Top 8 Things You Need to Know About Common Core

Common Core has been all over the news, but for most people, it’s still a mystery exactly what it is and what it means. Read through our top eight frequently asked questions below to learn what Common Core means for your school.


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1. What are the Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards (frequently known as just Common Core) are a set of K-12 educational standards in math and language arts. 45 states have adopted Common Core, including California.

2. Where did Common Core come from?

A 2004 report found that many colleges and employers had growing expectations of high school graduates, but that schools had not increased their standards accordingly. The standards were then created by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. Officials from 48 states participated in the process to develop the standards over several years.


3. How will Common Core be tested?

This is one of the key questions that remain to be answered. Some superintendents have even admitted the possibility that Common Core testing will drive curriculum and lesson plans at school districts. Critics have suggested that because states have hired outside companies to develop the tests, these companies will be indirectly creating curricula for states.

4. Why is Common Core important?

Supporters of Common Core argue that having clear standards benefits everyone: teachers, parents, and students alike. Regardless of state, the students will receive an education that prepares them for college, work, and life after high school. Parents will be able to compare their child’s school to others more easily and, and teachers will have clear expectations to be met. The shared standards across states will also make it easier to share textbooks, curriculums, and other teaching materials.

5. How is Common Core different from current standards?

The Common Core is designed to have fewer, simplified standards. These standards will be more rigorous than most states’ current standards, though.

6. How much will Common Core implementation cost?

This is currently unknown, but there will be additional costs for implementation. Teachers will require training and new materials will need to be purchased, both of which will be additional expenses. There will potentially be cost-saving opportunities, though, by sharing materials across states.

7. Does this mean there will be a national curriculum for all students?

The Common Core is not a curriculum, only a set of standards: goals and expectations for students. Curriculums will still be developed by local teachers, principals, superintendents, and others. Individual lesson plans will still create the lesson plans in their classrooms.

8. Is Common Core all we need?

No! The intent of the standards is certainly good: all high school graduates across the country better educated and prepared for their future. With higher standards, though, it becomes even more critical that students be in class, and for students to be in class, they need to be healthy. Oral health problems alone account for almost a million absences a year in just California. Ensuring that kids have health care that’s easy to access and affordable can reduce absences, improve academic performance, and create a better school climate.

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