By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
For the last five years, supporters of the controversial Common Core educational standards have urged legislators to ignore the phone calls and emails from Common Core opponents and instead listen to the education professionals who support Common Core.
On Tuesday, August 18, the 2015 Education Next Poll was released by Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard Kennedy School, showing that while the majority of the general public is still behind Common Core, as it has been implemented in the schools support for Common Core State Standards have plummeted among the education professionals who see the results of this new curriculum every day.
Rainy Day Patriots and Alabama Legislative Watchdogs Co-chair Ann Eubank told the Alabama Political Reporter, “After reading the article, questions, and synopsis, my conclusion is that the more people learn about Common Core, the less they like it, especially the teachers. Each year brings a decline in support.”
The majority of teachers now oppose some part of the Common Core standards. Only 40 percent of the teachers surveyed still support the experimental standards that they have been ordered to implement over the last three years. In 2013, 76 percent of education professionals supported the initiative. That percentage plummeted to just 46 percent in 2014 and has fallen another 6 points to only 40 percent in 2015. The percentage of teachers expressing opposition rose to 50 percentage points leaving just 10 percent undecided. 31 percent of teachers answered that they were “strongly opposed”, while only 11 percent still “strongly support” the controversial standards.
Support for Common Core among the general public dropped another 4 percentage points to just 49 percent. 35 percent of the public consider themselves Common Core opponents.
Eubank said, “The teachers are the ones who are realizing how bad the Common Core standards are, and that the assertion of “rigorous” is false. They are seeing how developmentally inappropriate these standards are, and what they are doing to the minds of our children. Even though our teachers have been “muzzled” by the administration, complaints about the appalling lack of decent textbooks, teaching materials, and classroom programs are increasing. They are bringing to light the decline of the level of education our children are receiving. They see first hand every day, the “dumbing down” of American education. That’s why teacher support has dropped.”
Where the standards have been implemented, only seven percent of teachers answered that implementation of the standards has been “strongly positive.” 25 percent answered that the impact was “somewhat positive.” 17 percent thought it had a “strongly negative” impact and 32 percent answered that it had a “somewhat negative” impact. 20 percent thought the new curriculum had neither a positive nor a negative impact on the schools.
It was similar with parents. Six percent answered that the impact was “strongly positive,” while 24 percent of parents of school age children thought the impact was “strongly negative.” Just 22 percent answered that the impact was “somewhat positive”, while 29 percent felt that the impact was “somewhat negative.” 19 percent felt it had neither a positive nor a negative impact on the schools.
Support for the Common Core standards is strongest among Democrats at 57 percent. Support among Republicans has fallen to just 37 percent. Whites oppose the standards more than Blacks and Hispanics do. This is very tricky for Alabama GOP legislators in safe districts who are more afraid of their primary opponent than they are a potential Democratic general election challenger.
Eubank added, “The population sample in this poll of 4,083, was overweighted by an average of 700 in each of three categories, teachers, African-Americans, and Hispanics. It still shows that almost half of the country is opposed to Common Core. Had the respondents been equally weighted would the support be lower? I believe so. This poll clearly illustrates that the longer we have Common Core, the more it’s approval rating drops. So, we must continue to educate those who are uninformed and have no opinion about this monster we call Common Core before it destroys the hearts and minds of the next generation of voters.”
While Common Core is under assault in many states, in Alabama, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R) from Anniston and the Republican controlled state school board have both defied nearly unanimous resolutions by the Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee demanding that Alabama also opt out of the unproven and untested Common Core educational standards. Bills to repeal the unpopular Common Core aligned Alabama College and Career Ready Standards were introduced in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Alabama legislative sessions; but lacked the support of the Republican leadership and did not pass, because the leadership would not bring repeal legislation to the floor. Sen. Rusty Glover (R from Semmes) carried the repeal legislation in 2015. Common Core opponents are hopeful that the legislature will take up repeal legislation in the next special session.