Common Core Standards

The Common Core Standards are coming! The Common Core Standards are coming!

The Common Core Standards are on the educational horizon, though their advent perhaps does not have the same urgency as an impending British invasion. In 2014, all but a few states are scheduled to implement the Common Core Standards ("CCS") in their K-12 public school classrooms.

The CCS is the result of a federally-supported effort to establish clear and rigorous national standards with which to judge American students' educational progress. The Standards cover two general areas: English Language Arts and Mathematics. The explicit goal of the CCS is to effectively "prepare children for college and the workforce."

Several trends in recent education history have contributed to the development of the CCS. One is America's increased reliance on student evaluation through standardized tests.

Standardized testing played a prominent role in President Bush's "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) Act of 2002, which aimed at having 100% of students test proficient in reading and math by 2014. Under NCLB, each state was allowed to set its own proficiency standards, and states generally set them quite low. Many believe that American education and test scores have suffered because of this, particularly when compared to international scores which show U.S. students ranking 17th in reading proficiency, 32nd in math, and 23rd in science.

In an attempt to boost these scores, President Obama introduced Race to the Top, a program which used federal dollars to incentivize states toward education innovation and better test scores. One of the ways to gain points in the Race to the Top program was to "adopt…common standards." Nearly every state decided to adopt the Common Core Standards, which had been developed in 2007 by the National Governor's Association.

Controversy over the Common Core Standards has increased as the implementation deadline looms and several states which originally committed to CCS are now backing out. Interestingly, the divide over the CCS is not necessarily along political party lines.

Proponents of the CCS argue that the Standards are a much-needed answer to the search for greater seriousness and unity in America's K-12 curriculum. The CCS does this by focusing on primary source documents and less "fluff" reading and writing. A 2010 study conducted by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute concluded that the CCS were indeed "clearer and more rigorous" than the standards currently employed by three-quarters of U.S. states. If true, the CCS would be a great boon to American education, especially since the latest ACT results show that state standards aren't adequately preparing students for college, as over 1/4 of high school graduates did not meet the ACT college readiness benchmarks.

Yet others argue that the Standards are not rigorous enough, for they only equip students to handle course work at a two-year college, and not a university-level school. Curriculum expert Marion Brady raises other objections to the CCS, some of which include the fact that it doesn't provide teachers with enough freedom; it doesn't address the needs of individual students; it doesn't address the real problems with education in this country; and that it promotes a deficient pedagogy. Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and former proponent of the CCS, has recently voiced objections to the Standards as well, largely out of fear that teachers will not be prepared enough to teach them.

One of the biggest problems opponents have with CCS, however, is that the Standards open the way for an unprecedented intrusion of the federal government into the states' rights. Education in America has traditionally been left to state and local control due to a common understanding of the 10th Amendment. Yet with almost mass acceptance of the CCS, some fear that these Standards lay the groundwork for the future implementation of a national curriculum that would dictate the content of all students' education, even those in private and home schools.

The Common Core Standards are coming, and you should probably gain some familiarity with them, as they will most likely shape American education in the near future. This library topic will provide you with information on the Standards themselves, the history and ideas behind their creation, and the arguments for and against their implementation.

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"For decades, students in different states have been taught different material at different rates and held to radically different standards. Several years ago, a small group of governors joined together in an effort to align their states' standards and assessments. This group expanded through the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. In 2007, curriculum...

"On August 15, the Washington Post ran a column by Marion Brady on the Common Core State Standards. It was very well written and expressed very well, I thought, the objections to the CCSS that many good teachers have felt but not always expressed so eloquently. But much that was said, in my opinion, was off the mark, sometimes way off the mark. It is, I think, worth taking these...

"As I've said and written about a million times, there are plenty of reasons to be against the Common Core. As with any public-policy issue, there are pros and cons, upsides and downsides—in short, trade-offs.

Still, many of those crusading against the Common Core have been playing fast and loose with the facts and purposefully spreading misinformation—nobody more than the folks at the...

Offers a brief list of the major arguments for and against the Common Core Standards.

"The common standards aren't just for public schools, it seems.

With all but four states having adopted them since 2010, districts have little choice but to implement the Common Core State Standards. But many private schools are also making the transition."

"New York and Kentucky have begun testing based on the new Common Core education standards, and they are quickly seeing frustration among educators, parents, and students.

The states that have signed on to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative are supposed to fully implement the standards by the 2014–2015 school year. Common Core is a set of uniform math and English language...

"At bottom, the CSSSI [Common Core State Standards Initiative] is needed because it upholds rigorous standards and will challenge students a great deal more than they are being challenged now. And when teachers across the board demand more from students, they work harder and learn more."

"The development of the Common Core, the model school curriculum standards that have been adopted by 45 states, offers us a glimpse into the dark underbelly of the democratic drift toward soft despotism. Proponents tout Common Core as 'state-led' and say states 'voluntarily adopt' the standards. Philanthropic and corporate America have gotten involved voluntarily. Parents and students—those...

"Ignore the fact that specific Common Core State Standards will open up enough cans of worms to keep subject-matter specialists arguing among themselves forever. Consider instead the merit of Standards from a general perspective...."

"Federal intervention into education has been a growing problem over the past four-and-a-half decades and is being supersized by the Obama Administration's current efforts to push states to nationalize their standards, tests, and, ultimately, curriculum."

"States face key spending decisions as they implement the Common Core State Standards, and a new study finds that they could save about $927 million—or spend as much as $8.3 billion—depending on the approaches they choose in three vital areas: curriculum materials, tests, and professional development."

"All but five (5) states have committed to adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics and are participating in one of the federally-sponsored consortia developing aligned assessments. Few of the participants, however, have carefully analyzed the costs involved."

"[Minnesota Representative] Kline has long opposed Race to the Top, the $4.3 billion competitive grant initiative that is the centerpiece of Obama's reform efforts. From his perspective, 'it was irresponsible' for congressional Democrats to give Secretary of Education Duncan $5 billion 'with no strings attached.' Kline also doesn't like that the administration required adoption of Common Core...

"There is a reason big, modern countries care about education: Decades of experience and heaps of research have shown a close tie between the knowledge and skills of a nation's workforce and the productivity of that nation's economy.

One way to ensure that young people develop the skills they need to compete globally is to set clear standards about what schools should teach and students...

Obama is quietly busy making an end-run around our constitutional system, which forbids federal control of what your children learn in school.

"Standardized tests have been a scourge of student life in America for more than 50 years, but it's fair to say they're more pressure-packed and ubiquitous than ever before. The ACT and its counterpart, the SAT, have become one of the largest determining factors in the college-admissions process, particularly for élite schools. At least this year's applicants should be familiar with the format...

"Of all the arguments for and against the adoption of the national Common Core State Standards, the educational benchmarks in English language arts and mathematics, the claim that states had no choice in the matter is the weakest of all. That contention is based on the flawed idea that when the federal government offers money for a program, states must accept it. There is no legal or fiscal...

"Lawmakers in some states hope to halt the transition to the Common Core State Standards, even as school districts across the country are rolling them out.

In Alabama, senators are considering a bill to repeal the standards, which the state's Board of Education adopted in 2010. ...

Legislators in Indiana, Georgia and South Dakota have also taken steps to halt Common Core, though...

"On August 15, the Washington Post's 'The Answer Sheet' ran a column by me titled 'Eight Problems with the Common Core Standards.'

Marc Tucker, long-time major player in the current test-based education reform effort, in an Education Week 'Top Performers' blog, took me to task with a piece called '8 Problems With the Common Core State Standards? I Don't Think So.' ...

I'll stand...

"The national standards are meant to replace the individual state standards now in place, some of which are said by educators to be essentially useless to guide instruction because they are too vague, poorly written and/or incomplete.

Many educators and parents oppose national standards, fearing that this will lead to a national curriculum and national assessment test that would take...

"Despite three (3) federal laws that prohibit the federal government from directing, supervising or controlling elementary and secondary school curricula, programs of instruction and instructional materials, the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) has placed the nation on the road to a national curriculum."

"In spite of the United States being one of the top spenders on education, U.S. students rank behind many of their international peers in reading, math, and science."

"Before examining the assaults, however, let's remind ourselves what the Common Core is not. It is no guarantee of stronger student achievement or school performance. Huge challenges await any (serious) academic standards on the implementation, assessment and accountability fronts. To get traction in classrooms, states that adopt these standards (and all but four say they're doing so) must...

"With the release of a new Brookings Institution report today, and one from a consortium of groups last week, resistance to the national-standards offensive seems to be mounting. And even though almost every state in the union has adopted the Common Core, and few are likely to formally undo that, the war against the Core can still be won."

"By definition, America has never had a national education policy; this has indeed contributed to our country's ambivalence on the subject. As it stands, the Common Core is currently getting hit mainly from the right. Tea Party-like groups have been gaining traction in opposition to the program, arguing that it is another intrusion into the lives of ordinary Americans by a faceless elite....

Chart or Graph

Common Core Implementation Costs.

This interactive map shows which states have adopted the common core standards.

"A study estimated the transitional costs of implementing the common core in three areas: curriculum materials, assessments, and professional development. It estimated current state and national spending in those areas and projected the net cost or savings for the three approaches."

Analysis Report White Paper

The adoption of the Common Core State Standards by nearly all the states, combined with tough literacy assessments that are now in the offing, will soon reveal that literacy skills of average students fall below international standards and that the gap in literacy skills between students from advantaged and disadvantaged families is huge.

Common Core's standards not only present a serious threat to state and local education authority, but also put academic quality at risk. Pushing fatally flawed education standards into America's schools is not the way to improve education for America's students.

Our aim in this paper is to convince state and local education policy makers to do two things: To emphasize Common Core's existing literary-historical standards and to add and prioritize a new literary-historical standard of their own.

It is the purpose of this study to stimulate an informed policy dialogue about the likely costs of implementing the Common Core standards. The nationwide calculations are intended to encourage similar, more detailed efforts in individual states that take into account additional local considerations.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English language arts and mathematics represent a sea change in standards-based reform and have now been adopted in forty-five states and the District of Columbia. Smart implementation of the Common Core is the next—and greatest—challenge for these states

The push for common education standards argues that all American students should study a common curriculum, take comparable tests to measure their learning, and have the results interpreted on a common scale, with the scale divided into performance levels to indicate whether students are excelling, learning an adequate amount, or falling short.

This two-part piece finds Jane Robbins tracing the background behind the Common Core Standards. Robbins believes that the curriculum promotes a progressive agenda to create a "school to work" society. Bauerlein, on the other hand, seeks to refute Robbins' claims, arguing that the Common Core Standards effectively restore some of the ground we've lost in American education.

This report focuses on the college and career readiness levels of the ACT®-tested US high school graduating class of 2012. The report represents 52 percent of all 2012 graduates in the United States.

Members of the Pioneer Institute review the expanding role of the federal government in education by reviewing key legislation since President Johnson's Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. They also outline the congressional debate over concerns of retaining state sovereignty in education matters.

This review of state English language arts (ELA) and mathematics standards is the latest in a series of Fordham evaluations dating back to 1997. It comes at a critical juncture, as states across the land consider adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

Video/Podcast/Media

Neal McCluskey discusses the implications of the Common Core Standards, suggesting that the federal government will naturally be the one in oversight position.

"Bill Gates speaks about the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the potential benefits from adopting this intiative."

Gates was one of the driving funders behind the Standards.

"Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards and are in the early stages of implementing them. But as panelists concluded at an AEI research conference on Monday, the state-led initiative will face an uncertain future as it intersects with additional efforts to improve schooling, such as teacher accountability policies and charter schooling....

Joy Pullman, a researcher from the Heartland Institute, details the pros and cons of Common Core Standards, how the standards came to be, and what the implications are for the future of education under the Standards. This video provides listeners with a thorough overview of the issues surrounding the Common Core curriculum.

"What happens when the federal government extends its overreach into America's classrooms? Should all states be forced to teach kids the same thing?

Heritage's Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman Fellow in Education, debated the repercussions of the Obama Administration's push for national education standards on 'Stossel' Thursday night.

Kathleen Porter-Magee of the Fordham...

"See an introduction to the new Common Core state standards including background on the design process, key features, and major differences."

"See an introduction to the new Common Core state standards including background on the design process, key features, and major differences."

"For nearly five decades, Washington's role in education has been growing at a tremendous pace, wresting educational authority away from states and local school districts. At the same time, educational achievement has remained flat. Now, the Obama Administration wants to double-down on this failed strategy and is pushing states to adopt national standards and tests to define and measure what...

"A profound change in educational standards and assessments is quietly underway. By 2014, almost every state in the country will have the same demanding standards for what students need to know before they graduate high school.

How will the Common Core State Standards Initiative change education as we know it? What can we expect going forward? And why is Minnesota one of only five...

A brief video on the implementation costs of the Common Core State Standards.

This video enthusiastically supports the Common Core Standards and shows how they will be helpful in allowing children to better compete against their global peers.

"President Obama, along with Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan, have been promoting national standards in education. However, these policies would further remove parents and teachers from their children's education."

"On The Daily Circuit Tuesday, we discussed how the new Common Core standards for K-12 schools are changing U.S. education. In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Pawlenty adopted the English language arts standards, but not the math standards while he was in office. Gov. Mark Dayton has stuck with that decision.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius spoke with The Daily Circuit about the thinking...

Primary Document

"We, the undersigned, representing viewpoints from across the political and educational spectrum, believe that whether children live in Mississippi or Minnesota, Berkeley or the Bronx, our expectations for their achievement should be equally high.

We therefore applaud the goals of the recently released Common Core State Standards, already adopted in most states, which articulate a much...

"I'm honored to be with you here today, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to talk to you about what I believe is one of the most important education initiatives of the past decade: the development and adoption of the Common Core State Standards.

I hope to help explain why the Common Core holds such promise, to demystify what the standards are all about, and to debunk some of the most...

Transcript of the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

"Perhaps you feel locked into the Common Core thanks to receiving a $41.3 million round 3 Race to the Top grant. You could officially unadopt the Core — say 'no' to federal coercion — but might have to sacrifice funds that came, at least partially, from state taxpayers to begin with. But that grant as a relative matter — and it is relative that really counts — is infinitesimal. Dividing the...

Dr. Stotsky helped develop the Common Core curriculum, but in the end, did not endorse the standards for English. Her official statement lists 11 reasons why she did not give her approval.

In a letter to education secretary Arne Duncan, Missouri representative, Blaine Luetkemeyer expressed a variety of concerns about the implementation of Common Core Standards. One of these concerns had to do with the tracking system which coincides with the program - a potential invasion of privacy.

"Texas is a national leader in education reform and student achievement. Through our college and career-ready standards and assessments, strong school accountability and a focus on educator development, we have created an education system that prepares our students for success after graduation.

Despite our accomplishments, in order to submit an application that is preferred by the U.S...

"We are confronting the devastating effects of poverty by advocating for and establishing community schools to meet the social, emotional and health needs of children. We’re fighting for public schools that are safe, collaborative and welcoming environments, and for the resources kids need—so that budget cuts don't cause lifelong harm.

We've done these things because our goal is to make...

"This document in its entirety constitutes the complete 2010 Minnesota Academic Standards in English Language Arts K-12. It consists of the Common Core State Standards (shown in plain font) plus Minnesota's additions (shown in bold font)."

No Child Left Behind is a descendant of "The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965." Its opening lines describe it as "An Act [t]o close the achievement gap with accountability, flexibility, and choice, so that no child is left behind."

"Teachers and principals in New York have expressed strong concerns about the new high-stakes standardized tests supposedly aligned with the Common Core State Standards that were recently given to students across the state. The following letter to New York Education Commissioner John King from a number of New York principals explains the depth of the problems educators found with the tests."...

"'The idea that the Common Core standards are nationally-imposed is a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy. The Common Core academic standards were both developed and adopted by the states, and they have widespread bipartisan support. GOP leaders like Jeb Bush and governors Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, and Bill Haslam have supported the Common Core standards because they realize...

This page provides links to downloadable copies of the actual Common Core Standards.

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