UPDATE: Lawmakers take aim at Common Core standards - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Lawmakers hear testimony on bills that take aim at Common Core standards

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Common Core State Standards are close to being fully implemented in Wisconsin public schools, but Republican lawmakers are ready to start dismantling them.

The Assembly Committee on Education held a public hearing today on three bills designed to weaken the power of the state superintendent and, as a result, the Common Core State Standards.

"We should never again adopt a national standard, off the shelf, without changing a single word," said Rep. Dean Knudson (R-Hudson), who authored Assembly Bill 617.

GOP lawmakers are not only upset about the academics behind the Common Core standards, but also the way they were adopted and implemented by DPI Superintendent Tony Evers.

"The public was left out, for the most part and as the public's representatives, so was the legislature," said Rep. Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake), who chairs the education committee.

AB 617 would eliminate DPI's ability to act unilaterally in establishing state academic standards.  It would also force DPI to work with an advisory committee made up of people from education and other disciplines to revise those standards every six years.

"We need to act now to make sure parents, teachers and the public, including employers have a seat at the table when statewide model standards are reviewed and revised," said Rep. Knudson.

"I think the thing that we are most concerned about is having our hands tied," said Sheila Briggs, Asst. State Superintendent for Academic Excellence.

Briggs told the committee that DPI isn't opposed to working with the legislature on revising the way standards are developed, but has major concerns with the way this bill is written.

"The bill would require the development of new standards just as our students are started to be tested on the old ones," said Briggs.

But Republicans made it clear changes are coming whether DPI likes it or not.

"Patience with the department on this particular issue is fairly thin," warned Rep. Kestell.

Democrats say the legislature should have input, but worry about infringing on the constitutional authority of the education professionals at DPI.

"I have a master's degree in education, I have 8 years teaching experience in the classroom and I am not qualified to review and approve these standards," said Rep. Mandy Wright (D-Wausau).

Two other bills the committee took testimony on relate to student information collection.

AB 618 would restrict the type of private student information the state can collect and distribute to outside agencies, while AB 616 would prohibit schools from conducting fingerprint identification, retinal scanning, and hand or palm geometry.

Several lawmakers believe collecting that type of identification is part of the Common Core Standards, while DPI has said repeatedly they are merely conspiracy theories.

The Assembly Committee on Education has yet to schedule a vote on the bills.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Assembly Committee on Education is hearing testimony Wednesday on three bills that would make changes to how the State of Wisconsin adopts K-12 academic standards and what type of student information can be collected.

Conservative Republicans authored the bills in response to the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which they say were never properly vetted by the public or the legislature.

Assembly Bill 617 would change the way Wisconsin adopts its academic standards, taking total control away from the Department of Public Instruction.  The bill would require DPI to review and revise state academic standards every six years.  DPI would also have to appoint an advisory committee consisting of education professionals and members of the public to help develop the standards and to hold a public hearing in each of the state's congressional districts.

Officials from DPI expressed a number of concerns with AB 617, saying six years is not enough time to properly test and review new standards before changing them again.  They also expressed concerns that the bill would take away flexibility DPI currently has in making certain exceptions for local school districts.

AB 618 would restrict the type of private student information the state can collect and distribute to outside agencies, while AB 616 would prohibit schools from conducting fingerprint identification, retinal scanning, and hand or palm geometry.

Several lawmakers believe collecting that type of identification are part of the Common Core Standards, while DPI has said repeatedly they are merely conspiracy theories.

Capitol Bureau Chief Greg Neumann is at today's hearing and will have a full report on 27 News at 5 and 6.

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