Common Core Information for Parents
There has been quite a bit of discussion about how Common Core Standards (CCS) will affect schools and students, but little of this information has been shared and explained to parents, so here is a brief
explanation that can be shared with parents who may have an interest.
CCS are a common set of standards to ensure all students, no matter where they live, will be focused on graduating from high school prepared for postsecondary education and careers. In an increasingly mobile society, families with children transferring to new schools will not have to adjust to new learning expectations. Standards will be the same for all students in states adopting CCS, making transitions smoother for students. They are a set of progressive learning expectations in English language arts and mathematics that communicate what is expected of students at each grade level, putting students, parents, teachers, and school administrators on the same page, working toward shared goals. While most states already have English language arts and mathematics standards in place, they vary widely from state to state.
In a competitive global economy, all students must compete with not only American peers in other states, but with students from around the world. CCS were designed to prepare students to succeed in this environment.
CCS should facilitate conversations among parents, teachers, and children about high-level academic learning goals. Common standards define exactly what students should know and be able to do at each grade level and will help parents hold their schools accountable for teaching students in ways that support learning of the important content and skills defined by CCS.
In a nutshell the standards for English language arts include standards for use in English language arts courses, as well as literacy standards in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. The standards for English language arts describe expertise that students will develop in the areas of reading, writing, language, and speaking and listening. The standards also describe how students use and strengthen these skills, particularly reading and writing in other subjects at their grade level.
CCS for mathematics includes two types of standards: one for mathematical practice (how students are able to apply and extend math principles) and one for mathematical content (what students know about math). The two are linked together while students are learning.
The actual requirements for each subject area and grade level can be downloaded from the web. Parents or teachers can simply type “Common Core Standards by grade level” into their Internet browser and several sites will appear listing the standards.
The main thing to know about CCS is that these are universal standards so that all students, in all grades, in all states are held to the same academic standards in basic education. The goal and hope is that all kids will be provided with the same learning opportunities. This is a lofty goal and only time will tell if CCS achieves these goals.