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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POTUS Sirius XM Radio, “Common Core Standards Help Ensure a Military Child Does Not Fall Behind”: In an interview with host Tim Farley, former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer discusses the importance of Common Core State Standards, particularly for military families that move frequently. Citing a recent Stimson Center report, Gov. Brewers says, “This tells us there is a huge connection between K-12 education and military bases… we want to have consistent standards that are smooth from one base to another and that [military-connected students] are also ready for college and career.”

What It Means: Gov. Brewer makes clear that consistent, challenging education standards are necessary to ensure students of all backgrounds are prepared for the next step after high school whether they choose college, a career or military service. Gov. Brewer points out that children of service members move on average six to nine times during their K-12 career, or about three times more often than their peers in non-military families.

Educators for High Standards, “Raising the Bar through Deeper Instruction”: Troy Rivera, an English language arts teacher in Colorado, writes that following the transition to Common Core State Standards, expectations for students shifted to put greater emphasis on content understanding. The Common Core “raised the bar for our students,” Rivera says. “Standards are not curriculum, they are expectations.”

What It Means: Like Rivera, educators continue to strongly support Common Core State Standards. A Scholastic study last fall found more than eight in ten teachers who work closely with the Common Core support implementation, and more than two-thirds report an improvement in their students’ critical thinking and reasoning abilities.

Education Week, “Beyond Fiction: Expanding What Counts as Meaningful Student Reading”: Columnist Betty Hsu writes that by putting a greater emphasis on non-fiction material, Common Core State Standards encourage students to expand their scope by using “more informational and non-fiction texts, and to stop relying solely on traditional literary texts.”

What It Means: By prioritizing non-fiction materials, the Common Core empowers teachers to reinforce students’ natural affinity for literature with historical documents and other resources. Because requirements emphasizing non-fiction texts are spread across subjects, the standards encourage greater cross-curriculum collaboration.

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Correcting the Record:

Washington Times, “Ending Washington’s Mandate on Common Core”: Senator Pat Roberts, a member of the U.S. Senate HELP Committee, writes that Congress will begin debate of the Every Child Achieves Act to end “Washington’s mandate on Common Core.” Criticizing the Obama Administration for “forcing states to adopt the standards,” Sen. Roberts says the legislation will “end the Obama Administration’s – and for that matter, any future administration’s – ability to use any tool of coercion to force states to adopt Common Core – or any set of standards at all, whether it’s Common Core by another name or some new set of standards…While we all agree that setting high standards for our schools, our teachers and our children is the right thing to do, we also believe standards should be decided by states, by our state leaders, teachers, school boards and parents. There should not be bribes or mandates from Washington.”

Where They Went Wrong: The Every Child Achieves Act provides important language protecting states’ control of education issues, but contrary to Sen. Roberts’ claim, states were not forced into adopting the Common Core. The standards were developed through a state-led initiative, and, recognizing the old patchwork of academic standards create big disparities in the quality of education, states voluntarily adopted the standards. Having college- and career-ready standards accounted for less than 10% of states’ applications for Race to the Top funds, and states that didn’t adopt CCSS still qualified, as Bellwether Education’s Anne Hyslop confirmed in a radio interview.