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Parents Facing Common Core Confusion

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SACRAMENTO-

Students across the country face a new and higher standard of learning called Common Core.

As tough as it is for students, it's the parents who are, in many cases, headed back to school. In Sacramento, parents are getting a crash course in Common Core standards.

“It`s not what you know, as much as it`s how do you know what you know,” seventh grade teacher Lysette Lemay said.

Fern Bacon Middle School offers workshops for parents who get lost or don't get the new way of teaching. Simply put, it's not your mother's math or reading.

“It would complicate things rather than simplify things,” mom Debbie Salazar said.

That sentiment echoed across the country. Currently, 43 states and Washington, D.C. have adopted the standards. The rest have opted out.

Instead of memorization, formulas and shortcuts, the focus is on concepts and multiple ways to get the answer.

“2 +2 is 4. That`s awesome,” Lemay said. “Can you show me that besides an algorithm? Can you show me that? Can you justify you`re thinking?'

The goal: encourage a higher level of thinking to compete in a global economy.

“Not just sitting and being sponges where they`re being told how to think and what to think. Instead, what do you think and that you are an active learner,” Lemay said.

While students are a clean slate, it's parents who need to be retrained.

There are videos and Sacramento City Unified School District started offering workshops, so helping with homework isn't so daunting.

“I practice with her now and that`s really nice and you think about it,” mom Aracely Molina said.

Even with the extra help, not all parents are sold on the new benchmarks.

“It seems more abstract instead of getting straight to the answer,” Salazar said. “It’s dancing your way to the answer.”

Administrators don't expect Common Core will be embraced immediately.

“It`s definitely a paradigm shift from what we`ve done in the past in terms of how we instruct,” Sacramento City Superintendent Jose Banda said. “It's all focused on student learning, student engagement, students working together.”

It appears adjustment will be a long process.

Right now, parents aren't giving common core high marks.

A recent Gallup poll found two-thirds of teachers surveyed have concerns about the program and nearly one third of parents oppose the new standards.