Poll Reveals “A Nation Confused” on Common Core National Standards


A bundle of federal incentives encouraged 45 states to adopt Common Core national standards and tests. But a new poll shows that most Americans have no idea what the Common Core is—even though it will have major ramifications for their children and their tax dollars.

Phi Delta Kappa and Gallup have just released their 45th annual poll on the Americans’ attitude toward public education. According to the poll:

  • 62 percent of Americans have never heard of the Common Core;
  • Among those who said they have heard of Common Core, most said they were only “somewhat knowledgeable”;
  • Among those who said they have heard of Common Core, less than half thought the standards would make the U.S. more competitive internationally; and
  • Most of those who are familiar with Common Core “neither understand it nor embrace it.”

These figures reveal an overwhelming lack of public knowledge on what the Common Core national standards are, even as students are starting to come home with Common Core–aligned textbooks. It’s reminiscent of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2010 comment that “We have to pass [Obamacare] so you can find out what’s in it.”

But as implementation of the new centralized standards moves forward, parents will soon learn what’s in Common Core, and taxpayers will learn what it will cost them.

Common Core is yet another top-down approach to education reform. American citizens were not engaged in the decision-making process to adopt the standards. Rather, state officials were enticed to adopt the standards through (1) stimulus funding and (2) a process that completely circumvented Congress: the Administration offering No Child Left Behind waivers to states that agreed to adopt common standards.

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The PDK poll is another indication of how little public input there has been in the Common Core push.

Centralized education is not conducive to the American model of self-government. Self-government in education requires empowering families with educational opportunity to make sure their children can inherit the blessings of a free society.

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