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Myths vs Facts
 Teachers Discuss Common Core Myths

Teachers in Bensenville District 2 began working with the Common Core State Standards four years ago, as soon as the standards were adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Dr. Kay Dugan, assistant superintendent for learning, led a presentation to dispel some of the misconceptions about the standards and what this new style of teaching and learning looks like in District 2 schools. Forty-five teachers and administrators joined Dr. Dugan to share their enthusiasm for the work being done in District 2.

Dr. Mary O’Brian, director of assessment for the Illinois State Board of Education, also attended the meeting and complimented the work of the district in both applying Common Core Standards and the district-developed assessments to measure learning.

“It’s so wonderful to see the collaboration, enthusiasm and determination of your staff,” Dr. O’Brian said.

Myths vs. facts

Myth 1 & 2: Students are unhappy and not engaged. The new standards dumb-down the curriculum
Leah Gauthier, learning coordinator, said students are working together and engaging in critical thinking in ways not imagined a few years ago. The video below provides examples of student learning today:
  • A gifted student presents a research project and received feedback from her peers. 
  • A 5th grade student self-evaluates fluency by recording herself reading, reviewing it and setting her own goals. 
  • Students in a middle school math class work together to problem solve and discuss mathematical principles. 
  • 4th grade students help each other with reading fluency, and collaborate virtually on articles and videos.
  • A 1st grade student demonstrates how he created a Powerpoint for a project.


Myth 3 & 4: Teachers are unhappy. 
The Common Core standards amount to a national curriculum for all schools.

Teaching to the standards is very different than following a text book and covering content, Dr. Dugan said. Teachers see students demonstrating what they understand at a deeper level with critical thinking and problem solving. Instead of a text book, lessons include a variety of resources, from books to videos to non-fiction articles. More than ever, teachers are involved in the day-to-day content of lessons in their classroom.

“We needed to craft curriculum that was more engaging and more rigorous. Today, we are continuing to revise units to make sure curriculum meets the standards and keeps kids engaged. For every unit that we write, we identify careers that students could do from learning what is in the unit,” said Amy Walsh, a consulting teacher.

Consulting teacher Robyn Ayers and 6th grade English teacher Katie Sullivan shared additional information about changes in English Language Arts and Christina Mellen, math specialist, shared more information about math changes. 

Today vs. Yesterday
Teachers joined in the conversation to share with board members what they are doing differently now and what is different in the classroom.

“I see my kids applying what they learned in one article to the next article they read. Its not about numbers its about quality,” said Patty Vlangos, a 2nd grade teacher.

“When I came to District 2 five years ago, it was me in my classroom by myself. Now we work so closely together even though we’re not in the same school. The collaboration has been amazing,” said Caitlin Lopata, a 4th grade teacher.

Additional information on CCSS Myth vs. facts handout 

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