Poll: Only 40% of Teachers Support Common Core

By Barbara Hollingsworth | August 18, 2015 | 10:34 AM EDT

Opponents of Common Core explain their attempt to rescind state approval of the national education standards in the rotunda of the Mississippi State Capitol on Jan. 27, 2015. (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Less than half of Americans (49 percent) and only 40 percent of teachers now say they support Common Core State Standards (CCSS). 

Public support has dropped 16 percent since 2013, when 65 percent of Americans were in favor of the Common Core standards, according to the ninth annual Education Next poll released Tuesday.

But the greatest change in opinion has been among teachers.

In 2013, 76 percent of teachers said they were in favor of the Common Core. In the new survey, only 40 percent say the favor Common Core--representing a 36-point drop in two years.

The poll, conducted in May and June by Paul Peterson and Martin West of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, asked a representative sample of 4,083 this question: "As you may know, in the last few years states have been deciding whether or not to use the Common Core, which are standards for reading and math that are the same across the states. In the states that have these standards, they will be used to hold public schools accountable for their performance. Do you support or oppose the use of the Common Core standards in your school?"

(See ednext_2015_poll_1.pdf )

Among teachers and parents, the two groups most directly impacted by CCSS, “respondents who believe the standards have had a negative effect on schools (51%) exceed those who think they have had a positive effect (28%),” researchers noted.

Support for Common Core is down among both Republicans and Democrats. In 2013, 57 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of Democrats said they supported CCSS. But by 2015, that percentage had dropped 20 points for Republicans (to 37 percent) and seven points for Democrats (to 57 percent).

Now exactly half (50 percent) of Republicans responding to the survey say they oppose Common Core, compared to just 16 percent of Republicans who were against it in 2013.

Among Democrats, who are the most likely to support Common Core, opposition over the last two years rose consistently, from 10 percent in 2013, to 17 percent in 2014, to 25 percent in 2015.

According to its website, Common Core is “a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics” that have already been adopted by 42 states and the District of Columbia.

Four states – Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia – never adopted the Common Core in the first place.

Four other states – Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina – initially adopted the standards, but then later rescinded them. Mississippi and Tennessee have taken steps to do so as well.

Minnesota adopted the Common Core English language arts standards in 2010, but not the mathematics standards.

Proponents claim that standardizing school curriculums across the U.S. will raise student achievement and better prepare future American workers for the rigorous competition they will face in a global economy.

But Common Core has been harshly criticized for eliminating poetry and classic literature, requiring school children to solve unnecessarily complicated math problems, and for not taking young children’s developmental stages into account by asking first graders to do things like “compose and decompose plane and solid figures”.

During the 2014-15 school year, tens of thousands of students opted out of the new standardized tests that align with Common Core. Some school districts reported participation rates of less than 50 percent, which could jeopardize their portion of the program’s $4 billion in federal funding.

Opponents also say that Common Core amounts to a federal takeover of education, which historically has been a function of local governments.

“Adopting Common Core national standards and tests surrenders control of the content taught in local schools to distant national organizations and bureaucrats in Washington,” wrote Lindsey Burke, education fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who called Common Core "the antithesis of reform that would put control of education in the hands of those closest to students: local school leaders and parents.”

Related: Parents Lead Charge as More States Push Back Against Common Core