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Letter: Legislators: Common Core opponents offer only fringe conspiracy theories

We stand for Common Core, not conspiracy theories

1:28 AM, Oct. 30, 2013  |  Comments
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EDITOR: As members of the Select Committee on Common Core Standards, we are writing to discuss the public hearing that will be from 2 p.m. until 8 p.m. today at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.

Unfortunately, to date much of the committee's time has been devoted to hired speakers from a national circuit of Common Core opponents with few specifics and many conspiracy theories to offer. At our last hearing, we were taken aback by the moment an invited witness pulled a check from his pocket for $1,147.98 from the American Opinion Foundation. We later learned this group is tightly aligned with the fringe John Birch Society.

Our committee has heard from dozens of school superintendents and educators about the work that has gone into developing rigorous curricula based on the Common Core Standards. This week's Wausau hearing provides an opportunity to gather input from educators, parents, business leaders and taxpayers and nonpartisan voices seeking to ensure that Wisconsin standards push Wisconsin students to succeed.

We certainly hope invitations to speakers paid by a fringe group are not indicative of our committee's goals, and we stand with the education professionals and business leaders in our state who recognize the importance of rigorous standards. The conspiracy theories around Common Core have not been remotely demonstrated. We strongly object to a fringe group that has been pitching conspiracy theories for decades driving Wisconsin's education agenda.

Governors and state superintendents from 48 states, including Wisconsin, began the process of developing more rigorous academic goals six years ago. The goal was to ensure our children have the skills that are critical to compete in a 21st-century economy. Wausau and Wisconsin students, families and economic security stand to benefit from strong standards.

Sen. John Lehman; D-Racine; Rep. Sondy Pope, D-Cross Plains; Sen. Tim Cullen, D-Janesville; Rep. Diane Hesselbein, D-Middleton,

members, Select Committee on Common Core Standards

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