The Myth of the Massive Core

(Initiation of the Common Core State Standards)

Part 1:

Over the years I have heard many an exasperated teacher bemoan the impossibility of getting through all the content found in the “outrageously massive” core curriculum. Typically, this frustration is shared in faculty meetings or team meetings with the expectation that everyone in the room will understand and concede the point. The “massive core” has become an accepted truism in education and the convenient response to more than a few difficult questions:

“My child seems to be struggling with (fill-in the blank) concept…what are you going to do to get my child caught up?”…. “I would love to stop everything and just focus on this issue…but the core is soooo massive”…

“Have you developed a curriculum map to guide your instruction?”… “Sure… I have created a loose map that targets the key objectives…I can’t teach it all because the core is soooo massive”…

“How do you monitor student understanding of the core standards?” … “I do the best I can…it is very difficult to focus on the core directly because it is soooo massive” …

“Are you familiar with the core standards?” “Of course…I have been teaching (fill-in the blank) grade for years and am pretty sure I understand it as well as anyone…but seriously, the core is soooo massive….”

So…just how massive are the Common Core State Standards? The table below simply identifies the number of standards found in each subject and grade level.


Grade #of Math Objectives # of L/A Objectives
First 21 44
Second 26 42
Third 25 44
Fourth 27 44
Fifth 26 44
Sixth 29 43


Clearly the table does not provide enough information to determine the amount of time it takes to teach a concept, assess for student mastery and re-teach and reassess when needed.Teachers will need to actually spend time evaluating the core…they will need to become intimately familiar with the outlined concepts and expectations. They will need to determine how they are going to teach the concepts…will the current textbook work? What materials and resources will I need? What order will I teach the concept and how will I assess and monitor my students’ performance? A considerable amount of work to be sure, but is it asking too much of our teachers?

Take some time to review the Common Core State Standards and decide for yourself.

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Part 2 in this series will address the myth head-on and debunk the “Myth of the Massive Core”.

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