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Common Core Resources

What are Common Core Standards?

Common Core Standards are:

  • Common – the same regardless of the school, the school district or the state.
  • Core – the root and purpose of everything that is taught.
  • Standards – a series of educational expectations for all students throughout each step of their PreK-12 educations.

Why do we have Common Core Standards?

Before Common Core Standards, there was no way to know if students in one school were learning the same important material as students in another school—in New York, in a different state or even in the same community. Common Core Standards make certain that students learn the same concepts and skills regardless of the school they attend.

What is wrong with the “education I received?”

The world has changed, but education has not changed quickly enough to keep up. Too many employers complain that students lack the basic skills to be good employees. Too many colleges complain that students require remedial courses to prepare for regular college courses.

New York State has introduced Common Core Standards to ensure that all students graduate with the skills necessary to be college and/or career ready. Academic programs are being aligned across the state so that all students learn the same skills.

What is the Common Core curriculum?

There is no set curriculum. Common Core is simply standards. It is up to local school districts to choose their own reading series, math programs, etc. to meet those standards.

Are Common Core Standards “too hard?”

Common Core Standards are designed to challenge students to do more than simply memorize—they challenge students to think through questions and to become problem solvers. Educators call this “higher-level thinking” or “critical thinking.” In some ways, this is harder than simply memorizing facts. Facts are still important; we cannot solve a complicated math problem if we have not first learned to add or multiply. Or we cannot write an essay analyzing two historical events if we have not first learned basic writing skills. But once we have learned the basics, we have to apply them in more complex ways.

In simple terms, we can teach students to swing a hammer, cut with a saw and measure with a tape measure, but those skills are of little value if a student cannot understand how to use those tools to build something. Common Core asks students to use the basic tools of reading, writing and math to solve bigger problems.

A three-minute explanation of Common Core Standards

Here is a simple video the Council of Great City Schools that helps explain Common Core Standards.