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Common misconceptions about the Common Core State Standards

TUESDAY, JUNE 26, 2012 17:12 PM

By now, educators in school districts across the country are more than familiar with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). However, despite the fact that some students have already been introduced to this national education initiative, many misconceptions about the CCSS persist.

A total of 45 states have adopted the CCSS for both English language arts and mathematics, according to the initiative’s website. Once these Standards are fully implemented, K-12 students will receive classroom lessons and complete assignments that are aligned with the Common Core. In addition, all of the work they do aims to prepare them for life in college and the workplace.

However, different aspects of the CCSS have caused confusion among some people, which, in turn, has led to the development of some of these misconceptions:

The CCSS will lead to the development of a national curriculum

There are those who believe with the implementation of the CCSS comes instructions on what must and must not be taught in school, which essentially amounts to a national curriculum. This simply is not the case.

According to the CCSS’ website, the Standards are designed to lay out what knowledge and skills students should possess, but not how they should be acquired. As a result, teachers, superintendents and other education officials have the freedom to decide what needs to be done to make the Common Core’s goals a reality.

The Harvard Education Letter provided an example that proves the CCSS will not lead to a national curriculum. According to the newsletter, fifth-graders will be required to read and comprehend literature under the Standards. However, the CCSS does not tell teachers how they should accomplish this, or what texts they need to use.

The U.S. government created the CCSS

Another popular misconception is that President Barack Obama’s administration created the CCSS, or is pushing it upon individual states. While the Obama Administration supports the Common Core, states ultimately decide whether or not they want to adopt and implement the Standards, the Harvard Education Letter reported. This means they are in no way mandatory.

Other individuals think the CCSS are related to No Child Left Behind (NCLB), an act that was the product of former President George W. Bush’s administration. According to the CCSS’ website, this is also nothing more than a myth. The state-led initiative was in the planning stages before NCLB was introduced.

Furthermore, the CCSS were developed by school administrators, teachers and education experts from across the country, and coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers - not the U.S. government.

Cursive writing and other topics can no longer be taught in school

It is true that the CCSS do not require cursive writing to be taught in schools, as it simply is not as important as typing is in the modern workforce. However, nowhere does it say that cursive writing will be outlawed once the Standards are fully implemented. Ultimately, it will fall on individual school districts to decide whether or not students should learn about cursive writing or any other skills the Common Core does not highlight.

Get all the facts

In the event that individuals do not fully understand the CCSS, it never hurts for them to seek out the truth about the Common Core. Fortunately, school districts and other entities have and continue to organize workshops, conferences and other events that are designed to educate people about the Standards that will soon define learning across the country.