UPDATE: School Chiefs Seek to Address Privacy Concerns

By: Associated Press/WSAW-TV Email
By: Associated Press/WSAW-TV Email
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Chief state school officers are seeking to reassure the public that the new Common Core standards will not lead to the sharing of personally identifiable student data with the federal government.

Education officers from 35 states sent a letter Thursday to Education Secretary Arnie Duncan addressing concerns that there will be new reporting requirements because of the standards. They said that won't happen and that the federal government is prohibited from creating a student-level database with individual students' test results. They said the states will continue to provide the Education Department with school-level data.

The officers are from states participating in two different consortiums developing tests for the standards. The standards have been adopted by most states and spell out reading and math skills students should know in each grade.


UPDATE: Wed 10:48 AM, Dec. 11, 2013

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Republican-led state Assembly committee called together to study the Common Core academic standards in Wisconsin is not recommending they be scrapped, despite pressure from tea party conservatives to do just that.

Instead, recommendations released by the committee on Wednesday call for establishing a process for the continued review and adoption of standards that involves legislative control and public comment.

The English and math standards were adopted in 2010 by Department of Public Instruction Secretary Tony Evers. The voluntary standards are in place in 45 states and are viewed by Evers and many in the education community as setting a more rigorous standard for students to meet.

The committee says that Wisconsin is best-served by creating state-based standards, but does not call for that to be done.

UPDATE: Tues 10:57 AM, Nov. 26, 2013

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Dozens of conservatives and leaders of tea party groups from across Wisconsin are urging Gov. Scott Walker to "be the hero" and "boldly" reject Common Core education standards.

The letter delivered Tuesday to Walker comes after Assembly Republicans who studied the standards indicated they were not interested in abandoning them.

The voluntary standards cover English and math instruction and were adopted in Wisconsin three years ago.

The goal of the standards is to improve instruction and better prepare students for life after school. But critics, many of them conservative Republicans, say the standards are too weak and amount to the federal government creating a national curriculum.

Walker has said he would like to see Wisconsin adopt tougher standards. The letter urges him to completely reject the current standards.

UPDATE: Tues 11:14 PM, Nov. 19, 2013

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- State lawmakers who held a series of public hearings on the Common Core academic standards are readying reports with their thoughts and possible recommendations for change.

The Assembly committee planned a Tuesday meeting to discuss the final report. The Senate committee is also preparing a report that could be released later this week.

The voluntary academic standards for math and English are in place in 45 states. They were adopted in Wisconsin in 2010 and are defended by backers as a more rigorous curriculum for students.

But opponents say the standards infringe upon the ability of local school districts to decide what they want to teach.

Testimony was gathered at hearings in Madison, Fond du Lac, Eau Claire and Wausau this fall.

UPDATE: Tues 5:15 PM, Oct. 30, 2013

This topic is complex, but those who are passionate on either side of the debate believe it comes down to some very simple values.

“I don't think any of our children should be capped,” explains Julie Vajda. She says she does not like the core because it limits her children.

Vajda is from from the Appleton School District and said it performs well above average. She says if the standards hold, it will stunt her child's learning.

State educators say it doesn't cap students, and teachers are able to teach in whatever way they feel is best for their students-- Just as long as they meet the target standard. In the mean time, the debate on whether this is right for the kids has sparked fire in Wisconsin.

Mandy Wright, 85th District Representative said, “unfortunately it has been picked up by a fringe group and they have a lot of power right now in Wisconsin.”

She says if the next step of appealing the common core standards that were approved in 2010 is successful. It will put students in Wisconsin behind.

“If they appeal, we'll go back on the old standards that were deemed not college and career ready, so it would be wrong to go back,” said Wright.

Until then Julie says she'll speak up for what she believes is best for her kids and all kids.

“I want for my children to grow up in a nation in the world where the sky is the limit, where they are contributing to society and respecting others,” Julie remarked.

ORIGINAL STORY: Tues 6:18 PM, Oct. 29, 2013

A clash of opinions sparked a debate about the Common Core School Standards.

The standards were developed jointly by state and local educators in 2010.

Though there was little objection then to the standards, there is now.
Since the new standardized test is set for 2014, the standards have communities debating about whether or not this move is good for the children.

Wausau School District Administrator Nell Anderson said the adopted standards aim to help students think more critically.

The new standards have been adopted by 45 other states in the nation, however, some communities are worried that this switch is controlled by the government and that it puts a blanket over all students to learn the same.

Anderson said the standards were too low for students before and that the new ones are needed so that the students are college and career ready.

"Before, it [teaching] was like, 'there's 365 pages in my math book, and I've got to cover every single one of those pages,'" Anderson said. "What we found is that's called a mile wide and basically touching things an inch deep. But kids need to think mathematically and critically to solve the problems."

Anderson said the standards will raise the bar for students, the standards will be applied to grades kindergarten through 12.

They also only cover English language arts and mathematics, but Anderson said science ones are on the drawing table.

Some NewsChannel 7 viewers have posted on WSAW's Facebook wall that they fear this move will take away teacher's independence in the classroom, but Anderson said that the standards do not set a curriculum, but a target for teachers to aim for.

Anderson said the way teachers reach the final target is up to each district and/or educator.

To voice your opinion, attend the public hearing set for 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Northcentral Technical College's Center for Health Sciences, which is across the street from the main building.

Address: 1000 West Campus Drive, Wausau, Wis.

According to the media advisory sent out from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, State Superintendent Tony Evers will join education leaders from northern Wisconsin for a media event related to the Common Core State Standards. D.C. Everest Area School District Superintendent Kristine Gilmore will open the program, and speakers include Evers and Northcentral Technical College President Lori Weyers. State Rep. Mandy Wright will also give remarks.

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