Poll finds state’s teachers support Common Core, but doubt value of the testing model

A poll of Idaho public school teachers finds great concern over the test associated with Common Core and skepticism over the state’s goal to raise the number of adult Idahoans with a secondary degree or certificate.

Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, said “Idaho public school teachers are very concerned with the direction of public education. We believe part of fixing education is to ask teachers their opinions, and what they have to say is worth studying and understanding.”

The poll, commissioned by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, asked 400 Idaho schoolteachers their opinion on a wide range of issues. While 59 percent said they have a favorable view of Common Core standards, only 27 percent support the (Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) test; 51 percent said the test won’t be useful in assessing the skills and progress of Idaho students.

Furthermore, 77 percent of educators said testing has become a major distraction in the classroom.

And while lawmakers are focused on salaries, technology and implementation of Common Core, 49 percent educators said the number one thing that would help student performance is smaller classroom sizes. After that, 22 percent of those surveyed said greater control by classroom teachers would yield better outcomes for students.

Other data points include:

  • 81 percent of survey respondents said policymakers—including superintendents, school boards and legislators—don’t listen to or value input from classroom teachers before making policy decisions.
  • Only 20 percent support the goal that 60 percent of Idahoans ages 24-35 have a post-secondary education. A supermajority of teachers surveyed, 66 percent, believe the public school system should focus on the attainment of basic academic skills.
  • While educators want more money for schools, 56 percent also believe current funding is being diverted from the classroom by administrators.
  • A plurality of educators, 48 percent, believe technology in the classroom is helpful.

The survey was conducted Dec 18-22, 2013, by Spartac Public Affairs Management and contains a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

To view the polling memo, click here.
To view the Q&A data set, click here.

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