New Yorkers are closely divided on whether they believe Common Core standards will make students more college or career ready, with 45 percent confident they will and 49 percent not confident, according to a Siena College Poll of New York voters released today. About a third of voters (34 percent) think Common Core standards are too demanding, while about one-quarter (27 percent) think they are not demanding enough and one-quarter (23 percent) think they are about right. Twenty-eight percent say that efforts to improve education in the last three years have moved New York schools in the right direction, 22 percent say they have moved schools in the wrong direction and a plurality, 44 percent, think they have had little impact. There is too much testing in public schools, 52 percent say, while 12 percent say there is not enough and 28 percent say it’s the right amount.
The Siena pollster puts these findings into perspective:
On the implementation of Common Core standards in public schools, New Yorkers are as divided as a physical education class that just broke up into teams,” said Siena College pollster Steven Greenberg. “There’s no consensus at all on whether the standards are too demanding, not demanding enough or just right. New Yorkers are nearly evenly divided as to their confidence that Common Core standards will make graduates better ready for college or career. And nearly as many think schools are headed in the wrong direction as in the right direction. “There is a consensus on testing of student. Only one in eight New Yorkers would like to see more testing in the schools but a clear majority believes that there’s currently too much testing in the schools,” Greenberg said. “The jury’s out on Common Core but if standardized student tests were reduced, most New Yorkers would not object.”
So here's what these findings in the Siena poll mean.
Many people still have no idea what the Common Core is, they may have heard about it from Morning Joe or read about it in the Times-Union, they have some overall sense that these new standards are "more demanding" than the old ones, but they've never actually seen them and have no link themselves to anybody who has (the Siena poll found 41% of respondents were either "not very familiar" or "not familiar at all" with the Common Core.)
Then there are the people with kids in school, or grandkids in school, or friends with kids in school, who hear about how the kids don't want to go to school anymore because the Common Core is soul-sapping drudgery and all the kids do is take tests so their teachers can be evaluated.
Many in that first group of people may support the Core (or at least be agnostic about it), while many in the second group have turned against the Core.
Here's a question I have for you - which group is growing by the week?
You got it - the more people learn about Common Core and see the SED modules or the Common Core lessons, the more they turn against the Core
So while a 49%-45% split in Don't Like/Like seems problematic, I am heartened that we're already at a plurality of people in NY State who dislike the Common Core.
Give this another six months of protests, town hall beatings, er meetings, with King and Tisch and stories in the papers about how children hate school as a result of the Common Core and the Don't Like number is going to grow to a clear majority - especially when they discover most of the testing in schools is mandated by the Common Core.
As for the testing numbers, that's a slam dunk clear majority say there is too much testing the schools. 52%-40%, hands down, say too much testing.
No wonder the SED, the Regents and the UFT is getting on board with the calls for a K-2 testing ban.
Even these three entities, all of whom supported the expansion of testing under Race to the Top, the CCSS, and the APPR teacher evaluation system, can read the tea leaves and see where the public is going on this.
One last point we have to look at - Governor Cuomo's numbers. These matter, especially with Cuomo up for re-election next November. Siena has him hammering his GOP opponents, but notice what NYer's think these days about Cuomo's job performance:
“While Cuomo maintains his nearly two-to-one favorability rating, voters are less enthralled with the job he is doing as governor,” Greenberg said. “More than twice as many voters think he’s doing a poor job compared to an excellent job, and more voters now think Cuomo is doing a fair (39 percent) or poor job (17 percent) than at any time in his three years as governor.
Don't think Cuomo isn't watching those numbers closely and wondering if his education reform agenda hasn't contributed to his plummeting job performance rating.
He is watching them - very, very closely, reportedly polling that agenda himself.
Students, parents, teachers, and administrators need to keep the pressure up on the NYSED and the Regents, on NYSED Commissioner King and Regents Chancellor Tisch, on their legislators and on Governor Cuomo.
The tide is turning on education reform - these numbers show that.
Six months to a year ago, most people had no idea what Common Core was.
Now 49% dislike Common Core and want it gone.
Think what those numbers will look like in another six months after constant protests, town hall meetings with education functionaries and legislators, et al.