Though it is unclear how immediately we will be affected by this, the common core standards have been adopted by many states and seems to be gaining momentum. More information on the actual standards can be found at http://www.corestandards.org/ .
If you’re not inclined to read the entire standards document, which is still in development, here are some of the high points.
1. The main focus is on English Language Arts and Math.
2. The standards were developed by states working together, this is not a federal movement
3. The standards seem less bloated, allow room for school curriculum and allow teachers (and schools) to determine the specifics of what is taught
Excerpt from Common Core Standards
Key Ideas and Details (College Readiness Anchor Standards for Reading)
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize key supporting details and ideas
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of text
Note that it doesn’t say what text to read, though later it does give guidelines for choosing reading material. Each of those general points also goes into a little more detail for each grade level which seems similar to the “grid style” standards we are already familiar with.
We are also left to wonder, with the adoption of these standards, whether states will also opt to have a common test. Currently, with all states using their own tests, it can be hard to accurately determine how your school measures to those in other states. A common standardized test would solve this problem, but could also add a new problem with who develops and distributes this test. The entity making a NATIONAL test stands to have a lot of power (and money).