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Information: Common Misconceptions

“Academic standards are the starting point of providing a quality education. Common Core defines what we need kids to learn to pursue their dreams, and assessments measure whether students are learning what they need to know to be successful.” (Gov. Bush – Opening Speech, National Summit 2011)

Misconception Reality
The Common Core effort will establish federal and mandatory standards for American K-12 schools. The Common Core efforts are at the discretion of state-level policymakers to either join or withdraw from participation, and it’s important to note the federal government was NOT involved in the development of the standards.
Common Core State Standards are not any better than existing state standards. Thomas B. Fordham Institute study showed that Common Core State Standards are superior to standards currently in use in 39 states in math and 37 states in English. For 33 states, the new standards are superior in both math and reading.
States’ current standards are sufficient for today’s students. According to analysis by ACT, three-fourths of young men and women entering college “were not adequately prepared academically for first year college courses.”
State tests aren’t broken. Common Core should not try to fix them. A 2009 study by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) found no state had reading proficiency standards as rigorous as those on the highly respected and internationally benchmarked NAEP 4th grade exam. Only one state, Massachusetts, had an 8th grade test as rigorous as the NAEP exam. Worse still, a large number of states had reading proficiency standards that would qualify their students as functionally illiterate on NAEP.
Common Core State Standards dictate what texts teachers will use for instruction. Common Core State Standards define what students need to know; they do not define what teachers should teach or how students should learn. That decision is left to each state.
Common Core State Standards dictate what text teachers will use for curriculum. Local teachers, principals, superintendents and school boards will continue to make decisions about curriculum and how their school systems are operated.
Current standards sufficiently provide students with the English language arts skills they will need to succeed. Today, the most popular forms of writing in high school are based on a student’s experiences and opinions. Students spend a lot of time sharing what they think and feel. Common Core State Standards shift the focus from developing a response based on feeling to developing a response based on an objective analysis of evidence. Employers are most likely to hire someone based on their ability to clearly convey complex information, draw conclusions and make recommendations based on facts, not feelings.
Current standards sufficiently provide students with the math skills they will need. Massachusetts’ students rank 1st in the US in math. Hong Kong’s students rank first in the world. The best in our country do not come CLOSE to matching the best in the world. 87% of the questions on the Hong Kong test require a higher level of thinking compared to just 6% of questions on the Massachusetts test. These figures express how woefully behind we are. Common Core State Standards focus on more in-depth knowledge of foundational and crucial concepts for more advanced mathematics, rather than an expansive, but shallow, knowledge of many concepts. This new, more concise approach eliminates the “mile-wide inch-deep” curriculum in America.
The federal government will use Common Core State Standards to usurp control from states. The Common Core State Standards are the result of state leadership. States recognized the need for more rigorous standards, led the development, and will retain full authority for implementing the standards in their respective states.
Common Core State Standards will stifle innovation and creativity in state curriculum. Common standards will allow for more innovation, more varied examples and more options for curriculum since the common standards’ “electrical grid” is defined. States can still customize ABOVE the standards.
Common Core State Standards will cost more by requiring states to spend for training, tests, etc. Common Core State Standards should drive down costs in the long run as publishers can focus on more creativity and tools for teachers centered around common standards.

For more information regarding Frequently Asked Questions, Myth vs. Facts, or for other Common Core State Standards materials, please visit: