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School & District Management

Survey: Half of Urban Parents Say Common Core Is Beneficial

By Liana Loewus — October 06, 2014 2 min read
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In a recent survey, the Council of the Great City Schools found that half of K-12 parents in urban districts said the Common Core State Standards were beneficial to their children.

The online survey, conducted by Edge Research, looked at responses from 660 parents in the council’s 67 large city districts. The sample was demographically representative of the council’s member districts, and about 200 of those parents were identified as having household incomes of less than $25,000 per year.

When asked about “the change in the quality of classroom instruction” at their children’s schools during the 2013-14 school year (during which most schools were implementing the common standards), 18 percent of parents said instruction was “a lot better” and 32 percent said it was “a little better.” Twenty-eight percent said instruction had not changed and 13 percent said it was worse.

When asked to describe their impression of the standards, based on what they knew about them, 48 percent of parents said they had a somewhat or very positive impression of the common standards. Twenty-two percent had a somewhat or very negative view of them, and 20 percent were not sure of their impression. The remaining 10 percent were not aware of the standards.

In a blog post for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has invested heavily in the standards, Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, wrote, “We were pleased to find that despite all of the misinformation and overheated rhetoric, more parents had a positive impression of the standards than a negative one.”

The survey also asked parents “how beneficial” the standards were for their children. Below are those results:

Parents were then given what Casserly called a “straightforward description of the standards,” and asked to describe how important they thought those standards were. The description, which is the very same one that appears on the Common Core State Standards’ official website, was as follows:

After reading that definition, 88 percent of parents said the standards were somewhat important (24 percent) or very important (64 percent).

Casserly wrote that, “taken together, these findings are convincing evidence that at this early stage, the Common Core is neither a runaway hit with parents, nor teetering on the edge of collapse for lack of parental support.”

Keep in mind that the council has quite a bit riding on the standards—that group has been pretty much universally supportive of those efforts and has accepted funding, including from the Gates foundation, to develop resources for teaching the standards. (By way of disclosure, the Gates foundation also supports coverage of the implementation of college- and career-ready standards in Education Week.)

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.