Common Core: Questions & Answers
Is Common Core required by the federal government?
States are not required to adopt the Common Core,
which was created by The National Governors Association and the Council
of Chief State School Officers. However, the federal government does
have a long history of incentivizing programs it believes in, and that
is the case with the Common Core. Through the Race to the Top
initiative, the federal government has provided financial incentives to
states that implement the Common Core.
Were parents involved in developing Common Core?
While the nation’s governors and education
commissioners led the development of the Common Core, teachers, parents,
school administrators, education experts and other stakeholders provided
input during the development process. The general public was also given
a chance to comment on them, and the website for the Common Core State
Standards received more than 10,000 comments as feedback during the
Does my district still have control over the curriculum in my
Educational standards are not a new concept.
Districts have always taken the standards that the state provides and
customized them in their own curriculum. That has not changed.
Furthermore, the curriculum simply guides the teaching process and
outlines what students should be learning – standards and curriculum
don’t tell teachers how to teach.
Historically, educational standards have varied
drastically from state to state. A main goal of the Common Core is to
provide educational consistency for students, so that students have
access to a high-quality education no matter where they live. The idea
is to level the playing field and elevate the quality, so all students
have the opportunity to receive an education that prepares them for
success in the future.
Does Common Core require more testing than before?
The Common Core has meant new, different, more
rigorous tests—not more tests. Experts say that good tests are needed to
gauge the effectiveness of the standards.
In New York, Common Core was implemented at the same
time as the new teacher and principal evaluation system, which requires
districts to measure student achievement as a way to in turn measure
teacher and principal effectiveness. In order to do this, most districts
have instituted a series of internal student assessments, which are in
addition to the Common Core tests.
Does Common Core make learning more difficult for students with
disabilities and English language learners?
The Common Core does not require cookie-cutter
instruction. Students are not expected to learn at the same pace, in the
same way, or reach benchmarks at the same time. As always, teachers are
able to modify instruction to meet the specific needs of their students.
Common Core is meant to result in fewer topics being
covered during classroom lessons, but those topics are meant to be
covered more in-depth than they have been in the past. Teachers have
more time to cover subjects in greater detail and cover subjects in ways
that differentiate instruction for all types of learners. The
expectation is that this should give students more time to understand
and comprehend what is being taught.
Does Common Core require the state to track unique identifying
information about my child?
The Common Core does not require the collection of
any data. However, New York (like other states) has a long history of
educational data collection and using data to inform everyday teaching
and professional development. Districts also traditionally contract with
third-party providers and/or vendors that provide various instructional
and support services (e.g. transportation, food services, special
education). State and federal privacy laws and regulations (like the
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA) apply to all school
district efforts, and New York recently adopted a “Parents’ Bill of
Rights for Data Privacy and Security,” which provides additional details
on the use of data. See Goshen's
Parents Bill of Rights for Data Privacy and Security
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