Do Teachers really Hate Common Core?

As more and more governors and local politicians denounce Common Core initiatives, and more states officially back away from the standards, the debate over the place and effectiveness of Common Core heats up. There is a lot of talk about students, but what about teachers? After all, they are the people who are most accountable for any standards and testing systems that are put in place. They are also the ones who see firsthand how education policies impact students. So what do teachers say about Common Core and PARCC testing?

• 75 percent support Common Core, says a May 2013 American of Federation (AFT) poll that surveyed 800 teachers.
• 76 percent strongly, or somewhat, support Common Core based on an Education Next Survey from 2013.
• More than three-fourths support Common Core Standards “wholeheartedly” or with some minor reservations, according to a September 2013 National Education Association member survey.
• 73 percent of teachers that specializes in math, science, social studies and English language arts are “enthusiastic” about the implementation of Common Core standards in their classrooms, from a 2013 Primary Sources poll of 20,000 educators.

A higher amount of elementary teachers are optimistic about Common Core than their high school counterparts. A survey conducted by The Hechinger Report Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation found that just 41 percent of high school teachers are positive about Common Core standards. A recent survey by the National Association of Elementary School Principals found that more than 80 percent of principals (out of 1,000 from 14 states) say that Common Core standards have the potential to increase student skill mastery, create meaningful assessments and improve areas like conceptual understanding.

These are just a few examples of studies of educators and administrators that relate directly to Common Core initiatives, but each one lists well over a majority who back the standards to some degree. This, despite the fact that many parents and legislators cite “unfairness” to teachers as a reason to dissolve the standards on a national level. In fact, this idea that all teachers somehow “hate” Common Core or are against the standards being taught is just not true. Yet this widely held public belief has led to even greater fervor when it comes to Common Core, PARCC testing and the related lessons in classrooms.

You may notice that many of these studies I mention are a little bit outdated. Even something from six months ago does not take teachers’ true feelings into account following teaching the standards, and facing assessments on them. Implementation aside, though, based on the criteria alone teachers appear to think that Common Core is a step in the right direction for the students in their classrooms.

Some teachers’ unions are calling for delayed implementation of the standards, for several reasons including the fact that materials have not yet made it to all the classrooms (which makes assessments based on those materials unfair, and impossible). These groups are not asking for states to abandon Common Core though. There is a difference.

It seems that the basis of Common Core is a solid one, then, when it comes to the people who understand teaching the most. Today’s teachers are in overcrowded, underfunded classrooms with higher accountability standards placed on them than ever before. If there truly was an unfair setup, teachers would certainly be the first ones to point it out.

I think that we need to stop using teachers as a reason to abolish Common Core standards. There are other reasons perhaps to take another look at these initiatives and modify them – but assuming that teachers are against them (and therefore everyone else should be) is a false pretense.

Are you a teacher that likes or dislikes Common Core standards?

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