Burke: Common Core Bill Would Politicize Education

By John Forester | February 27, 2014

In a news article from this morning’s Wisconsin State Journal, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke ripped Senate Bill 619 as a waste of precious resources that schools have invested in implementing the Common Core State Standards.  The article also includes comments from the DPI as well as the offices of Governor Walker and Senator Vukmir.

Read the article here.

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Come to Madison on March 6th!!!

By John Forester | February 25, 2014

The Senate Committee on Education has publicly noticed it’s intention to hold a public hearing on Senate Bill 619 at 10:00 a.m. on March 6th in Room 411 South, State Capitol.  As you know, SB 619 would create a model academic standards board, would radically change the way we develop educational standards in Wisconsin, and would allow the Legislature to modify a bill establishing model academic standards through any kind of amendment.

This will likely be our last opportunity to be heard on the Common Core this legislative session.  We anticipate the anti-Common Core crowd will be out in force at this hearing.  That’s why it is vitally important that we have a strong presence in opposition to SB 619 at this hearing.  Superintendents, directors of  instruction and others, please consider clearing your calendars and joining us in Madison on Thursday, March 6th. 

At present, we envision perhaps a handful of superintendents testifying in opposition to the bill with a huge group of administrators standing behind them in a strong show of support (and also registering in opposition to the bill).

More than anything, this message is a “save the date” appeal.  We will follow up with additional information as it becomes available later this week.  If you are interested in testifying or in being part of the strong show of support at the hearing, please email Beth (beth@wsaa.org) at the SAA so we can help coordinate your participation.

Once again, this will likely be our last opportunity to influence the outcome of this session’s CCSS policymaking inside the Capitol.  Let’s make it “once more, with feeling.”  Thank you.

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Press Gazette: Scrap Senate Bill, Not Common Core

By John Forester | February 25, 2014

The Green Bay Press Gazette has joined the growing list of Wisconsin newspapers to editorialize in opposition to SB 619.

See the editorial here.

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Appleton Post Crescent: Common Core Bill Terrible

By John Forester | February 24, 2014

This past weekend, the Appleton Post Crescent editorialized in opposition to SB 619, calling the bill “terrible”.

See the editorial here.

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Legislature Should Not Undercut Common Core Standards

By John Forester | February 24, 2014

Yesterday, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorialized in opposition to SB 619, a bill that would radically change the way we develop educational standards in Wisconsin.

See the editorial here.

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Memo Clarifies Impact of SB 619

By John Forester | February 24, 2014

Legislators and other proponents of Senate Bill 619 have been challenging State Superintendent Ever’s contention that the bill would allow the legislature to modify state academic standards.

A legal memorandum, issued late Friday by the DPI, clarifies the impact of Senate Bill 619. The memo confirms that the Legislature would be able to modify a bill establishing Model Academic Standards through any kind of amendment. Additionally, SB 619 impacts all academic standards going forward, not just English language arts and mathematics.

Text of the legal memorandum can be found here.

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Farrow, Vukmir Respond to Evers on Common Core

By John Forester | February 21, 2014

In response to State Superintendent Ever’s opposition (and by extension the SAA’s opposition as well) to SB 619, the legislation that would dramatically change and politicize the way we develop educational standards in Wisconsin, the bill’s authors (Senators Farrow and Vukmir) have launched even more inflammatory rhetoric into the debate.

See Farrow Letter to Evers.

See Vukmir Press Release.

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SB 271: On to the Governor’s Desk

By John Forester | February 21, 2014

In floor action yesterday, the Assembly concurred in the Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 271, relating to privately-contracted special education substitute teachers and para-educators.

In recent years, increasing numbers of Wisconsin school districts have turned to contracting for substitute teacher and para-educator placements with private staffing services.  However, school districts cannot currently receive state special education aid for the costs of contracting with a staffing service for special education substitutes.  Senate Bill 271, authored by Senator Olsen and Representative Kestell with the SAA’s support, solves this problem by explicitly authorizing school districts to contract with staffing services and makes the costs eligible for special education aid.

Special thanks go to Senator Olsen and Representative Kestell for bringing the legislation forward and for allowing the SAA to participate in the bill development process.

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Walker Staff Created Bill Aimed at Common Core

By John Forester | February 21, 2014

A bill that could halt the implementation of more rigorous and nationally aligned reading and math academic standards in Wisconsin’s public schools was written for state lawmakers by Gov. Scott Walker’s staff, new documents show.

Drafting notes for the academic standards bill that’s been hotly contested this week reveal that the governor’s office initiated the proposal and tweaked it for weeks before forwarding it to senators such as Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) to introduce.

That the governor supported the bill was already known; that his office created it was not. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel received the drafts through an open records request.

Read the full story from Journal Sentinel here.

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180-Day Bill Clears Assembly, Senate Committees

By John Forester | February 20, 2014

In committee votes this morning, SAA-supported legislation to remove the 180-day requirement (SB 589 and AB 749, as amended) passed both the Senate and Assembly Education Committees unanimously.  The companion bills now move on for floor votes in their respective houses.

See John Forester’s testimony here.

The SAA will keep you updated on further developments on this legislation.

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