7 in 10 Californians Favor Common Core: Survey

Survey finds support although the public's awareness of the Common Core State Standards is still sketchy

As other U.S. states move to delay or halt implementation of the shared learning framework known as the Common Core, the new national math and language standards still enjoy solid support in California, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found that the public's awareness of the Common Core State Standards is still sketchy, with just 19 percent of those questioned saying they had heard a lot about the benchmarks that made their debut in classrooms this year, 37 percent saying they had heard a little, and 43 percent answering they had heard nothing at all.

But when respondents were read a short description of the initiative, which has been billed as a way to prepare high school graduates for college and careers, seven in 10 said they favored it. The same proportion said they support California's new school-funding system that directs more money to schools with large numbers of children who are learning English, living in low-income households or in foster care.

The 1,702 adult Californians surveyed by the institute were less sure, though, about the ability of educators to execute the twin reform policies. Three in four said they were at least somewhat concerned that public school teachers are not adequately prepared to meet the promise of a Common Core-based curriculum, while 53 percent expressed confidence that school districts would use the money wisely.

"Public support is solidly behind the significant changes that are being made to school funding and classroom curricula this year," institute President Mark Baldassare said. "However, many Californians have concerns about whether their local schools can effectively implement the new state policies."

The Common Core State Standards were developed by a panel of educators convened by governors and state school superintendents. They were voluntarily adopted by 44 states, but political opposition to them has been mounting -- Indiana became the first state last month to drop the standards -- fueled in part by concerns that a national approach interferes with the autonomy of school districts.

The institute's survey also found broad backing in California for universal preschool, another initiative being championed by the Obama administration. Seventy-three percent of respondents endorsed a bill now making its way through the state Legislature that would fund public preschool for all 4-year-olds next year.

The poll, conducted by landline and cellphone from April 8-15, has a sampling-error margin of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points among all adults.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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