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5 Things to Know About the Common Core

Every day, more and more projects related to the common core are posted on our site. Today, over 2,900 classroom projects mention “common core.”
I couldn’t help but wonder ‘what are these mysterious Common Core standards and how do they impact our schools?’ I decided to start researching the Common Core and looking for answers to 5 of my biggest questions. I’m by no means an expert on education policy and know there are lots of different opinions on Common Core. Please add any of your own thoughts or research as a comment below!
1. What are the Common Core State Standards?
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of common benchmarks for what K-12 students should learn and master in English/Language Arts and Math. Before CCSS, each state created and tested its own guidelines. In other words, ninth graders in Tennessee were held to—and tested on—completely different standards from ninth graders in California.
2. How are they different from previous standards?
Two general ways that CCSS differs from previous standards are: 1) focus and 2) rigor. The common core focuses on a smaller set of skills in each grade, opting to dive deep into a topic rather than covering a wide range of areas. In addition, the CCSS is extremely rigorous, to prepare students for college and the workforce.

3. Are the standards the same for all students?
The CCSS, as it currently stands, holds all students to the same standards. Special Education students are going to be challenged to reach the same level of aptitude as those within the general curriculum.

4. How is CCSS affecting schools?
Teachers and districts will be able to collaborate and learn from each other more than ever with these universal standards. Schools that are struggling to meet the new standards can look to successful schools for best practices.

5. Do all states need to adopt the CCSS?
No. The Common Core is a state-led effort; the federal government plays no role in its implementation.  So far, 45 states and four U.S. territories have adopted this set of Common Core State Standards. Texas, Alaska, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Virginia have yet to adopt these standards.

What are your thoughts on the Common Core State Standards?

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