Q: Are they working?
A: While some states already have begun testing students, it may be too early to say. Kentucky was the first state to fully implement the standards and saw math and English proficiency drop by a third in the first round of state assessments, in the 2011-12 school year. (The results of Kentucky's 2012-13 tests are expected at the end of September.) Proficiency levels also plummeted in New York, the next state to fully implement the standards, but education leaders cautioned that the results were more a reflection of higher standards than declining student achievement.
Q: Who supports these standards?
A: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is among high-profile supporters. He recently said Common Core may prove to be "the single greatest thing to happen to public education in America since Brown versus Board of Education."
Q: Are there detractors?
A: Yes. Many opponents argue that decisions around education should be made at the local level and say the national standards take away too much control. Efforts to repeal or slow down the Common Core have sprung up in several states over the past year. Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee in April passed a resolution calling the standards an "inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children" and Republicans working on a rewrite of the No Child Left Behind education law made explicit their desire for states to adopt — or reject — the standards independent of Washington.
Associated Press Writer Philip Elliott contributed to this report.
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