Common Core What It Means To Your Child

What the new “national” states-led educational movement means.


You’ve probably been hearing increasing talk about the “Common Core State Standards” (CCSS) in the national news of late. Why? Their implementation in participating states is underway and full assessment testing based upon the “Common Core” begins next year. And for something that’s supposed to put us all on the same playing field, some have left the park: four states have chosen not to participate at all; one has put them on hold for a year; and one has chosen only to adopt part of them. Here’s a crib sheet on the topic:

What are Common Core State Standards?

They’re a states-led effort that established a set of educational standards—the same across all states—for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics. The standards, aligned with college and work expectations, establish what
students need to learn, but do not dictate how
teachers should teach. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the needs of their students.
When were they developed?

The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers announced their initiative in 2009; private funding, led by roughly $35 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, set the effort in motion (to date, the Foundation has given over $150 million to CCSS-affiliated endeavors). The standards were released in June 2010.
Why were they developed?

By establishing consistent standards, developers of the CCSS want students and teachers to know what’s needed for success in college and future careers. They also hope that the standards will help ensure that all students regardless of where
they live will be equally prepared to collaborate and compete with their peers in the U.S. and abroad.
Is Louisiana participating?

Yes. The state adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010. State education officials call the CCSS “more rigorous, more focused and more relevant to the long-term success of students in school and beyond.”

Since adopting the CCSS, the state has been aligning assessments and end-of-course tests to the new academic standards. It will begin completely measuring students’ achievement of the CCSS next year, when the states’ developed common assessments become available.

Will private and parochial schools be affected? 

Yes. The Archdiocese of New Orleans has “adopted” the CCSS in its schools’ curricula. Additionally, because the ACT and SAT tests are being aligned to Common Core, all schools will want to make sure that their students are prepared. And homeschool children will be affected because Common Core standards for college readiness will be used by institutions
of higher learning to determine whether a student is ready to enroll in
a post-secondary course; curriculum and standardized tests are being rewritten to conform to the Common Core.
Has there been opposition here?

Yes. This past May, a resolution sponsored by State Sen. A.G. Crowe, R-Slidell, and backed by Tea Party groups tried to have the state withdraw from CCSS and “cease all activities related to its implementation,” because of concerns that it was a federal government overreach and parent and teacher input would be restricted as well. The resolution died on the Senate floor.

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