Education Week has reported that a pair of high profile polls by PDK/Gallup and Education Next show growing opposition to implementation of the Common Core Standards.
The source of the principal opposition to the Common Core appears to be a misconception by the public that the standards are a “top-down” initiative spearheaded by the Federal Government when in fact the effort resulted from state initiatives.
The decline in support is mainly partisan with Republicans increasingly opposed to the Common Core and Independents opposition mounting. Democratic support remains largely unchanged. As the article reports, “The Education Next poll found that the majorities of both Republicans and Democrats supported the common-core standards in 2013, but that support among Republicans fell this year from 57 percent to 43 percent. Support among Democrats remained nearly unchanged, with 64 percent in favor in 2013 and 63 percent in 2014.”
Support of the Common Core by teachers has plummeted mainly because of the challenges of implementation as well as the misinterpretation of the source of the initiative as Federal.
Misconceptions about the concept itself and the words, “Common Core” have driven down public support. As the article states, “The poll asked half of respondents, chosen randomly, whether they support or oppose the use of the common-core standards, but replaced “common core” with “standards for reading and math that are the same across the states.” When the label was dropped from the question, support for the common core increased to 68 percent from 53 percent.”
This is an excellent example of how communications of support or opposition to a public issue can dramatically affect opinion. Incorrectly branding the Common Core as a Federal initiative seems to have worked.