Thursday, September 8, 2016

Understanding the Common Core

It is amazing and fascinating (and a little troubling) for me to see how people continue to react to the Common Core State Standards. The development of these standards began in 2009--that's seven years ago, people!

The troubling part for me is how politicized the whole conversation about the Common Core is. Many people seem to just be parroting things they have heard--for good or ill--about the standards, about how they are implemented, about the government's role, etc. Many times when I hear people singing the praise of the Common Core, I wonder if they have actually read the standards. Even more common, when I hear people demonizing the Common Core, I really wonder if they have actually read the standards. It seems to me that many people are concerned about the Common Core, or--perhaps more accurately--they are concerned with changes that they see in education today, and they lump any and all changes in with "the Evil Common Core." (Sorry, that was a little snarky, wasn't it?)

Friends, particularly if you are concerned about the Common Core, I encourage you to watch this short video to better understand what the Common Core State Standards actually are. This is a very fair explanation from Education Week (a well-regarded and respectable news source for issues related to American education) and lays out a concise explanation of what these standards are about. I believe this is a helpful way to be able to discern untruths or half-truths you might hear about the Common Core.

If you've ever felt opposed to the Common Core, and you've never actually read the standards, I encourage you to look at them for yourself. You can explore the whole body of the Common Core State Standards at

Are they perfect? Certainly not. But are they a good way of articulating what students should learn at different grade levels in math and English language arts? I think they are helpful in this regard.

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