Right now, America's schools are in a sprint. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia have adopted the Common Core State Standards. That means new learning benchmarks for the vast majority of the nation's young students — millions of kids from kindergarten through high school. And, for many of them, the Core Standards will feel tougher than what they're used to. Because they are tougher.
It's a seismic shift in education meant to better prepare kids for college, career and the global economy. But new standards as rigorous as the Core require lots of other changes — to textbooks, lesson plans, homework assignments. In short: curriculum and the materials needed to teach it. And that's the problem. Right now, much of that stuff just isn't ready.
Before we get further into the problem, let's be clear: The Common Core is a set of standards, not curriculum. There's a difference. Standards are goals we set for kids. For example, one Common Core math standard says fifth-graders should be able to use place value understanding to round decimals to any place.