10 Things to Know about Common Core
1. The Common Core is a set of shared educational
goals and expectations meant to ensure that students in all schools in
New York and across the country are held to rigorous standards that will
prepare them for college and/or a viable career after high school – and
help them compete for jobs with their peers from other countries.
Studies show that the majority of future jobs will require a college
diploma; however, some research indicates that four out of 10 high
school graduates are not currently prepared to succeed in college or
advanced-level training programs.
2. The Common Core State Standards were developed by
the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School
Officers, with input from parents, students and educators from across
the country – as well as consideration of international standards. New
York began implementation of its version of the standards – the Common
Core Learning Standards – in the 2012-2013 school year.
3. The Common Core is designed to be a “staircase of
learning,” with content growing in complexity from grade to grade.
Content learned in second grade, for example, will be more difficult
than content learned in kindergarten and first grade, yet it will
reinforce what was previously learned and build a solid foundation for
what will be learned in third grade.
4. The standards are designed to be rigorous – and
they are, according to a 2010 study of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.
The study showed that out of the previous math and English language arts
standards in 53 states and territories – 106 sets of standards in all –
the Common Core were “superior” to 76 in rigor and content, including
those of New York.
5. The Common Core is not a statewide or national
curriculum. The standards outline what a student should know and be able
to do by the end of each grade level in ELA and math. New science, arts
and foreign language standards are also in various stages of
development. A social studies framework was released in 2014.
6. In New York, the State Education Department is
providing – but not mandating – curriculum modules that are aligned with
Common Core. (Generally, a module can be thought of as a unit or topic
of study.) New York has launched a website, http://engageNY.org, in an
effort to help school leaders, teachers and families make the adjustment
to the new standards. Districts still select the curriculum and
instructional tools they will use to meet Common Core expectations in
7. With Common Core, students are introduced to fewer
topics in a given school year. Teachers will be able to go deeper into
these topics than ever before, helping students gain a clearer
8. The Common Core standards in ELA mean that
students will read more non-fiction – giving them the opportunity to
build their knowledge, more thoroughly analyze reading materials,
provide evidence to support their understanding of reading passages, and
learn a wider variety of vocabulary words.
9. The Common Core standards in math focus on a
deeper understanding of key concepts – versus memorizing facts –
understanding how concepts relate to everyday life, and linking these
concepts across grade levels and topics.
10. Parents who have
questions about the standards or what their child is learning in school
should contact their child’s teacher or school principal. A variety of
resources about the standards are available to families, including: