Madison – Today, the Wisconsin State Assembly met to take up a number of bills legislating what is taught in Wisconsin K-12 schools. This includes Assembly Bill 563 which would create a civics education requirement in elementary and high school grades, and require that the curriculum be approved by Wisconsin state legislators in the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules (JCRAR). Rep. Considine introduced an amendment to AB 563, removing the part of the bill that requires legislative oversight. This amendment was tabled and was not adopted, with a party line vote. Representative Dave Considine (D-Baraboo) released the following statement on the floor session:
“We can all agree that civics should be and is taught in Wisconsin schools. Unfortunately, the bill that came before us today inserts legislators into the curriculum making process when they have no expertise or knowledge on the subject. In the Assembly Committee on Education this session, a number of troubling and hurtful bills have come before us. This includes bills that would limit teachers’ ability to teach about African American and LGBTQ history. These actions have exemplified why legislators who have no background in education should not be involved in the curriculum making process.
“Legislators who have a background in education already have a role in setting curriculum standards in the state. I am a member of the Wisconsin State Superintendent’s Academic Standards Review Council, along with a number of my colleagues in the legislature. The council is made up of teachers, administrators, school board members, legislators, and the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). We also receive input from parents and members of the public. This is the place to set curriculum standards, not in a JCRAR meeting.
“In addition, State Superintendent Jill Underly underscored her commitment to civics education in Wisconsin as a former civics teacher during the State of Education last week. I know that she is working hard to bring educators and experts together to strengthen civics and social studies education in the state. The legislation put forth today does not have our children’s best interest, but I know that DPI does. I look forward to working with them to strengthen Wisconsin schools and support our teachers.”