Credit state leaders for sticking with higher standards for Wisconsin students.
After a series of public hearings around the state this fall, Assembly Republicans appear ready to tweak — rather than tear apart — the Common Core education guidelines, according to the Associated Press last week.
That’s good news for students and Wisconsin’s economy. Our state needs to boost achievement in language, math and science to keep and attract the good-paying jobs of the future. Too many students are slipping behind their peers around the world.
The Common Core standards set what students should know at each grade level — not just facts, but how to think critically. Prior standards were vague and inadequately prepared students for college or career.
Setting high goals and regularly measuring progress should encourage better results.
State Superintendent Tony Evers signed a proclamation adopting the Common Core standards three years ago. Nearly every other state in the nation has done the same.
Wisconsin has spent nearly $25 million to implement the higher expectations. So unraveling the effort now would waste that money.
Late to the game were tea party critics imagining a federal plot to destroy local control of schools. Some educators and left-wing critics fear corporate influence and standardized testing.
But Common Core already allows local schools lots of flexibility on instruction. It defines the goals for learning — not how to meet them.
Moreover, the initiative began not with the Obama administration but with the National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, working with educators, nonprofits and industry.
Better testing and more timely results will give educators and parents more information to target shortcomings.
Some lawmakers have complained the standards are still too low. But Common Core represents a big improvement over the state’s previous guidelines. And nothing stops Wisconsin students from exceeding the new goals.
Rather than nitpicking or politicizing Common Core, state lawmakers should embrace the higher standards as an honest effort to boost learning.