If the Public is in the Dark About the Common Core, Just Do Some Poll Manipulation

Robert Holland, a senior fellow for education policy with the Heartland Institute, wrote an excellent op/ed in The Washington Times highlighting how the general public is in the dark about the Common Core State Standards:

Achieve, a band of like-minded corporate moguls that formed in 1996 to push national education standards, had to report rather sheepishly last month that its own poll showed Americans are almost totally in the dark about the Common Core juggernaut.

A remarkable 79 percent of registered voters know “nothing” or “not much” about what Achieve calls the Common Core State Standards. Another 14 percent said they knew “some,” and just 7 percent claimed to know “a lot.”

None of that is surprising: Those standards for teaching English and mathematics were put together behind closed doors starting in 2009 by “experts” assembled by resident bureaucrats of the Washington-based Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association.

Achieve then had to recover and do some poll manipulation in order to cover this embarrassment up.

Achieve had a headache remedy handy for the embarrassing lack of public knowledge revealed by its own pollsters: Write a glowing description of the Common Core and then ask folks again what they thought. After reading it, 77 percent of respondents said they supported implementation of the Common Core, a finding Achieve then touted. This was the description the pollster spoon-fed them: “These new standards 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.”

That’s a classic example of a pollster manipulating questions to obtain a result desired by an advocacy group. Remember, the description was for folks who confessed to knowing basically nothing about the Common Core.

Holland wondered how would people poll if given some basic facts about how the Common Core State Standards have been developed and what their implementation means for local schools:

“Your local schools are about to start implementing standards and assessments developed by Washington-based interest groups and pushed by the federal government. These standards, known as the Common Core, have never been field-tested, and your local school board has been unable to put them to a public hearing or vote.

“The national standards provide no process for states or localities to amend them. They will require students to take four federally subsidized tests a year, all of them via computer, and the results will be a factor in evaluating local teachers.”

Given that factual statement, it is doubtful the desire to push forward with immediate implementation would have reached 25 percent.

He’s probably right.  We need to continue to shine the light on the Common Core State Standards that way we do have people informed about these standards that are being foisted on states and local school districts.