Where is Governor Scott Walker’s Leadership on Common Core?

Scott_Walker_by_Gage_SkidmoreIf there was a “race to the drop” of Common Core among Republican Governors, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker would be trailing his Indiana and South Carolina counterparts.  Last Wednesday during his State of the State address said nothing about the Common Core State Standards instead he focused on his school to work initiative.

He did address the Common Core at the State Education Convention.  “Like every other parent across the state, I want our education system to help our kids excel and reach their full potential,” Governor Walker said. “Federal standards in education may be raising the bar in some states, but in Wisconsin, we can do better.  The education leaders here in our state are most qualified to assess the best way to take the standards we set for students to the next level.”

Governor Walker then noted he working with members of the Legislature in both chambers to craft legislation creating a process that would develop Wisconsin-based model academic standards.  Specifically this legislation would create a commission to review the the Common Core, and Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Evers will chair it.  Yes, the same guy who threatened a lawsuit if the Wisconsin Legislature rejected the Common Core.  Evers also said that Wisconsin is not giving up the Common Core, and that the Common Core will still be the basis for standardized tests that Wisconsin students will take.  At most the Commission would recommend new additional standards that school districts can adopt.

Probably within the 15% allowed by Wisconsin’s agreement with the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  A minor tweaking.  I know in Iowa we’re tired of the doublespeak we’re hearing from our Governor.  Wisconsin should tire of the weak leadership they are receiving from Walker on this issue.

What happened to the bold leader Wisconsin saw on Act 10?  Exercise decisive leadership on budget reforms, but virtually do nothing when misguided education policy is being foisted on Wisconsin school children?  Unions are leading the way on this issue as we saw in New York.  Wisconsin should pay attention, New York is further ahead in their implementation of the Common Core and it has been a disaster.

Saturday the New York State Union of Teachers Board passed a “no confidence” resolution of New York State Education Commissioner John King, Jr.  In it they also withdrew their support of the Common Core State Standards until major course corrections are undertaken to address its failed implementation.  They also support a three-year moratorium on high-stakes testing.

Wisconsin is proceeding full-steam ahead and it seems like the chairs of the Legislative Education Committees, State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) and State Representative Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake), lack the wherewithal to do anything beyond forming a meaningless commission.

Where is the bold leadership we have come to expect from Governor Scott Walker?  Will he and the Wisconsin Legislature fail Wisconsin kids because it’s an election year and they don’t want to rock the boat?


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 3.0)