WASHINGTON, D.C.—Parents of school-age children are unhappy with the amount of time spent on standardized tests and have strong opinions on other controversial education policies, including Common Core and school vouchers, according to a new national poll released Thursday.
The Schooling in America Survey, released annually by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and Braun Research, includes a statistically representative sample of school parents. It found 44 percent of those parents said children spend too much time preparing for and taking assessments; 22 percent said too low, 30 percent said the focus is about right, and 5 percent had no opinion.
On the Common Core state standards, 49 percent of parents oppose the standards whereas 44 percent are supportive. However, intensity among parents was more pronounced as 33 percent “strongly oppose” Common Core compared with 12 percent who “strongly favor” the policy.
Compared to findings in last year’s Friedman Foundation/Braun Research poll, support grew for “school choice,” which can include vouchers and charter schools among other policies:
- More than six in 10 Americans (63 percent) support vouchers compared with 33 percent opposed. In 2012, 56 percent favored vouchers.
- Among parents, voucher support was 69 percent compared with 27 percent opposed. In 2012, 59 percent of parents supported and 25 percent opposed vouchers.
- Greatest support for school vouchers was among African Americans (74 percent), Hispanics (72 percent), young adults (69 percent), and Republicans (69 percent).
- When asked if they were more or less likely to support a pro-voucher candidate, 32 percent of school parents were more likely to support such a candidate compared with 12 percent saying less likely. Among all respondents, 27 percent said they were more likely to support a pro-voucher candidate, with 16 percent being less likely.
“No matter the outcome of the fall elections, what parents and the general public think about Common Core, standardized testing, and school choice will have a serious impact on state legislatures,” Robert Enlow, president and CEO of the Friedman Foundation, said.
“In 2015, debate over these policies likely will be amplified, particularly as more states opt out of Common Core, question the emphasis on testing, and consider school choice. Americans’ opinions certainly could sway these debates on the future of our country’s schools and parents’ role in education.”
Braun Research interviewed 1,007 adults by live telephone calls during the final weeks of the school year, April 23 to May 4. The margin of error for the statistically representative national sample is ± 3.1 percentage points; among the sample of school parents, the margin of error is ± 5.8 percentage points.
The full report is available at edchoice.org/2014SchoolingSurvey.