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Clearing up some misconceptions about Common Core

The debate over the effect Common Core has on education is likely to be brought up during Arizona’s gubernatorial races, but there are some misconceptions about the program.

Basically, Common Core sets an annual expectation for students in English and math. By the end of the school year, they are expected to be at a certain point.

According to Carrie Phillips, the director for Common Core State Standards Council of Chief State School Officers, one of the largest misconceptions about her program is that it forces teachers and school districts to adhere to a certain lesson plan.

“It doesn’t tell the teacher, or the school district or the school board what the kid needs to learn on a daily basis to get there,” she told Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Monday. “There could be many different methods.”

Phillips added Common Core encourages teachers to be autonomous.

A portion of Common Core was derived from the No Child Left Behind law. Phillips said the new standards took the idea of standardizing student requirements and made it more practical, especially for students who move states.

“It wasn’t really an accurately reflecting what kids were able to do,” she said of the Bush administration law.

The main issue under No Child Left Behind was, though schools were required to have standards, they were not set at the same bar across the nation. After a coliation of states and officials established Common Core, they issued the new requirements.

Read that again: State officials established Common Core, not the federal government.

“I think that’s one of the misconceptions about Common Core, that it was created by the federal government,” said Phillips.

As Arizona implements more Common Core practices, Phillips said parents should expect to see more challenging books brought home, including non-fiction.