Chances are you want to take the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), stuff them in a crate, and ship them far, far away. It is true that CCSS carries some nasty testing baggage, and there are a few kinks to work out, but there are definite advantages to keeping the CCSS. This is a good thing as most states plan to keep them for a while, and states that have discussed doing away with them have not taken serious steps to do so. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/04/22/traction-limited-in-rolling-back-common-core.html
Reason #1: Students from any state can enter your classroom mid-year and instantly be at ease and familiar with the learning language and expectations. No longer do you need to worry about that student who needs intensive intervention to get caught up because he just moved from a state that has the rigor of a cotton ball. (That would be nearly any state but yours.)
Reason #2: You now have access to the best lessons in the country. Because the standards have been well…standardized, teachers across the country are offering up their best lesson plans. There is a smorgasbord of CCSS lesson options, and all you have to do is go surfing. Education sites such as Edutopia zeroed in on what teachers need. There is a wealth of CCSS teaching ideas broken down by grade and subject. Your professional learning community is no longer limited to your building. You can now access lessons for a skill from anywhere in the world.
Reason #3: The skills your students need to know have been determined. There may be a few adjustments made to improve the flow of learning expectations, but again, this is no longer on your overfilled plate. These parameters free you to get creative with how you want to teach and what materials you will use. You don’t have to spin your wheels trying to decide what you want to teach, and if you use the Teacher’s Planning Partner plan book, you don’t have to decide when to teach what. (We did the work for you.) You and your students know what the end goal is. If your students need to present their claims and findings in their research, they are free to decide how that might look. Do they want to create a Public Service Announcement? Do they want to write a poem that includes their findings? Let their freak flag fly.