Achieve Inc., the progressive nonprofit education company that helped develop the Common Core standards, says that its third national poll shows the standards and the tests aligned with them have “solid voter support.”
The company states its poll was conducted on its behalf by Republican polling company Public Opinion Strategies and Democrat polling company Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, which together surveyed 800 registered voters last November. The sampling error of the poll is + 3.5%.
A review of the company’s announcement about the poll, however, suggests its headline exaggerates the findings, especially since most surveyed knew little or nothing about Common Core.
Achieve states the poll, titled “Voter Perceptions: Common Core State Standards & Tests,” “shows that awareness of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is inching up, even though nearly two-thirds of those surveyed still have heard ‘nothing’ or ‘not too much’ about the CCSS.”
“Of those that said they had read, seen or heard recently about the standards, opinions were almost equally split between favorable and unfavorable, yet a plurality still favor implementation,” the report reads. “Once voters were read a brief description of the CCSS, a solid majority, 69%, favored implementing the standards.”
The “brief description of the CCSS” read to participants is as follows:
Over the last few years a new set of educational standards were developed for English and math for students in grades K through 12. They are called the Common Core State Standards and are now being taught in classrooms in 45 states and across the country. The standards were developed under the guidance of state governors and state school chiefs who relied on teachers, content experts, and higher education faculty to help draft and review them. The goal of the standards is to help all students have the knowledge and skills they need in English and math so that they will be prepared as they leave high school and enter the workforce or go on to college, and that all students would be held to the same expectations, regardless of their state, school, or district.
Not surprisingly, after hearing a statement with such lofty rhetoric, Achieve can say 69 percent of those surveyed supported implementing the standards, with 36 percent strongly favoring them.
Achieve states that these results reinforce “the conclusion that more knowledge about the CCSS leads to a more positive view of the standards.”
The poll results might have been different if participants were read a statement that contained the truth, including the fact that Achieve itself is one of the developers of the Common Core standards and has received millions in grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the primary private source of funding for Common Core, to design and promote the standards.
Prior to June 2009, when the Common Core standards were completed, Achieve Inc. received $23.5 million from the Gates Foundation. After the standards’ completion, the progressive nonprofit received another $13.2 million, and another nearly $9.3 million in June of 2012 “to strengthen and expand the ADP Network, provide more support to states for CCSS implementation, and build strategic national and statewide alliances by engaging directly with key stakeholders.”
If participants in Achieve’s survey were read the following statement about the Common Core standards, they might have responded differently:
The Common Core State Standards are a federally promoted, unproven education initiative introduced in the Obama administration’s 2009 stimulus bill through a competitive grant program called Race to the Top (RTTT). States could apply and compete for federal grant money as long as they adopted the Common Core, a set of nationalized standards and aligned curricula and testing that allows for a greater role of government in education, higher levels of social engineering, student data collection, and teacher evaluations based on student performance on assessments aligned with the standards.
The National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and nonprofit progressive education think tank Achieve Inc developed the standards, and both the NGA and the CCSSO are the publishers and owners of the copyright of the Common Core State Standards.
The 45 state boards of education, most of them unelected, that signed on to the untested Common Core standards did so with little, if any, public or media scrutiny, prior to even seeing the standards themselves.
The implementation of Common Core has been privately funded primarily by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, underscoring the alliance of government political elites and corporatists in this academic initiative.
Achieve’s “poll” is, at best, wishful thinking on its part and more likely a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that the Common Core standards have become so controversial that they are likely to be a primary election issue in the states this year.
As Shane Vander Hart summarized at Truth in American Education Tuesday, a total of 33 states have some form of legislation intended to either repeal or delay implementation of the Common Core standards, the associated testing, and the student data collection.
Despite this reality, Sandy Boyd, Achieve’s CEO and Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, wrote, “Supporters of the CCSS have a solid base of support, but this survey is also a reminder of the importance of talking to voters regularly. Voters are open-minded, believe that the quality of education is important and need solid information about the Common Core that gets past the noise and the scare tactics.”
Voters do want high quality education, but they won’t attain that goal with Common Core. The Common Core standards are, as Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) wrote in an op-ed for Breitbart News, a means to “federalize education.”
“While access to federal funding sounds appealing, let’s remember that each dollar spent in Washington, D.C. ultimately means higher federal taxes and/or more federal debt,” Bridenstine said. “States should not attempt to balance their budgets by outsourcing education funding and control to the federal government.”
“Common Core (by any name) relinquishes the advantages of the federal system established by the Constitution,” he added. “Mistakes made by top-down centralized policy affect the whole nation… True education reform would put power back in the hands of the states and local school boards, where government is closest to parents and students.”