Common Core Advocate Tony Evers Plans to Run for Wisconsin Governor

I’ve written several articles about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s treatment of Common Core. His record on Common Core is a mixed bag and, in my opinion, he has not done enough to rid the state those standards. Dr. Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, is a Democrat who plans to officially announce tomorrow that he is challenging Walker. His record is abundantly clear he is the man solely responsible for bringing Common Core into the state.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal reports:

State schools superintendent Tony Evers will formally announce his gubernatorial run Wednesday, making him the third Democrat to commit to a bid and the first statewide office holder to challenge GOP Gov Scott Walker.

Evers, who heads the state Department of Public Instruction, will announce his run at a suburban Madison park for children, according to an email sent to supporters Sunday and obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The venue at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg will highlight Evers’ main credential for voters – his years working on behalf of children as a local school leader and state education official.

“On Wednesday, Tony will officially announce his run for governor because we need a real change here in Wisconsin. That change starts with putting our kids first, investing in our schools, and rebuilding Wisconsin’s middle class,” according to an email sent from the personal account of Jeff Pertl, a top aide to Evers in the superintendent’s office.

The Evers campaign had no comment except to note that Pertl is a volunteer.

They note that Evers has been criticized for adopting Common Core, as well as, the rollout of the state’s new computer-based test. He has to win the Democrat primary first before he can challenge Walker in the general election.

If he wins the primary and then loses the general election he’ll be out at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Common Core opponents have the opportunity to run candidates for that position who will work with the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor Walker to repeal Common Core (provided they truly want to do that). You may remember that Evers threatened to sue if the Legislature and Walker repealed Common Core claiming he had sole authority over academic standards in the state.

Wisconsin Group Seeks Qualified State Superintendent of Schools Candidate

former State Representative Don Pridemore

former State Representative Don Pridemore

A group of Wisconsin citizens led by retired state representative Don Pridemore has created WINNER, Inc. missioned with finding and identifying a qualified candidate for State Superintendent of Schools. The State Superintendent is the head of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction. This supposedly non-partisan position is one of the most powerful in the state.

Many Wisconsinites believe the current DPI has overreached its bounds by imposing Common Core Standards upon local districts and undermining state laws regarding local control of schools. These citizens have been looking for a solution to an overreaching DPI. 

WINNER, Inc. President Don Pridemore explains that the Governor and legislative bodies should have little control over educational policies adopted by districts in a local-control state. The power is in the hands of the public. Pridemore explains, “The legislature moves slowly and usually waits for strong grassroots support to do anything.” One important step the grassroots need to take is to elect a State Superintendent who respects state statutes governing local control of schools, a leader who will require that local districts involve citizens in decision making. 

Representative Pridemore explained, “If we want true local control, we have to fight to keep it.” Pridemore is trying to discourage those who are demanding that state government take more power. When citizens insist that the governor and legislative bodies dictate educational policy like repealing Common Core, those citizens are surrendering their rights to the state government. He asks them to fight for and to support strengthening the state statutes governing local control of schools. One step in accomplishing this goal is to find a DPI candidate who will commit to following local-control laws. 

Pridemore does recommend that the legislature use its power to write the job description for the DPI to define insubordination as any attempt to make it financially difficult for schools to select alternative policies to those recommended by the DPI. This change would make it easier for the legislature to impeach a partisan DPI. Currently, the only remedies for incompetence or manipulation of the office are impeachment, recall, auditing the DPI, and electing a new State Superintendent of Schools. All of these remedies are time consuming, costly, and often very contentious. Being able to identify a breach of contract would make impeachment easier. 

Demanding an audit of the DPI will, according to Pridemore, expose the DPI’s manipulation of funding to harass local districts. The findings in the audit would be made public, thereby heightening citizen awareness and encouraging the electorate to become more involved in the election of the DPI and in actions taken by local school boards. 

Pridemore explained, “Regardless of what is written on paper, government is only as good as the people we elect. Due diligence is required. If we get lazy, they take control.” Therefore, while the legislature may adjust the job description to tighten control of the DPI, those new requirements can be ignored and manipulated, too. It takes the efforts of the electorate to stop these efforts to take freedoms and rights away from the people. We must be vigilant whether we live in a local-control state or in a state with powerful state control of the educational process.

Pridemore’s group intends to educate the public regarding the power the state DPI has when shaping educational policy and to encourage citizens to get out and vote in the off year election held to select the State Superintendent. If the public elects a leader who respects state statutes governing local control of schools, the public will have an easier time exercising local control of their school districts.

Scott Walker: We Effectively Repealed Common Core in Wisconsin

IMG_0255On Saturday during the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition Spring Kickoff in Waukee, IA I was given the opportunity to interview Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker for  I was able to ask him about Common Core and testing in Wisconsin below is the transcript of that part of the interview.

Shane: Common Core seems to be an issue that is cropping up, at least in the primary election, and we are seeing some differences between different candidates.  Where do you stand on Common Core?

Gov. Walker: I oppose it.  I like high standards.  I think high standards are a good thing.  I have two kids who went to public schools who are in college now, and I’ve got two nieces who are in public schools.  I want high standards, but I want them set by people at the local level – by parents, by teachers, by school board members and others out there. 

Years ago, when I first ran in 2010, it wasn’t even on our radar.  I didn’t hear about it, it didn’t really come up anywhere on my radar, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago in 2013 in our state when a number of parents and concerned citizens and even teachers came to us so after that we drafted legislation to pull back from that.  It had been in the law in our state before I became governor, we actually have an independently-elected Superintendent of Public Instruction who is not in my cabinet who actually administers it, so we have to change the law to do that.

The legislature didn’t pass it, but I put in my budget language that said, that pulls back on it and says no school district has to use it, and we pulled the testing for any money for Smarter Balanced.

Shane: When you campaigned, you were campaigning on a repeal, and are now pushing, putting forth an opt-out…

Gov. Walker: Well it really is a repeal.  There is no law that mandates it.  What it does, the language we put in explicitly says school districts don’t have to, and that the language in there… there is not a law that says they have to do Common Core.  There is a law that says they have to do standards, and then there is a law.. or there is money in the budget for Smarter Balanced.  We got rid of that, so that is effectively a repeal.

Shane: What is Wisconsin going to end up with next year without Smarter Balanced if that is not funded?

Gov. Walker: Oh I think what we’ll do is have whole options of things that people can use for testing so people, so school boards, administrators can pick at the local level which option they want to use so whether it is the ACT or any number of other things out there, but they are not told by the state government exactly what they have to do and they do not have to abide by, they don’t have to be obligated to use Common Core curriculum.

Go here to watch the video or read the transcript for the entire interview.

There were additional questions I could have asked on the subject to press him further, but this was an interview, not a debate.  If the other assessments, and we are not certain of what other assessments will be offered, are aligned to Common Core what motivation will a school board have to opt-out?  That is the burning question behind opt-out legislation.  Also a recent article in The Journal-Times says his budget just reiterates current law:

…Walker’s budget doesn’t repeal the standards. Instead, the spending plan reiterates what state law already provides: that no school board is required to adopt the Common Core standards.

While the state Department of Public Instruction adopted the standards in 2010, and chose a state assessment aligned to the standards, school districts are not required to use the standards by law.

Walker also proposes in his budget to prohibit use of the Common Core-aligned state exam developed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, but does not prohibit using a new test also aligned to the standards.

The budget prohibits state Superintendent Tony Evers from adopting any standards developed by the Common Core State Standards Initiative after the budget is passed, but currently no new standards are being developed by the group.

Wisconsin grassroots activists I’ve talked to want a real repeal, not an opt-out that could still leave school districts on the hook with Common Core.  If there were legitimate assessment options that were not tied to Common Core that would be an entirely different matter that unfortunately is being left in the hands of Dr. Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, who threatened to sue if the Common Core was repealed in his state.

Scott Walker Removes Smarter Balanced from Wisconsin’s Budget

Walker gives inauguration address.

Walker gives inauguration address.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in his budget address on Tuesday said that he removed funding for Smarter Balanced in his proposed budget.

He said, “..our budget removes funding for the Smarter Balanced test, which is connected to Common Core.  We also include legal language making it clear that no school district in the state has to use these standards, which are set by people from outside the state.”

“I want high standards—and those decisions should be made by school board members and parents and others at the local level,” Walker added.

Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers had plenty to say about Walker’s budget proposal for education, but did not address Smarter Balanced.

It is unclear what assessment grades 3-8 will use for ELA and mathematics.  Under the Wisconsin Student Assessment System 11 grade students take the ACT.  Students in 9th and 10th grade take the ACT Aspire assessment.

There has been concern about how effective a local opt-out strategy will be if Wisconsin used Smarter Balanced.  Defunding Smarter Balanced to force a different assessment would give districts more leverage to say no to the standards provided the Wisconsin Legislature doesn’t add the funding back in.

Wisconsin Lawmakers Discuss Common Core Opt-Out

wisconsin-state-flagWisconsin Republican lawmakers are backing away from discussion of repealing the Common Core instead allowing schools to keep them if they want or adopt other standards if they would rather do that.

Wisconsin State Journal reports:

Top Republican lawmakers are backing away from rhetoric calling for an end to the Common Core State Standards, saying any legislation next year would allow school districts to keep the standards.

The acknowledgments come as Senate and Assembly leaders prepare bills to revamp the state’s school accountability system designed to gauge how well schools educate students. The possible changes include allowing school districts to choose among more than one test.

“We’re not necessarily going to repeal (Common Core) because they are standards adopted by DPI,” said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, referring to the state Department of Public Instruction. “If (school districts) like the standards, they can keep them. But I think we want to make sure that nobody feels compelled.”

They also want to offer multiple, nationally recognized tests that school districts could choose from.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is still calling for the Common Core’s repeal.

“Governor Walker has said he wants an accountability bill that includes a repeal of Common Core and bottom line is he wants to make sure that no school district in the state is required to use the Common Core standards,” said spokeswoman Laurel Patrick.

Activists in Wisconsin tell me that Republican leadership is backing away from a campaign pledge to repeal the Common Core.  The increased their majority in the Wisconsin Senate and should be able to get this done.  Some are even skeptical about the Governor’s commitment and I don’t blame them.  One one hand he can talk tough on repealing Common Core to help bolster some additional street cred should he run for President.  On the other he could do nothing behind the scenes to push a repeal along.  I don’t know if that is what is happening here so for now I’ll go with what he says he will do.

To Speaker Vos’ point – it does precious little good to allow schools to opt-out if you don’t allow multiple tests.  Most schools won’t likely go for that.  Granted this takes the Common Core battle down to the school district level, but it would be easier for schools to opt-out if they know they won’t be held accountable to the Common Core instead of their own standards.  The U.S. Department of Education also makes it hard to have this kind of local control possible when they require a test that is linked to the state’s standards.

Then there is the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction dynamic.  If Common Core is repealed then I would suspect there will be a legal challenge from State Superintendent Tony Evers.  He’s already threatened it.  That is something that the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor Walker could balk at as well.

So basically who knows what will come out the next legislative session in Wisconsin, but we’ll keep you up to date.

Scott Walker Continues Call for Common Core Repeal in Wisconsin

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker reiterated his call to see Wisconsin have their own standards.  Common Core became a wedge issue between Walker and his Democrat challenger Mary Burke.

USA Today reported last week:

“One of the things I mentioned throughout the campaign that I wanted to do early on is an overall education reform package,” the Republican governor said last week during a visit to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay. “I think that’s something we can work on, whether it’s a special session or not, it would be early in the next session.

“Having high standards, but standards that are set by people here in … Wisconsin, not by people outside of the state would be a key part of that.”

State Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, a Republican from Juneau, confirmed Thursday the Legislature will make changes to Common Core next year, but he was unsure how the process would evolve.

Common Core became a key issue during the gubernatorial election, but few details about alternative standards and the process needed to create them have been disclosed.

Wisconsin adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, and Walker called on the Legislature to repeal them in July.

There would likely be an uphill fight.  Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers threatened to sue if the State Legislature and Walker managed to repeal Common Core in the state.


Scott Walker Calls on Wisconsin State Legislature to Repeal Common Core

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Photo by Gage Skidmore

( Yesterday Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) out of the blue issued a press release calling for Wisconsin to repeal the Common Core.

He said in a prepared statement, “Today, I call on the members of the State Legislature to pass a bill in early January to repeal Common Core and replace it with standards set by people in Wisconsin.”

Governor Walker has been relatively quiet on the standards.  He told reporters last fall that he’d like Wisconsin to have its own unique standards that were higher than what was already established.  “I’d like us to be in the position where we can identify our own unique standards that I think in many ways will be higher and more aggressive than the ones they’re talking about,” Walker said.

The Governor’s spokesperson said that his statement was to clarify his position  after the  the Cedarburg School Board voting 5-0 to ask the state to delay implementing the Smarter Balanced Assessments, the Common Core assessment consortia Wisconsin belongs to, by two years.  The Germantown School District last December voted to move away from the Common Core and develop its own standards instead.

Walker did not mention Common Core during this year’s state of the state address instead focusing on his school to work initiative.  At the state education conference he did mention Common Core.

“Like every other parent across the state, I want our education system to help our kids excel and reach their full potential,” 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.”

Walker worked with members of the Legislature in both chambers crafting legislation that would have created a process that would develop Wisconsin-based model academic standards.  Specifically this legislation would have created a commission to review the the Common Core, and Wisconsin Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Evers would have chaired it.  Evers, a Democrat, threatened a lawsuit if the Common Core is rejected by the Legislature and Walker.

That legislation sponsored by State Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa), SB 619, failed to pass.  The Wisconsin Assembly had formed a select committee on the Common Core State Standards that issued a report of its activities that included public hearings held throughout the state prior to the legislative session.  The lack of action by the Legislation prompted an open letter signed by leaders of 45 grassroots organizations in the state saying that they now “owned” the Common Core.

“It’s campaign season in Wisconsin and around the country and, not surprisingly, politics trumps sound policy,” Evers said in a released statement.  “The notion that Wisconsin could simply repeal our standards or take a two year time out on our assessments not only runs counter to both state and federal law, it jeopardizes important reforms like educator effectiveness and school and district accountability.  But most importantly it brings chaos to our children and our classrooms.”

“The idea that they’d just be able to replace the standards at the beginning of the legislative session is absurd,” said Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake), the chair of the Assembly’s Education Committee told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re in an election season. People desperate to be re-elected will say anything.”

Kestell announced in April that he would not be running for reelection.  Reelection may have been a hard sell after activists in the Wisconsin Republican Party’s 2nd, 4th and 6th Congressional District caucuses passes a resolution of no-confidence and no support for Kestell, as well as, his counterpart in the Wisconsin Senate – Senate Education Committee Chair Luther Olson (R-Ripon).  Kestell represented parts of Wisconsin’s 6th Congressional District.

Walker’s Democratic challenger, Mary Burke, is a member of the Madison School Board.  Burke is a supporter of the Common Core State Standards and her campaign criticized Walker’s statement.  “This is a desperate election year move by a career politician to shore up his extreme right-wing base,” said a statement from Burke spokesman Joe Zepecki.

Common Core opposition according to recent polls is not partisan however.

Walker is in a tight race with Burke.  The last poll conducted by Marquette University has Walker up by 3 points.

Walker’s announcement comes shortly after returning from the National Governor’s Association meeting last weekend.  Common Core was a topic avoided on the agenda.  This week Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) signed legislation that would review and replace the Common Core in his state.  North Carolina Governor Pat McCroary (R) said that he would sign a repeal and replace bill his state’s legislature passed this week.  Utah Governor Gary Hebert (R) announced he wants the Common Core reexamined.  He said he was going to ask his state’s Attorney General see what, if any, federal entanglements the Common Core has brought to the state.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) signed an executive order that will create a commission to review the Common Core.  Common Core opponents in Christie’s state believe the executive order is meaningless.  Iowa Governor Terry Branstad (R) called the Common Core “radioactive” when talking to reporters at the NGA meeting.  Caffeinated Thoughts reported earlier this week, that the Iowa Department of Education still has not acted on the executive order Branstad issued last fall.

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)

Governors Race to the Drop (of Common Core)

I have to admit.  I didn’t coin that title; credit goes to Heather Crossin who coined it in an email.  We have had a couple of Governors make some statements about the Common Core as state legislatures go into session.

mike-penceRepublican Governor Mike Pence of Indiana in his state of the state address last week said: “Hoosiers have high expectations when it comes to Indiana schools. That’s why Indiana decided to take a time-out on national education standards,” Pence said.  “When it comes to setting standards for schools, I can assure you, Indiana’s will be uncommonly high. They will be written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers and will be among the best in the nation.”

After the address Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said “We always adopt our own standards. It just so happens that in 2010 the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core as its standards. We are reviewing those standards. I’m pretty confident there are going to be changes to those standards. And Indiana will be adopting a new set of standards.”

Heather Crossin (who again gets credit for the title) cautioned Hoosiers:

However, we must also add the cautionary words of “not so fast.”  Hoosiers want real change when it comes to the content of future standards – minor revisions and a simple name change won’t cut it.  On this point, we turn your attention to Breitbart’s coverage of Pence’s remarks, in which Common Core supporters Derek Redelman, of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and State Board of Education member Tony Walker (D), both predict that the changes made will be minimal and a mere tweaking of the Common Core.  Of most concern is Walker’s statement that he thinks “all of the anchor standards have to be Common Core.”  Obviously, this will NOT be acceptable.

nikki_haleyNow shift to South Carolina.  Republican Governor Nikki Haley says we’re going to ditch the Common Core.

In a speech to the Greenville County Republican Women’s Club on Jan. 16, according to the Anderson Independent Mail, Haley, a Republican who’s up for re-election this year, said, "We are telling the legislature: Roll back common core. Let’s take it back to South Carolina standards." She added that if Senate Bill 300 (introduced last year for the state’s 2013-14 legislative session) reaches her desk, she "absolutely will sign it." In that bill, there’s no pause, no mandated review period—just a straightforward move to remove the standards from the state.

There have been different bills looked at by the South Carolina State Legislature, but none have made it out of the Senate education committee.  Haley is in a reelection year and she understands where her base is.  She has however been consistent in her opposition to the Common Core State Standards.  We just haven’t seen it amount to anything yet.

Back to the Midwest now Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker faces the loss of his base if he doesn’t take a strong stand against the Common Core State Standards.

scott-walker-wisconsin-governorFrom the Wisconsin Daily Independent:

While Scott Walker has gained ground around the country for a possible presidential bid, there are increasingly loud rumblings from his Wisconsin base.  The source of the friction is the controversial Common Core State Standards.

The governor’s office has been inundated with calls from across Wisconsin for the past several days.  Callers are insisting that Walker make a plain statement in his upcoming State of the State address this week, rejecting the Common Core and laying out a clear plan for immediate cessation and reversal of the standards.  One reason for the mounting pressure on the governor is the scheduled deployment of Common Core-related Smarter Balanced assessments later this year, a process that has resulted in major blowback in states such as New York and Kentucky.

Walker has remained largely silent regarding the ongoing implementation of Common Core in his state.  The few vague statements he has made so far have been viewed as at least a passive embrace of the standards.  There is additional reason to suspect that the governor is pro-Common Core.  For example, the governor notably failed to provide support to a fellow Republican who last year attempted to unseat Tony Evers, the current Democratic secretary of Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction.  Evers had gained notoriety for making Wisconsin the first state in the nation to adopt Common Core and has essentially seen no pushback from Walker on the initiative.

With Governor Walker’s star currently rising on the national horizon, it’s not just his Wisconsin base paying attention to his position on Common Core.  Less than 48 hours from his State of the State, eyes across the nation are watching Walker to see whether or not he will join the vanguard of governors now repudiating Common Core in their states.

I’ll be watching from Iowa.

Which state will drop the Common Core first?

Wisconsin State Superintendent Offers Veiled Threat to Opponents of Common Core


Dr. Tony Evers
Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction

The state of Wisconsin has held three out of four public hearings on Common Core Standards. State Superintendent Tony Evers must be feeling the heat because he offered legislators a veiled threat that any rejection of Common Core Standards may be taken to the Supreme Court. This threat outrages citizens across the state who are trying to protect their right to exercise local control of schools.

Kim Simac,  Wisconsin State Director for Concerned Women for America, Chairperson for Northwoods Patriots, and one of the major community organizers in northern Wisconsin, stated, “Superintendent Evers’ threat to jump directly to the Wisconsin Supreme Court should any legislation or decision be made to opt out of CCSS exposes his lack of confidence in the standards themselves. Those supporters of CCSS should have an arsenal of evidence that proves excellence and superiority in the product. Obviously they do not.”

Wisconsinites opposed to Common Core will not allow Superintendent Evers to blame conservative Legislators for the tax dollars to be wasted on any legal action intended to undermine Wisconsin’s statute regarding local control of schools or intended to render irrelevant the concerns expressed by citizens. Sondra Maanum, Chair of the Barron County Republican Party, explained that “our legislators were elected to defend and protect the state constitution and our state laws. If Tony Evers thinks he is going to use our tax dollars to fight us, he better be well prepared for the consequences.”

Superintendent Evers is apparently realizing that his claim that it would take years to write and implement alternative standards has been effectively refuted by experts who have been testifying against Common Core. Alan Scholl, Executive Director and Vice President of American Opinion Foundation, invited citizens and organizations like Advocates for Academic Freedom to bring Dr. Sandra Stotsky and James Milgram among others to testify. Both were members of the Common Core Validation Committee and both refused to sign off on the standards that they believed would not adequately prepare students for college.

“Evers’ threat is predicated on the platform of using the federal government, through the Supreme Court, to force upon a state and its people, a federal mandate in education.  This is as totalitarian a prospect as any yet suggested,” stated Mr. Scholl.   Scholl, Maanum, and Simac represent many Wisconsinites who believe that the veiled threat made by Superintendent Evers is a blatant abuse of federal power by a state official. Scholl explained that using federal power to force a curriculum that is formulated and shaped precisely to any forced standard leading to dictated outcomes is an intolerable challenge to individual liberty and the sovereignty of states.

It is essential that those who oppose Common Core be willing to provide solutions, to promote funding for those solutions, and to support legislators who are willing to represent what is best for the children of Wisconsin. The solutions most often recommended by citizens include immediate implementation of the standards used in Massachusetts before they adopted Common Core. Massachusetts students had excelled in math, science, English, and reading for years before they adopted Common Core Standards.

“Grassroots will be certain to work hard for legislators who recognize the perilous path Common Core Standards present” promised Kim Simac. “I know I will be spending my efforts engaging hard-working activists who will pound the doors and give 100% for legislators who will stand up to support Wisconsin state rights.”

As President of Advocates for Academic Freedom, I have traveled the state discussing Common Core, our focus has been upon solutions and funding for those solutions. Without exception, my audiences have expressed a willingness to support spending some of our state surplus to purchase math text books that are not aligned with Common Core, sets of grammar books for each English classroom, and reading materials that focus upon decoding skills. These audiences are insulted and angered by the thought of using their tax dollars and the legal system to circumvent local control of schools and to silence the public.

According to Sondra Maanum, “Wisconsinites hope Governor Walker and the legislature will put in place some oversight to prevent the DPI from circumventing local control of schools in the future.”

Wisconsinites are defending their right to control local schools. They have witnessed the challenging fight to prevent federal overreach when a powerful state department of education intervenes. Citizens do not want precedence established that would undermine state statutes which guarantee local control of schools.

Superintendent Evers is abusing his power and ignoring state statutes.