Common Core & Essential Standards

US Digital Literacy believes that the contents of this page will continue to change as Common Core is challenged. Education continues to undergo a revolutionary change not only in America, but in every country of the world. We cannot meet the future by doing what we have done in the past. Our children are changing. Their minds are different. Their access to information is different. Our educational system was designed in the 18th and 19th century. It grew through the industrial revolution. We were an industrialized nation. But now we have moved towards an informational and service oriented economy. Education will have to change to meet the demands of a 21st Century workplace. The information about the revolution of education will evolve into a timeline of transformative systems and processes over the next ten plus years. We will continue to bring all sides of the Common Core Essential Standards debate.


The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort that established a single set of clear educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts and mathematics that states voluntarily adopt. The standards are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit bearing entry courses in two or four year college programs or enter the workforce. The standards are clear and concise to ensure that parents, teachers, and students have a clear understanding of the expectations in reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics in school.

States across the country collaborated with teachers, researchers, and leading experts to design and develop the Common Core State Standards. Each state independently made the decision to adopt the Common Core State Standards, beginning in 2010. The federal government was NOT involved in the development of the standards. At each state level, local teachers, principals, and superintendents lead the implementation of the Common Core.

The Common Core State Standards are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for the knowledge and skills students need in English language arts and mathematics at each grade level to ultimately be prepared to graduate college and career ready. The standards establish what students need to learn, but they do not dictate how teachers should teach. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms.

States that adopted the Common Core State Standards are currently collaborating to develop common assessments that will be aligned to the standards and replace existing end of year state assessments. These assessments will be available in the 2014-2015 school year.

Essential Standards reach beyond reading and math into core curriculums such as social studies and science. These standards are developed by each state.

*Please note: The Common Core Standards have come under much scrutiny and criticism. The standards in some states were rolled out prematurely. Teachers lacked understanding and quality training to make the initiative a quality transformative process. While the project had an idealistic measure it has been plagued with problems both of perception and substance. Reasonable concerns about the rapid pace of implementation and the ability of the state Department of Education to oversee the demands of this complex initiative have created incense and frustration among teachers. The idea of Common Core was heralded as a crossroads of national educational equity. Yet many states jumped on the band wagon because they were offered millions of dollars in grant money to do so. The problem is that band lacked it’s lead singer. It also lacked the band and the wagon.

Teachers are now scrambling to self teach, collaboratively learn, and look for leaders within their schools. Educators are now left to help bring clarity and understanding towards one simple and common goal — to teach. Even some students have been left questioning the Common Core Initiative.

Recorded at the Knox County School Board Regular Meeting Ethan Young speaks out about Common Core.
“The president essentially bribed states into implementation via ‘Race to the Top,’ offering $4.35 billion taxpayer dollars to participating states, $500 million of which went to Tennessee,” Young said. “And much like No Child Left Behind, the program promises national testing and a one-size-fits-all education, because hey, it worked so well the first time.”

“If nothing else, these standards are a glowing conflict of interest and they lack the research they allegedly received.”
“Somewhere our Founding Fathers are turning in their graves — pleading, screaming and trying to say to us that we teach to free minds. We teach to inspire. We teach to equip, the careers will come naturally.”


1) Authors: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers Title: Common Core State Standards (FAQs) Publisher: National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington D.C. Copyright Date: 2010

2) http://sirkenrobinson.com/

3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PprP5TCZBRI