Strong Support, Low Awareness: Public Perception of the Common Core State Standards

While adoption and
implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have spurred a
hailstorm of activity across educator and policy circles alike, the general
public remains clueless even as to what the standards are—never mind how they
are being implemented or what the long-term implications of their adoption might
be. Through this national poll (given to 800 registered voters), the folks at
Achieve find that a whopping 60 percent of Americans have never heard of the
Common Core standards—and another 21 percent have heard “not much.” Further,
among voters who have heard peep about the Common Core, impressions are
mixed: Thirty-seven percent view them favorably while 34 percent hold an
unfavorable opinion (the rest are undecided). Despite this mixed reaction to
the CCSS specifically, Americans overwhelmingly approve of the idea of common
academic standards for all states: sixty-six percent support vs. 31 percent
opposed. (Even a majority of Republicans like the notion of common standards.)
But with so few people in the know, it’s clear that Common Core remains fragile
politically. The good news, however, is that public-school teachers (most of
whom have heard “a lot” about the Common Core) like the idea of common
standards: Sixty-five percent of them are in support. That’s a promising
indication that these standards might actually have some staying power in the
classroom—if the public doesn’t come to dislike them first.

Strong Support, Low Awareness: Public
Perception of the Common Core State Standards
Achieve, Inc.
October 2011

Daniela Fairchild
Daniela Fairchild is a Development Manager and Policy Analyst at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute