HACKENSACK, N.J. – A new poll confirms what many education reform advocates have feared: Opposition to the Common Core nationalized learning standards is morphing into opposition to using student test scores to evaluate teachers’ job performance.
According to a survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Public Mind, 55 percent of New Jersey residents don’t know enough about the one-size-fits-all standards to have an opinion about whether they support them or not.
However, among the 45 percent who do know something about Common Core, 26 percent disapprove of the learning standards, while 19 percent support them.
Here’s where it gets worrisome for education reform proponents. According to a press release from the polling group:
New Jersey is also divided on the issue of how results from the (Common Core) standards should be used. … Only 20 percent of New Jersey voters say that it’s fair to punish teachers based on how their students do on standardized tests, with 74 percent saying that it’s unfair.
New Jersey residents are more willing to say that teachers should be rewarded for their students’ performance on the (Common Core-aligned standardized) tests (42 percent), but they’re still in the minority; 54 percent say that teachers shouldn’t be rewarded for their students’ good performance.
That suggests that Common Core – which is as much about standardized testing as it is about the standards themselves – has turned Americans off to the long-held K-12 reform propositions of teacher accountability and merit pay.
If a growing number of parents and taxpayers don’t like – or have questions about – the standards, it stands to reason that they’re not going to like the Common Core-aligned standardized tests, either.
As such, most New Jersey residents don’t want to see anyone affected – negatively or positively – by anything related to Common Core. This even applies to incompetent and ineffective teachers.
We suspect this trend exists far beyond The Garden State.
The takeaway is this: By unwisely marketing the Common Core experiment as the latest education reform initiative, reform advocates like Bill Gates and Jeb Bush are potentially undoing many of the tested and trustworthy policies that they’ve helped implement.
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Gates, Bush and the rest of the pro-Common Core supporters should heed Kenny Rogers’ advice: When you’re playing a losing hand, you gotta know when to fold ‘em and just walk away.