Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards with the goal of sending high school graduates into the world ready for college or career. But they're hardly without controversy.
A look at the learning standards and the issues surrounding them:
Q: What are the Common Core State Standards?
A: The standards spell out the reading and math skills that students should have at each grade level, from kindergarten through high school. For example, a first-grade reader should be able to use a story's pictures and details to describe its characters. In math, a first-grade student should be able to add and subtract, and in third grade do multiplication and division.
Q: Is this a set curriculum?
A: This actually isn't a curriculum in the sense of prescribing day-by-day lessons. Schools and teachers still come up with their own lessons to teach the skills to students.
Q: Weren't there standards before?
A: Yes, but they varied from state to state. Some states had very few changes to make when they shifted to Common Core, while others had to overhaul their existing plans.