Wisconsin school district votes to replace Common Core with its own standards

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MADISON, Wis. – It appears that Wisconsin lawmakers won’t be getting rid of the Common Core learning standards anytime soon, so leaders in one school district are taking the task upon themselves.

wisconsinAccording to Wisconsin Reporter, the Germantown school board voted unanimously on Tuesday to develop its own set of learning standards, which will eventually replace the Common Core standards. The process will begin in January and is expected to take about a year.

Board members say Common Core – which the district has been using since 2011 – isn’t rigorous enough for their high expectations.

“We don’t want to be a mediocre district,” board Vice President Sarah Larson told Wisconsin Reporter.

Germantown school officials know that extricating the district from Common Core isn’t going to be easy, as the state’s mandatory standardized tests are designed to comply with the new math and English standards. The matter is further complicated by the fact that student test scores impact teacher evaluations and state-issued report cards for districts and their individual schools.

It’s a bit of a jumbled mess, but Germantown school leaders appear up to the challenge.

That puts them at odds with lawmakers who comprised the state Assembly committee charged with reviewing Common Core.

On Wednesday, those lawmakers signaled the controversial learning standards will stay in place for the foreseeable future, although their final report – due later this month – will likely recommend the standards be reviewed periodically to ensure they’re tailored to Wisconsin public schools, WSAU.com reports.

The GOP-controlled Legislature apparently lost its nerve to replace Common Core, partly because Republican Gov. Scott Walker has refused to support the effort. Walker sits on the executive committee of the National Governors Association, one of the two private groups that developed (and hold the copyright to) the Common Core learning standards.

Lawmakers faced another obstacle in state schools Superintendent Tony Evers, who claims the sole constitutional power to adopt or reject the standards. Evers singlehandedly adopted Common Core back in 2010 and vowed to take legal action against the Legislature in the event of a repeal effort, the Associated Press reports.

That leaves the task of repealing and replacing Common Core up to the state’s school district leaders, one district at a time.

Germantown school leaders say they’re more than willing to lead the way.

“Hopefully others see what we’re doing as a model,” Superintendent Jeff Holmes said. “People do have the prerogative to change their minds. If you see a better path, why not take it?”

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