61% of Public School Parents Know 'Little' or 'Nothing' About Common Core Education Standards

A new Gallup poll concerning public school parents’ views of the Common Core standards finds that even in states that have implemented the centralized standards, 27% of parents surveyed said they know “only a little” about the standards, while 29% know “nothing” about them at all, leaving 56% of public school parents with little to no knowledge of how and what their children are being taught right now.

Among public school parents in general, 30% said they know “only a little” about the Common Core, while 31% said they know “nothing” about the standards.

The poll, which was conducted via telephone interviews with a random sample of 639 K-12 public school parents living throughout the United States, has a margin of error of + 5 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

Gallup states that some survey results were based on 466 K-12 public school parents familiar with the Common Core standards, with a margin of error of +6 percentage points. Yet other results were based on 382 public school K-12 parents in the 33 states that have already implemented the standards. In this case, the margin of sampling error is +7 percentage points.

The survey results suggest that parents in states that have already implemented the centralized standards are only slightly more familiar with them than those in other states. Views about the standards tend to remain the same, whether parents live in states that are implementing the Common Core or not.

Regarding a survey question about positive versus negative impressions of the centralized standards, 35% of the parents surveyed said they had a positive impression of the Common Core standards, while 28% had a negative impression. However, 37% of parents said they either have never heard of Common Core or didn’t know enough about it to make a decision.

The survey suggests that relatively few parents feel strongly about the Common Core, and even among public school parents who say they are familiar with the standards, only 13% view them very positively and just 19% view them very negatively.

Ironically, the poll’s results show that, even if public school parents are mostly unfamiliar with the standards, they give the concepts associated with Common Core positive ratings.

A full 73% of the public school parents surveyed said having uniform standards is “very positive” or “positive” for education, and 65% said they believe standardized, computer-based testing to measure students’ performance will have a “very positive” or “positive” effect. In addition, 67% of the participants said linking teacher evaluations to their students’ performance on the Common Core-aligned tests would be a “very positive” or “positive” initiative.

When political party is a factor, the poll found that, among public school parents, only 26% of those who identify as Republican have a positive impression of Common Core, while 42% view the standards negatively. Among parents who identify as Democrats, 45% view the Common Core positively while 23% view the initiative negatively.

Regarding Common Core, Gallup states, “On one level, the program has been successful, achieving buy-in from 44 states. But there is still a long way to go…”

“Already, critics of the program are proving their muscle by slowing down or reversing implementation in some states,” Gallup continues, “and if this were to reach critical mass, it could derail the whole enterprise. But whether the critics speak for parents, generally, seems in doubt.”


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