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Report: Most Parents Support Common Core, Both Sides Are Misinformed

Sixty-two percent of parents with school-aged children support the Common Core State Standards, according to a survey from School Improvement Network. Only 22 percent of parents who responded to the survey told researchers they were opposed and 17 percent said they had no opinion. Support for and opposition to the standards were consistent across regions and income levels.

The most commonly cited reason for supporting the standards, at 34 percent, was that they ensure all children learn from a uniform curriculum. Those in opposition were most likely to say, at a rate of 33 percent, that they opposed the standards because they "do not address all student needs or allow students to learn at different rates," according to a School Improvement Network blog post. Another fifth, 21 percent, said they opposed the standards because they are misguided and either too difficult or too easy.

Parents who told researchers they strongly supported the standards self-identified as being "very informed" about the standards at a rate of 50 percent, as compared to only 21 percent of those who strongly opposed them.

"Media consumption by each group highlights this discrepancy," according to a second blog post about the survey. "Those who strongly support the standards report spending an average of 3.68 hours a week reading printed newspapers, nearly three times the amount reported by those who strongly oppose the standards, with an average of only 1.33 hours. Similarly, strong supporters of the standards report spending an average of 6.35 hours a week watching TV news, one-third more than those who oppose, who reported an average of 4.78 hours a week."

Several findings of the survey indicate that both supporters and opponents of the standards are misinformed:

  • Sixty-one percent of respondents said they believe the standards, which were not developed by the federal government, will increase the power of the feds in education, and 55 percent said the standards involve federal testing and student data collecting;
  • Forty-seven percent of parents for and against the standards said they believed the United States Department of Education created the standards, "32 percent believe state departments of education were involved, and 13 percent believe the Obama administration was involved. The three primary groups responsible for the Standards, education experts, business leaders, and governors, were only identified by a small number of parents as the responsible parties," according to information released by School Improvement Network;
  • Those who said they were strongly opposed to the standards were more likely, at 40 percent, to say the Obama Administration created the standards than those who said they strongly support them, at 10 percent;
  • Fifty-nine percent indicated further misunderstandings of the standards by telling researchers they believe the standards mandate specific lesson plans, which may include mandatory reading lists or teacher instructions; and
  • Approximately one-third, 36 percent, of respondents said personal student data will be tracked as a result of the standards. That includes 34 percent of Common Core opponents who told researchers student health data will be tracked, 24 percent who said records will be kept about whether a student was born prematurely or not, and 26 percent who said that religious affiliation will be tracked.

Though 68 percent of all parents surveyed said that students in different states do not receive the same quality of education, supporters and opponents of the Common Core were deeply divided about how the standards would affect the issue:

  • Seventy-four percent of supporters said students will benefit as a result of the standards while 85 percent of opponents said they will not;
  • Eighty-eight percent of those strongly in favor of the standards said they will have a positive impact on students' college and career preparation and 84 percent of strong opponents said they will have a negative impact on student preparation; and
  • Most who identified as strong supporters, 84 percent, said the standards will make the U.S. more globally competitive, but 86 percent of strong opponents said they would not.

"Opposing viewpoints on the standards differ on political grounds as well," according to information from the organization. "Sixty-six percent of those who strongly support the standards identify themselves as being either Democrat (34 percent) or Republican (32 percent), whereas only 39 percent of those who strongly oppose the standards identify themselves with one of the two most prominent political parties. Rather, 60 percent of those who strongly oppose the standards identify themselves as being either Independent (30 percent), no political affiliation (16 percent) or other (14 percent)."

"Despite their simple and agnostic goal of raising educational quality for our students, the Common Core State Standards have become overly political in states across the nation and viewed as part of a political agenda," said Chet D. Linton, CEO and president of School Improvement Network, in a prepared statement. "Instead, the Standards should be viewed as a way to ensure our students graduate from high school with the skills they need to succeed in college, a career and a globally competitive market."

Five-hundred parents of school-aged children were interviewed over the phone for the survey. More information is available at a pair of blog posts on the School Improvement Network site.

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