Department of Public Instruction Superintendent Tony Evers, and his challenger Lowell Holtz clashed over the Common Core in a joint appearance on “UpFront with Mike Gousha,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Holtz, who once supported Common Core, said he favors repeal of the standards because they don’t promote local control of schools.

“It didn’t take long to realize that it was absolutely the federal government intruding on states’ rights, and the federal government is driving the curriculum right now,” Holtz said.

Evers rejected the idea that Common Core is a federal intrusion, and challenged Holtz on repeal.

“Over 400 school districts have adopted it,” Evers told Holtz. “As state superintendent, you have no authority to say no more Common Core.”

The candidates also disagreed on the effect of Act 10, Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s signature law that dramatically reduced the ability of public employee unions to collectively bargain.

“As a working superintendent, I found it to be a good thing,” Holtz said.

Before Act 10, Holtz said he had to lay off staff to meet the budget.

“Post Act 10, I didn’t have to lay anybody off. Period,” Holtz said.

Evers pointed out that he opposed Act 10 from the start.

“Did it save money? Absolutely. By taking money out of teachers’ pockets,” Evers said.

Evers said the “divisive rhetoric” surrounding the passage of Act 10 continues to hurt morale and teacher recruitment six years later.

“We’re losing a generation of teachers,” Evers said. “We need to change the rhetoric. That’s free.”

Evers and Holtz also discussed ideas for helping the Milwaukee Public Schools.

See more from the program: http://www.wisn.com/upfront

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