If you think there was a fight over Common Core educational standards in the Capitol earlier this year, think again. Interviews with dozens of candidates show that it was just a warm-up for the war coming next year over those standards.
No matter who is elected governor, and which party controls the Senate in the 2015-16 session, Assembly Republicans – who all sides privately concede will keep control for the next two years – will push to reverse Wisconsin’s 2010 decision to join most other states in adopting Common Core standards. Several of those Assembly Republicans want Wisconsin to join Louisiana and other states that have withdrawn or repealed Common Core standards.
Six of the 14 Assembly Republicans who sponsored a bill (SB 619) last session that would stop implementation of Common Core standards and let legislators control new educational standards, and who drafts them, are unopposed in Nov. 4 elections. Another Assembly sponsor of that bill, Rep. Steve Nass, of Whitewater, is running for a Senate seat Republicans have controlled for decades.
Three of the five Republican senators who co-sponsored SB 619 aren’t up for election this year; a fourth Senate sponsor, Sen. Leah Vukmir, faces a Libertarian Party challenger. Two Republican senators who kept SB 619 from being debated – Senate President Mike Ellis and Dale Schultz – have retired.
WisconsinEye interviews with more than 70 candidates in Aug. 12 primary elections show that scrapping Common Core standards, or reasserting the authority of local school boards to set their own academic goals, is a top priority of Assembly Republicans. Most Democratic candidates defend Common Core.
Just something to keep an eye on if you're like me and you like to keep track of how many states have already dropped out of the Common Core and how many more are likely to follow.