Forty-five states including Wisconsin have adopted what’s known as common core standards. They’re federal criteria outlining what students should learn in math and English at specified grade levels and how it should be taught.
Wisconsin adopted common core standards back in 2010, under the leadership of state Superintendent Tony Evers.
Since then, school districts have been phasing in the changes. Ted Nietzke is Superintendent of West Bend Schools.
“When we talk about common core standards in West Bend, we have seen results in the fact that we now use that as a base and we build up. Are my teachers always happy about them? No. Like I joke, they would wear those stop common core standards shirts because it’s change, its major change, its 21st century change,” Nietzke says.
While Nietzke told lawmakers not everyone is excited, he believes the more rigorous standards are benefiting kids in his district.
Joy Pullmann shared her opinion that the new measures are not up to par. Pullmann works with the Heartland Institute, a think tank.
“Wisconsin should go back to what it was doing before common core supplanted state control. At that time it was already working to update Wisconsin’s own standards and tests, which ought to incorporate coherent content and true international competitiveness and be modeled on top state standards,” Pullmann says.
Pullmann also criticized 2010 state leaders for implementing the federal standards without conducting public hearings beforehand.
State Senator Richard Gudex noted that a few states are backing away from the federal model.
“Indiana originally adopted common core and since has repealed it, I believe in February of this year. Alabama adopted, but has introduced legislation to repeal. Michigan and Pennsylvania are on the track to repeal,” Gudex says.
While some people leveled criticism at common core standards, they admitted Wisconsin had to make changes.
Many students were not finishing school with the skills needed to succeed in the global economy.