Common Core nation

The Common Core State Standards establish consistent educational standards for K-12 in English and Math, but some groups question its implementation.

By Ann Sullivan-Cross

Web Editor at LeapFrog

Ann Sullivan-Cross is LeapFrog's Web Editor, and when she's not chasing after her three kids, she's out running in the woods.

We all want our children to have the best education possible. Educational standards help teachers ensure that their students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning. In the past, every state had a unique set of education standards and those standards varied widely.

The nation’s governors and education commissioners led the development of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Initiative. The CCSS aim to establish a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade English language arts and mathematics.

“The CCSS are officially being implemented this year for the first time, so parents, teachers, and students may experience some natural growing pains and changes as everyone adapts to new Standards,” says Dr. Jody LeVos, manager of LeapFrog’s Learning Team. “One exciting aspect of the CCSS is the deliberate attempt to connect topics and have children think across curricular topics, such as writing a narrative about mathematical problems and drawing pictures to represent what children think,” added LeVos.

To date, forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards as benchmarks for reading, writing, speaking and listening, language, and mathematics. States began implementing the CCSS in the 2013-2014 school year so you may be hearing about the CCSS from your child’s school or teacher. You may also see new teaching strategies and testing requirements from your child’s school. As is the case with many educational initiatives, the CCSS Initiative is politically charged and groups in a handful of states are pushing back on implementing the standards in their states.

For example, in Indiana, Florida and Mississippi there are campaigns underway to curtail or stop implementation of the Common Core State Standards. These groups believe that the new academic standards could lead to increased testing, more scripted lessons and greater federal reach into local schools. On the other hand, proponents of Common Core believe the standards will promote equity by providing all students, across diverse background and geography, with an education that prepares them with the skills and knowledge required to compete in the global economy.

Although CCSS is a nationwide initiative, not all schools are implementing it, or if they are, timetables may vary. Parents with children in public school will soon experience how these standards will be rolled out and how they differ from previous methods. If you are interested in learning more about how the CCSS will affect your child, ask your teacher or local educators.

What do you think about the new Common Core State Standards?