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Educating parents about the common core: Our role

3 min read


This year, many schools and districts will be implementing the Common Core State Standards. Although the most recent version of the standards was released in 2010, many states have started to implement the Common Core State Standards only recently.

Given this, the following statistic from a recent PDK/Gallup Poll is not surprising: “62% of Americans have never heard of the common core.”

Yes, over half of Americans are not familiar with the common core. Further, Gallup also reports that those who have heard of the common core harbor a variety of misconceptions that impact their understanding and acceptance of the standards.

Knowing that adults within your school community likely have a varying degrees of understanding about the common core, here are the three things that they should know as the school year begins:

  • Common Core State Standards are more rigorous than most state standards. For many states, the Common Core State Standards are more difficult than pre-existing state standard expectations. For example, many states have increased grade-level lexile guidelines significantly to meet the demands of the common core.

  • Common Core State Standards aim to prepare students for college and career. Over 5.6 billion dollars is spent annually on college remedial courses in America. This is mostly because students enter college and career without the skills and competencies needed to be successful. By raising the bar, the common core aims to reduce the burdens on employers and colleges.

  • Common Core State Standards are not a federal mandate. Although political groups have recently tried to misrepresent the Common Core State Standards as a federal mandate or program, the Common Core State Standards were NOT created by the federal government. The standards stemmed from a state-led effort organized by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Teachers, parents, school administrators, experts and state leaders provided input into the development of the documents.

As educators, we are all responsible for helping our parents and our community understand overarching ideas about the development and implementation of the Common Core State Standards. When parents and the community are well-informed about issues that affect education, they are better able to participate in the democratic educational process.

So, share what you know this year with parents and the community!

Kristen Swanson (@kristenswanson) is a learner, leader and teacher. She is the senior educational technology leader for BrightBytes and a founder of the Edcamp movement. Swanson is also author of “Professional Learning in the Digital Age,” a Google Certified Teacher, a Twitter teacher and an Edublog Award nominee.