(This page is being revised as more attention is directed to the Every Student Succeeds Act -ESSA. Check back soon for updated information. Check the General Resources page for ESSA information.) The more you know about the Common Core State Standards the more we believe you will support them. Here is some information that will help explain their origin, why we need them, and who is supporting them in our state.

What is the Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards are a new set of stronger, more rigorous K-12 academic standards in reading, writing and math. They were created by a 47-state coalition led by Georgia; the state has been phasing them in since 2010.

Why do we need these new standards?

Student achievement in Georgia – test scores, graduation rates, etc. – has been near the bottom of the nation for years. Because of this, employers across Georgia are having more and more difficulty finding qualified workers. The new standards were designed to prepare our students for college and the workplace from the day they enter kindergarten.

Just how rigorous are they?

Very rigorous. They were developed using the best practices of competing states and nations. They emphasize key skills like critical thinking and problem-solving – skills that are essential for careers in any industry, from the trades to the sciences to the professions. And because nearly every state has adopted them, they will also give Georgia a better picture of how our students are doing versus the rest of the U.S., and what we need to do to improve.

Is this a new curriculum?

This is not a curriculum. The standards simply set goals for what students should know in each grade; they don’t tell Georgia schools or teachers how to teach or what textbooks to use. Standards are like the rules of football – every field is 100 yards long, every 10 yards is a first down and every touchdown is 6 points. The curriculum is like the selection of plays the coach calls to advance the ball down the field, which is always at his discretion.

What subjects are covered in the standards?

The core subjects of reading, writing and math – other subjects like history or social studies are not included.

Is this a federal mandate?

No. The standards were developed by the states – with Georgia co-chairing the effort – and neither the Bush nor Obama administrations played any role in their development. In addition, no state has been penalized by the federal government or had federal funds withheld for declining to implement the standards.

Will the federal government collect private information on our students?

No. Personal, identifiable information about individual students is protected by state and federal privacy laws. No such information will be shared with the federal government, or with other states.

Who supports these standards in Georgia?

A broad coalition of parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, school boards and other elected officials across Georgia – as well as major Georgia employers like GE, IBM, Microsoft, Siemens, State Farm and Verizon.  See the complete list of organizations making up the Georgia coalition.

If after reading this information you have questions, please let us know what they are.  We will do our best to address them and get back to you.  We will not share or publish your E-mail address.

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