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     Read CTA's Policy Brief on the Common Core State Standards

    Common Core State Standards are K-12 English Language Arts/Literacy and Math standards that will create a clear, consistent level of knowledge for our public school students no matter where they live.

     Q&A from the California Educator

    1. They Will Deepen Problem-Solving Skills and Critical Thinking 
    The math standards will allow educators to focus on fewer topics and dive into them more deeply and rigorously, making sure kids grasp concepts fully so they can master them and apply them to real world problems. The English and literacy standards emphasize critical thinking, comprehension, analysis, and writing, and highlight the growing complexity of texts students must read to prepare for the demands of college and career.

    2. They Promote Greater Opportunity for All Kids 
    Research shows that in some pockets of the country, particularly low-income neighborhoods, students are placed in larger classes with watered-down curriculum and out-of-date learning materials. The result is too many kids graduating without the basic knowledge and skills required for college or the workplace. CCSS, properly implemented, ensures that all students, no matter where they live, will graduate prepared for college, careers, and citizenship.

    3. They Bring Back Flexibility and Creativity 
    Unlike the “drill and kill” test prep associated with NCLB, CCSS only provide the framework of what should be taught –teachers get to decide how they’ll teach them based on their expertise and judgment. Educators can find more creative, hands-on applications that are more engaging for everyone.

    4. They Call for Collaborative Decisions 
    The standards give us a once-in-a-generation opportunity to offer our children a world-class education in every state of the country, but we must be flexible in how they’re implemented, applied and assessed over time. We’re in a process of discovery – as we collect information – administrators, teachers, support staff, and parents must collaborate to ensure the best possible implementation occurs so students can reap the benefits of that collaboration.

    5. Implementation is the Key to Success 
    We must work together with parents and community members to demand a plan that makes sense to transition to the new standards and to ensure next generation assessment systems are fair and include multiple, appropriate and valid measures of student success.



    • Common Core State Standards Initiative Official Website

      From Frequently Asked Questions to Myths vs Facts, this website is a wealth of information to get you started understanding the Common Core State Standards.

    • Common Core Standards Toolkit
      This toolkit provides general background and links to pertinent information about the CCSS, as well as practical assistance and planning.
    • CCSS Video Series

      The Hunt Institute offers a wealth of video resources dedicated to getting educators up to speed with the Common Core Standards.

    • Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

      Use Bloom’s revised taxonomy to help plan effective instruction and challenge students to move from the most basic skills (remembering) to more complex learning which leads to higher order thinking (creating).



    • 5 Ways to Implement CCSS Right

      CCSS have the potential to offer every student, no matter where they live, the same high academic standards. However, proper implementation and the creation of fair, appropriate assessments is critical to success.

    • Overview: Smarter Balanced Assessment
      Aligned with CCSS, Smarter Balanced Assessments go beyond multiple choice to include performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate research, writing, and analytical skills. SBA is designed to give teachers better feedback to inform instruction.
    • Making Sense of CAASPP Scores
      The CDE released results for the Smarter Balanced Summative Assessments in both English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics for grades 3-8 and 11 on September 9, 2015. Parents will soon begin receiving their child’s results and it’s important to help them make sense of the scores—what they mean and what they don’t.




    The implementation of Common Core State Standards is one of the most significant opportunities to improve public education in our time. There is strong support for the goals of Common Core Standards among educators, but some are concerned that they are not receiving the tools and resources necessary to get implementation of the standards right.

    Many school districts have been slow to provide resources to support implementation of Common Core, if at all. NEA and BetterLesson have teamed up to bring together more than 130 outstanding teachers from across the country to share user-friendly and classroom-ready lessons around Common Core.

    The new site features creative math and ELA teachers for grades 9-11, not only sharing how they teach, but also their reflections about what worked and didn’t work for them in developing the Common Core lessons, along with tips and tricks for successfully implementing Common Core.

    The site currently features more than 3,000 comprehensive lessons and plans to have more than 16,000 free Common Core aligned lessons by 2015, including narratives, videos, personal reflections and classroom resources.

    Meet the Master Teachers behind the lesson plans 

    Browse the lesson plans

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