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Elisabeth Ginsburg, Executive Director
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9-25-14 NJ 'School Board Notes' Survey Results re Common Corre

NJ School Boards Association Survey Results: Common Core Misunderstandings

(As published in the NJSBA ‘School Board Notes’)  “…When asked about specific misconceptions that their communities have, 74 percent of respondents said their community members or board members believe the standards dictate curriculum – when in truth, the Common Core sets standards on what students should know at various grade levels. Curriculum is developed by local districts.

Along with that, nearly 65 percent of survey participants said their community believes the Common Core standards were devised by the federal government (in actuality, states signed up voluntarily); 57 percent think the standards were written without teacher input (in fact, teachers were involved in writing the standards); and just over 25 percent think standards are new to New Jersey (whereas, the state has used standards-based education for about 20 years.)

 

The Common Core State Standards are in place in New Jersey schools, bringing new K-12 expectations for student learning in language arts and math.

But many in New Jersey may not yet grasp what the standards are, according to a School Board Notes survey.

Almost 80 percent of the 96 respondents to the SBN survey said they don’t believe members of their community understand the standards. And almost half of respondents – most of whom were school board members – said they don’t think members of their school boards understand the standards, either.
“There’s very little understanding by parents of the Common Core State Standards,” wrote one survey respondent.

“Our district placed an emphasis on educating parents about the CCSS; even so, there is a significant lack of understanding in our community at large,” wrote another.

When asked about specific misconceptions that their communities have, 74 percent of respondents said their community members or board members believe the standards dictate curriculum – when in truth, the Common Core sets standards on what students should know at various grade levels. Curriculum is developed by local districts.

Along with that, nearly 65 percent of survey participants said their community believes the Common Core standards were devised by the federal government (in actuality, states signed up voluntarily); 57 percent think the standards were written without teacher input (in fact, teachers were involved in writing the standards); and just over 25 percent think standards are new to New Jersey (whereas, the state has used standards-based education for about 20 years.)

The New Jersey School Boards Association and the state education department are working to educate New Jersey residents on the new standards. The Common Core standards set new standards for all students for college and career readiness, and focus on teaching students how to think, not what to think. They were voluntarily adopted by more than 40 states including New Jersey, in language arts and math.

In New Jersey, where the state has used standards-based education since the 1990s, the Common Core standards upgraded and replaced earlier standards.

Respondents to the survey had mixed views on the Common Core, with some calling the new standards an “excellent goal,” but others referring to it as “a waste of our district’s time, focus and energy.”

“Good idea…poorly presented,” wrote one respondent.

“I like the idea of having a set of standards for all students, it makes sense,” said another.

“The federal DOE and state DOE need to back off and let districts and schools determine what is best for their students,” wrote still another.

A few survey respondents indicated that they felt they understood the Common Core standards, but disagreed with them.  One commenter said, “I think Common Core State Standards will end up costing more than they are worth....”

Many participants also said they believe that misinformation about Common Core needs to be addressed.

“There is too much wild rhetoric against the Common Core and it’s amazing how that incorrect information spreads as fact. Thanks to NJSBA for working to clarity and unify,” wrote one respondent.

NJSBA created a website that includes a variety of resources about the Common Core

 


Garden State Coalition of Schools
160 W. State Street, Trenton New Jersey 08608
609-394-2828