More than half of adults in Tennessee haven’t heard about the Common Core State Standards for English and math, according to a new poll from Middle Tennessee State University.
Researchers polled 600 adults in the state at the end of January and found 58 percent said they had not heard of the controversial academic benchmarks now in place in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Another 38 percent said they had heard of the standards, while the rest said they were unsure or did not answer the question.
By comparison, a 2013 poll by Gallup and Phi Delta Kappa International showed 62 percent of American adults knew of the standards.
“Despite public hearings and a reasonable amount of media coverage, like most Americans, most Tennesseans simply haven’t heard of the Common Core State Standards for education,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the MTSU Poll, in a release.
The results varied based on the respondent’s level of education, with those who had completed college more likely to know about the standards. For those with a bachelor’s degree or higher, for example, 65 percent knew about the Common Core, compared with 27 percent of those without a four-year degree.
And although many Tennessee adults (43 percent) who have heard of Common Core said they disapprove of the standards, another 57 percent said they either approved or had no opinion about them.
Since their implementation, the standards have sparked controversy among educators, parents and students, and several states have begun making efforts to either halt or repeal the standards, either because of concerns with the content of the standards, or concerns with how they’re being implemented.
Among opponents’ concerns are claims the standards were developed in private and have not been tested, that they appear to be a federal overreach into local education (because of financial incentives provided by the Department of Education) and that they simply are not rigorous enough academically.
Although Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, a Republican, is supportive of the standards and has credited them for improvement in student performance, lawmakers have introduced a number of bills targeting the Common Core, including one that would repeal them, and one related to data collection.State Rep. Rick Womick, a Republican, has introduced HB 1825 would postpone any further implementation of the standards beyond what had been implemented as of June 30, 2013. Another bill, introduced by State Rep. Paul Bailey, also a Republican, would prohibit the use of student results from the first year of Common Core assessments from being used in teacher evaluations.