Bureau and Legislative Study Council review how the Common Core standards compare to current state academic standards, and how much they will cost to implement, according to Madison.com.
The amendment requires several public hearings on the issue, which will give citizens a chance to better acquaint themselves with the initiative and share their opinions with lawmakers.
Wisconsin was one of the first states in the nation to sign on to the Common Core effort in 2010. But that was the sole decision of Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers. This is too big a decision for one man to make. The people need to be consulted and heard.
The amendment was passed one week after the legislature hosted a public hearing on Common Core, and many opponents expressed concerns about the quality of Common Core standards and the potential misuse of personal student data that would be collected under the program.
“This is simply taking a pause,” State Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson), the sponsor of the amendment, told Madison.com. “We’re not rolling back anything we’ve done.”
The budget committee also voted to require all high school juniors to take the ACT college preparatory exam associated with Common Core. That’s because the current Wisconsin Knowledge Concepts Examination needs to be replaced, and the action should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Common Core, Knudson said.
In Michigan, state lawmakers have adopted a state budget that prevents the Department of Education from using funds for implementation of Common Core standards, according to TheTimesHerald.com.
As in Wisconsin, elected representatives want to know more about the program and its impact before lifting the spending restriction.
“We’re hearing from constituents about concerns that people are beginning to have with the Common Core state standards, so I think what will happen is we’ll bring the Department of Education in, and the State Board of Education, and have them explain in great detail how the Common Core is going to work and answer any questions lawmakers have about it because it is a very important issue,” State Sen. Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair Township), chairman of the Senate Education Committee, was quoted as saying.