MADISON - Some Wisconsin legislators believe education standards should get a fresh look and make changes every six years.
Authors of a state education proposal want to form a committee to do that.
The Republican backed bill would give the governor, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the heads of both parties in the legislature the power to pick the 15 member committee.
Republican Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt sits on the Assembly Committee on Education and sponsors the bill, AB 617.
He says the selected members would need to be teachers, parents, board members and other education experts. He says the governor would pick six members, DPI would select 5 members, then the majority and minority leaders of the Assembly and Senate would each select a member to round out the 15 person committee.
Thiesfeldt says the committee isn't being proposed as a Republican power grab in education.
"This isn't built just to fit just this time in space," Thiesfeldt said. "This is built looking out to the future too, you know because we're not going to have Republicans in control forever."
But the bill will give the sitting governor's party the power to appoint the majority of the members on the committee. The six selections from the governor's office, plus the two selections from the legislature would make a majority on the 15 member committee.
That's something that worries Democratic Rep. Mandy Wright. She also sits on the Assembly Committee on Education, and worries the proposal is politicizing the standards writing process.
"It's a big reason I ran for office is to make sure that we don't really politicize education, and that we leave it in the hands of the experts," Wright said. "And I am concerned this goes too far in making our standards politicized."
The committee's standards would also replace the state's current Common Core standards. Wisconsin adopted those standards in 2010 for both math and English. More than 45 states have adopted some part of the standards across the country.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Instruction, Common Core provides guidance and support, while still maintaining the local control so important to districts throughout the state. It also helped standardize curriculum.
Wright was a teacher before being elected to the Assembly in 2012. She has experience teaching the Common Core standards.
"I don't think it's perfect," Wright said. "I do think there is room for improvement overall and I see that there was a need for standardization of our curriculum and I think Common Core takes us in the right direction."
State Superintendent Tony Evers agrees. He called the proposed bill "wholly unacceptable" this week.
He said Wednesday in a YouTube post that the standards change would be a step backwards for Wisconsin.
"We're going to be a national embarrassment, for what we are doing in public education, we can't afford that, our economy can't afford that," Evers said.
But Thiesfeldt believes a move away from Common Core and the formation of the committee would be the right move for Wisconsin.
"It's a much more open process than we've had in the past and certainly much more open process that we used to implement common core standards," Thiesfeldt said.
The Assembly Committee on Education will vote on the proposal Thursday.
RHINELANDER - The new Oneida County Fair Coordinator wants to see the fair grow and get the community fully involved.
It's Tom Barnett's first year as fair coordinator and Saturday at Pat's Tavern in Rhinelander he hosted a fundraiser.
He said he didn't have a financial goal for Saturday's event, but says every dollar is more than they had before and makes a difference.
"We really want to bring the community into the fair. We want them to be involved a lot more. With the support from the community the sponsorship, it's only going to help the fair grow bigger and better. We need that sponsorship we need the support from the community to make the fair grown and make it more successful than it has been," said Barnett.
Pixy the Clown and Ms America were two of the many guests at the event. There was also food, drinks and raffles.
MADISON (AP) - Madison is ending its compost collection program because residents were putting too many non-compostable items in their carts and the city can't afford its own biodigester.
Bryan Johnson is the city's recycling coordinator. He tells The Wisconsin State Journal that ending the program will give officials time to study other options for collecting food scraps and other compostable materials.
The program currently has about 1,100 households and 40 businesses involved.
Johnson says separating non-compostable materials is a labor-intensive and slow process that requires additional water. The digester's operator, GL Dairy Biogas, charges a $200-per-ton fee to separate debris from compostable material.
Mayor Paul Soglin says he hopes the city can find ways to work with larger producers before integrating the process into the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District.
MINOCQUA - In just a couple months, the democratic primary will decide which party candidate will run against Governor Scott Walker.
On Saturday, five of those candidates spent time in Minocqua answering citizen's questions at a candidate forum.
Mike, McCabe, Tony Evers, Matt Flynn, Kathleen Vinehout, and Dana Wachs were all in attendance. The forum had candidates answer audience questions on education, healthcare, the environment, and economy issues.
Organizer Jackie Cody said the event was a way to get people informed on each candidate before the democratic primary.
"At this particular point we need to have democrats, and independents, and those who are questioning what's going on with answers before the magic date of August 14th, and this provides people with information," said Cody.
The Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce will need to find a new executive director. Maggie Steffen has resigned from her position for personal reasons. In a Facebook post, Steffen thanked the people who helped her during her year and a half as director.
She also said the Chamber made many great strides during her time. When the Chamber hires a new director, he or she will be the sixth director since 2011.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Rockfleet Broadcasting / Northland Television, Inc. and By Request Web Designs shall not be held responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, or misprints.