Milton: State mishandled rollout of Common Core _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Hollis Milton, president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents and superintendents of the West Feliciana Parish school system, addresses the Press Club of Baton Rouge.

National support for Common Core has dropped by 25 percent in the past two years, according to a survey released Tuesday.

The poll showed that 49 percent of those contacted back the academic standards compared to 35 percent opposed and 16 percent with no opinion.

That support is down from 65 percent in 2013 and 53 percent last year, according to Education Next, an academic journal, and the Program on Education Policy and Government at Harvard Kennedy School.

The findings are based on interviews with 4,083 people from May 21 to June 8.

The results have a margin of error of two percentage points, according to the authors.

The results were released one day before Louisiana launches public hearings statewide on whether and how to change Common Core, which is in its second year of being taught in classrooms statewide.

The national survey shows that disenchantment with the new benchmarks in reading, writing and math among teachers is a key reason for the slippage nationwide.

It shows that 40 percent of teachers nationally support Common Core, down from 76 percent in 2013.

Another 49 percent oppose the overhaul and 10 percent had no opinion, according to the results.

Paul Peterson, editor in chief of Education Next, noted that overall support plunged by 12 percentage points last year and four percentage points this time.

“Our interpretation of this, and there are some other interpretations, is that public opinion on Common Core may be stabilizing,” Peterson said. “The support for it, while slipping, is not falling dramatically as it was a year ago.”

Parents back Common Core, with 47 percent in favor, 41 percent opposed and 11 percent with no opinion, the survey showed.

Support among African-Americans is 50 percent, with 27 percent opposed and 23 percent with no opinion.

Whites back Common Core by a narrower margin — 44 percent to 41 percent opposed and 16 percent with no opinion.

Education Next said Democrats back the standards by a wide margin over Republicans — 57 percent to 37 percent.

Asked about the results Hollis Milton, president of the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents, said in an email that some educators were frustrated over how the benchmarks were implemented.

“Training and resources from the state came long after we started teaching the standards,” said Milton, who is superintendent of the West Feliciana Parish School District.

Asked for comment, Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Common Core backer turned opponent, said in a prepared statement issued by his office, “The more students and teachers experience Common Core, the more support for it will drop.”

The same survey said 25 percent of respondents favor allowing parents to let their children skip annual math and reading exams while 59 percent oppose it.

Earlier this year, around 1 percent of Louisiana students in grades 3-8 skipped Common Core tests, sparking controversy on how the action would affect school and district letter grades.

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