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As tests measuring measuring students’ mastery of Common Core education standards begin in states across the country, many parents, students — and even educators — are left with questions.

To help boost understanding of the state standards, and why they will help our children succeed in school and life, NewsOne and the National Urban League sat down with educators, parents and students whose lives are touched by Common Core.

First off, it’s important to understand that Common Core “is not the enemy,” said middle school English teacher, Tammi Butler. It may seem to some as if students are being forced learn differently, but really they are just being taught “to learn with more depth,” Butler explained.

In an interview at the New York Urban League office in Harlem, Butler elaborated, “What I like mostly about Common Core [reading] standards is the give students the opportunity to think deeper about not only a story or a text, but about their lives.” The curricula being taught from the standards are “enabling students to be more aware of vocabulary, their skills and their strategies.” Butler said it’s no different from what was being taught before, but “now it’s done with more depth.”

RELATED STORY: Use Your Words: Why Common Core English Standards Matter

The benefits of the Common Core curricula to her students, she continued, is that “Now, they are going to look at life a little differently. They will be prepared when they go to college. They are going to be ready. They are going to have the skills, and maybe they are going to be able to compete on a global level.”

To her fellow teachers, who haven’t universally embraced the standards, Butler advised, “Accept and acknowledge that Common Core is here to stay.”

RELATED STORY: Common Core: Creating Gold “Standards,” Not Dictates

Common Core standards give teachers “the opportunity to expose students to many more different types of texts, complex or otherwise,” said Butler. Educators teaching the reading standards are allowed flexibility in the resources they are able to use, with the ability to introduce “unconventional texts” but more importantly, text about the students’ own lives.

For more information about Common Core visit