Only One in Four Public School Parents Approve of Common Core

Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup released their annual poll of Americans on education issues on Sunday. This year included phone interviews with 1,000 adults and Internet surveys with 3,499 adults.

Some highlights:

  • 54 percent of respondents are against teachers using the Common Core with only 24% approving the standards.  The results among public school parents doesn’t change much, only 25% of parents support Common Core with 54% disapproving.
  • 35 percent of blacks are against Common Core with 41% being in favor.
  • 50 percent of Hispanics are against Common Core with only 29% being in favor.
  • Across party lines more people oppose Common Core than favor it. 69% of Republicans opposed Common Core with 14% approving.  38% of Democrats oppose Common Core with 35% approving. 50% of independents oppose Common Core with 23% in favor.
  • 64% said there was too much of an emphasis on standardized testing.
  • 44% said parents shouldn’t be allowed to opt their children out with 41% saying they should. Looking at just public school parents however 47% said they should be allowed to opt their children out of assessments. 40% of public school respondents said no.
  • 55% of parents said they wouldn’t opt their children out of assessments, but 31% said they would excuse their student.
  • Only 14% of Americans believe that standardized testing is “very important” for measuring their school’s effectiveness.

Read the entire report.

Teacher Support of Common Core Plummets, Public Opposition Grows

Two polls recently came out, and neither brings good news for the Common Core State Standards.

Education Next released their poll which I will have to say is garbage when it comes to their national sample.  They have shown for the last two years a majority of Americans support Common Core.  That is an outlier compared to other polling I have seen over the past few months.  Most previous national polls have shown a sharp division with a sizeable chuck of Americans who don’t have an opinion or don’t know.  It also is the polar opposite of the PDK/Gallup poll just released as far as numbers are concerned.

Even so, their poll shows eroding support.  In 2013 they said 65% of Americans supported Common Core with 13% who were opposed.  In 2014 they claim 53% support the standards while opposition has grown to 26%.

They state the sharpest drop has been with Republicans where support has dropped from 57% to 43% and opposition has grown from 16% to 37%.

All of those numbers – take them or leave them.  The most useful and frankly interesting aspect of this poll is what has happened among teachers – you know the ones who are supposed to “educated” about the Common Core while the rest of us are know nothing rubes.

In 2013 76% of teachers supported the Common Core with only 12% being opposed.  In 2014, support has dropped by 30%!  Only 46% support Common Core and now 40% of teachers oppose.

Could it be that teachers are now experiencing more than talking points and empty promises?  Yes I believe so.  They are now see the impact it will make in the classroom, and it doesn’t appear to be positive.

The PDK/Gallup poll shows that public awareness about the Common Core is growing and with it opposition.  Last year this time only 1 in 3 Americans knew anything about the Common Core.  Now 8 in 10 Americans say they have heard of it with 47% who said they have heard a great deal or fair amount about the standards.

60% of Americans according to their poll oppose using Common Core.

Think about this… that is slightly less than the number of Americans last year who hadn’t heard about Common Core.  PDK/Gallup writes, “for the 60% of Americans who oppose using the Common Core, their most important reason is that it will limit the flexibility that teachers have to teach what they think is best.”

Among public school parents the opposition grows with 62% saying the oppose Common Core with 32% saying the approve.  Republicans overwhelmingly disapprove of the Common Core by a 76% to 17% margin.  Independents oppose 60% to 34%.  A majority of Democrats support the Common Core, but even in their party there is a significant opposition with 53% who support and 38% who oppose.

Americans are split in their views of standardized testing with 54% saying they are not helpful and 45% saying they are.  Those numbers are fairly consistent within 1 or 2 points when you compare with Republicans, Democrats and Independents.  When you look at public school parents the disdain for standardized testing jumps. 68% say standardized testing is not helpful, while only 31% say that it is.

Polling the Common Core State Standards

Phi Delta Kappa International teamed up with Gallup to poll the public attitudes toward public schools.   They polled 1,002 Americans who are 18-years of age and older.  This year they asked specific questions about the Common Core State Standards.  They introduce this section of the polling data:

Attempts to create national education standards in the U.S. has stalled until the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers undertook an effort to created voluntary standards with control vested at the state rather than federal level.  Educators, policy makers and philanthropists have embraced the Common Core State Standards that currently are constructed only for mathematics and English language arts.  Forty-five states and the District of Columbia have adopted them.  We decided to measure public support for these standards.

My first thought is how were these questions introduced to those being polled?  Perhaps they weren’t.  If they were based on the description above there is a definite slant.  As far as saying “policy makers” have embraced these standards – what state legislature has voted on these?  Um, none.  So how can you say policy makers have embraced these?  Also how can you say that control has been vested at the state rather than federal level with Race to the Top and these standards being a condition for No Child Left Behind waivers?  That’s a stretch!

Then I have to wonder how many people surveyed really know anything about the standards.  Have they read them?  Likely not.

The first question they asked was, “Do you believe common core standards would help make education in the United States more competitive globally, less competitive globally, or have no effect?

  National Totals % GOP % Dem % Ind %
More competitive 53 44 65 50
Less competitive 7 5 5 9
Have no effect 37 43 29 39
Don’t know/refused 4 8 2 2

We keep hearing that we’re in the middle of the pack so this result isn’t surprising.  The Republicans surveyed are definitely more split.  Contrast this response to the third question asked about whether it will improve education.  I find it interesting to see some disparity.  Those who believe it will make us more competitive internationally aren’t as sure that it will improve the quality of education in our communities, especially among independents.

The second question they asked was, “Some educators believe that common core standards would provide more consistency in the quality of education between school districts and between states.  Do you believe that having common core standards would provide more consistency in the quality of education between school districts and states?

  National Totals % GOP % Dem % Ind. %
Yes 75 73 82 70
No 23 25 16 28
Don’t Know/Refused 2 2 2 2

Of course people are going to say yes.  I’d probably answer yes to this question.  They are uniform standards, but I also believe they would make education nationwide consistently mediocre to bad.

The third question on the common core: “Do you believe common core standards would improve the quality of education in your community, decrease the quality of education in your community, or have no effect.

  National Totals % GOP % Dem % Ind. %
Improve the quality of education 50 46 60 43
Decrease the quality of education 8 6 5 12
Have no effect 40 44 33 43
Don’t know/refused 2 3 2 2

The majority (55%) of independents believe that CCSS will either decrease the quality of education or have no effect.  Republicans also have an majority 50% to 46% The national total demonstrates a divide than what the graph above shows – 50 to 48.  That’s hardly a ringing endorsement.

Also as I mentioned before how much does the general public know about these standards and how were they described?  That would certainly impact polling on this subject.  How could the general public really know whether they are going to be effective since they haven’t been field tested.  I feel like these standards are being approached much the same way that health care reform was.  Just imagine those who are pushing these standards saying something similar to what Nancy Pelosi said about health care reform, “we won’t know what are in the standards and how effective they’ll be until we implement them.”

How reassuring.