Debunking the Common Core: Common Myths

There has been major buzz around the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and its implications on education as we know it. The 45th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools released in August 2013 revealed the average American knows very little about the CCSS. The poll results show that 62 percent of Americans, nearly two of three people, have never even heard of the CCSS. The remaining people say they know about the CCSS, but neither understand it nor embrace it.

Like many other new initiatives or programming, push-back is often the result of confusion and misunderstanding. Below are four common myths about the Common Core.

Myth 1: The CCSS is part of a new curriculum
The CCSS are national goals, not a national curriculum. How each state achieves these goals is entirely left to the state to decide. Each state is responsible for its own curricular implementation of the goals set forth in the CCSS.

Myth 2: The CCSS were developed by the federal government
The CCSS were developed by the states, not the federal government. The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers were behind the development of the CCSS. In addition, teachers, parents, school administrators, state leaders, and experts from around the country all provided input when the CCSS were being developed.

Myth 3: The CCSS focuses on all subject areas
The CCSS are intended to increase college and work-world readiness. Therefore, the CCSS focuses only on the foundational skills in K-12 English and Mathematics and does not address Science, History, Social Studies, Civics, the Arts or other subjects.

With its emphasis on English, the CCSS put renewed emphasis on language and communication skills. Skills such as speaking, writing, reading, and collaboration are the foundation for learning. These “Core of the Core” skills enable access to all the other goals in the CCSS.  

Myth 4: All 50 states are required to implement CCSS
Despite its strong support from both sides of the political spectrum, state participation in implementing the CCSS was not nationally mandated. To date, 46 states plus the District of Columbia have adopted the CCSS.

Looking for more information on the CCSS? Check out the resources we used for this blog.
The 45th annual PDK/Gallup Poll on the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools
ASCD Policy Points: Common Core State Standards
Conservatives for Higher Standards
Myth v Fact: Correcting Misinformation about the Movement to Raise Standards