Credit: Lillian Mongeau/EdSource Today

As the California Department of Education prepares to release the first set of student test scores based on the Common Core State Standards, a new poll shows voters have mixed feelings about the new standards, including many who don’t understand what they are, or how they’re being implemented.

The Policy Analysis for California Education and USC Rossier School of Education Poll found that about 26 percent of California voters approve of the Common Core, 31 percent said they disapprove, 17 percent have no opinion, and 26 percent have not heard about the Common Core.

“This is not surprising,” said Morgan Polikoff, assistant professor of education at the USC Rossier School and an expert on the Common Core standards. “This mirrors the national trend of a lack of information, or misinformation when information is available.”

These findings are the second part of a poll of 2,411 registered California voters, including 688 parents of K-12 students, conducted annually to measure voters’ opinions on a variety of statewide education issues.

Two weeks ago, officials released the first part of the poll, which asked voters about school financing and the overall state of education.

“Even after four years of implementation and a great deal of political controversy, most Californians simply don’t know or don’t care much about Common Core,” said Morgan Polikoff, assistant professor of education at the USC Rossier School of Education.

The PACE/USC Rossier poll does show there is more support for the Common Core in California compared to the rest of the country. The 47th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll, released Aug. 23, found that 54 percent of respondents nationally oppose teachers using the Common Core to guide what they teach.

Still, the PACE/USC Rossier Poll found that a majority of California voters didn’t know basic facts about the Common Core when asked true or false questions about the initiative. Here are some of those findings:

  • The Common Core State Standards were developed by the Obama administration. (This is false. The standards were developed by a coalition of states and education leaders.)

          True: 19 percent

          False: 25 percent

          Unsure: 56 percent

  • The federal government required California to adopt the Common Core. (This is false. States individually could decide whether to adopt the initiative. Although the federal government did encourage states to adopt the standards by providing them with additional federal funding.)

           True: 26 percent

          False: 20 percent

          Unsure: 54 percent

  • Common Core standards only apply to English and mathematics. (This is true, although standards in other subjects are currently being developed.)

          True: 21 percent

          False: 30 percent

          Unsure: 49 percent

“Even after four years of implementation and a great deal of political controversy, most Californians simply don’t know or don’t care much about Common Core,” Polikoff said.

The poll found that among parents with children in K-12 schools, 31 percent approved of the Common Core standards, 38 percent disapproved, 16 percent have no opinion, and 15 percent have not heard of the Common Core.

When it came to state tests, the poll found that 30 percent of all voters believe students spend “too much” time testing, 26 percent believe students spend “just the right” amount, while 28 percent believe students spend “too little” time testing.

The poll also asked voters whether they would be more or less likely to vote for a presidential candidate who strongly supported the Common Core. About 19 percent said they would be likely to back a candidate who supported the Common Core, while 24 percent said they would be likely to oppose such a candidate.

Polikoff said opinions on the Common Core could change following the initial release this week of the Common Core-aligned state test scores.

“The Common Core is in a fragile place right now,” he said. “It will be interesting to see where we are next year.”

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  1. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    Brookings has an article today online about the Education Next poll showing consistent year-over-year declining support across the nation for the Common Core .

  2. jose lino vargas 1 year ago1 year ago

    Is boxing at senior high school part of calif. common core standards?

  3. Richard Moore 1 year ago1 year ago

    And 100% of Californians were not involved in the creation mandating of CC$$. It is a scam to sell tests and was imposed on the unsuspecting.

  4. Bruce William Smith 1 year ago1 year ago

    Too much time is spent on testing whether pupils are achieving the Common Core standards, because those standards are not internationally competitive, and so publishing results on those tests will give a misleading impression to Americans about where their children truly stand in achievement compared with their peers overseas, who are increasingly landing on American shores and taking American university places away from those whose parents paid to build those universities but who are themselves … Read More

    Too much time is spent on testing whether pupils are achieving the Common Core standards, because those standards are not internationally competitive, and so publishing results on those tests will give a misleading impression to Americans about where their children truly stand in achievement compared with their peers overseas, who are increasingly landing on American shores and taking American university places away from those whose parents paid to build those universities but who are themselves disadvantaged in the competition for admissions by ignorant, credulous adults. The upcoming results will probably look bad, given how much reduction of expectations has been messaged through the media by state education leaders; but since there are no questions, for example, requiring calculus of high school pupils, unlike the tests of young Americans’ peers in Asia and Europe, or even of precalculus, or of trigonometry, we can assume many American youth will not have been taught such subjects and so would be scoring zero with regard to them; but questions on what is not taught don’t appear on these inferior tests, so the relative gap between Common Core-learning children and their competitors overseas appears reduced, although it will continue to exist, and likely even grow, in reality, which won’t escape the notice of future employers.

    Replies

    • el 1 year ago1 year ago

      Can you give me an example of a country that enrolls every child in Calculus by 12th grade?

      • Bruce William Smith 1 year ago1 year ago

        China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, Russia, and Switzerland come immediately to mind -- although please bear in mind, my comment mentioned those applying for university colleges, which in none of these countries means "every child" -- Americans are alone in that aspiration. But as for defining college readiness, look up the relevant mathematics education article on Wikipedia, which states that in most developed countries outside North America, university-bound students will have learned differentiation in … Read More

        China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, Russia, and Switzerland come immediately to mind — although please bear in mind, my comment mentioned those applying for university colleges, which in none of these countries means “every child” — Americans are alone in that aspiration. But as for defining college readiness, look up the relevant mathematics education article on Wikipedia, which states that in most developed countries outside North America, university-bound students will have learned differentiation in the 11th grade, and integration in the 12th. For better proof, go to the APEC website, and read the translations of the national curricula that are collected there, under the heading “mathematics standards”. The galling irony here is that it was Achieve, the core organizing group behind the Common Core, that collected these standards and analyzed them. It appears that at least some of the leaders in the Common Core knew that America’s competitors do this, but decided to ignore that crucial information, and to decide that Algebra II was an appropriate upper limit for what Americans should be expected to know in mathematics prior to going to college. I assume the ACT may have been influential here, since the standard adopted was precisely that of the ACT, in other words, preparedness to earn at least a B- in a community college course.

        • el 1 year ago1 year ago

          I didn’t understand that you were only talking about university bound students, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the top 1-10% of international students are better than the average American student.

          The top American students are also finishing high school with calculus (and beyond).

          The core standards aren’t meant to challenge the elite kids; they’re meant to be a standard all students can reach to graduate.

          • Bruce William Smith 1 year ago1 year ago

            Unfortunately, recent news demonstrates that the idea that the Common Core represents "a standard all students can reach to graduate" should be in doubt, given that the majority of young Californians -- not to mention "all" -- are not reaching that standard; and while you use "graduate" in the sense normal in American English, it is not commonly defined thus in other English-speaking countries, which define it as the OECD does, as graduating with a … Read More

            Unfortunately, recent news demonstrates that the idea that the Common Core represents “a standard all students can reach to graduate” should be in doubt, given that the majority of young Californians — not to mention “all” — are not reaching that standard; and while you use “graduate” in the sense normal in American English, it is not commonly defined thus in other English-speaking countries, which define it as the OECD does, as graduating with a bachelor’s degree (thus rendering one eligible to enrol in graduate school). I point this out because of the opportunity cost associated with the notion that all “students” (in many countries, these are legally defined as being those who have received a matriculation certificate after passing a matriculation examination, thereby earning the right to continue into higher education at public expense) should “graduate” with the worthless credential known as a high school diploma — particularly worthless in California, where the legislature just voted to grant its diploma to “students” who had failed to demonstrate even seventh-grade (by American standards) mathematics proficiency as many as six times. I am suggesting that if such young people had, by contrast, received training whereby they could earn a living, which they would have in most of the other countries that lead the world in education, they would have been better off, as would the rest of us.

  5. el 1 year ago1 year ago

    I agree with Don: The federal government essentially forced California to adopt Common Core. The poll question is stupid. Left to its own devices, California probably would have adopted them eventually but not in the timeframe that Duncan imposed. Thus, the shell game of "okay, we'll adopt common core, but oh golly gee willkers, this means we have no test results to give you next year!" It was a game of chicken, not a voluntary … Read More

    I agree with Don: The federal government essentially forced California to adopt Common Core. The poll question is stupid. Left to its own devices, California probably would have adopted them eventually but not in the timeframe that Duncan imposed. Thus, the shell game of “okay, we’ll adopt common core, but oh golly gee willkers, this means we have no test results to give you next year!” It was a game of chicken, not a voluntary action after the full merits were debated.

    And the fact is, imposing these standards suddenly created disruption that cost more money than it needed to and harmed students. We can hope the net impact is beneficial. I think state officials took the best path they had with the hand they were dealt, but I wish they’d been allowed an actual choice and been treated like grownups by the feds. You might make a case that some states were working from deficient standards, but that certainly wasn’t the case in California. Our issues lie elsewhere.

  6. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    38% disapprove, 31% approve and 31% either have no opinion or haven't hear of the Common Core. So why when more than 2/3rds have an opinion how can Polikoff claim that most Californians " don’t know or don’t care much about Common Core" unless he's contradicting his own poll? We've been over this a million times, but the federal government did, in effect, require states to adopt the Common Core, though a strict technical reading of … Read More

    38% disapprove, 31% approve and 31% either have no opinion or haven’t hear of the Common Core. So why when more than 2/3rds have an opinion how can Polikoff claim that most Californians ” don’t know or don’t care much about Common Core” unless he’s contradicting his own poll?

    We’ve been over this a million times, but the federal government did, in effect, require states to adopt the Common Core, though a strict technical reading of the question would be answered as false. But why would the pollster expect the public to have the technical knowledge to know that? More people would be familiar with the controversy than with the standards adoption process of the state. The fact is these standards were not adopted by states using the normal adoption process. They had no chance to deliberate over their merits or provide any public consideration of their value. It is incumbent upon Mr. Leal to mention the nationwide controversy created by the USDE when it linked billions in grants, NCLB conditional waivers and CCSS adoption to RTTT fund and RTTT Assessment Program applications and other enticements and short-circuited the normal democratically-inclined adoption process.

    Regarding whether the Obama Administration developed the standards, Mr. Leal says “This is false. The standards were developed by a coalition of states and education leaders.” Not really on both counts. It is true the NGA and the CCSSO brought their considerable leverage to bear, but the actual development was directed by a small group of a few individuals and I challenge Mr. Leal to tell me how many among them were education experts in curriculum development and how many were associated with the testing industry?

    Replies

    • Laura Ancira 1 year ago1 year ago

      Excellent response! So many articles supporting Common Core Standards are written with biases and act as though we are empty vessels waiting for their knowledge to enlightened us.