CDE publishes new common core guide for educators, parents

The California Department of Education released Monday its most comprehensive resource to date for administrators, teachers and parents on the new content requirements related to the common core standards.

The 600-page guide, titled A Look at Kindergarten through Grade Six in California Public Schools,' provides a compilation of all subject-matter curricula but with special attention to the new common core standards in English language arts and mathematics.

Organized by grade level, the new book provides easy access to what students should know and when they should know it - following the 2010 adoption of the common core by the California State Board of Education.

Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, said in a statement that the book, and its online version, represents part of the CDE's ongoing effort to bring the common core into the classroom.

The new common core standards will truly move what California students learn into the 21st century, with an emphasis on critical thinking and problem-solving," Torlakson said. "That makes it an exciting time in education, but a challenging time as well. We've created this bookâand its online counterpartâto give teachers a helping hand."

The common core, pushed by the Obama administration and developed by a consortium of 45 state education leaders, is intended to provide a national set of educational goals that can lead to not only better overall instruction but also more transparent assessments too.

California, with its billion-dollar budget shortfalls, has struggled to keep pace with other states after the common core standards were released and widely adopted. Currently, state legislation has set May, 2013 as the deadline for the state board to adopt new common core frameworks in math and new frameworks in common core English language arts a year later.

The big challenge, however, is providing the new set of instructional materials and added professional development needed to fully implement the common core.

SB 140, a stopgap measure adopted last fall, calls on the CDE to help develop a list of supplemental instructional materials that are aligned with the common core and could be made available to districts by next fall.

The new common core guide is considered an overview document that would help educators with their planning. The supplemental instructional materials would be intended to be used for more day-to-day lesson planning.

Next month, the CDE is expected to bring forward to the state board a proposal to establish the math Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee as well as criteria for evaluating supplement instructional materials.

The online version of the common core guide is available at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/233655.

To order the hard-copy publication of A Look at Kindergarten through Grade Six in California Public Schools: Transitioning to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics, contact the California Department of Education Press Sales Office at 1-800-995-4099 or by e-mail at sales@cde.ca.gov.