Common Core State Standards
NCSL Resources on the Common Core State Standards
Other Resources for the Common Core State Standards
When states began adopting the Common Core State Standards (the Standards), it prompted a spate of geographically and politically diverse responses from state legislatures, starting with Kentucky's passage of Senate Bill 1 in 2009 and continuing into 2013 legislative sessions.This webpage provides links to information for state legislators and legislative staff on the Standards on the following topics:
While the authority to adopt the Standards rested largely on state boards of education, adoption of the Standards impacted a number of policy areas overseen by state legislatures. State assessments, curriculum, instructional materials, and teacher evaluations systems represent only a sample of policy areas impacted by the Standards. As primary stakeholders in and overseers of state K-12 and higher education systems, state legislators play a critical role ensuring not only that their individual states effectively implement the Standards, but that the Standards align with their state’s overarching educational goals and objectives.
What are the Common Core State Standards?
In June 2009, governors and state commissioners of education from 48 states, two territories and the District of Columbia formally launched the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) through their respective organizations (the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers). CCSSI received additional support from a diverse cadre of political, education and business leaders.1
The objective of CCSSI was to identify and develop a common set of core knowledge and skills mastery in (1) mathematics and (2) English language arts (ELA) that every American high school graduate would need have mastered in order to enter college or a career ready to succeed. One year later, CCSSI released for state adoption the Common Core State Standards for mathematics and ELA. Learn more about the Standards here.
How Did States Adopt the Common Core State Standards?
In most states, state law delegates to state boards of education the authority to establish or adopt academic standards for statewide K-12 public education systems. In four states, however, the legislature retains authority to grant final approval of academic standards. The table below contains a breakdown of the state actor who adopted the Standards. Click here to access a webpage that contains detailed information on each state's adoption procedure.
Board of Education (or comparable state agency)
Chief State Education Officer (or similar state actor)
Legislative Approval Required
Did Not Adopt
District of Columbia
Northern Mariana Islands
Idaho (State Senate Education Committee approved Bd. of Edu. decision to adopt)
Kentucky (Kentucky General Assembly)
Maine (State Legislature approved Dept. of Ed.’s proposal to adopt)
Washington (State Superintendent thru authorization from state legislature)
***Minnesota adopts standards for individual academic subjects on an annual cycle as dictated by statute. During the 2009-2010 school year, the statute authorized the Commissioner of Education to “revise and align the state's academic standards and high school graduation requirements in language arts” only. Minnesota last revised is mathematics standards during the 2006-2007 school year. The state’s mathematics standards will not be reviewed again until the 2015-2016 school year. (See Minn. Stat. § 120B.023(2)).
1 National Governors Association, Realizing the Potential: How Governors Can Lead Effective Implementation of the Common Core State Standards. (Washington, D.C.: NGA, 2011), 3.