Common Core State Standards — myths versus facts | November 30, 2012 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - November 30, 2012

Common Core State Standards — myths versus facts

Myth: The standards bring all states down to the lowest common denominator.

Fact: The standards build upon the most advanced current thinking about preparing all students for success in college and career. They will move even the best state standards to the next level. There's been an explicit agreement that no state will lower its standards.

Myth: The standards are not internationally benchmarked.

Fact: International benchmarking played a significant role in both math and English standards.

Myth: The standards include only skills and do not address the importance of content knowledge.

Fact: The standards recognize that both content and skills are important.

In English, they require certain critical content for all students including classic myths and stories from around the world, America's founding documents, foundational American literature and Shakespeare. Remaining decisions about what content should be taught are left to state and local decision-makers.

In math, the standards lay a foundation in whole numbers, addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions and decimals. The middle school and high school standards call on students to practice applying mathematical ways of thinking to real-world issues and challenges, preparing students to think and reason mathematically.

Myth: The standards suggest teaching "Grapes of Wrath" to second-graders.

Fact: The standards suggest "Grapes of Wrath" as a text appropriate for ninth-and 10th-graders. Evidence shows that the complexity of texts students are reading today does not match what is demanded in college and the workplace. The standards create a staircase of increasing text complexity.

Myth: The standards are just vague descriptions of skills; they don't include a reading list or any other reference to content.

Fact: The standards include sample texts that demonstrate the level of complexity appropriate for various grade levels. The exemplars provide a set of possibilities and have been well-received. This gives teachers flexibility to make their own decisions about what texts to use.

Myth: The standards do not prepare or require students to learn algebra in the eighth grade as many states' current standards do.

Fact: The standards do accommodate and prepare students for Algebra 1 in eighth grade by including the prerequisites for this course in grades K-7. Students who master the K-7 material will be able to take Algebra 1 in eighth grade.

Source: Condensed from the "Myths vs. Facts" page of the Common Core State Standards Initiative website.


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