The Common Core: What Parents Need to Know

Students Learning in the ClassroomA new study from the University of Connecticut polled parents about the Common Core, the new education standards that have been enacted in 44 states nationwide to better prepare students for the world of tomorrow. Of the parents who responded, 39% weren’t even aware that the standards existed.

Have the standards been enacted in your child’s school? Still feel like you’re in the dark? Here’s what you need to know:


The Common Core Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a set of national educational standards for grades K-12. Created to ensure that students are ready for college or careers after high school the Common Core aims to develop critical-thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills through two core standards: English Language Arts & Literary Arts Standards and Mathematics Standards.


English Language Arts & Literary Standards Grades 6-12

The English Arts & Literary (or ELA) Standards apply to guidelines for social studies, science and technical studies as well as language arts and literacy. ELA standards work to build comprehension of facts and ideas rather than simple knowledge of facts and ideas. The teaching methodology seeks to engage students by asking them targeted questions related to reading assignments.


Mathematics Standards, Kindergarten-Grade 12

The Mathematics Standards stress understanding of mathematical concepts and organizing principles. Beginning in kindergarten, the teaching methodology uses real-world scenarios to teach concepts from counting and cardinality to statistics and probability.

To help parents, teachers and students toward these learning objectives, a nonprofit organization called Khan Academy has created a series of free online learning tools.



Different states are adopting Common Core Standards at different times. Some states may be farther along in the process of implementing Common Core than others. (As of this writing, six states have chosen not to implement Common Core: Alaska, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia.)

Because states are implementing Common Core Standards within existing state standards, no state programs will look alike. For information about what the standards will look like in your state, please see the Common Core Standards in Your State page.


Video Credit: The Council of the Great City Schools

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