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COMMON CORE: What it is and Why Nevada adopted it

RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) -- Common Core standards are still a hot topic, even almost five years after Nevada adopted them.

"Capitalize holidays, product names and geographic names," said Washoe School District Chief Academic Officer Scott Bailey. "To me there's nothing really harmful in that standard. It's truly what a student is expected to know and be able to do by the end of Grade 2."

Nevada Deputy Superintendent of Education Steve Canavero said standards alone don't ensure a good education.

"To suddenly suggest that standards are going to do something in absence of everything else is false," Canavero said. "We know that standards are the bedrock of our system, but we know that it comes down to great teaching and great leading."

Canavero said Nevada adopted Common Core in 2010 because students weren't graduating high school ready for the real world.

"In 2010 if it were acute, then it's almost an emergency in 2015, in the sense of the skills gap between how we graduate our students in K-12 and what the workforce is telling us they need and what higher education is saying that they need as well," he said.

Bailey said education officials compared the previous Nevada standards to Common Core and there was big gap.

"They were able to determine that these were of more rigor and higher quality," Bailey said.

"That gap was so significant in mathematics that we phased it in over four years," Canavero said.

Linnea Wolters was part of the Washoe County team who introduced Common Core to the schools. She said there is still a public misunderstanding of what it is and said it is important to understand Common Core shapes standards, not curriculum. So it dictates what the students must know - not how they must learn it.

"Curriculum decisions are made at the district level and even to some degree at a building level," Wolters said.

The first class of Common-Core-only students will graduate in 2023. Wolters and Canavero said it will take a while to know how they compare to non-Common-Core students, but we don't know exactly how long that could be.

"We are not going to see the longterm effects of Common Core I would say not even seven years from now because learning to implement Common Core well is an ongoing process," Wolters said.

"I don't know if it's going to take decades," Canavero said. "I think it will take a number of years to really understand how the standards are being implemented, being taught and what that does for our students."

Tuesday we'll hear from two people who are recognized as national experts on Common Core who said the standards are doing a disservice to our students. We'll also hear from teachers and school officials on what, if any, concerns parents have expressed locally about Common Core.

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