Editorial: New survey shows majority of state unaware of Common Core

Feb. 06, 2014 @ 11:03 PM

An MTSU poll released Thursday at the Tennessee Press Association Winter Convention in Nashville revealed almost 60 percent of poll respondents haven't heard of the Common Core education reform effort.

"Fifty-eight (58) percent say that they have not heard of the Common Core State Standards for education, a national education initiative to define what students in public K-12 schools should know in English and math by the end of each grade," MTSU reported.

In contrast, only 38 percent of Tennesseans in the poll — given by telephone to 600 people using balanced, random samples of Tennessee landline and cell phones — claimed they'd heard of the standards. 

That's amazing.

For months now, in some circles, it's been among the hot topic of discussion. It's been reported on widely in newspapers, on television and across social media platforms. Even if some of the information is faulty — and it regularly is — the thought that a majority of people haven't even heard of Common Core is frightening.

Of the Tennesseans who have heard of Common Core, the poll says, opinions are mixed

"A plurality of 43 percent say they disapprove of the standards compared to only 22 percent who say they approve," MTSU researchers said. "A sizable portion, 35 percent, of those who say they have heard of the standards say they have no opinion about them yet."

Of those expressing their approval or disapproval of the initiative, the most important predictor of approval is whether one self-identifies as an Evangelical Christian, the conductors of the poll said.

"Only 15 percent of Evangelicals who have heard of the standards approve of them, while 49 percent disapprove ... In contrast, non-Evangelicals who have heard of the standards are nearly evenly divided, with 33 percent who say they approve, 32 percent who say they disapprove, and 34 percent saying they don’t yet have an opinion."

Regardless of one's personal feelings about the sweeping educational change, a passionate stance on the matter one way or the other is better than nothing — at least there's an awareness of the plan.

Widespread ignorance of a wide-ranging standards guidelines that affects millions of students is heartbreaking.