Myths & Facts about Common Core

Myths & Facts about Federal Policy on Common Core*
Myths Facts
MYTH: The Common Core State Standards are a federally mandated curriculum. FACT: The design, development, and adoption of standards have been led by states and supported by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA).

The Common Core State Standards are not a curriculum or set of lesson plans. Standards set forth clear concepts that students need to know and understand, while curricula and lesson plans are the steps and methods teachers use to support their students in reaching mastery of the standards.

Federal law requires that all states receiving Title I funds have high-quality standards. Federal law does not mandate a specific set of standards.
MYTH: The two consortia of states developing new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards are required to provide individual student data to the Federal government. FACT: The Department does not, and will not, request or collect personally identifiable information (PII) from the consortia and it is not legally authorized to create a student-level database. As stewards of the taxpayers' funds, the Department collects basic project information—such as aggregate research results, but not PII—to evaluate the progress the grantees are making.
MYTH: The Common Core State Standards Initiative creates a national student database and students' personal information will be collected at more detailed levels than ever before. FACT: The Department does not collect personally identifiable information at all except as required for mandated tasks such as administering student loans and grants and investigating individual complaints.

The Department is not legally authorized to create a national, student-level database and has no intention to create a student records data system at the national level.
MYTH: The Department of Education instituted changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to pave the way for the Common Core State Standards. FACT: The 2011 amendments to FERPA regulations did not require states to adopt the Common Core State Standards, nor did they make any changes to those standards. The amendments did provide greater clarity and guidance to states and researchers in the protection of student privacy.
MYTH: The Common Core State Standards and a brain mapping initiative recently announced by President Obama are being used to collect biometric data about children. FACT: The Common Core State Standards Initiative does not collect or require the collection of any biometric data. Common Core has no connection to the BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, a recently-proposed scientific endeavor to map the brain.
MYTH: Student data can now be hosted "in the cloud" and commercial entities will be allowed to mine that data to market products to students. FACT: While some schools and districts may independently contract with third-party data or technology firms that use cloud services, each school and district is still the owner of that information, and such a decision would have no connection to the federal government. Under FERPA, this data may not be shared with any third party (commercial entity) or used for any purpose without prior consent from the school or district for a specific purpose allowed under FERPA. These specific, allowable purposes do not include marketing products or selling items directly to students.
*Source: U.S. Department of Education
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