Since 2009, the National Governor's Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) have been working to develop common standards -- skills and areas of knowledge -- for English Language Arts and Mathematics in grades K through 12 in the nation's public schools. Adoption of the new "Common Core State Standards" is voluntary for the states. But the federal Department of Education made adoption of the standards a requirement for states to receive certain federal grant monies, so most states, including New York, have adopted them. New York State's Board of Regents formally adopted the Common Core State Standards in 2010, and will begin to implement them in public schools across the state in September of 2012. What are the Common Core Standards, and why is there so much controversy surrounding them? What are the promises and challenges of Common Core Standards?