Daryl Purpera

Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera 

Despite months of controversy in Louisiana and elsewhere, many people are unfamiliar with the education overhaul called Common Core, Legislative Auditor Daryl Purpera said in a report issued on Monday.

Purpera noted that, in a survey done by the LSU Public Policy Research Lab at LSU earlier this year, nearly one in two state residents said they had not heard of the new standards in reading, writing and math.

He said national surveys have produced similar findings, including two done in May and June.

In a PDK/Gallup Poll, 53 percent of respondents said they knew little or nothing about Common Core compared with 47 percent who said they knew a great deal or a fair amount on the issue.

Another check done by Education Next Survey showed that 57 percent of respondents said they had not heard of Common Core and 43 percent said they had.

The findings are part of what Purpera calls the first in a series of nonpartisan, detailed briefs on key issues, including the history of the topic and arguments for and against.

The state’s top school board endorsed Common Core in 2010 with little fanfare, and the new standards and assessments have been phased in since then.

The current school year marks the first time that students will be quizzed on the standards in earnest.

Heated arguments on Common Core in Louisiana have raged for the past 13 months, including disputes in the Legislature, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and courts.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, a former backer of the overhaul, is trying to block Common Core test plans that are scheduled for March.

Purpera said 41 of 46 states that initially adopted the standards continue to use them to guide instruction in whole or part.

Two states have repealed them, and three states are crafting their own standards to replace Common Core.

Purpera said Louisiana is one of 12 states and the District of Columbia that, as of Sept. 1, belong to a testing consortium called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers.

Another 20 states belong to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Other states are relying on assessments developed by other groups.

Backers say Common Core will improve student achievement.

Opponents contend the new standards are flawed.

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