On Monday 58 Wisconsin grassroots leaders signed onto an open letter to Scott Walker, asserting to the Republican governor and likely presidential candidate they want “no more games on Common Core.”
At issue is the fact that while Walker proposed defunding the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced exam in his budget, the new “Badger Exam” that replaces it will also be aligned with the controversial standards, making it unlikely that many local school districts would opt for non-Common Core standards.
In a statement to Breitbart News, parent and anti-Common Core grassroots activist Jeffrey Horn states the grassroots leaders represent “groups from across the political spectrum: liberal, conservative, and libertarian…all united in their opposition to the games Governor Walker is playing with Common Core in his biennial budget.”
The letter, posted at Stop Common Core in Wisconsin, blasts Walker:
On April 20th of this year, you were directly asked during a major media interview if you would repeal Common Core should such a bill land on your desk. You replied affirmatively, adding, “Absolutely! I proposed it in my budget.”
Yet, contrary to claims you stand against the Common Core standards, you are effectively entrenching those standards in Wisconsin via Common Core-aligned, high-stakes assessments.
For months, you have justified taking no definitive action against Common Core, insisting that local school districts have the power to decide for themselves what standards they will use.
However, in a statement to the press on January 17th of this year, you demonstrated clear understanding that Common Core-aligned assessments effectively coerce school districts into retaining the standards.
“Even though Scott Walker is proposing defunding of SBAC in his budget, the new Badger Exam will be Common Core aligned,” Horn told Breitbart News at the end of June. “So even though the governor talks about local control over standards, districts do not really have the ability to choose their own standards because they will be held accountable to a Common Core aligned assessment.”
In response to a request for comment from Breitbart News, Walker’s press secretary sent the following statement regarding the open letter:
Governor Walker wants high standards for our schools and students and believes those standards should be set by school board members, educators, and parents at the local level. The Governor’s budget proposal will set Wisconsin-based standards and assessments, and it ensures no school district in the state is required to use the Common Core standards. This gives local school districts the flexibility to choose the test that best meets the needs of their students.
The letter’s signers, however, say, “We’re tired of excuses and half-truths. We’re tired of misleading and hollow rhetoric that repeatedly amounts to nothing more than political loopholes and broken promises.”
The groups represented would like to see Walker prevent the wholesale collection and sharing of personal student data, ban the Common Core initiative and all assessments aligned to it, propose a plan for Wisconsin to create its own standards and assessments, and reduce the role of the state in both finances and oversight of education so that local school districts can “truly be masters of their own affairs.”
“We are waiting and watching, Governor…and with your ambitions for higher political office on full display, so is the rest of the nation,” the leaders state.
Among the groups represented as signers of the letter are the Eagle Forum of Wisconsin & Concerned Citizens of Iowa County, Eagle Forum of Southeast Wisconsin, Libertarian Party of Milwaukee County, Libertarian Party of Dane County, Republican Party of Kenosha County, Tea Party Patriots, Fox Valley Conservative Forum, Young Americans for Liberty, FreedomProject Education, Badass Teachers Association, Wisconsin 9/12 Project, and Protect Your Child’s Future.