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Americans Support Major Education Reform Initiatives

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Americans Support Major Education Reform Initiatives, RMU Poll Finds

  • Two-Thirds (67.1%) Support Standardized Testing
  • Majority (51.9%) Support Common Core State Standards
  • Most See Charter Schools Out-Performing Public Schools 

PITTSBURGH – A majority of Americans favor education reform initiatives including the Common Core, charter schools, and standardized testing, according to the latest poll by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media.

Two-thirds of all respondents, 66.9 percent, had at least some awareness of the Common Core State Standards. Of those who had at least some awareness of the Common Core,51.9 percent said they supported those standards, and many cited a desire to hold schools accountable for their pupils’ performamce as a reason for supporting the Common Core.

Among the reasons cited by those who oppose the Common Core is that it promotes “teaching to the test” rather than true learning. Nonetheless, most respondents, 67.1 percent, are in favor of standardized testing in schools.

“The statement ‘teaching to the test’ is a phrase that often has a negative connotation and can be interpreted several different ways. Teaching and curriculum should match the test. We should be testing what we are teaching,” said Ronald Perry, assistant professor of education at RMU. “The problem arises when the curriculum is not aligned with the assessments.“

A majority of respondents, 57.4 percent, agreed that charter schools perform better than traditional public schools, and 59.3 percent were aware that charter schools are public schools and receive taxpayer funds to operate.

Robert Del Greco, assistant professor of education at RMU, said that charter schools promote themselves heavily through advertising, which may be influencing the public’s perception of their success.

“Public schools do not run television and radio ads, nor do they rent billboard space, nor do they promote their programs or their general success stories on the Internet as do many charter schools,” said Del Greco, a former principal and school district superintendent. 

Other notable results include:

  • 77.2 percent agreed that parents should have the option to homeschool their children
  • 49.3 percent believe that unions should be allowed to organize public school teachers

ABOUT THE POLL: The Poll was conducted by the Robert Morris University Polling Institute Powered by Trib Total Media. Polling by the Institute is conducted on a regular basis and may also include spontaneous polling on occurring events.

METHODOLOGY:  The Poll sampled opinions of 1,001 Americans approximately proportional to state population contributions nationwide. The poll was conducted Aug. 18-22, 2014. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/-3.0 percent margin of error and a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.

ABOUT ROBERT MORRIS UNIVERSITY: Through 60 undergraduate and 20 graduate degree programs across five academic schools, Robert Morris University (RMU) in Pittsburgh, Pa., works to change its students' lives so that they can go out and change the lives of others for the better. More than 5,000 undergraduate and graduate, nontraditional and online students from 37 states and 37 nations are enrolled at RMU, which sits on 230 scenic acres just 20 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Emphasizing experiential learning, Robert Morris focuses on professional development, service learning, global awareness, undergraduate research, campus leadership, and cultural experiences, all of which are documented on our innovative Student Engagement Transcript. More than 100 clubs and organizations help students to develop leadership skills, network professionally, and meet friends. RMU also has 16 NCAA Division I athletic programs, including football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s ice hockey, and men's and women's lacrosse. Learn more at rmu.edu.

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