Though Wisconsin adopted the Common Core Standards three years ago, recent debate has reignited the discussion over how to measure academic standards, school accountability, charter schools, and even real estate.
Before the standards were passed, there were few guidelines for schools on what to teach at each level. Now teachers for each grade and subject have guidelines and benchmarks to assess students' knowledge.
At the time the standards were passed, there was little acknowledgement. But Erin Richards, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s education reporter, says the standards have now become a political issue.
The debate may have been ignited by the creation of new state tests to align with the standards, which push teachers to teach more advanced material. This has caused concern among politicians, teachers, and parents.
“You’ve got some teachers who are afraid, and some parents, too, that the higher standards are going to dictate more difficult tests," Richards says. "Students may not score as well on the tests. We roll these out really quickly, and then everyone looks like a much lower performing student than they would be otherwise."
Conservative politicians are also concerned that the Common Core Standards represent too much influence by the federal government in what is taught in the classroom. But the state superintendent of public instruction Tony Evers fully supports the standards, Richards says.