Poll Finds Growing Disfavor of Common Core Among Tenn. Teachers

By Jordan Moeny — September 26, 2014 2 min read
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According to a new poll out of Tennessee, the number of teachers in the state who support the Common Core State Standards is rapidly falling and more teachers want to abandon the framework entirely, The Tennessean reports.

Led by researchers at the Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Developmen, the survey recorded opinions from 27,000 teachers across the state. It finds only 31 percent of teachers in the state in support of continuing with the common core, while 56 percent would rather abandon the new standards. In addition, the number of teachers who feel that “teaching to the standards will improve student learning” has dropped to 39 percent from 60 percent in last year’s survey.

The results come after a period of intense political debate about the standards in Tennessee this spring, which is when the teachers were surveyed. In April, state legislators voted to delay full implementation. This June, Tennessee backed out of the PARCC assessment in favor of continuing to use its old state tests until an alternative can be found.

Testing is at the heart of many of the teachers’ complaints about the common core, with respondents noting that the materials they’re now expected to teach don’t match the questions on the state exams. Others said that the emphasis on testing was hurting students and teachers alike.

According to The Tennessean, based on segmented analyses of the results, the researchers rejected the premise that teachers’ disenchantment with the standards was primarily the result of having tried the new standards in the classroom.

Though the Vanderbilt survey focused on Tennessee teachers, the results align with several national polls released earlier this year. Survey results released this summer by the journal Education Next found that only 46 percent of teachers support the common core, down 30 percentage points from 2013.

A survey of registered users by Education Week‘s Research Center found that despite increased training, only 16 percent of surveyed teachers feel “very prepared” to teach the common cor, and that a majority feel that they lack adequate materials to teach the new standards. This opinion was echoed in the Tennessee poll as well, with many teachers mentioning insufficient materials when asked for comments.

Despite their concerns about preparation, 65 percent of the teachers in the Education Week survey said that they believe the common standards will improve student learning.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.