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Newsletter  :  October 2013  :  What is Common Core?

What is Common Core?

There is a great deal of discussion taking place regarding Common Core and its impact on our school district.  So, what is Common Core you ask? Here are few ways to explain it:

•    Common Core is a set of standards designed to help teachers ensure their students develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning.

•    Common Core is NOT a curriculum—it’s a set of benchmarks for student learning in English Language Arts and Mathematics.

•    By applying these benchmarks, which are consistent across states, we can ensure that all Louisiana students are well prepared with the skills and knowledge necessary to compete with peers across the country.

•    Common Core has been voluntarily adopted in 45 states, the District of Columbia and four territories. It was developed by state-level education leaders in partnership with teachers, researchers and leading experts.

•    The federal government had no role in the development of the Common Core and will not have a role in their implementation. The Common Core standards are a state-led effort that is not part of No Child Left Behind and adoption of the standards is in no way mandatory. The federal government does support Common Core, and as such offers some incentives to states that choose to adopt the standards.

•    The standards establish what students need to learn, but they do NOT dictate how teachers should teach. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms.

•    LPSS has implemented Common Core benchmarks in order to ensure our students develop proficiency in reading, writing and mathematics. The actual curriculum is being developed by instructional strategists here in our district and teachers have the final say on how material is taught to students. Textbooks and course materials will continue to be determined locally.

•    Common Core standards are not designed to interfere with or limit local control over curriculum and content. Many districts and states are working together to develop instructional materials and curricula that will allow their students to meet the Common Core goals for reading, writing and arithmetic.

•    Two consortia of states are developing common assessments – the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). These state-led consortia on assessment are grounded in the following principles:
o    Allow for comparison across students, schools, districts, states and nations;
o    Create economies of scale;
o    Provide information and support more effective teaching and learning; and
o    Prepare students for college and careers.

Check out the many videos and bank of information about Common Core and how our district is implementing the standards at