Common Core State Standards

Associated Press
Amy Lawson, a fifth-grade teacher at Silver Lake Elementary School in Middletown, Del., helps student Melody Fritz with an English language arts lesson Oct. 1, 2013. Silver Lake has begun implementing the national Common Core State Standards for academics. Remembering the plot of a short story is no longer good enough in Lawson’s fifth-grade classroom. Now, students are being asked to think more critically -- what, for example, might a character say in an email to a friend. "It’s hard. But you can handle this," Lawson tells them. Welcome to a classroom using the Common Core State Standards, one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in education for students and their teachers in grades kindergarten through high school. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

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In 45 states and the District of Columbia, teachers are starting to use the standards to guide what skills students learn and when.

To hear the standards' critics — mainly tea party-aligned conservatives, but also some parents and teachers — tell it, there are few things more dangerous happening in the country. (AP)

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