“The demise of school reform has been greatly exaggerated,” concludes Education Next in reporting on its survey of 10-year trends in education opinion.
“Public support remains as high as ever for federally mandated testing, charter schools, tax credits to support private school choice, merit pay for teachers, and teacher tenure reform,” the survey found. “However, backing for the Common Core State Standards and school vouchers fell to new lows in 2016.”
In 2016, 50% of all those taking a side say they support the use of the Common Core standards in their state, down from 58% in 2015 and from 83% in 2013. Republican backing has plummeted from 82% in 2013 to 39% in 2016. The slip among Democrats is from 86% to 60% over this time period. Eighty-seven percent of teachers supported the initiative in 2013, but that fell to 54% in 2014 and to 44% in 2015, stabilizing at that level in 2016.
When “Common Core” is not mentioned, two-thirds back the use of the same standards.
Nearly four out of five respondents, about the same as in 2015, favor the federal requirement that all students be tested in math and reading in each grade from 3rd through 8th and at least once in high school. However, only half of teachers support the testing requirement.
A “federal policy that prevents schools from expelling or suspending black and Hispanic students at higher rates than other students” is very unpopular, backed by only 28 percent of the general public and of teachers. In 2016, 48 percent of black respondents express support for the idea, down from 65 percent in 2015. Thirty-nine percent of Hispanics express support, showing little change from last year.
Respondents rated local schools more favorably than in the past, but continued to give low marks to schools nationally.