Understanding Common Core

diverse group of students in classroom

Teaching, learning and testing are undergoing a dramatic transformation in our schools, and elsewhere in the state and nation. That's because California is part of a national movement to adopt new standards and tests for English language arts and mathematics. These new standards are known as the "Common Core State Standards" (CCSS) and provide a practical way to prepare children for the challenges of a changing world.

The standards keep the best of what we have, but replace outdated ways of learning with a clear focus on the key knowledge and rigorous content students need. How does it look in our classrooms? View Channel 7/39’s report of how students at the Enrique S. Camarena School are adjusting to the change.

California's Adoption of Common Core Standards

Adopted in California in August 2010, the K-12 Common Core State Standards were developed through a state-led effort to establish consistent and clear education standards for English language arts and mathematics. The initiative was launched by and supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association. In the Common Core Standard adoption process, California added supporting standards to complete the unique picture necessary for California students. View a brief Hunt Institute YouTube video clip below.

The Common Core State Standards provide a practical way to prepare children for the challenges of a constantly changing world – by learning step-by-step the real-world skills they need for career and college.Despite the state’s budget problems, California must move forward now so that all children – no matter where they come from or where they live – receive a world-class education that’s consistent from school to school, and graduate ready to contribute to the future of our state and our country.

California is putting these standards to work, using them as the foundation for remodeling our education system. The standards keep the best of what we have, but replace outdated ways of learning with a clear focus on the key knowledge and skills students need, and provide teachers the time to teach them well.

Like an orchestra learning a challenging new symphony, bringing these standards to life in our schools will take time and energy, and the costs must be managed over time. These standards provide every part of our education system the same sheet music – with the clear goals of career and college readiness for all. And we all have a part to play.

Preparing Students for Career and College

Goal: All students graduating from our public school system as life- long learners will have the skills and knowledge necessary to assume their positions in the 21st century global economy. The new standards are designed to be relevant in the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills students need for success in both higher education and career. Our communities will be stronger if students graduate with the skills and knowledge needed in today’s job market.

Will There Be New Tests for the New Standards?

Yes, California is a governing member of the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). The consortium is developing new tests that will measure student progress toward career and college readiness.You may learn more about the new tests and California’s participation in the SBAC at


California's CCSS Implementation Plan

The Common Core State Standards Systems Implementation Plan for California is a living document approved by the State Board of Education in March 2012. The plan, available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc/, identifies the major phases and activities involved in implementing the CCSS and serves as the blueprint for remodeling the education system to support student success in career and college.

Resources for Parents

View the September 2013 Common Core Math presentation for CVESD parents of K-2 students. Hear informational podcasts about the new standards by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Read about a teacher's experience with Common Core in how his views changed over time in this Op-Ed piece.

Common Core State Standards Resources

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