One day after a poll showing that a plurality of parents split opinions on Common Core, another survey by Gallup shows that public school teachers are having major doubts about the new multistate education standards as well.
According to Gallup’s survey, only 41% of teachers view Common Core very or somewhat positively. That’s less than the 44% who view it very or somewhat negatively (16% have no opinion). After accounting for the margin of error, the poll essentially shows a tie between supporters and opponents of the standards.
That’s a bad sign for Common Core supporters, however, who have fought to defend the standards from a rising tide of opposition by emphasizing their popularity with professional educators. Those who know the most about the standards, they say, are the most enthusiastic about them. If teachers are no more upbeat on Common Core than parents, that claim holds less water.
Supporters can take heart, however, that in states that have progressed the farthest in implementing Common Core, teachers are more likely to view it favorably. In states where Common Core has been fully implemented already, 61% of teachers are favorable to it, and just 35% view it negatively.
Where the implementation is still a work in progress, only 37% think positively of the Core, while 43% dislike it. In states that have never used Common Core or have abandoned it, only 26% view the standards positively and 59% view them negatively.
Those numbers have supporters of the standards sticking to the narrative that familiarity with Common Core breeds support rather than contempt.
“Teachers who have implemented the standards like the standards,” Michael J. Petrilli, president of the pro-Core Thomas B. Fordham Institute, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
However, it is also possible that Common Core’s stronger reception in states with full implementations simply reflects political realities, with states that are more enthusiastic for the standards also adopting them more swiftly.
Interestingly, opinions differ sharply based on teachers’ grade levels. Elementary school teachers are the most positive on Common Core, with 43% viewing it positively and 41% negatively. Among high school teachers, however, the situation is reversed, with only 39% happy with Common Core and a hefty 49% viewing it negatively.
Respondents to the poll had the opportunity to explain in a free response what they thought Common Core’s best and worst aspects were. While Common Core has been touted by supporters for allegedly being more rigorous or encouraging greater critical thinking, 56% of teachers said the best aspect of Common Core has nothing to do with its content at all. Instead, they say Common Core’s supreme feature is that it makes standards identical between states, something they view as good regardless of what the standards actually are.
On Common Core’s negative aspects, teachers were far more divided, with five different criticisms garnering between 10 and 15% of responses. Teachers faulted Common Core for being unrealistic, for being badly implemented, for placing too much emphasis on standardized tests, and for creating a “one size fits all” approach that hurts student achievement.
The survey was conducted from Aug. 11 through Sept. 7, and had a sample size of 854 public K-12 teachers. The margin of error was plus or minus 5 precentage points.
This report, by Blake Neff, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.