“People’s Views on Education Policy are Quite Malleable”

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“People’s views on education policy are quite malleable.”

That was the conclusion of a study that Stephen Sawchuk wrote about at Education Week. The piece is called “Here’s One Way to Dispel Misconceptions About Common Core.”

This article does not reveal anything new. Common Core proponents have asserted this ever since the standards were first released. “We just don’t understand them,” they said.

Every negative thing written about them is “simply misinformation” they claim.

Sawchuk writes:

The respondents were given a set of six true-and-false questions on the common core, including these. (The answer to all three is false.)

  • Common Core requires more testing than previous standards.
  • The federal government required states to adopt the common core.
  • The Common Core State Standards were developed by the Obama administration.

They were also asked about whether they approved or disapproved of the standards.

Then, half of the sample were given a short refutation text created by the researchers; the other half, a control group, were given Education Week‘s own explainer on the common core, though in a significantly altered format—the researchers cut it from 1,400 words down to 360.

After reading these, the panelists were asked to take the quiz again. They took it a third and final time after a week.

Initially, the respondents were neutral on the common core and held a number of misconceptions. (Just 16 percent got the first question, on testing, correct.)

But upon reviewing the refutation text, the treatment group had a significantly reduced number of misconceptions and more correct conceptions of the standards; they were also likely to support the standards than before. The effects declined somewhat after a week but were still statistically significant.

The control group also improved, but the treatment group outperformed the control group on four of the six questions—a function, the authors believe, of the refutation structure explicitly built into the treatment text, but not into the modified Education Week article.

Congratulations, what Stephen Sawchuk discovered here is push polling and that it can be useful (which is why campaigns and political groups use it). What an earthshattering discovery.

We’ve had to deal with misconceptions from those pushing Common Core. Here’s a list I would include if I did my own “study.”

  • Common Core was state-led.
  • Common Core State Standards are more rigorous standards.
  • Common Core is internationally benchmarked.

All of the above statements are false even though Common Core advocates will claim that they are correct.

Common Core was special interest-led. Last I checked the National Governors’ Association and Council of Chief State School Officers are special interest groups located in Washington, DC. They are not government entities even though it sounds that way. Governors did not develop these standards, workgroups selected by NGA and CCSSO did. Also, state legislatures, for the most part, did not vote on Common Core before the implementation of the new standards.

Common Core State Standards are more “rigorous”? First, what does that mean? Secondly, based on what? Certainly not California’s math standards or Massachusetts’ ELA standards.

As far as international benchmarking for Common Core is concerned, that talking point was later changed to “informed by international benchmarks,” and eight years later I’m still uncertain what country they compared themselves to.

Initial polling for Common Core was quite high until we and others started to challenge what proponents were putting out there.

Now have Common Core opponents provided inaccurate information? Yes, and I have challenged some of it at Truth in American Education. He gave two examples. The first being, “Kids won’t read fiction anymore.”

That’s hyperbole that points to a truth. Kids will still read fiction, but they will read much less fiction as the standards call for more informational text to be read. Also, how much of the fiction that kids read represents entire literary works or just excerpts?

By the time a student is a senior in high school, under Common Core, 70 percent of what they read is informational text. That is simply a fact.

The other example he gives “schools are scanning children’s irises.”

I agree with him that this is not Common Core because Common Core State Standards in and of themselves are just academic benchmarks. Common Core was part of a package of reforms that included aligned assessments and data collection. All of those things were requirements to be eligible for Race to the Top money and the federal government spent a lot of money on the assessment consortia and statewide longitudinal database systems.

As far as iris scans at schools, yeah, so unbelievable.

2 thoughts on ““People’s Views on Education Policy are Quite Malleable”

  1. In her most recent speech, previously a CC supporter Secretary Betsy DeVos said CC is a disaster, parental oproar was understandable and student achievement has declined as a result of these standards. Wonder why they did not include her comments in their research?

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