April 9 in Germantown, WI: Workshop to develop alternative to Common Core

Schoolhouse by jonathan_moreau, creative commons use
Schoolhouse by jonathan_moreau, creative commons use

Note: There is also a fantastic event featuring Barbara Miner on April 9th. More info HERE.

On April 9th Dr. Sandra Stotsky will be leading a discussion with the goal of designing a curriculum and standards for Germantown School District.

April 9, 2014
7-8:30 p.m.
Kennedy Middle School
Gold Activity Center
W160 N11836 Crusader Court, 253-3450

In February Germantown’s school board voted unanimously to develop an ad hoc committee to explore an alternate to the national standards initiative for grades K-12.

From Germantown Now:

“The Germantown School Board on Monday voted unanimously to establish an ad-hoc committee to facilitate adding needed educational requirements and assessments to Common Core Standards.”

“The new committee will assist the administration, faculty, parents and community members to develop the district’s own, more personalized instructional practices and assessments using the Common Core Standards as a guide….”

“Germantown can be a role model for modern educational services delivery as compared to a factory model approach,” Superintendent Jeff Holmes said. “Educating for and with you, not to you,” is how he describes his reasoning in making the shift away from the federal Common Core Standards.

To get a handle on what educators think of Dr. Stotsky, try the comments at this post by Diane Ravitch – another critic of Common Core who attracts an audience that is more liberal than that of Stotsky.

According to the “Stop Common Core in Wisconsin” facebook page, Stotsky is a “professor emerita at the University of Arkansas” and “is credited with developing one of the country’s strongest sets of academic standards for K-12 students, as well as the strongest academic standards and licensure tests for prospective teachers, while serving as Senior Associate Commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003. She is now Professor of Education Reform in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, and holds the 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality.”

The facebook page I cited invites parents from around the state to come to the event as well as anybody from the public.

It Won’t Cost Germantown

According to a blog post by Karen Schroeder, dropping Common Core standards results in no financial penalty for Wisconsin Schools:

I contacted the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and asked the following question: If a school district decides to reject Common Core standards and replace them with a superior set of standards, will that school district still receive state and/or federal funds?

I received the following response from Emilie Amundsen, director of the Common Core State Standards Team at DPI:

“Yes. In Wisconsin, each school board has the statutory authority to adopt the state standards or any other set of standards, inferior or superior. This is called local control. When applied to schools, local control means that decisions about standards, curriculum and instruction are made at the local level. School districts must have standards. The type, quality and scope of those standards are left to local school boards to decide. This has always been the case in Wisconsin, and this has not changed as a result of Wisconsin adopting Common Core state standards.”

A note on where bluecheddar.net stands on Common Core

I’m not endorsing Common Core.


* The State of Wisconsin has not offered to pay for technological upgrades that will be required for the testing linked with Common Core – which is conducted online. Where will the money for expansion of broadband internet and new computers come from? Wisconsin is rather rural and has huge inequalities in internet service.

* I object to standardized testing.

* The Obama administration and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have made it clear that privatization of education K-12 is their goal (sources: Diane Ravitch here and here and Teacher Ken).

Public school advocates are saying that Common Core implementation will likely result in more public school closures and more privatization of schools (sources: Rethinking SchoolsThe Notebook, and American Spring).

As for the discussion on the finer points of the CONTENT of the Common Core standards and curriculum, I haven’t taken the time to absorb them properly so I’ll stay mum on the topic (for now). Most of the conservative arguments are ridiculous while arguments from education professionals are, most of them, filled with jargon.


3 thoughts on “April 9 in Germantown, WI: Workshop to develop alternative to Common Core

  1. Well, the Common Core is the basis for the new SAT & ACT. Drop Common Core and those kids applying for college will suffer. Also students who go on to post-high school education will be expected to have a set of basic skills that are defined by CC. Following a different, non-common core curriculum will mean that students who move to other districts will have a more difficult time in transitioning to their new school (that is, they will be at a different expectation level in some skills than the other students). It of course will be more expensive to taxpayers to develop a separate set of non-CC standards from scratch (more expensive than the “unfunded mandate” you mention of Common Core.) This would take even more money from our underfunded schools that could be used for other things. The Common Core standards have been and continue to be vetted by a large number of states, districts, and experts. A set of standards developed at the local level, by a small set of non-experts, would have a higher level of risk. It is unclear to me how the CCSS would feed-into the school corporatization trend. I would think that improving public schools, by incorporating higher standards, would do exactly the opposite.

  2. There are good reasons to criticize the fed gov’ts agenda for education it’s just that they do not emanate from the right wing nutters. Thanks for being there at the event and sharing the link! I am curious to hear what you think are the ‘ramifications’ of dispensing with common core?

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