Find out what you need to know about the Common Core State Standards to shine in your job interviews and in the classroom.

You’ve probably been hearing about the Common Core State Standards. But what are they, and how will they impact your teaching practice? Read on to find out what they will mean to you and your students.

What are the Common Core State Standards?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative provides an opportunity for classroom practitioners across the nation to hone their skills, focus on student learning, and ensure that all the students they serve will be working toward the college and career readiness that is critical to their future success. In 2009, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers agreed to coordinate a state-led, voluntary effort to develop core academic standards in English language arts and mathematics. One year later, after collaboration with individual teachers, school administrators, experts on human development, feedback from national organizations representing a variety of education stakeholders (including teachers, postsecondary educators, and civil rights groups), and a period of public comment, reviews, and revisions, the final Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were released. To date, 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands have formally adopted these voluntary standards, which are often referred to as the “common core.” They are designed to identify the most essential skills and knowledge students need, but not how they acquire them.

Why are they important?

Before the new CCSS, academic standards varied significantly from state to state. Now, students from Massachusetts to Mississippi to Montana will be held to the same high standards, which is important both for educational equity and for addressing the reality of student mobility in our society today.

Further, the CCSS are based on the results of years of education research, including international benchmarking with some of the world’s highest-performing educational systems. They provide a set of shared goals for students, built on the knowledge of increased skill levels students will need to succeed in the global marketplace, ensuring that all students in the U.S. will be prepared for life and work in the 21st century. And, while the implementation of the CCSS is a state and local responsibility, their creation brings public educators from across the nation together to share the expertise and common values that are so essential to citizen participation in a democracy.

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