Putting Education Reform To The Test

This Week In Education Polling: The Politics Of Common Core

Two new national telephone polls found differing public reaction to Common Core education standards.

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Two new national telephone polls draw differing conclusions about the public's opinion on Common Core education standards.

Two new national polls reach differing conclusions about the public’s support for Common Core math and language arts standards adopted by Florida and 43 other states.

But both polls provide evidence for the idea that Common Core is more popular among swing voters in the political middle.

A University of Connecticut polls finds just two in five surveyed say they have heard of Common Core.

More troubling for the new standards? The more people surveyed said they know about the standards, the less likely they were to support Common Core or believe Common Core would improve schools or produce high school graduates who were ready for college.

Sixty-one percent of those who said they knew “a great deal” about Common Core thought the standards were not good policy. For those who said they knew “only a little” about Common Core, 43 percent said Common Core was good policy.

Overall, half of Democrats thought Common Core was good policy. Just one-third of independents and 30 percent of Republicans thought the standards were good policy.

Non-whites were more likely to support the standards, as were those living in the Midwest and West. Opposition to Common Core was strongest in the South — 60 percent said Common Core is not good policy — and Northeast.

The UConn Poll sampled 1,007 people by telephone between April 22 and April 30.

Making a counter argument is a poll from Republican pollster John McLaughlin. McLaughlin and Associates found two-thirds of likely voters — with an additional emphasis on GOP primary voters — say they support Common Core if it was described using neutral terms.

“The anti-Common Core positions may be inviting in the short-term, but looking to November supporting state standards that elevate school achievement have far more upside,” the McLaughlin poll concludes

“Anti-Common Core rhetoric could be a real liability in competitive general election where swing voters decide the race.”

A piece of data from the UConn Poll may corroborate this. Of those who identified as liberal, 53 percent said they thought the standards were good policy. Among moderates, support was even stronger — 57 percent. More than half of conservatives said they thought Common Core was bad policy.

A big caveat: The McLaughlin poll was commissioned by the Collaborative for Student Success, which receives funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation has spent tens of millions promoting the Common Core standards.

Check out the McLaughlin presentation on the poll results here.


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