Utah's adoption of the Common Core, a decision made under the constitutional authority of the elected State School Board, has come under repeated fire, including a recent resolution by the Utah Republican Party that calls on the Legislature to defund programs associated with the Common Core.
"Common Core was financed with private foundation funds, replacing the influence of our votes with wealth and influence to bypass our state Legislature and impose control over Utah's education standards," the resolution states.
That resolution passed with the support of 65 percent of Republican delegates, despite receiving an unfavorable recommendation from the party's review committee due to its "inaccurate or misleading data that is inflammatory in nature."
The Republican National Committee also passed a resolution in opposition to the Common Core in April.
But the survey by School Improvement Network also found that many parents, both opponents and supporters of the Common Core, misunderstand the new standards. Only a small percentage were able to correctly identify the group primarily responsible for the core's creation — a coalition of education experts, business community leaders and state governors — and many falsely believed the standards required collection of personal student information such as blood type, eye color and religious affiliation.
Those results are in line with the poll by PDK/Gallup, which found that despite the near-ubiquitous adoption of the Common Core, most Americans have never heard of the standards and of those who had, many incorrectly believe the federal government was forcing states to adopt them and that the standards cover all academic subjects.
"We hear these crazy things but it seemed that, generally speaking, parents don’t feel that everybody is going to have their teeth impressions and their fingertips recorded," Linton said.
Some of the confusion over Common Core appears to stem from the standard's name, he said, in that parents mistakenly infer that the goal is to make students common or uniform, rather than establishing a common baseline standard to work and measure from.
Linton was encouraged by the survey results, which show that 68 percent of parents believe children in different states do not receive the same quality of education, an inequity the Common Core was designed to address.
"Clearly parents feel that this is really important and they’re aware that there’s inequities currently," he said. "(Common Core) pushes the bar up and it pushes all students to be performing at those higher levels. It has set a new high bar, which is really the minimum we should be expecting."
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