Thursday, February 20, 2014

Committee Delays Vote on Common Core Legislation

The Assembly Committee on Education did not take up AB 617, which would create a Model Academic Standards Board charged with creating new English, math, science and social studies standards, this morning.

Chairman Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake) announced that the Committee would not debate the proposed substitute amendment today, but told Committee members that they should plan on meeting in the near future.

On Wednesday, Representative Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac) introduced a substitute amendment to Assembly Bill 617, which would create a Model Academic Standards Board to implement new state standards in English, reading, and language arts; math; science; and social studies. This Board would be tasked with making recommendations, reviewing and revising the state’s model academic standards in the areas specified above. The members of the Board will be appointed by the State Superintendent, the Governor, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, the Speaker of the Assembly and the Assembly Minority Leader. Once created, the Board must review Wisconsin’s academic standards at least once every 6 years.

Provisions of the bill that will be of interest include:

  • Only two members of the Board are required to be teachers (one from a public school, one from a choice school—both appointed by the Governor). Other appointees must be a high school principal, a member of a school board, a professor, a parent of a public school student, a parent of a choice school student, a superintendent and an elementary school teacher.
  • The Board must create subject-specific subcommittees to make recommendations on the academic standards in their subject area. Members of the subcommittees will include: an individual appointed by the superintendent and individual appointed by the Governor.  The state superintendent’s appointee will appoint two individuals to the subcommittee and the governor’s appointee will appoint three individuals.  They may also appoint up to 4 non-voting members who have professional training in the particular subject area.
  •  Within 12 months of the bill being signed in to law, the Board must issue model academic standards for English, reading and language arts; and Math.  Within 36 months, they must issue model standards in science and social studies.
  •  Once the state superintendent receives the Board’s recommendations, they will submit model standards to Legislative Council for review and hold a public hearing on the proposed standards. Legislative Council has 20 days to review the standards and submit comments or concerns to the superintendent.  Within 10 days of receiving feedback from Legislative Council, the superintendent must submit the model standards to the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR).
  •  JCRAR has 30 days to approve or reject the standards. If JCRAR approves the standards, they go into effect. If JCRAR rejects the standards, the must turn the proposed standards into a bill and refer it to the legislature. The bill does not need to be referred to a standing committee of the Legislature; it can be immediately scheduled for a vote by either house of the legislature.
 Senator Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) has introduced a senate companion—Senate Bill 619.

DPI sent the following alert this morning: Proposed legislation to create a Model Academic Standards Board will be acted on in a matter of days in the Wisconsin Legislature. In a guest editorial from State Superintendent Tony Evers, he explains the ramifications of Senate Bill 619 and how it will harm students and their education. “Senate Bill 619 is a partisan takeover of the bedrock of schooling: the standards that describe what our kids should know and be able to do in each academic subject area,” he said.

Additional information is on the Department of Public Instruction newsroom website The state superintendent’s video message on the Common Core State Standards can be found at

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