"I want to know how many parents here are aware that the goal of Common Core Standards isn't to prepare our children for world class universities, it's to prepare them for community colleges," he said at the meeting.

"Don't stand for this," he urged the parents in attendance. "Parents, you need to question these people, do the research, it's online," he told them, before a police security officer pulled him out of the meeting.

Charges against him were dropped the following week.

The Carroll Values Educational Freedom and Excellence parent group in Carroll County has published "Why Common Core Must Be Stopped," a compilation of 11 "myths" about the standards' effectiveness.

"Common Core takes control of education away from parents and the local officials they elect," the document reads under "Myth #1: Common Core is not a federal takeover of education."

"The standards are COPYRIGHTED and owned by private organizations," the pamphlet continues. "Core VIOLATES the spirit of federal law by federalizing education."

Weisenhoff stressed that Common Core is not a federal program. However, he did admit that states that adopt Common Core State Standards are eligible for funds from the federal Race to the Top program.

Race to the Top, "provides funding to consortia of States to develop assessments that are valid, support and inform instruction, provide accurate information about what students know and can do, and measure student achievement against standards designed to ensure that all students gain the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and the workplace," according to the program website.

"If a state opts out of doing the Common Core State Standards, then the feds will not provide them Race to the Top funds," Weisenhoff said.

He said federal money only accounts for 5.7 percent of the school system's fiscal 2014 budget.

He also noted that the county recently applied for a $30 million grant from the Race to the Top program.

He also said that BCPS — and every other school district implementing the new standards — was able to retain its curriculum-writing power.

"The standards, they are the things that students should know when they leave a specific grade level," Weisenhoff said. "The curriculum, which is what we do in Baltimore County Public Schools, is what we do in the classroom."

Making it work in the classroom

Melanie Coates, who chairs the english department at Catonsville High School, said she works as a curriculum designer with the Maryland State Department of Education and has been working with Common Core State Standards since before the start of the school year.

"I've been immersed in this world [of Common Core] for probably five years now," she said. "They tell us what we need to know, what students need to be ready for college and careers.

"Those anchor standards are then backwards mapped all the way down to pre-K. It's pretty well mapped out what's expected for students at each grade level."

The standards are general, she said, and do not prevent advanced students from moving beyond the standards for their grade levels or prevent assistance for those students not meeting the standards for their grade.

"Instead of it being a crapshoot, like what does a high school diploma mean in the United States?" Coates said. "Now it has a little bit more consistency."

She said the new standards encourage more thorough reading and provide students opportunities to think outside the box.

"After third grade, we stop teaching kids how to read, and we just assume that those skills they've learned up to third grade will carry them through," Coates said. "[Common Core teaches] how do you deal with things that are a little more complicated in the way they're explained.

Because she has been teaching Advanced Placement classes for a number of years, Coates said the shift to teaching Common Core standards has not been too different.

When teaching an AP class, she said, students must be prepared to be tested on any number of broad concepts taught throughout the course of an entire year during the final exam in May. Teaching Common Core for the PARCC assessment is very similar, she said.

"I had to pack a very big tool bag for those kids," she said of preparing her AP students for the cumulative test. "I've sort of taken that back now to all my classes.

"You have to really empower kids to be able to learn things on their own [with Common Core]. When students don't understand an article, rather than leaping in and becoming an enabler or becoming a crutch, you want to teach them the skills they need when they don't understand. That's required us to slow down what we do and maybe take a few things out that we had in the past."

"Now it's all about reflecting on their own learning and empowering them to becoming their own learners."