Common Core


 What is the Common Core? 

The Common Core State Standards, or “Common Core,” is a set of high academic learning standards in math and English language arts that will better prepare students for success in college, work, and lifeSimilar standards, called "Next Generation" are also in place for science.

Standards describe what students should know and be able to do at every grade level. The Common Core standards were developed using international benchmarks and adopted by 46 states — unprecedented cooperation in our nation’s history.

At every grade level, parents will have a clear idea of what their child is expected to know and how they are really doing in school. Until now, every state had different learning standards, and what a student was expected to learn depended on where they lived. Common Core fixes that and raises the bar for learning — an approach that will help all Washington students build the practical skills they need for success.

It’s real learning for real life.

Top 3 things to know about Common Core

  1. Consistent learning expectations for all students. Before Common Core, what counted as grade-level work in one state might be less than average in another state. The Common Core provides a consistent set of standards and expectations so we can truly know how students are doing in school, no matter where they live.
  2. Clear standards that focus on understanding over memorization. The Common Core goes deeper into fewer topics to make sure students really understand key concepts. This is crucial, because the standards for each grade build on what students learned in the previous grade.
  3. Emphasis on the critical skills students need for success after high school. Right now, Washington has 25,000 unfilled jobs for highly skilled workers — and that number will grow to 50,000 by 2017. The Common Core focuses on the real-world skills that students need to get a job in the new economy.

the difference between the Common Core & curriculum

Common Core is a set of clear standards that communicate shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills students should have at every grade level. Standards are different from curriculum or lesson plans. While the Common Core sets high expectations for what students should know, it does not set a lesson plan or tell teachers how to teach. In fact, the Common Core puts the art back into teaching because local teachers will have more freedom to decide how to meet the new standards.

A curriculum is made up of teaching and learning materials that teachers use to help construct their day-to-day lesson plans. With the Common Core, teachers will create lesson plans and tailor instruction to meet the needs of individual students in their classrooms. How the standards are taught will be under the local control of Washington’s 295 school districts and more than 2,000 individual schools. 

Parent and Community Toolkit

Download and print our Parent & Community Toolkit to lead a discussion in your community about the Common Core.

Learn more

Visit Ready Washington, the state coalition that includes Stand for Children, the Partnership for Learning, OSPI, Washington STEM, WEA, and other education advocates.

Click here for Common Core information from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

Visit for interactive tools that help explain what higher learning standards mean for your child.

Share This Page

  • Become a Member

    Join parents and community members around the state to improve education for all our kids.

  • Stay Informed