Education Poll: 60 Percent Opposed to Common Core

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 06:10 PM

By Cathy Burke

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National education standards are losing the support of skeptical Americans, with 60 percent opposed to the Obama administration-touted Common Core guidelines, fearing they'll hamstring teachers in the classroom, a new survey shows.

The Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll, released Wednesday, found 81 percent of those polled have heard about Common Core, compared with just 38 percent last year.

Yet, 54 percent don't think standardized tests help teachers and 56 percent say local boards should be the biggest influence in what comprises the teaching curriculum, the poll found.

The survey also found more than 70 percent of Americans give President Barack Obama a C, D, or F grade in his support to public schools, his lowest rating on the poll since he took office.

The survey's margin of error was 4.6 percentage points.

"These findings have serious consequences for this nation's system of public education," a poll analysis noted.

"Should the federal government reduce its involvement in public education and thus risk
a reduced commitment to closing the well-documented achievement gap? Do local and state education leaders have the capacity and resources to transform America's public schools — especially during a time of unprecedented social upheaval, political gridlock, and calls for reform?"

The findings come as another poll by Education Next, showed a similar loss of faith in national education standards – by parents and teachers.

In the Education Next survey, only 53 percent of those surveyed supported Common Core this year compared with 65 percent last year. Also, only 46 percent of teachers were found to be supportive of the nationalized standards this year, compared to 76 percent in 2013.

"It's pretty apparent that the Common Core has become a polarizing term," Terry Holliday, the education commissioner of Kentucky, which was among the early adopters of the standards in 2010, told The Washington Post. 

But the issue could have a particularly sharp impact in Florida, where former Gov. Jeb Bush — a possible GOP candidate for president in 2016 — and his education foundation have helped promote Common Core, the Tampa Bay Times reports. 

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, on the other hand, has done a sharp about-face in his former support of the standards, and is now trying to repeal them in his state. 

"Given the increased media coverage this year, we were not surprised that an overwhelming majority of Americans have heard about the Common Core State Standards, but we were surprised by the level of opposition," William Bushaw, co-director of the poll and CEO of PDK International, told Education Week. 

"Supporters of the standards, and education in particular, face a growing challenge in explaining why they believe the standards are best in practice."

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