What Is the Common Core? The Controversial Standards Explained

September 12, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski

– You’ve heard teachers, parents, and even presidential candidates talk about the Common Core state standards. But what is the Common Core? The Common Core sets down
what students should know and when they should know it in English, language arts, and math. In other words, the standards are a set of academic expectations for children. Some folks think that
Common Core is better than what states have used in the past. They say that standards
help provide students with a deeper understanding
of academic materials and help provide a more
appropriate preparation for higher education
and the working world. However, others strongly disagree. Critics say many curriculum
materials don’t line up to the Common Core. And there’s skepticism about the extent to which the standards truly
impact student achievement. At its peak, Common Core
was adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia. That number has declined by
a half dozen states or so. Pinning down the exact number is hard. Sometimes when states say they’re dumping or overhauling the Common Core, it’s not clear they actually are. Now, let’s talk about what
the Common Core is not. It’s not a curriculum, it’s not a test, and it’s not a federal program. Sure, the Common Core
influences curriculum, but you won’t find a
master instruction manual telling teachers how to
teach the Common Core. Yes, students are tested
in English and math at least once a year in
grades three through eight and once in high school,
and exams are supposed to match up with the Common Core in states that use the standards. But you won’t find a
quiz or a test anywhere in the Common Core. President Barack Obama’s
administration encouraged states to adopt the Common Core
through federal grants, among other things. And some folks think the administration went too far with that. But Uncle Sam didn’t pay for
the standards or write them. And you won’t find a federal
law requiring states to use it. Still, you may have heard
various federal politicians and other candidates
for national office say that they’d end the Common
Core, as did Donald Trump. But states adopt content standards, so unless the President
signs a bill outlawing the Common Core, Washington
can’t get rid of it. So for now, Common Core is here to stay in the states that wanna
keep it or change it. And you can expect to
hear plenty more about it from both sides. (slow jazz music)