The More They Know, the Less They Like Common Core
School Choice Weekly #50
It’s poll season, and two annual education polls find most public attitudes about education policies are consistent with past years, but this year shows a sharp change on Common Core national education mandates. Now, finds the annual Pi Kappa Delta/Gallup poll, for the first time a majority of Americans--81 percent--has heard of Common Core. And 60 percent oppose it.
The annual Education Next survey out this week found support for Common Core at a bare majority, 53 percent, sharply down from 65 percent support last year. Its most significant finding, however, may be the 30-point drop in support for Common Core among teachers, from 76 percent last year to 46 percent this year. That’s huge. There’s almost been a near-quadrupling of opposition among teachers, from 12 to 40 percent.
The two polls also found a contradiction within American ideas about education control. The EdNext poll found that, when one removes the “Common Core” label, 68 Americans still support the concept of national education standards. But the Gallup poll found majorities agree that local school boards should have far more control over what schools teach than state or federal governments.
The two polls contradict each other on support for school choice, too: The EdNExt poll finds bare-majority support for most school choice policies, except for a solid 60 percent support for tax-credit scholarships, while the Gallup poll finds disfavor for school choice. This is likely because of poll questions: The Gallup poll is advised by teachers union representatives and, accordingly, puts a negative spin into its school voucher question (labeling only that education choice as “at public expense,” as if public schools don’t also function “at public expense”).
It’s likely that poll questions also help explain the divide over curriculum control. Everyone is for “standards” in the abstract. Everyone is not for “standards” that, like Common Core, coerce teachers and schools and impose bad education theories on the country. Folks who support protecting people’s right and duty to govern themselves need to spend more time explaining why centrally planned standards are an inherent oxymoron. Here’s a sample explanation:
Nationalizing education, like nationalizing anything, requires compromise to get enacted. And compromise inevitably sacrifices quality. So if you want quality, refuse nationalization. Quality has to grow from the ground up, through cooperation and competition, or it will never exist.
SOURCES: Education Next, Education Week
IN THIS ISSUE:
- CALIFORNIA: The Los Angeles school district says it’s not subject to the state’s Parent Trigger law anymore because of the state’s federal No Child Left Behind waiver. The Parent Trigger law, which allows a majority of parents whose kids attend a failing school to require reforms, applies to low-performing schools as defined by NCLB. Now that the Obama administration has unilaterally lifted NCLB, the district argues laws dependent on it also don’t apply.
- PRIVATE SCHOOLS: Check out demographic data showing which states and cities have the highest and lowest private-school enrollment. Places with bad schools and high incomes are most likely to have higher private-school enrollment, and so are those with more white, Catholic, Orthodox Jewish, highly educated, and Amish folks.
- OHIO: The Ohio House has held three days of hearings this week on a bill to repeal Common Core and replace it with Massachusetts’ previous academic standards, considered among the best in the nation. Next week, the committee will take testimony from Common Core supporters, then vote.
- SOUTH CAROLINA: The state school board has approved a timeline for replacing Common Core that includes a public draft by October and a final product by March 2015. The board also rejected a resolution requiring the drafters to use Common Core as a starting point. “We’re not editing Common Core,” said state Superintendent Mick Zais.
- CURRICULUM: The Gates Foundation, which bankrolled Common Core, is now cosponsoring a $3 million effort to grade various curricula for how well they fit Common Core.
- LOUISIANA: A judge has ordered the state to continue using Common Core tests, lifting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s order rescinding the tests. Jindal’s staff said he will appeal the ruling.
- NEW YORK: Kids got higher scores on Common Core transition tests this year, but state officials made the tests easier. So it’s unclear whether kids are learning more under Common Core, it has made no difference, or it has actually reduced their learning.
- TENNESSEE: Americans for Prosperity plans to continue spending big to overturn Common Core in the state after anti-Common Core candidates won a number of local races.
- NORTH CAROLINA: The number of homeschoolers in the state has skyrocketed, thanks to Common Core and a down economy that makes private schools inaccessible. It’s also the first year more kids have been homeschooled than enrolled in private schools in the state.
- QUALITY: A new study finds No Child Left Behind caused states to water down curriculum and testing mandates. By punishing schools where fewer students performed well on tests, the law induced states to ease the tests.
- U.S. HISTORY: Read the latest in the war between the College Board and critics of its anti-American changes to advanced U.S. history curriculum. Peter Greene explains why College Board is the epitome of crony capitalism.
- COLLEGE: A startup company wants to up-end college, and it’s targeting the Ivy Leagues as competitors for a new higher education institution. The Minerva Project has accepted its first class of 33 students for an intense, technology-heavy course of liberal arts study. The school will accept no federal funds--compliance costs for doing so run $1,000 per student, a tenth of its tuition.
- PRESCHOOL: To reach President Barack Obama’s goal of preschool for all children, the U.S. Department of Education has announced a new grant competition to give states a bit of money and a pile of regulations towards starting or expanding government early childhood programs.
- NEW MEXICO: Public officials won’t tell the public how illegal immigrant children housed in an immigration facility will be educated, except that it will be through a contractor, not local public schools. States are legally required to educate school-age illegal immigrants.
- INEFFICIENCY: Half of public school employees are not teachers, and non-teaching school staff has increased 130 percent since 1970, finds a new report. The biggest increase has been in teachers’ aides. The report fingers a drastic increase in federal regulation as one reason for the employee bloat.
- WAIVERS: The ranking GOP members of the Senate and House education committees have asked the Government Accountability Office to review the Obama administration’s No Child Left Behind waivers for the costs they imposed to states.
Thank you for reading! If you need a quicker fix of news about school choice, you can find daily updates online under the Ed News Roundup at http://news.heartland.org/education.