Even though Common Core State Standards have been around for years, it still seems as though folks are having trouble really understanding what they are—despite the fact that it’s built right into the name.

To put it plainly, the Common Core State Standards are a set of standards. State. Standards.

Despite that crystal-clear title, the Los Angeles Times editorial board couldn’t be bothered with getting it right—and not just when it comes to the concept of the standards. It also gets it wrong when describing how the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act, treats the standards.

Although it requires annual testing to continue for third- through eighth-graders and once for high-schoolers, it abandons federal curriculum 1) There’s no “federal curriculum,” only state standards. 2) Standards weren’t “abandoned.” States are required to adopt challenging standards, which wasn't in No Child Left Behind. and performance standards in favor of greater state autonomy. As a result, it leaves entirely squishy what sorts of educational standards states are expected to set, and what steps even the worst schools will have to take to show they’re improving.

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