In Wisconsin, Common Core was formally adopted June 2, 2010 with the plan to have full implementation by the 2014-2015 school year. As of today, this adoption has occurred across the entire state but getting to this point faced about as many problems as other states across the US have seen.
Four Years of Silence
After adoption, there wasn’t much more than the typical split that happened in most states. Some parents looked forward to the change while others found it to be far too much government involvement in state education. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, however, their state grades were far from acceptable, with the Thomas B. Fordham Institute ranking their English Language Arts and math standards a “D” and “F” respectively.
In 2011, the state budget allocated funds to a team that was tasked with developing a test that would measure students’ aptitude of the current standards. In 2012, the Read to Lead Task Force called for Wisconsin to better align their English Language Arts standards with the more rigorous Common Core requirements.
The implementation began and continued to do so until the 2014-2015 deadline they gave themselves loomed closer. Then, in 2014, an anti-Common Core bill arrived in the legislature. Superintendent Tony Evers immediately went on the defensive, calling for voters to halt it altogether. His argument was based on the fact that passing the bill would then give academic standard development power to the Legislature, taking it from the state education department. In the end, the bill was pulled, turning out to be a much hotter topic than previously imagined.
The Current Conundrum
The want to drop Common Core altogether hasn’t waned. While there is no information on how it’s affecting the children, there are plenty of stories regarding the political personnel involved. Scott Walker, the Governor of Wisconsin, has all but flip-flopped on his stance over the course of this half decade of educational change. Initially supporting it, this year he has called for a complete educational reform bill that targets the full repeal of Common Core.
Even still, pockets of resistance within the school district have appeared. Educators within the Green Bay school district have already spent years and resources putting together curriculum to fit what they thought was supposed to be fully implemented this year. Many of the educators are excited by the rigorous standards they now get to hold their students accountable to, seeing it as a way to improve the previously low statewide criteria.
While the issue continues to rage on among the politicians, it’s promising to note that the teachers see Common Core in Wisconsin as a benefit to the children. Having already set up dedicated courses to the standards, many are already seeing an improvement in student ability. So long as that continues, it can be predicted that teachers will keep with Common Core no matter what the Governor chooses.