Survey shows parent, educator support of Common Core

Published: Sunday, Sept. 15 2013 3:00 p.m. MDT

A national survey conducted by Utah-based School Improvement Network shows a majority of parents and educators support the Common Core State Standards.

Steve Pope, Associated Press

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SALT LAKE CITY — Amid lingering political opposition to the Common Core State Standards, a national survey by a Utah-based company shows support for the standards from both parents and educators.

In the survey, conducted by phone and released Thursday by the School Improvement Network, a majority of respondents indicated their approval of the Common Core and their belief that the national standards will better prepare students for college and careers.

The survey comes on the heels of a poll released by PDK/Gallup that showed a broad misunderstanding of the Common Core. While the School Improvement Network's survey results support those of the Gallup poll, the new survey focused on the public's attitudes toward adoption of national benchmarks and filtered out parents who had never heard of the Common Core.

Chet Linton, CEO and president of the School Improvement Network, said the goal behind the survey was to cut through the charged rhetoric that has surrounded the Common Core debate to gauge the perspective of Americans with children in schools and the educators who teach them.

"We love to hear the voice of educators because we want to elevate their perception in the minds of the public," he said. "They are the practitioners. They’re the professionals that implement this and teach our kids."

Out of 4,180 parents contacted, 500 qualified to complete the survey due to being aware of the Common Core State Standards and having school-age children. Of those 500 parents, 62 percent were supportive of the Common Core, compared to 22 percent who oppose the new standards.

Additionally, 50 percent responded that the Common Core will have a positive impact on their student's college and career preparation and 61 percent believe the Common Core standards are more rigorous than the state standards they replace.

The School Improvement Network also contacted 3,077 educators representing all 50 states in rural, urban and suburban areas. Support of the Common Core from educators was more significant than that of parents, with 73 percent indicating support for the Core and 81 percent saying the standards will have a positive impact on college- and career-readiness.

The Common Core State Standards are a series of academic benchmarks that define the minimum skills a student should learn in each grade as they progress toward higher education. Examples include the requirement that third graders be able to multiply and divide, or that seventh graders be able to identify two or more central ideas in a text.

Curriculum decisions, including what reading materials and coursework is required in a classroom, continue to be made at the local level. The standards have been voluntarily adopted by all but four states, though political groups in several states are working to postpone, defund, or halt implementation.

On the controversy the Common Core has generated, 70 percent of educators surveyed by School Improvement Network responded that they do not support political efforts to withdraw from the standards and 58 percent believe that common standards between states are necessary.

Linton said he was pleased but surprised by the results of the survey. He said the high volume of Common Core opposition in the country gives an impression that isn't necessarily a reality.

"We’ve been hearing so much for the last few months about Common Core, it’s been all over the place," Linton said. "There’s just so much misinformation that it sounds like there’s not a lot of support for something that can be so good and have a great impact."

In Utah, the Common Core Standards in mathematics and English language arts have been adopted into the Utah Core, which lays out benchmarks for effectively all academic subjects in the state's public schools.

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