June 2014

PA Core (Common Core) FAQ Resource

by Randy Ziegenfuss on June 25, 2014

pacore_standardsAt the final Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council (SPAC) meeting of the school year, a period of time was devoted to questions from parents around the new PA Core standards. There were many good questions and the opportunity to provide clarification to help parents best understand the concept and the accompanying changes, particularly in Mathematics and English/Language Arts (ELA). Recently, NPR published an article, The Common Core FAQ, focused on the Common Core. We discussed many of these questions at the SPAC meeting, but this particular resource is valuable for all parents. (Note: In Pennsylvania, our standards are referred to as PA Core Standards. While there are some slight differences between PA Core Standards and the Common Core State Standards, the various sets of standards are essentially the same.)

Here is a comprehensive listing of the questions addressed in the article, The Common Core FAQ:

  1. What is the Common Core?
  2. OK, so what is the relationship between the Common Core and my kids’ math homework?
  3. Why do we need the Common Core?
  4. Where did the Common Core come from? Who is behind it?
  5. You didn’t mention the federal government. What was its role in creating the standards?
  6. What do “standards” mean? Are they the same as curricula?
  7. What are the standards replacing?
  8. Are the Common Core standards harder than my state’s old standards?
  9. Do other countries do this?
  10. What do the standards mean for math?
  11. What do the standards mean for English?
  12. What’s an “informational text”?
  13. How are Common Core standards affecting state tests?
  14. What is the “assessment cliff”?
  15. How is Common Core affecting my kids’ school (teachers, districts)?
  16. Who is for the Common Core standards? Who is against them?
  17. What happened in Indiana?
  18. What other states have dropped the Common Core?
  19. Is the Common Core by any other name still the Common Core?
  20. What is the difference between “Common Core” and “Common Core-aligned”?
  21. Who is making money from the Common Core?
  22. Do the standards require schools to collect data on their students?
  23. Opponents of the Common Core argue that it tells teachers what to each. Is this true?
  24. How do teachers unions feel about the Common Core?
  25. How will we know if all of this is working?

Salisbury Township School District teachers and administrators have received professional development on many aspects of the PA Core Standards, including shifts in teaching practices, and have been working over the past few years to align curricula to the Standards.

  • Mathematics Curriculum Documents – Grade 6-12 – Developed by teachers and approved by the school board.
  • English/Language Arts Curriculum Documents – Grades 6-12 – Developed by teachers with anticipated board approval in September 2014.
  • enVisions Math Series – Grades K-5 – Piloted in 2013-14; fully implemented in 2014-15.
  • English/Language Arts Curriculum – Grades K-5 – Adjusting the current ELA series, Storytown, to align with PA Core Standards will be a focus for 2014-15.
  • As curricula in other areas are updated or rewritten, PA Core Standards are integrated throughout, as appropriate, particularly in the areas of reading and writing.

Learn more about PA Core by visiting an earlier post on this site, Common Core State Standards and Parents. What further questions do you have about PA Core Standards? Leave them in the comment section below!