Poll: Teachers, Parents Souring on Common Core Quickly

A results of a new poll show a heated debate over Common Core.

The annual poll by EducationNext first conducted in 2007, is given to a representative sampling of about 5,000 American adults and public school teachers, covering important issues in education.

Here’s a closer look at some of the results:

Common Core

The issue of Common Core first made its appearance on the poll in 2011, and with this years’ results, it is clear that many people have still not decided where they stand on the topic.

Public debate over the nationwide Common Core standards began with the rush to implement them in order to satisfy the federal Race to the Top initiative.  While the majority of the 45 states that adopted the standards remain committed to them, other states have voiced a fear of federal control and worry over using the standards in teacher evaluations.  Currently, five states – Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina – have rejected the standards or are in the process of appealing them.

According to the survey results, this opposition is growing.  In 2013, 13% of the public polled were opposed to the standards.  That number has increased to 26% this year, with public support dropping from 65% in 2013 to 53% this year.

Similar results were seen from teachers polled, where 12% opposed them last year.  That number has increased to 40% this year.  While 76% of teachers supported the standards last year, that number has dropped to 46% this year.

Remarkably, there is the flip in opinions on the standards between teachers and the public.  While teachers were more positive in their views on the standards in 2013 than the public were (76% of teachers vs. 65% of the public), this year they are less positive than the public (46% of teachers vs. 53% of the public).

Even more interestingly, when the words “Common Core” were taken out of the question, public support for the standards rose from 53% to 68%.  This could mean that the public is not against a set of national standards, or that they simply do not understand the Common Core, they merely oppose the label.

Other Issues

The poll also asked participants how they felt teachers were performing in local schools.  While the public gave 51% of area teachers a grade of A or B, they also gave a staggering one-fifth of teachers an unsatisfactory grade of D or F.  Teachers who took the poll were more lenient, giving 69% a grade of A or B, and only 13% a D or F.

Also discussed were alternatives to public school.  More than 25% of those polled who have school-age children had used, or are currently using, a method of schooling other than a traditional public school.

School choice was supported across the board at around 50% for tax credits, charter schools, vouchers for students in failing schools and universal vouchers.  The only decrease in support was seen in vouchers for low-income families, which received 37% in support.

The public was also less inclined to offer support for using additional funds for reducing class sizes when they knew the costs associated with it — teacher pay and new books and technologies.