Apr 01, 2015

BATON ROUGE, La. – The LSU Public Policy Research Lab, a research center dedicated to high quality, state-of-the-art data collection and analytics, conducted the survey to track public opinion on contemporary policy issues facing the state. The survey contains core items designed to serve as barometers of public sentiment, including assessments of whether the state is heading in the right direction or wrong direction.

This unique study of the Common Core State Standards examined “whether or not the heated rhetoric now attached to the Common Core influences opinion” by experimenting with two different versions of questions – one version referring to the standards by name, and the other version dropping the name.

Q: Do Louisianans support common standards?

A: Overwhelmingly yes, but what they’re called matters.

  • “Louisiana residents dislike the phrase ‘Common Core’ far more than they dislike the concept of common standards. When the Common Core label is dropped, support for common standards across states leaps from 39% to 67%.”
  • “When the phrase ‘Common Core’ is not used, large majorities from both parties support common standards.”
  • “The shift is especially pronounced among Republicans, for whom support rises from 22% to 71% without the offending phrase.”
  • “A broad consensus remains with respect to common standards, despite the fact that public debate over the Common Core polarizes the public.”

Q: Are Louisianans generally better informed about the standards?

A: Yes, but confusion continues.
  • “The share of the public claiming to be ‘very familiar’ or ‘somewhat familiar’ with Common Core is 62%, which is 13 percentage points higher than a year ago.”
  • “A great deal of confusion continues to surround the standards. When asked to say whether a statement about Common Core is true or false anywhere between 28% to 47% often cannot even say.”

Q: What is the source of that confusion?
A: Political rhetoric and misunderstanding (or misrepresentation) of the facts.

  • “One reason why people respond differently to the ‘Common Core’ label than to the concept of common standards may have to do with what people think that label means. In the mind of the public the label may now reflect the rhetoric of the political debate which with have become familiar.”
  • “When differences in how a question or statement is phrased produce significant inconsistencies – as they do here – that suggests many responses may be based on guesswork or a vague understanding of the facts.”
  • “A third of respondents (33%) believe it is true that ‘the federal government requires all states to use the Common Core,’ but only 24% say that it is false that ‘the Common Core is a voluntary program in which states choose for themselves whether to participate.’ These perceptions are not only inconsistent with the facts (as evidenced by several states opting to not join Common Core), but also inconsistent with each other.”

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