Louisiana poll: Support for multistate education standards, but not under 'Common Core' name

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BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — Louisiana residents like the idea of multistate education standards for public schools — just not when they're called Common Core.

Those are the findings of a poll released Tuesday from LSU's Public Policy Research Lab that showed when the name Common Core is used to describe those standards, 39 percent of people supported them.

But more than two-thirds of those surveyed, 67 percent, supported using "standards for reading and math that are the same across the states" when the Common Core label was dropped.

"The political controversies that have arisen in the last couple of years appear to have tainted the Common Core's brand," Michael Henderson, research director of the polling lab, said in a statement.

The Common Core standards are benchmarks of what students should learn at each grade level in English and math. They've been adopted by more than 40 states as a way to better prepare students for college and careers. Opponents say the standards are developmentally inappropriate and part of federal efforts to nationalize education.

Republican leaders nationally have become the most vocal opponents of Common Core. In Louisiana, GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal, who once supported the standards, has become increasingly outspoken in his criticism of Common Core. He's sued the federal government over the standards and is asking state lawmakers to yank them from the state's public schools.

The LSU poll results tracked that criticism, showing GOP respondents had the strongest reaction to the Common Core label.

Seventy-one percent of Republicans surveyed supported common, multistate standards, but 62 percent said they oppose Common Core. A majority of Democrats, 57 percent, back the standards even when told they are Common Core, down from 72 percent who said they supported Common Core by name.

"People like the idea behind the program but the phrase has become politically toxic — dropping support and polarizing the parties," Henderson said.

A Vanderbilt University poll in November found similar but less stark results in Tennessee. When asked how they felt about Common Core, 38 percent of respondents were supportive, while 46 percent were opposed. When asked about generic standards, 43 percent favored them, while 34 percent were opposed.

The LSU poll found confusion about what Common Core entails, when respondents were asked to say whether certain statements about the education standards are true or false.

Pollsters surveyed 980 adults by phone from Jan. 12 to Feb. 13, including both landlines and cellphones, as part of an annual survey that LSU does to track Louisiana residents' attitudes on a wide array of topics. The overall survey's margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


AP reporter Erik Schelzig contributed to this report from Nashville, Tennessee

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