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PDK/Gallup: Common Core Standards Opposed by Majority of Americans

A national poll has underscored the continued unpopularity of the Common Core standards with a majority of those surveyed opposing its use in America’s classrooms.

Published on Sunday, the 47th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the “public’s attitudes toward the public schools” found that 54 percent of participants oppose teachers’ use of the Common Core standards in classrooms.

The poll’s results come one week after Education Next released its annual poll on school reform, showing that support for the Common Core standards continues to plummet, from 65 percent in 2013 to 53 percent in 2014, and now to 49 percent in 2015.

“Americans and public school parents named academic standards as one of the five biggest problems facing the public schools in their community,” states the PDK/Gallup report. “They split on whether the standards in their communities are just right or too low, but they are not sold on using the Common Core State Standards as the solution to that problem.”

When race and ethnicity are factors, the poll indicates that 35 percent of blacks and 50 percent of Hispanics are against the Common Core.

According to the survey results, 72 percent of public school parents say they have either a great deal or fair amount of knowledge about Common Core, while only 3 percent say they have never heard of it at all. This outcome confirms the results of other polls that have found greater opposition to Common Core, as more parents have grown knowledgeable about the standards initiative.

Among public school parents, only 19 percent responded they first learned about Common Core from school communications, while 27 percent said they first heard about the education reform from teachers or other education professionals. Of the remaining parents, over 50 percent said they first heard about Common Core from traditional media and social media.

The PDK/Gallup poll found that only one in five Americans believe the federal government should play a role in holding schools accountable, funding schools, determining the amount of testing in schools, or selecting textbooks and teaching methods. In addition, 46 percent of participants believe state governments should be responsible for funding education, 44 percent say states should hold schools accountable, and 42 percent say states should determine parameters of testing. Meanwhile, 39 percent of Americans believe the selection of textbooks and teaching strategies should be the responsibility of local government (i.e., local school boards).

The survey found that President Obama received a grade of A or B on his education policies from 37 percent of respondents, though 55 percent of black Americans said he earned an A or B. Nationally, 24 percent gave Obama a C on education, while 35 percent awarded him a D or F.

Regardless of race or ethnicity, between 95 and 97 percent of poll respondents said the quality of teachers is very important to improve the quality of public schools.

The Common Core reform has become a major issue in the 2016 presidential race, and most of the Republican candidates—save former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich—have either distanced themselves from the initiative or denounced it as federal overreach.

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