Center for American Progress

RELEASE: New Poll Proves Political Gamesmanship Is Risking Student Success
Press Release

RELEASE: New Poll Proves Political Gamesmanship Is Risking Student Success

Washington, D.C. — Although the Common Core State Standards were developed in tandem with educators and experts—and adopted by more than 40 states and the District of Columbia—misinformation about the standards is widespread among parents, a new poll from the Center for American Progress finds. Two new reports issued by the Center for American Progress reveal that although decades of research and teacher input informed the development of the standards, public interest and opinion of the Common Core has reacted strongly to the politicization of the standards.

“The Common Core State Standards outline a set of skills rooted in project-based learning, problem solving, and higher expectations to ensure that students receive a quality education and have the knowledge and skills to succeed after high school,” said Carmel Martin, the Executive Vice President of Policy at CAP. “What we’re seeing, however, is a concerted effort from extreme factions to mislead parents about the Common Core for political gain. All parents want their children to achieve to the highest level, and the Common Core is a significant step forward toward that goal in states around the country.”

A new poll conducted by Purple Insights and released by CAP revealed that while 64 percent of parents report knowing about the Common Core—and feel they understand it well—misinformation is pervasive. For example, only 8 percent of parents correctly responded that the Common Core is not a federal initiative. Meanwhile, 45 percent of parents answered that the Common Core limits teacher independence and flexibility to create their own lessons. Another 40 percent of parents mistakenly believe the Common Core requires more state testing, when in fact the new Common Core-aligned tests will lead to better, fewer, and fairer tests.

To the contrary, when polled on the characteristics of the Common Core, parents overwhelmingly support its stated goals:

  • 88 percent believe standards should be based on conceptual understanding skills and problem solving skills, rather than memorization
  • 84 percent believe education standards should be made more rigorous to prepare kids for college and career
  • 74 percent favored creating voluntary national education standards establishing shared goals and expectations for students across states
  • 61 percent favored reforming testing so it includes more essays and fewer multiple choice tests

CAP released a new issue brief showing how the use of the Common Core as a political football is threatening efforts to improve K-12 education. The brief analyzed trends in public interest, public opinion, and media coverage of the Common Core, indicating that public attention responds to—rather than motivates—the politicization of the standards. The findings are consistent with public opinion polls revealing that support for the Common Core remains steady and high when you drop the Common Core label.

CAP also issued a report on the cognitive science behind the Common Core. This report found that the standards emphasize six key evidence-based best practices—including knowledge scaffolding, collaborative learning, and holding students to high expectations—that have been shown to increase student performance. The Common Core is not a silver bullet, but the evidence behind the standards strongly suggests that with proper implementation, students across the United States will receive a higher quality education.

Click here to read the issue brief “Politics Threaten Efforts to Improve K-12 Education” by Max Marchitello.

Click here to read the report “The Cognitive Science Behind the Common Core” by Max Marchitello and Megan Wilhelm.

Click here to read the memo and here to read the toplines from Purple Insights on its poll of parent attitudes on the Common Core.

Click here for more Common Core resources from CAP.

For more information on this topic, contact Allison Preiss at 202.478.6331 or [email protected].