Survey Finds Tennesseans Know Little About Common Core

The Tennessee Department of Education has been working to inform teachers about what Common Core is. Some 25,000 teachers have enrolled in optional training over the summer. Credit: TN Photo Services

The Tennessee Department of Education has been working to inform teachers about what Common Core is. Some 25,000 teachers have enrolled in optional training over the summer. Credit: TN Photo Services

A new survey finds continued support for Common Core State Standards in Tennessee. The poll conducted in May by the State Collaborative on Reforming Education also finds Tennesseans don’t know a whole lot about the new grade-level benchmarks.

When told that Common Core raises expectations for students in English and math, the SCORE poll finds broad support, even among people who identify with the Tea Party, which has been trying to undermine implementation of the standards. But nearly two-thirds of respondents hadn’t heard much about Common Core before picking up the phone.

“There is work to do both to just provide the public with good information about the standards, but also to do a little bit of myth-busting as well and make sure folks know what the Common Core is and what it is not,” says SCORE advocacy director David Mansouri.

To conservative activists, they see a conspiracy to nationalize classroom curriculum. Common Core is now in 45 states, including Tennessee.

Katherine Hudgins is a leader with “Tennessee Against Common Core” and questions how so many people could support Common Core if they’re having to be told what it is.

“How can you legitimately comment on any topic if you really don’t know about it?” she asks.

While adoption of Common Core is well underway in Tennessee, Hudgins’ group is trying to drum up support to block further implementation.

Here’s what the 500 registered voters who responded to the SCORE survey were told about Common Core before being asked whether they support it:

“These new standards were developed by states and have been set to internationally competitive levels in English and math. This means that students may be more challenged by the material they study, and the tests they take will measure more advanced concepts and require students to show their work.”

What have you heard about Common Core in recent months? Leave a comment.

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