Skip to comments.No closer to common ground: Hearing airs concerns on Common Core
Posted on 05/23/2013 6:06:11 AM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
MADISON Nearly three years after state Superintendent Tony Evers signed off on implementing the Common Core State Standards, the Assembly and Senate committees on education got around to holding a public hearing to get the facts on the changes in Wisconsin classrooms.
The room was packed Wednesday, mostly made up of stop Common Core advocates with signs and red T-shirts. There was no mixing up these Common Core opponents with the suit-wearing government bureaucrats and experts asked to testify. Some attendees were shipped down the hall to an overflow room to watch the hearing.
The showing at the Capitol could have been a metaphor for the quiet, but growing rumble surrounding the Common Core standards, just now hitting the mainstream even though most states signed on two or more years ago.
At the hearing, audience members let out mmmhmms and Amens at expert points that gelled with their anti-Common Core views or scoffed at the other side. They politely ignored legislators requests and committee rules to keep quiet, applauding their favored speakers.
Miles Apart: Opponents of Common Core State Standards squared off with proponents during a legislative hearing Wednesday. It seems the two sides are no closer to common ground. Finding the facts at least agreement on them proved elusive. The facts, it seemed, depended on who was in front of the microphone.
The Common Core was designed to define K-12 academic standards that are aligned with college and work expectations, inclusive of rigorous content and application, and are internationally benchmarked, according to the state Department of Public Instruction.
Critics say the standards are one-size-fits all.
Common Core has not been tested anywhere in the world. It is entirely experimental, said Joy Pullman, researcher at the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based individual liberty think tank. To assume that one progression of learning fits every one of the 50 million American, or 850,000 Wisconsin, students is beyond arrogant; it is an affront to human diversity, freedom and dignity.
Its odd to consider this initiative state-led when vast majorities of state legislators and the public never heard of it until two years after state officials had already signed the papers, Pullman said.
Boiled down, Pullman says the Common Core is a set of untested, watered-down standards that cedes educational decision-making to shadowy bureaucrats, with invasive data tracking of students coming down the road.
A representative from the state Department of Public Instruction countered that kind data tracking was not included in the Common Core standards.
But just last week, facing pressure from fellow Republicans in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order that no personally identifiable data on students biometric information, psychometric information will be shared with the federal government.
Pullman told Wisconsin Reporter after the hearing state legislators could draft a bill to stop implementation, just as a number of other states including Georgia, Kansas, and Oklahoma are considering. Indiana passed legislation to freeze the implementation of the Common Core.
What do these states know that we dont? asked Rep. Jeremy Theisfeldt, R- Fond du Lac.
On the other hand, proponents say the Common Core represent a rigorous that was the buzzword of the hearing set of centrally devised, but state-led learning standards for English and math that in no suggests a top-down takeover of education.
I hope to help explain why the Common Core holds such promise, said Kathleen Porter-Magee, of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative, education policy think tank. She added she hoped to debunk some of the most common myths and misconceptions.
Common Core was at its founding and remains today a state-led effort, she said.
The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers developed the standards, with funding from private interests including the Pearson and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations. The federal government didnt mandate states take up the academic standards, though both critics and proponents said watchdogs should keep an eye on federal encroachment on the initiative, including tying funding to implementation.
Finally, some argue that adoption of the Common Core or any K12 academic standards will usurp local control over curriculum and instruction. On the contrary, by setting standards, rather than adopting statewide curricula, state education leaders are ensuring that local district, school, and teacher leaders remain in control of the decisions that most directly impact the students they serve.
Ted Nietzke, superintendent of the West Bend School District, testified on some of the changes the Common Core has brought to his school district.
What it has done to the locals is it has forced us to review our standards, change our teaching practices, adhere to the standards, but change our curriculum and our methods. And thats a big shift.
For all the back and forth, critics and advocates did agree on one thing: current Wisconsin standards are weak.
Nietzke said, Whatever happens, we cant go backwards in the states educational standards.
Common Core standards or the Wisconsin state-adopted standards, as we refer them, are much greater now than theyve ever been in reading, language arts and math, he said.
If I leave you with nothing else, I hope I will be successful in underlining this critical point: The Common Core are significantly clearer and more rigorous than the Wisconsin English, language arts and math standards they replaced, Porter-Magee said.
Pullman conceded that because of Wisconsins poor standards, Common Core standards would be a step up if they didnt come with all the other strings attached.
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Report on yesterday’s Common Core hearing in Madison
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Unless and until Wisconsin educators are not only permitted, but required, to teach Karl Marx and the endless virtues of communism and the historical “successes” of the USSR and Red China, not to mention Vietnam and Cuba, the teachers in Madistan will never either be happy or STFU.
It hateful to ask if students are learning anything in school.
“Communist Core” has a nice ring to it.
Everyone in Wisconsin intending to influence our legislators, please note the description in this article about the attire required to do so. Signs are not allowed in the hearing rooms, but they do not make you remove, or cover, T shirts bearing political slogans. All the unions and libs (redundant) do it.
I attended a budget hearing once where the room was a sea of green shsirts (AFSCME) and the Republican members of the committee sat there trembling.
No need to use somebody's copyrighted fancy curriculum that makes a publishing company rich when there's, I'm sure, many of the old-time lesson plans for free . . . most of it is called Common Sense instead of this Common Core crap.
I believe this was the same curriculum that was ousted from the Texas school system just last week. Much to the chagrin and wailing of the Teacher’s Union