Poll: Nearly Half of American Adults Haven’t Heard of Common-Core Standards

By Catherine Gewertz — June 18, 2014 1 min read
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Sick of hearing people bicker about the political football called common core? You have lots of company. A new poll finds barely half of Americans haven’t even heard of the new standards, let alone heard about them nonstop (like we do here in Washington).

The MSN/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates and released June 18, shows that 47 percent of the 1,000 adults surveyed have not heard of the common core. Of those who have, only 22 percent said they’d heard a lot about it. The remaining 30 percent said they’d heard “some.”

When the standards are described in complimentary terms (".. have been set to internationally competitive levels”), the survey respondents show strong backing, with 59 percent supporting the standards and 31 percent opposing them.

Nowhere in the poll are respondents asked their opinion of the federal government’s role in the standards’ adoption, or its funding of tests for the common core. But you have to wonder what they would have said if they’d been asked, as the survey shows an electorate that feels pretty darn grumpy when it looks in Washington’s direction.

In education, it shows up in findings like this: 35 percent say K-12 schools need “major changes,” and 26 percent say they need a “complete overhaul.”

In the broader political realm, with the Congressional elections approaching, a fat 57 percent said they favor giving someone new a chance; only 32 percent said they’re inclined to reelect their representatives. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing.

Only 15 percent of the respondents said that Obama’s job performance has improved over the last year; 41 percent said it’s gotten worse. The only education topic that respondents cited for better or worse job performance, though, was student loans. So it’s hard to imagine that the federal government’s role in the standards and tests—whatever they believe it to be—is confusing or clarifying their attitudes toward the standards. If they’ve even heard of the standards, that is.

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