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Poll: Public, Teachers Souring On Common Core

A new poll from the group Education Next indicates that support for Common Core education standards has fallen significantly from a year ago.

The largest drop in support has occurred among educators. However, supporters of the new standards are still a slim majority, and significantly outnumber avowed opponents.

From 2013 to 2014, support for Common Core slipped from 65 percent of the public to 53 percent, while opposition doubled from 13 percent to 26 percent.

The decline was driven by a sharp drop in Republican support, which fell from 57 percent to 43 percent, while opposition soared from 16 to 37 percent. Democrats, on the other hand, had a statistically insignificant drop in support from 64 percent to 63 percent.

More dramatic, however, was a sharp change in the attitudes of teachers. In 2013, 76 percent of teachers supported Common Core and just 12 percent were opposed. In a single year, those numbers have shifted to 46 and 40 percent, respectively. Their growing opposition is notable, because the survey also found the teachers to be significantly better-informed about the nature of Common Core compared to the general public.

Common Core has faced attacks of increasing intensity from both the right and the left in past two years. Conservatives argue that the standards amount to a federal takeover of education because the Department of Education has encouraged their adoption, while liberals often complain that the standards encourage school systems to focus excessively on standardized tests.

The survey results indicate that it is Common Core in particular, and not multistate academic standards, that is losing support. A similar question, asking respondents their feelings about common academic standards without mentioning Common Core in particular, found 68 percent in support — almost identical to the support level found in 2012 when the same question was asked.

The survey asked on other education issues as well. One question split respondents into two groups, supplying one with information about teacher salaries and schools’ per-pupil expenditures, and then asked if they thought either should be increased should be increased.

While over 60 percent of the uninformed group favored increasing both teacher pay and per-pupil spending, when given information about how much is spent on each, support dropped to about 43 percent for boosting per-pupil spending and just 38 percent for raising teacher pay.

The poll, conducted in May and June of 2014, surveyed 5,266 U.S. adults and had a margin of error of plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.

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