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Common Core vs. State Standards: What’s the difference?

Stacy M. Brown - Contributor | 9/13/2017, 8:45 a.m.
Education must be governed by standards to achieve the learning goals that all parents seek for their children, said Dr. ...
District 202 seniors taking the ACT last year had a composite score up 20.8, up from 20.7 the previous year.

The greatest impact of ESSA concerning Common Core is that the federal government can no longer make a state’s adoption or maintenance of standards a funding incentive as NCLB and Race to the Top mandated, Krumholz said.

“In fact, the new law prohibits the federal government from encouraging the adoption of any particular set of standards—including Common Core,” said Krumholz. “The only requirements regarding standards existing now are that they have to be challenging—which states are left to interpret what is challenging, connected to college and career readiness, and that the assessment tool such as standardized tests, chosen by the state for accountability aligns with the selected state standards.”

In short, states have a lot of flexibility when it comes to implementing education standards, Krumholz said.

The Atlanta-based Skubes spends a lot of time analyzing the state standards for every state and the company has had plenty of experience with Common Core, said Bryan Wetzel, the COO of Skubes, which creates educational videos, quizzes and other resources for K-12 students and teachers.

“One of the little-known facts, and a deceptive fact at that, is that most states didn’t change from Common Core standards, they only erased the name Common Core from the title,” Wetzel said. “In many states, where politicians ran for office on getting rid of Common Core standards, they only changed the name and some of the nomenclature.”

One curriculum supervisor estimated that maybe three percent of the state standards have been rewritten or have been changed from Common Core, he said.

“ESSA is not a curriculum standard as much as it is rule for how federal money is spent and how it can be used,” said Wetzel. “It places more emphasis on research based solutions and/or tested interventions.”