Welcome to the Common Core Fact Checker

Correcting the record: The Common Core State Standards are one of the most important issues dominating today’s education discussion. This Fact Checker site was created to correct the record on some of the most outrageous myths and ideas about the Standards. Here you will find information about the Standards, our daily update and resources to help you determine what is fact and what is fiction.

These resources will be updated daily and are provided to create a clearer vision of what the standards mean to you, your family, students and your community.

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COMMON CORE STANDARDS DAILY UPDATE, MAY 21, 2015

Huntsville Times, “Redstone Arsenal to Gov. Robert Bentley: We Support Common Core”: In an open letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, Redstone Arsenal reiterated support for Common Core Standards, emphasizing high, consistent standards are important for military families that move frequently from state to state. “[Common Core] standards ensure an easier transition for more than 1.2 million school-age military-connected children who will transfer through multiple school systems in their academic lifetime,” Col. Bill Marks, garrison commander at Redstone Arsenal writes.

What It Means: Common Core Standards are important for both military readiness and military families. Consistent education standards ensure children in military families, which will move on average between six and nine times during a student’s K-12 career, have a less likely chance of falling behind or sitting through material they’ve already learned when changing schools.

US News & World Report, “Are New Common Core Tests Better than Old Multiple-Choice Exams?” Experts say new open-ended questions emphasized on assessments that test to higher content tap critical thinking skill and provide a marked improvement over those states used before, the article reports. “To get at what’s really fundamental in the Common Core, the higher-order thinking skills, we need performance-based tasks,” says Derek Briggs, a professor at the University of Colorado. “With Smarter Balanced, the performance tasks will only take about 180 minutes over one or two class periods.

What It Means: High-quality assessments designed to test to more rigorous standards espoused by the Common Core provide better diagnostics about student development. New assessments, administered for the first time this year in most states, require students demonstrate their understanding, alleviating the need to teach to the test and giving a more comprehensive measure of student preparedness.

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Correcting the Record:

Baltimore Sun, “Common Core and Special Needs Students”: Edward Davenport, a Maryland resident, writes that Common Core Standards and tests that support them provide “no level playing field for students with cognitive or emotional disabilities.” “The slowest learners are given the same test as the most exceptional. Teachers aren’t permitted to change the phrasing of test questions and are monitored to ensure compliance,” the letter says.

Where They Went Wrong: The Common Core was developed for all K-12 students, including those with disabilities. The standards offer an unparalleled opportunity for students with disabilities provided that they receive the supports and accommodations they need to reduce barriers to learning.

New York Times, “‘Opt Out’ Becomes Anti-Test Rallying Cry in New York State”: New York State’s opt-out movement has “become a political force,” with as many as one in every six eligible students sitting out state assessments this year, more than double the number in 2014, the article reports. Initial reports indicate only 30 of the state’s 440 districts met the 95-percent test participation rate required by federal authorities. At the same time educators worry the efforts will undermine their ability to identify and address learning needs, and that without “reliable, consistent data, children in minority communities may be left to drift though schools that fail them, without consequences.”

Where They Went Wrong: While parents and educators are understandably concerned about over-testing, efforts to refuse high-quality tests writ large undermine accountability systems, which ensure students are developing the skills necessary to succeed at higher levels of learning.