SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK SURVEY

Parents Support the Common Core State Standards
National Survey of Parents Shows Suppor...
Why Do You Support the Common Core State Standards?

Why Do You Oppose the Common Core State Standards?

Ensures all child...
Among parents who support the Standards, 34% say they do so

Department of Education is responsible for creating the Stand...
and 56% of opponents), the remaining percentages believe personal

Opposing Views: Contrasts for Supportive versus Opposed...
table
2

Perhaps most poignantly, in response to a yes/no item, 92 % of

Common Core State Standard Perceptions by
Support...
table
3

Conclusion

Profile of Potential Supporters and Opponents
of the Common Core State Standards

Contrary to claims ...
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Parents Support the Common Core State Standards (Voices of Education)

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Parents Support the Common Core State Standards (Voices of Education)

  1. 1. SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK SURVEY Parents Support the Common Core State Standards National Survey of Parents Shows Support for the Standards Despite Misconceptions A national survey of parents with school-aged children shows overall support for the Common Core State Standards and positive perceptions of their impact on children despite some misconceptions about the origin of the Standards and the role of the federal government in them. Survey results also revealed that perceptions of the Standards are shaped by responders’ support or opposition of them, and may not always be based on fact. The survey also included nine yes/ no items, as well as six items offer- Background ing lists from which respondents chose best options, such as how they In August 2013, School Improvement Network commissioned a became aware of the Standards and who they believed had created telephone survey of parents with school-aged children to investi- them. The remaining six items were Likert-scaled items quantifying gate perceptions of the Common Core State Standards. The survey, levels of agreement with statements associated with the Standards. completed by the Cicero group, attempted to contact 11,000 parents, Likert-scaled items leveraged four-level scales ranging from “strongly of which 4,180 were reached by phone. Of those reached, 1,220 were agree” to “strongly disagree,” with “no opinion” always offered as a parents of school-aged children 18 and younger, and 500 were aware fifth response option. Data were analyzed and summarized as percent- of the Standards and prepared to offer perceptions regarding them ages by level of agreement, and cross-tabulated to discover what levels through the phone-administered survey. Cumulatively, this stratified of agreement were correlated with response patterns to other items. random sample includes parents from a variety of political affiliations, Because of the large sample size, any percentage or percent difference education levels, and income ranges. of 2% or greater is statistically significant. Methods All 500 responded to the 30 survey items through a phone interview Parents’ Opinions For or Against the Common Core State Standards survey, and were limited to only one respondent per household. The survey consisted of nine opening questions regarding respondent Overall, only 41% of responding parents with school-aged children demographics, including level of education, income bracket, age of children, and amount of time spent becoming informed of the Stan- have ever heard of the Common Core State Standards. 62% of the dards through TV, newspapers, or on the Internet. The additional 21 responding parents are either strongly or moderately supportive of items assessed how the respondent became aware of the Standards the Standards, while 22 % are either strongly or moderately opposed, and their perceptions of them. and 17% say they have no opinion. Percentages both for and against the Standards were consistent across the West, South, Northeast, and Midwest regions, and among all income brackets. 1 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK®
  2. 2. Why Do You Support the Common Core State Standards? Why Do You Oppose the Common Core State Standards? Ensures all children learn from unified core curriculum—basic prerequisites/universalized Students learn at different rates—Common core does not address all student needs general—Positive (agreement) standards are misguided/not rigorous or Too easy 21% Sets a clear standard—Easier to measure results Standards should be a local/personal decision 20% Facilitates better education/learning—prepares students for the future Curriculum is calibrated to worst or best students —Not fair Don’t know/NA Other 10% Other General—Negative (opposed) 9% bad use of school resources 6% Facilitates better teaching 33% 12% fig. 1 fig. 2 Improves accountability of schools/educators/ students/parents Don’t know/NA 5% Sample Responses Sample Responses “I think all states should teach the same things at the same grade levels. When I was 17 i moved from california to florida and was doing work in my senior year that i did in my freshman year.” “Kids learn at a different rate; some kids pick up things a lot faster than others and some pick up things slower, so to test them on the same thing is unfair.” “I support it because all children need to be well educated. it prepares children for better colleges like the ivy league schools.” “The Common Core is a misguided attempt to teach critical thinking, and I believe it is impossible to test this. This process has encouraged teaching to the test.” “I like that it spells out what our kids should be taught and what they should know.” “I don’t like the federal government telling me what my children should learn.” “I believe it is necessary to have a standard across all school systems. The idea of universalizing is good.” “I am afraid they are dumbing down the school curriculum so everyone can feel good about themselves.” “Gives teachers a better understanding of standards and helps them to better connect with the students.” “It is requiring that we hire another administrator in our district, so money is being diverted from students to administration.” 2 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK®
  3. 3. Among parents who support the Standards, 34% say they do so Department of Education is responsible for creating the Standards, because it ensures all children learn from a uniform curriculum. Of 32 % believe state departments of education were involved, and 13% parents who oppose the Standards, 33% say the Common Core Stan- believe the Obama administration was involved. The three primary dards do not address all student needs or allow students to learn at groups responsible for the Standards, education experts, business different rates. 21% of those opposed say the Standards are misguided, leaders, and governors, were only identified by a small number of and either too rigorous or too easy. For more information on why parents as the responsible parties. parents support or oppose the Common Core State Standards, see Parents’ perceptions of who created the Standards were sometimes Figures 1 and 2. further exaggerated based on whether or not they support or oppose Only 9% of parents say they have been invited to campaign against the the Standards. 40 % of those who strongly oppose the Standards Standards, mostly via social media, signing a petition, or attending a believe they were created by “the Obama Administration,” versus only political rally or protest. 10% of those who strongly support. For more detailed information on parents’ perceptions of the source of the Common Core State Opinion Trends about the Common Core State Standards Standards, see Table 1 . Further survey questions show supporters and opponents of the table 1 Standards often disagreed drastically on the value or impact of the Standards. In some cases, supporter and opponent responses show Parents’ Perceptions of Who Created the Common Core State Standards shared misconceptions of the Standards. parents Parents who who strongly Support support Misconceptions about the Common Core State Standards Obama Administration The Common Core State Standards were developed by education experts, business leaders, and governors and state governments, not bush Administration by the federal government. They provide year-by-year standards for U.s. department of education students to prepare them for college and career when they finish state departments of education high school. The Standards do not mandate a specific curriculum, but local school or district rather leave curriculum entirely up to local educators. council of chief state school officers However, responses show most parents do not understand this. 61% education experts of parents believe the Standards will result in an increase of federal powers in education, and 55% of parents believe that integration of the governors Standards will involve the federal government testing and collecting data on students each year. Contrary to the nature of the Standards, state superintendents/chiefs of education 59 % of both groups also believe the Standards mandate specific united nations lesson plans, potentially including mandated reading lists and teacher business leaders instructions. don’t know Similarly, parents who both support and oppose the Standards share a Parents Parents who who Oppose strongly oppose 10% 5% 50% 41% 11% 21% 32% 18% 21% 11% 7% 46% 38% 10% 16% 29% 18% 20% 26% 13% 53% 28% 6% 8% 17% 17% 17% 40% 14% 56% 21% 5% 7% 14% 19% 19% 3% 9% 8% 3% 12% 14% 7% 8% 13% 19% 12% 14% Some parents also share a misunderstanding as to whether or not misconception about the origin of the Standards. Despite the fact that personal student data will be tracked as part of the Standards, and the Standards originated with state governments and business leaders, what types. While 64% of parents say no personal student data will 47% of parents, whether for or against the Standards, believe the U.S. be tracked as part of the Standards (including 66% of supporters 3 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK®
  4. 4. and 56% of opponents), the remaining percentages believe personal Opposing Views: Contrasts for Supportive versus Opposed information will be kept on each student. 34% of parents who oppose On the other hand, those who strongly support versus strongly the Standards believe health care history will be tracked for each oppose the Standards differ dramatically and significantly in several student, and 24 % believe student records will report whether or not ways. From the outset, 21% of those who strongly oppose the Stan- the student was born prematurely. 26% also believe religious affiliation dards report being very informed regarding the Standards, compared will be tracked. For more detailed information on parents’ perceptions on personal student data tracked as part of the Common Core State to the 50% of those who strongly support the Standards. Standards, see Figure 3. Media consumption by each group highlights this discrepancy. Those who strongly support the Standards report spending an average of Parents’ Beliefs on the Types of Personal Student Data Federal Authorities Will Collect Under the Common Core State Standards Sorted by Parents’ Support or Opposition 3.68 hours a week reading printed newspapers, nearly three times the amount reported by those who strongly oppose the Standards, with an average of only 1.33 hours. Similarly, strong supporters of the Health care history 26% 24% Standards report spending an average of 6.35 hours a week watching TV news, one-third more than those who oppose, who reported an 34% average of 4.78 hours a week. In Internet-based news, strong support- whether student was born prematurely 17% 14% ers of the Standards report an average of 5.42 hours a week reading online news, and opponents to the Standards report an average of 4.73 24% hours a week. Religious affiliation 15% 11% Supporters and opponents also differed in their perceptions of how All Parents 26% the Standards were developed and will be administered. 92% of Parents who oppose 12% 13% 11% those who strongly support the Standards believe states will have Parents who support Blood Type strongly oppose the Standards believe states will have no flexibility. some or total flexibility implementing, whereas 42% of those who 81 % of those who strongly support the Standards agree they are more eye color 12% 11% rigorous than the prior standards they replace, whereas 49% of those who strongly oppose the Common Core State Standards disagree 15% with that statement. 32 % of those who strongly support the Stan- Hair color dards report they were developed by “education experts,” versus only fig. 3 10% 9% 14% of those who strongly oppose the Standards. 41% of those who 14% strongly support the Standards report the Standards were created by “state departments of education,” compared to only 21% of those who None of the above 56% 64% strongly oppose—nearly half as many. For more detailed information 661% on perceptions among those who support the Standards vs. those who oppose them, see Table 2. Note: “Strongly Support” and “Strongly Oppose responses are included within the general categories of “Support” and Oppose.” 4 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK®
  5. 5. table 2 Perhaps most poignantly, in response to a yes/no item, 92 % of Common Core State Standard Perceptions by Supporting and Opposing Parents those who strongly support the Standards responded “yes” that the Standards were developed based on educational research and data, whereas only 56% of those strongly opposing responded “no.” Parents parents who who strongly SUpport Support Parents Who oppose Parents whos Strongly Oppose believe the federal government will test and collect data on students each year 63% 66% 79% Had been invited to campaign against the standards 16% 11% 2% 2% believe the standards mandate specific lesson plans 66% 64% 59% 65% likelihood to vote 87% 87% 96% 85% 88% 78% 70% 70% report being very informed about the standards 50% 27% 13% 21% believe the standards are based on education research and data 92% 82% 44% 37% believe states have no flexibility in implementing the standards 8% 9% 44% 42% Believe the standards are more rigorous than prior standards 72% 72% 46% 46% Believe the standards are an expansion of federal powers 56% 57% 79% 91% standards will make the u.s. more globally competitive 84% 71% 8% 2% well. 66% of those who strongly support the Standards identify them- believe the child will benefit because of standards 89% 74% 7% 7% only 39 % of those who strongly oppose the Standards identify them- do not believe students receive same quality of education regardless of where they live and attend school 39% 60% 89% 7% believe the standards will have a positive impact on students’ preparation for college and a career 88% 73% 9% 5% average hours reading print newspapers 3.86 3.48 2.22 1.33 average hours watching tv news 6.35 5.42 5.75 5.01 5.2 4.05 4.78 4.73 have children attending public school average hours reading online news 52% The opposing groups represent polar opposites on a host of perspectives regarding also the impact the Standards would have on students. 68% of parents agree that children in different states do not receive the same quality of education, but they do not agree on whether or not the Common Core State Standards would improve this discrepancy. 74% of parents who support the Standards say children will benefit because of the Common Core State Standards, while 85% of opponents to the Standards believe children will not benefit as a result of the Standards. 88 % of those who strongly support the Standards believe they will have a positive impact on students’ preparation for college and career, while 84% of those who strongly oppose the Standards believe they will have a negative impact. 84% of those who strongly support the Standards believe they will make the US more globally competitive, while 86 % of those who strongly oppose the Standards believe they will not have that effect. Opposing viewpoints on the Standards differ on political grounds as selves as being either Democrat (34%) or Republican (32%), whereas selves with one of the two most prominent political parties. Rather, 60% of those who strongly oppose the Standards identify themselves as being either Independent (30%), no political affiliation (16%), or other (14 %). Based on these survey data, Table 3 reflects a possible though not exhaustive general profile of supporters and opponents of the Common Core State Standards. 5 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK®
  6. 6. table 3 Conclusion Profile of Potential Supporters and Opponents of the Common Core State Standards Contrary to claims by special interest groups and media outlets, survey results show the majority of parents nationwide support the Parents who support Parents who oppose Common Core State Standards. However, misconceptions about the Education level Bachelors degree Bachelors degree Standards still exist among supporters and opponents alike, includ- Income $50,000 to $99,999 $50,000 to $99,999 ing the origin of the Standards, the role of the federal government in political affiliation democrats/republican independent them, and the tracking of personal student data. Divisions between location western united states southern united states supporters and opponents show most prominently on questions Who do you Believe created the standards? u.s. department of education or the state department of education obama administration or the u.s. department of education about the way the Standards will impact students. They also differ in How did you first hear about the standards? newsletters/mailer/phone call/email/website local or national news Will the standards help make the u.s. more globally competitive? yes, it will make the u.s. more competitive no, it will not make the u.s. more competitive will the standards have positive an impact on students’ preparation for college and a career? negative are the standards based on educational research and data? yes no Are the standards a curriculum mandating specific lesson plans? yes yes Are the standards an expansion of federal powers in education? yes yes yes do you believe the government will collect and track student data? yes Will your child/children yes benefit because of the standards? no Do you believe students across the U.S. receive the same quality of education? no no are you likely to vote? yes yes average hours reading print newspapers 3.48 2.22 average hours reading online news 5.01 their personal news consumption and declared political affiliation. 4.05 average hours watching 5.75 tv news 5.2 6 SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT NETWORK®

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