9 Things You Might Not Know about Common Core State Standards

BooBoo vs. Common Core mathematics
BooBoo vs. Common Core mathematics

Back-to-School night marked the first time I ever heard about Common Core Standards. “Hang on tight, parents. Common Core is about to change everything,” my first grade son’s teacher warned, “this new standard is all about teaching your kids the how and why. It’s aiming for a deeper understanding of concepts beyond memorization.”

Truthfully, I didn’t know what all that meant. My kid was in first grade. Maybe a deeper understanding was a good thing, heck, maybe it was even a great thing. His teacher mentioned something about this being a pilot year for the standard and how next year it would really count. I still didn’t really know what that meant, but whatever.

“Meh, curriculums change. No biggie.” I thought … until the work started coming home.

You guys, I didn’t know which end was up. What the what was all this? What was the homework even asking? Was there a Common Core homework hotline I could call? Was I dumber than a first grader? Apparently so.

Last week, my girl Monica wrote about the Common Core math question that sparked national media attention proving there’s a herculean disconnect between the parent (and/or teacher and/or students and/or everyone and the Common Core curriculum.

While only time will tell how our students and the new standards fare, I thought digging a little deeper into the hows and whys of Common Core State Standards couldn’t hurt.

Take a look at 9 things you might not know:

1. What is Common Core?

We’ve all heard a lot of buzz about common Core State Standards, but what are they? Common Core consists of a series of academic standards in mathematics and English language arts that provide consistent guidelines and learning goals that detail what every student needs to know from K-12. Check out this 3-minute video for more information.

2. OK, but why does Common Core matter?

According to the Common Core State Initiative, the new standard remains focused on developing the critical-thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills required for success beyond high school. But how do they do that? The site explains that the new standards provide a method for teachers to track student advancement aimed at helping them achieve academic success.

3. Has my state adopted Common Core Standards?

To date, 44 states have adopted Common Core Standards. The six states that have not adopted them include: Alaska, Texas, Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota, and Virginia.

4. Who developed Common Core State Standards anyway?

According to the Initiative, “Teachers, parents, school administrators, and experts from across the country, together with state leaders, provided input into the development of the standards. The actual implementation of the Common Core, including how the standards are taught, the curriculum developed, and the materials used to support teachers as they help students reach the standards, is led entirely at the state and local levels.”

5. But I want examples. What do Common Core Standards really look like?

Great question, and an important one, too. Check out the English Language Arts/Literacy Standards and Mathematics Standards by grade level.

6. My child has a disability. What do Common Core Standards mean for them?

Click here to be directed to the Application to Students with Disabilities documentation.

7. My child is an English language learner. What do Common Core Standards mean for them?

Click here to be directed to the Application of Common Core State Standards for English Language Learners.

8. I feel like all I’m hearing are negative things about Common Core. Who supports it?

If you feel like Common Core is getting nothing but bad press, you might find these statements of support to be a worthwhile read.

9. What are the biggest problems with Common Core?

Marion Brady outlined eight problems for The Washington Post. Take a look and see if you agree.

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