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Misconceptions and Facts

Here are some key misconceptions about the
Common Core State Standards, as well as information on why they are incorrect:

MISCONCEPTION: CCSS is a curriculum that will usurp local control of schools. 

FACTS: Common core standards are not a curriculum. They are shared education goals and expectations. The standards do not tell principals how to run schools or tell teachers how to teach. Local educators and school boards decide how the standards are to be met. Local districts own, and will still control, all student data, just as they do now. Local districts and/or states will continue to choose curricula and textbooks.

MISCONCEPTION: The federal government initiated the standards; CCSS represents socialized education.

FACTS: State leaders, not the federal government, drove the creation of the common core standards, which were developed by governors and chief state school officers and their representatives, in collaboration with teachers, K-12 school administrators, higher education experts and business representatives.

MISCONCEPTION: CCSS proponents “flew under the radar” in a closed, secretive process. The resulting standards are no better than previous standards.

FACTS: Governors and educators recognized that basic fairness underlined the need for education consistency from state to state. Development of the common core standards was an open process, and included diverse representatives from across the states and political parties. CCSS was not controversial during the development and adoptive phases and was celebrated as being rigorous and relevant, high-quality standards. According to the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a respected conservative education think tank, the new standards are “clearly superior” for English/language arts and math.

MISCONCEPTION: Teachers will be forced to use intrusive technology and digitalized testing results to “brainwash” students. Testing results will be provided by schools to corporations for marketing purposes.

FACTS: These accusations are completely untrue. The nation’s education community would never betray its fundamental devotion to children and the educational process in such a way.

MISCONCEPTION: U.S. school districts cannot fund implementing the Common Core in a way that will truly benefit students.

FACTS: Even with tight budgets, money could be found or reallocated for Common Core purposes. CCSS implementation is less than one percent of the $500 billion spent on education nationwide right now.

MISCONCEPTION: The standards we have in the United States right now are fine. America is doing okay in education.

FACTS:  It is documented that the consistently low standards now permeating our education system are across-the-board damaging to our children’s futures. According to Michael Petrilli of the Fordham Institute, Common Core State Standards are “rigorous and they are traditional... one might even say they are conservative. They expect students to know their math facts, to read the nation’s founding documents, and evaluate evidence and come to independent judgments. In all of these ways they are miles better than three-quarters of the state standards they replaced…”

MISCONCEPTION: We already know the Common Core State Standards won’t work because No Child Left Behind (NCLB) didn’t work. There will still be gaps in what students learn from place to place.

FACTS: The Common Core State Standards are not the same thing as NCLB. For example, NCLB did not address education between states and was short-sighted in responding to the unique challenges students with special needs or students learning English as a second language would have in achieving at the same level as a traditional student. The Common Core’s ultimate goal is to prepare all students for success in college or in their career, whereas under NCLB, each state had its own goal which varied widely. Although the Common Core does not solve some of the ills in today’s education, it is a step in the right direction and is an improvement to many of today’s education practices.

MISCONCEPTION: New testing expectations for the Common Core will confuse educators and students since they are so different from what we expect now.

FACT: Although the tests will be different, it is better to get the ball rolling than to lose even more time waiting for the right moment.  There won’t be one. The best thing to do is to go ahead and take what you learn to make it better.  Many educators believe that success should be measured in a variety of ways, not just in one standardized test. The results of the tests that will be implemented in this first trial of the Common Core should not be the “be-all-and-end-all” of determining whether learning is taking place in a meaningful way through the new standards.

MISCONCEPTION: The Common Core State Standards are an experiment we are subjecting our children to without parents being able to give informed consent.

FACTS: Educational standards vary drastically from community to community as it stands now and they all change based on new information and new practices. This reform is another example of that, based on 20 years of good research, field testing, efficacy testing and best practices for education.

MISCONCEPTION: Local control is taken away from educators, local officials, and parents in terms of defining success and the curriculum through the Common Core State Standards.

FACTS: During the inception of the Common Core State Standards, the general public was given a chance to comment on them, and they did. The website for the Common Core State Standards received more than 10,000 comments as feedback to the draft version of the movement. Educators nationwide overwhelmingly support the Common Core with 77 percent of educators in favor of it. Parents like it, too (70%), and among people who have educated themselves on the standards, they are not concerned with what the standards require of their local education programs.

MISCONCEPTION: The CCSS have been copyrighted by the groups that spearheaded them - the National Governors Association and the Council for Chief State School Officers. So local educators don’t have the ability to change them if they aren’t working in their area.

FACTS:  The standards are designed to be tweaked and refined in order to best educate all American students. These groups invited discourse and collaboration in creating the standards. It stands to reason that they will continue to listen as changes are suggested. Also, standards are separate from curriculum. The standards simply provide a framework in which local educators should work; how they educate their students is completely up to them.