Myths vs. Facts

(This web site/page is being revised. References to “Common Core” are becoming fewer but there’s much to learn about the Every Student Succeeds Act – ESSA, which will be the focus of the updated information you will soon find here. Until the new site arrives, you can now review ESSA information on the General Resources page.) With all the misinformation about the Common Core State Standards being circulated, it is hard to separate fact from fiction.  We want to help.  Here are some of the common misconceptions and factual responses (PDF format):

MYTH: Common Core is a federal mandate and an attempt to take over Georgia schools.

FACT: The Common Core State Standards were developed by a coalition of 47 states led by Georgia. Neither the Bush nor Obama administrations played any role in their development. And no state has been penalized by the federal government for deciding not to implement them.

MYTH: We don’t need Common Core. Georgia’s standards were good enough already.

FACT:  Student achievement in Georgia’s K-12 schools – test scores, graduation rates, etc. – has been near the bottom of the nation for years. As a result, too many students struggle in college, and our employers can’t find enough graduates with the skills needed for today’s jobs, much less tomorrow’s. The new standards prepare students for college and the workplace from the day they enter kindergarten. That’s why Georgia led the charge in developing them.

MYTH: Common Core will dumb down our students.

FACT: The new standards build on Georgia’s prior standards by adding the best practices of competing states and nations. They emphasize key skills like critical thinking and problem-solving instead of rote memorization – skills that are essential for every career, from the trades to the sciences to the professions. And since nearly every state has adopted them, we’ll get a better picture of how our students are doing versus the nation, and what we can do to improve.

MYTH: This is a new curriculum. It tells our teachers how to teach and what textbooks to use.

FACT: These are standards, not a curriculum. Standards are simply benchmarks for what students should know in each grade. For example, we expect students to know that 2+2=4, and why. The curriculum is the lesson plan, activities, reading materials and other resources we use to teach students that 2+2=4, and why. And those will always be up to Georgia schools and teachers.

MYTH: Common Core lets the federal government collect private information on our students.

FACT: No personal or identifiable information about individual students is shared with the federal government. This data is protected by both state and federal privacy laws.

MYTH: Georgia parents and teachers oppose Common Core.

FACT: Thousands of Georgia parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, school boards, employers and others support the standards, including:

100 Black Men of America

100 Black Men of Atlanta

Carl Vinson Memorial Chapter 296 of the Air Force Assn., Warner Robins

Communities in Schools – Georgia

Georgia Association of Curriculum and Instructional Supervisors

Georgia Association of Educators

Georgia Association of Educational Leaders

Georgia Association of Elementary School Principals

Georgia Association of Middle School Principals

Georgia Association of Secondary School Principals

Georgia Association of School Personnel Administrators

Georgia BioEd Institute

Georgia Chamber of Commerce

Georgia Council on Economic Education

Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education

Georgia PTA

Georgia School Boards Association

Georgia School Superintendents Association

Metro Atlanta Chamber

PolicyBEST

StudentsFirst

Technical College System of Georgia

United Way of Greater Atlanta

University System of Georgia

Urban League of Greater Atlanta

GE, IBM, Microsoft, Siemens, State Farm and Verizon are among the many Georgia employers supporting the standards.

MYTH: We could pull out of Common Core tomorrow, and no damage would be done.

FACT: Georgia schools have been phasing in the standards since Georgia leaders approved them four years ago. That means Georgia teachers have been teaching – and Georgia students have been learning – based on the new standards for quite a while. Changing the standards or pulling out of them now would be disruptive and damaging to our educators and our children.

Here’s another good resource from the Collaborative for Student Success:  The Common Core Fact Checker.

We would like to hear from you.  Do you have questions or need clarification?  Maybe you have heard a rumor or a questionable statement about the Core?  Share the information with us.  We’ll get back to you.  We will not share or publish your E-mail address.

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