The spring 2014 MTSU Poll found that most Tennesseans’ haven’t heard of the Common Core education reform effort.
Fifty-eight (58) percent say that they have not heard of the Common Core State Standards for education, a national education initiative to define what students in public K-12 schools should know in English and math by the end of each grade.
Only 38 percent of Tennesseans say they have heard of the standards. The rest say they are unsure if they have heard of the standards or refuse to answer the question. Nationally 62 percent of Americans say they have not heard of the Common Core State Standards, according to a 2013 poll by Gallup and Phi Delta Kappa International.
“Despite public hearings and a reasonable amount of media coverage, like most Americans, most Tennesseans simply haven’t heard of the Common Core State Standards for education,” said Jason Reineke, associate director of the MTSU Poll.
The most important predictor of awareness of the standards among Tennesseans is one’s own level of education. A 65 percent majority of those with a bachelor’s degree or more schooling say that they have heard of the standards, while 32 percent say they have not. In contrast, 68 percent of those with less than a bachelor’s degree say that they have not heard of the standards while only 27 percent say that they have heard of them.
A follow-up question asked Tennesseans who have heard of Common Core whether they approve or disapprove of the initiative. Responses are mixed. A plurality of 43 percent say they disapprove of the standards compared to only 22 percent who say they approve. A sizeable portion, 35 percent, of those who say they have heard of the standards say they have no opinion about them yet.
Among Tennesseans who have heard of Common Core, the most important predictor of approval is whether one self-identifies as an Evangelical Christian. Only 15 percent of Evangelicals who have heard of the standards approve of them, while 49 percent disapprove and 36 percent don’t yet have an opinion. In contrast, non-Evangelicals who have heard of the standards are nearly evenly divided, with 33 percent who say they approve, 32 percent who say they disapprove, and 34 percent saying they don’t yet have an opinion.
Poll data were collected Jan. 23–26, via telephone interviews of 600 Tennessee adults conducted by Issues and Answers Network Inc. using balanced, random samples of Tennessee landline and cell phones. Results have an error margin of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points at the 95 percent level of confidence. The data were weighted to match the latest available Census estimates of gender and race proportions in Tennessee.