FAQs for Teachers

WHY ARE THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS IMPORTANT?
It is important to make sure that every child across the country is given the tools they need to succeed. High standards that are consistent across states provide teachers, parents, and students with a set of clear expectations that everyone can work toward together. These standards are a common sense first step toward ensuring our children are getting the best possible education no matter where they live.

HOW DO THE NEW MEXICO COMMON CORE STANDARDS AFFECT LOCAL CONTROL?
The NMCCSS do not tell teachers how to teach, but they do help teachers figure out the knowledge and skills their students should have so that teachers can build the best lessons and environments for their classrooms. The standards are a clear set of shared goals and expectations for what knowledge and skills will help our students succeed. Local teachers, principals, superintendents and others will decide how the standards are to be met. Teachers will continue to devise lesson plans and tailor instruction to the individual needs of the students in their classrooms. Local teachers, principals, superintendents, and school boards will continue to make decisions about curriculum and how their school systems are operated.
 
WHAT IS THE TIMEFRAME FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STANDARDS?
By 2014-2015, students will be taking new forms of tests that require them to demonstrate their ability to read, write, speak, solve problems, and use technology. These assessments will examine many kinds of student work, not just multiple-choice answers. New Mexico will be implementing the Common Core State Standards in grades K-3 beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, and in grades 4-12 in 2013-2014.
 
WERE TEACHERS INVOLVED IN THE CREATION OF THE STANDARDS?
Teachers have been a critical voice in the development of the standards. The National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) all have been instrumental in bringing together teachers to provide specific, constructive feedback on the standards.
 
WHAT DOES THIS WORK MEAN FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS?
Common standards will provide a greater opportunity for states to share experiences and best practices within and across states that can lead to an improved ability to best serve young people with disabilities and English language learners. Additionally, the K-12 English language arts and mathematics standards include information on application of the standards for English language learners and students with disabilities.
 
DO COMMON STANDARDS LEAD TO DUMBING DOWN EXPECTATIONS ACROSS THE BOARD?
No, the Common Core State Standards have been built from the best and highest state standards in the country and benchmarked to international standards. The standards, developed by experts with input from educators and parents, are evidence-based, aligned with college and work expectations, include rigorous content and skills, realistic and practical for the classroom.

WILL MORE STANDARDS MEAN MORE TESTS?
Having one set of standards will make it easier for states to pool information and resources to develop a shared set of high-quality tests to better evaluate student progress. New Mexico has joined the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a consortium of 24 states, that has agreed to utilize the same accountability tests. The goal is not to have more tests, but to have smarter tests that better demonstrate what students are learning and provide educators with evidence that will help them raise student achievement.

THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS ALLOW PARTICIPATING STATES TO ADOPT AN ADDITIONAL 15% OF THEIR OWN STANDARDS. DID NEW MEXICO CHOOSE TO ADOPT AN ADDITIONAL 15% OF STANDARDS?

Yes, but only in the area of English Language Arts (ELA) and not for mathematics.

New Mexico conducted an alignment study in the early stages of the state’s CCSS adoption process to determine gaps between the proposed standards and the current state content standards. As a result, areas were identified, particularly in regard to cultural competence, which needed to be further addressed. These went into effect as a state ruling on October 29, 2010 as per New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) 6.29.13, with a delayed implementation date. Implementation will coincide with the NMCCSS timeline of 2012-2013 for grades K-3 and 2013-2014 for grades 4-12.

The additional ELA standards are currently being reviewed to eliminate redundancy and ensure that cultural competence is fully addressed. The work is being led by the ELA/Literacy Launch Team at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in collaboration with the NMPED and Hispanic and Indian Education representatives. The review process will be completed in spring 2012 in time for these to be incorporated Training regarding these additional requirements will be included in upcoming professional development opportunities provided to districts by the NMPED and its partners.  

To view the current NMAC ruling, click here

ARE THERE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS FOR SOCIAL STUDIES AND SCIENCE?
The Next Generation Science Standards are currently under development. Go to www.nextgenscience.org  to learn more about these standards.  

The NMCCSS for ELA contain separate literacy standards for grades 6-12 in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects. In grades K-5, literacy standards in history/social studies, science, and technical subjects are integrated into the Reading standards.

HOW WILL COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES BE INVOLVED IN THE TRANSITION TO CCSS?
Many of New Mexico’s higher education institutions are already deeply involved in teacher professional development for CCSS and in rethinking the preparation of teachers for the demands of CCSS.

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  • Beth

    After reading over the standards, I notice that money is only taught in 2nd grade. Why is this? Why are grades K and 1 not teaching the value of coins, and making coin combinations equal to $1.00? Why do no other elementary levels expand on money?

    NMPED Response:

    Working with money is a context that can be used to teach many different mathematical ideas. Working with money is not a mathematical idea in itself, it is an idea that could fit into many different subject areas like social studies, life skills etc. Often the work with money takes away from time that could be spent on other mathematical ideas. The standards are meant to address the mathematics that should be taught at each grade level. Mathematics can be taught through the use of the money context, but working with money doesn't need to be the end goal. The end goal might be something like adding within 100 if you are working with adding cents.

    Reading time and knowing the value of coins are important life skills, which students could learn in many places: in the home, in social studies, in science, in mathematics, in history, or in English language arts. There has been a tendency to overload mathematics standards in particular with these life skills, at the expense of more important work on number and operations. Perhaps this was because mathematics standards came along first, so putting these things there was a way of ensuring they were taught. The view of the Common Core is that, used in the right way, they can be tools for learning about number and operations, but they are not mathematics topics in their own right. If kids come to school with knowledge about them, or if there is a way of weaving them into the curriculum that supports the main focus, then that's fine. But too often they become the main focus themselves. The strongest message of the Common Core is: focus on what's important and give it the time it needs, so that kids have a chance to learn it well and progress onto other things.