The Common Core Standards Initiative has gotten a lot of attention across the U.S. lately. But a recent survey indicates that Common Core's reputation may be due in part to misconceptions over which subjects it actually covers. A recent survey from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, New Jersey, found that 40 percent of people said they disapproved of the benchmark -- but 55 percent thought Common Core tests children in at least two areas that it doesn't.
Nearly every state initially agreed to adopt Common Core by the 2014-2015 school year. Some have pulled out, and others have faced issues with implementation. The controversial guidelines could save money and help kids' critical thinking skills, but the plan is often seen as a "one-size-fits-all" requirement unrealistic for diverse students and teachers.
Fairleigh Dickinson's survey found 42 percent of Americans were unsure about whether Common Core was a good or bad thing for schools. About one-fifth of respondents favored the standards, according to a news release. About half of Americans said they'd heard "some" or "a lot" about Common Core.
But they may not even know what's on the tests. Common Core only covers math and reading, though 44 percent of the survey's respondents said sex education was included. Roughly the same number thought students would learn about evolution and global warming. Forty-eight percent said the American Revolution was part of the standards.
“In the absence of information about the Common Core, Americans are projecting their own beliefs about government influence on public education on to them,” Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Dan Cassino said in the release. “Those who think that the government is trying to indoctrinate their children with beliefs they’re opposed to think that the Common Core is the way they’re doing it.”
In general, Republicans who disliked the standards were misinformed about what's included. Democrats and independents liked them but also may have based their opinions on the wrong information.
“People are receiving bad information,” Collaborative for Student Success spokeswoman Blair Mann told the Washington Post. “There are a million different websites that you can go to that have the ‘truth’ about the Common Core that are just perpetuating these myths.”
The poll included 964 adults reached by phone in December.