The process of adopting the Common Core State Standards has evolved over several years through collaborations of state-level education advocates and lawmakers. The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) led the work of creating state-level standards in English language arts/literacy and mathematics for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2010, states began joining the Common Core State Standards Initiative after local discussion and passage of legislation. Several states are implementing CCSS while some are delaying implementation.
Key Events: A Common Core Timeline
2007: CCSSO gathers state education chiefs at its Annual Policy Forum to begin discussing the need for standardized tests to be implemented at the state level. While many states had K-12 educational standards in the 1990s and nearly all states were using standardized tests by the mid-2000s, there was little consistency from state to state. Education leaders became concerned about the potential for nationwide educational disparities and skewed data on national educational performance.
2008: The CCSSO collaborates with NGA and Achieve, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, to release a report calling on states to work together on upgrading educational standards. Five steps are developed to build a more “globally competitive education system in America.” The first step challenges states to create a “common core of internationally benchmarked standards.” The report also suggests how the U.S. Department of Education can support the effort, but says state leaders and local educators should be responsible for changing educational policy.
2009: By the end of the year, NGA and CCSSO receive commitments from the governors of 48 states, two territories and Washington, D.C., to begin creating the Common Core standards. Groups of local and state educational leaders and teachers form to review the proposed standards. The first draft of the college- and career-readiness standards generates more than 1,000 responses from feedback groups, educators and the public. By the end of the year, a revised draft is ready for review by state-level leaders and independent review panels.
2010: Early in the year, NGA and CCSSO release another revision and invite feedback from educators and the public. By June, the final standards are published. By the end of the year, 39 states join the initiative. Minnesota adopts only the ELA/literacy standards. In most states, school boards must formally approve and adopt the standards, but in some states, a state government official or legislative body makes the decision.
2011: States enact processes for reviewing, ratifying and adopting the Common Core standards. Many states hold public forums to solicit more feedback and continue to leverage work groups assigned to create supplements to the standards for implementation. By the end of the year, five more states adopt the standards, and Kentucky begins full implementation during the 2011-2012 school year.
2012: Wyoming adopts the Common Core standards and five more states begin full implementation during the 2012-2013 school year. States across the country continue to tailor addendums and suggested teacher resources to prepare for implementation.
2013: By the end of the year, 45 states, 4 territories and the District of Columbia have adopted the ELA/literacy and math standards. Four states — Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia — do not join Common Core. During the 2013-2014 school year, 20 states begin full implementation. But some states have second thoughts, and legislation is introduced to suspend or delay implementation of assessments in Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The states are concerned primarily about the cost of implementation, which includes student testing procedures and processes for teacher training.
2014: 14 states are set to implement the standards during the 2014-2015 school year. Several states delay implementation, citing lack of resources and funds for teachers. Other states seek to repeal the standards and replace them with their own, while others plan to continue the Common Core but under another name to distance the standards from the political turmoil and controversy surrounding implementation. In late March, Indiana became the first state to withdraw from the Common Core. South Carolina’s governor signed a bill May 30 that will replace Common Core for the 2015-2016 school year. Oklahoma repealed the standards in June. In early 2014, the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, issues a statement from the NEA president calling for a “course correction” on the standards, saying implementation had been “botched” in several states. While the NEA has not officially withdrawn support for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the union recommended several ways to improve the implementation process, including a more teacher-centered approach to field testing materials and assessments.
2015: Two states, Nevada and Rhode Island, are scheduled to implement the standards during the 2015-2016 school year.Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- "Standards in Your State," Common Core State Standards Initiative
- "Wyoming's Common Core State Standards," Wyoming Department of Education
- "Development Process," Common Core State Standards Initiative
- "Our History," Achieve Inc.
- National Governors Association, Council of Chief State School Officers, Achieve Inc., "Benchmarking for Success: Ensuring U.S. Students Receive a World-Class Education," Education Week
- KSE Focus, "State Common Core Standards Under Attack," Congress.org
- Allie Bidwell, "The Politics of Common Core," U.S. News & World Report
- Dennis Van Roekel, "NEA President: We Need a Course Correction on Common Core," NEA Today