Public support for Common Core math and language arts standards dropped in the past year, and less than half of teachers now say they support the standards, according to an annual back-to-school poll Education Next.
Just over half of the general public — 53 percent — said they support Common Core. That’s down from 65 percent in 2013. And just 46 percent of teachers said they support the standards. Last year, more than three-quarters of teachers said they supported Common Core.
The standards outline what students should know at the end of each grade but have been facing rising political opposition for more than a year. A handful of states — Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina — have repealed the standards and other states are studying whether to rewrite or repeal Common Core.
“Opinion with respect to the Common Core has yet to coalesce,” poll authors Michael B. Henderson, Paul E. Peterson and Martin West wrote. “The idea of a common set of standards across the country has wide appeal, and the Common Core itself still commands the support of a majority of the public. But proponents probably need to clarify their intentions to the public if they are to keep support from slipping within both the nation’s teaching force and the public at large.”
Critics on the political right worry the standards give up local control over classroom content and decisions. Critics on the political left say schools will emphasize testing too much. And critics across the spectrum have questioned the quality of the standards.
But the poll found the public supports the idea of common national standards. More than two-thirds of Democrats and Republicans support the idea when it’s called something other than Common Core.
Education Next — as with other polls — found Common Core support is increasingly divided along political party lines. President Barack Obama and his administration have supported Common Core and offered incentives to states which adopted the standards.
Among Democrats, support for the standards remained steady the past year — more than 60 percent. Among Republicans, the percentage of Republicans supporting the standards dropped to 43 percent in 2014 from from 57 percent last year. The percent of Republicans opposing the standards more than doubled to 37 percent in 2014, up from 16 percent the previous year.
Common Core was initially supported by a centrist coalition of Democrats, Republicans and business groups.
The poll sampled more than 5,200 people by telephone in June and July and has a margin of error of 1.5 percentage points. The Education Next poll is one of a series to be released this week. Results from the annual PDK/Gallup poll will be released Wednesday.