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Testimony at final Common Core public hearing stretches into seventh hourSubmitted: 10/30/2013
Story By Lex Gray


WAUSAU - Teachers started putting Common Core standards to work in Wisconsin classrooms three years ago.

No one really seemed to pay attention Wisconsin had adopted the standards along with 44 other states, in part to qualify for billions of dollars in federal Race to the Top grants.

But in the last few months, legislators from Wisconsin and other states started looking more closely at Common Core.

Governor Scott Walker told reporters in late September he believed Wisconsin could do better than federal Common Core standards.

Over the last few weeks, special Senate and Assembly committees have held four public hearings to decide if that's true.

The last of those four hearings happened in Wausau Wednesday, with testimony lasting more than seven hours.

The debate about Common Core, across the nation and in Wausau, has been marked by a different kind of bipartisanship it's not liberals on one side, conservatives on the other. Both sides are both for and against the standards.

Michael Petrilli is the executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

He spoke in favor of Common Core standards.

"There [are] plenty of Republicans who like the idea of higher standards and tougher accountability," Petrilli said. "From our perspective, the Common Core standards are exactly that."

Pete Biolo, a retired teacher and the vice chairman of the Oneida County Republican Party, doesn't necessarily disagree with that. He takes issue with Common Core because of federal involvement.

"It's a process or a program that has its roots at the federal level, and the federal government, in passing it, made federal monies available," Biolo said. "Any time you have federal monies available to something, you have strings attached."

Petrilli rejects that idea.

"I think the benefits of having better standards, better tests, outweigh those concerns," Petrilli said.

Biolo disagrees, and wants Wisconsin to create its own set of standards, to get the federal government out. Governor Walker has also recently said the state could do better on its own.

"If the governor can do better than these standards, I think that's great," Petrilli said. "I think what he would find is if he went through the process of recreating standards, they'd come out quite the same as the Common Core."

The Senate and Assembly's special committees are expected to make a recommendation in November about what Wisconsin should do about Common Core.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/26/2017

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

We'll take you live to the Vilas County Courthouse for day 3 of the trial for 36-year-old Rodney Teets who is accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman at knife point in July 2015.

The Northern Wisconsin Initiative to Stop Homelessness wants to work with landlords to help people get back on their feet. We talk to the housing program team leader about a meeting coming up in Rhinelander that will allow landlords to share information that can help the homeless find places to rent.

And we talk with The Forest County Health Department director about a program that is encouraging people to limit their time with TV, computers, iPhones and other types of screens for a week.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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RHINELANDER - Nothing gets the competitive juices flowing like racing to fix a car's fuse box. Nicolet College in Rhinelander hosted 12 Northwoods high schools for some friendly competition with a specific goal in mind.

The competitions varied from auto skills to welding to even cupcake baking. The goal was for students to begin thinking about college.

"Getting to see the inner workings of a vehicle, getting to work and learn at the same time, it makes me think more about college and what I want to do with my future," said Crandon sophomore, Kegan Wilson.

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WISCONSIN - Turkey season began last week and hunters have a new option for what they can do with the turkeys they shoot.

The DNR started a turkey donating program this year.

You can donate turkey's to three processors in the southern half of the state.

"A little bit further south of here in areas where there's usually a lot of deer donations and a lot of turkey shot so that we can try and get some good participation for the first year," said DNR's Wildlife Biologist, Jeremy Holtz.

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MADISON - A Republican-backed proposal that would ban the coverage of abortions for Wisconsin state workers has cleared the state Assembly Health Committee.

The panel approved the bill Wednesday on a party-line vote, with all Republicans in support and Democrats against.

It now heads to the full Assembly for consideration.

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LANSING, MI - Legislation changing the regulation of copper mines could soon become law.

Republican Sen. Tom Casperson's bill - which was enrolled Wednesday after being approved by the GOP-led House 74-35 Tuesday - would establish separate regulations for small native copper mines that developers are eyeing in the western Upper Peninsula. The bill would also not allow for local governments to regulate mining activities.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - WARNING: Some of the above video is disturbing

In late February, a Lincoln County Deputy shot and killed a man who was shooting at him.

On Tuesday, the Lincoln County District Attorney said Deputy Sam Steckbauer was justified to use deadly force.

The DA made this decision after an extensive investigation by the State's Department of Justice.

The DOJ released video taken from the squad car footage, police scanner traffic, and a 911 call that helps explain what happened that night.

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EAGLE RIVER - Carter Heller considers one room in his high school a home away from home.  The Northland Pines junior spends most class periods -- and even district in-service days -- using the 3-D printers, vinyl cutters, and other machinery in the fab lab. Tuesday morning, Heller learned how his second "home" is about to grow thanks to a $25,000 grant.

"Everything about it makes you want to be in here," Heller said.  "It allows our capabilities as a school to expand a lot."

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