WASHINGTON – A majority of Americans have never heard of the Common Core State Standards and dissatisfaction with standardized testing in schools is growing, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The Common Core, which was voluntarily adopted by 45 states, including Maine, consists of English and math standards establishing what children should learn each year from kindergarten through 12th grade. The standards were intended to ensure students graduate from high school prepared to enter college or begin careers, as well as to provide some uniformity in education among the states.
Among the findings of the survey by Phi Delta Kappa International and Gallup:
• 62 percent of those surveyed had never heard of the standards.
• Only 22 percent said testing helped the performance of their local school, down from 28 percent in 2007. Another 36 percent went further, saying that testing was hurting school performance.
• Americans are also growing wary of using students’ standardized tests to evaluate teachers.
Even those who said they had heard of the Common Core had false impressions of the standards. Some agreed that the Common Core will create standards in all academic areas, is based on a blend of state standards or is a mandate of the federal government – all of which are false.
The Common Core has critics on both the left and right. Conservative critics say it is an intrusion from the federal government. (The standards were adopted by the states, but the Obama administration has strongly supported the effort.) Some critics on the left have expressed concerns about the testing associated with the standards, arguing that the tests are too difficult or that teachers should not be evaluated based on student testing.
In Maine, representatives from the Maine Equal Rights Center and No Common Core Maine announced at a press converence Wednesday that they’ll soon begin gathering signatures to place a measure to repeal the Common Core Standards on the November 2014 ballot.