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Ten myths about the Common Core State Standards

By Reprinted with permission

1. “The standards tell us what to teach.”

FACT: The Common Core State Standards define what students need to know. How to achieve that is up to teachers, principals, school districts and states. Teachers will have as much control over how they teach as they ever have.

2. “They amount to a national curriculum”

FACT: The standards are shared goals, voluntarily adopted. They outline what knowledge and skills will help students succeed. Curricula vary from state to state and district to district.

3. “The standards intrude on student privacy.”

FACT: Long before the Common Core, some states already had data systems allowing educators and parents to measure student achievement and growth; those states remain responsible for students’ private information, whether or not they’ve adopted the Common Core.

4. “The English standards emphasize nonfiction and informational text so much that students will be reading how-to manuals instead of great literature.”

FACT: The standards require students to analyze literature and informational texts, with the goal of preparing them for college and work.

5. “Key math concepts are missing or appear in the wrong grade.”

FACT: Moving from 50 state standards to one means some states will be shifting what students learn and when. Educators and experts alike have verified that the Common Core progression is mathematically coherent and internationally benchmarked. And now, students who move across state lines can pick up where they left off.

6. “Common Core is a federal takeover.”

FACT: The federal government had no role in developing the standards. They were created by state education chiefs and governors, and voluntarily adopted by states. States, not the federal government, are implementing them.

7. “Teachers weren’t included.”

FACT: Lots of teachers were involved in developing the standards over several years, including hundreds of teachers nationwide who served on state review teams. Many teachers are pleased to report seeing their feedback added verbatim to the final standards.

8. “The standards make inappropriate demands of preschoolers.”

FACT: They were written for grades K-12. Several states added their own guidance for preschool.

9. “Common Core accelerates over-testing.”

FACT: The standards say nothing about testing. Some states are falling into the trap of too much assessment – by testing before implementing or rushing to impose high stakes. Others, however, are taking a more sensible approach. Before administering new tests, states must get implementation right.

10. “Rank-and-file teachers don’t support it – and their unions sold them out.”

FACT: At least four national polls, conducted by the AFT, the NEA, Education Week and Scholastic, show that teachers overwhelmingly support the standards, though some haven’t had the time or tools to implement them correctly. Unions support the Common Core because their members do.