California Standards FAQs        (Preguntas más frecuentes)


Why are the California State Standards important?

High standards that are consistent across states provide teachers, parents, and students with a set of clear expectations to ensure that all students have the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life upon graduation from high school, regardless of where they live. The California State Standards (CCSS) are aligned to the expectations of colleges, workforce training programs, and employers.

In addition, the CCSS were internationally benchmarked against the educational standards and expectations of high performing countries like Singapore, Finland, Korea, Canada and Japan.  In education, international benchmarking typically refers to analyzing high-performing education systems and identifying ways to improve our own systems based on those findings.


What is the difference between standards and curriculum?

Standards are expectations that define what students need to know and be able to do.   For instance, we expect students to know that 2+2=4, and why. Curriculum is the resources and materials used to teach students to learn that 2+2 =4, and why.  One could use a football analogy to explain the difference. A standard is the game rule that you need ten yards to gain a first down. Curriculum provides all of the options available to the team on offense to achieve the first down.

In education terms, decisions about standards are made at the state level, defining for teachers, school leaders and parents what students are expected to know by the end of the year. Curriculum decisions, including which resources and programs to use, are made by local districts.


What is the “state” of curriculum in California and MVWSD?

In 2009, California suspended the process and procedures for adopting instructional materials until the 2013-14 school year.  In 2011, the Governor and State Legislature extended the suspension of State Board of Education (SBE) adoptions of instructional materials until the 2015-16 school year.  Unfortunately, while the suspension of adoptions ends in July 2015, the State has not yet established a schedule for the cycle of future adoptions.

Recent Educational Code Revisions(enacted via AB 1246 (Brownley) authorized the SBE to adopt new Common Core State Standards (CCSS)-aligned K-8 instructional materials for mathematics.  EC Section 60211 (enacted via SB 201 (Liu)) authorized the SBE to adopt new CCSS-aligned K-8 instructional materials for English language arts/English language development (ELA/ELD) no later than November 2015.

The SBE adopted new mathematics instructional materials in January 2014, but MVWSD, like many districts in California, is concerned with the quality of the newly adopted materials. For example, a comparison of our enVision Mathematics materials with the new enVision Common Core edition showed very little change in design that would address the mathematical practices and changes in the CCSS.  The SBE is not expected to adopt ELA/ELD materials prior to the 2015-16 school year.

With that being said, we know that teachers need new materials in order to teach the CCSS effectively, and we want to ensure that any new materials we purchase are of the highest quality.  To that end, MVWSD, like many other districts in Santa Clara County, has convened a mathematics committee to take on the responsibility of researching, piloting, and recommending new math materials for adoption and use in the 2015-16 school year.  The committee will look at the California adopted list of materials, as well as materials from other states and publishers.  In addition, the District will keep a close watch on the progress with ELA/ELD materials so we can move forward in this area as soon as possible.

Teachers are already teaching to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) even though effective new textbooks are not yet available. We continue to use our current instructional materials--and are modifying instructional strategies and supplementing curriculum. Teachers are focusing specifically on the Common Core Standards with support from instructional coaches and will be using the texts along with supplemental materials to ensure that students are mastering the Standards.

How Can Parents Help at Home?

Parental involvement is a key component to educational success. Students and teachers are hard at work every day learning and understanding the important standards. Getting involved in some of the following activities is a great way to reinforce the learning that is going on in class and support your child’s progress.

  • Read every night to your child and have them read to you. Try reading a variety of different texts.
  • Try some books, newspaper articles, magazines, on-line articles, or newsletters.
  • Practice math facts weekly to build fact fluency.
  • Practice personal responsibility by having your child be in charge of his/her lunch, work, etc.
  • Have your child keep a personal journal to reflect on important learning and events.
  • Play educational games to practice skills they learned in school.
  • Use some of the online resources that are available to learn a different way of doing something. (There is a list available at )
  • Ask questions like, “Why is that answer correct? How do you know? What might be a different way to approach that problem?” Etc.
  • Get involved at your school and participate in parent events.