Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) called on state lawmakers Thursday to pass a bill in January that would repeal the Common Core standards and replace them with “standards set by people in Wisconsin.”
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, Walker released a statement Thursday afternoon, just hours after two Republican state senators, Leah Vukmir and Paul Farrow, issued a joint press statement calling for a delay in the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC) that are aligned with the Common Core standards.
Earlier in the year, Walker helped draft a bill that would create a state board to replace the nationalized standards with standards the board develops. Farrow and Vukmir led an effort to pass the bill, but the measure did not receive the support of the chairmen of the legislature’s education committees, and no vote was ever called on the bill.
Tom McCarthy, Department of Public Instruction (DPI) spokesman, said DPI is statutorily obligated to begin using the SBAC tests this school year, and the legislature does not meet again until January.
“You would need to change a lot of statutes in a very short amount of time,” McCarthy added.
Press releases were sent out the day after the Cedarburg School Board voted to ask lawmakers to delay the SBAC tests for at least two years.
Farrow and Vukmir noted the reduced number of states that remain in the Common Core test consortia – SBAC and PARCC – both of which received federal funding. In addition, Oklahoma and South Carolina have abandoned the standards, and other states are quickly following suit with legislation that removes them from the nationalized standards in one form or another, though some are simply “rebranding” Common Core with other names.
Joe Zepecki, campaign spokesman for Madison School Board member and Democrat gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, said Walker’s press release “is a desperate election year move by a career politician to shore up his extreme right wing base.”
“The transparency of the political nature of this move could not be clearer,” he said. “The legislature isn’t in session. He offers zero explanation for why wants [sic] to undermine efforts to improve our educational standards from 38th in the country and zero plan for moving forward.”