Survey says residents split on Common Core
The 2014 Louisiana Survey findings reveal that Louisiana residents are largely unaware of the Common Core educational standards and that nearly three out of four residents – 74 percent – support increased spending on higher education when asked about state spending priorities. The Louisiana Survey is conducted annually by the Public Policy Research Lab, or PPRL, and sponsored by the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs in the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication.
Amy Reynolds, director of the Reilly Center and associate dean of graduate studies at the Manship School, said that for the first time in more than five years, education has surpassed the economy as Louisiana residents’ biggest concern.
One of the hot topics in primary and secondary education is the Common Core, but the Louisiana Survey shows that only one in two Louisiana residents have even heard of the Common Core.
Only one in five (20 percent) Louisiana residents give Louisiana’s public schools an A or a B on a standard grading scale, according to the survey. In 2011, the last time the survey asked residents to grade schools on an A through F scale, one in three (33 percent) gave public schools an A or a B.
Nearly one out of four (24 percent) residents said the Common Core is too demanding; 24 percent said it’s about right; and 25 percent say it’s not demanding enough. Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) said they are very or somewhat confident the Common Core will ensure students are college or career ready, compared to 35 percent who said they were not very or not at all confident.
Survey results also showed that Louisiana residents who are more familiar with the Common Core standards are more likely to think it is too demanding, yet will not prepare students for college or careers.
As for higher education, nearly 3 out of 4 (72 percent) residents said they would support a small increase in the sales tax if the additional money went to higher education. After a general question about state spending priorities, 74 percent said spending on higher education should increase. Additionally, 76 percent of respondents said they preferred increased spending on higher education, and they placed higher education second as a spending priority behind primary and secondary education. While demographic differences in level of support for higher education exist, support never falls below 50 percent. The lowest level of support is among those over the age of 65 (55 percent).
Louisiana residents reject the idea of reducing the total amount of support qualified students receive through the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, commonly known as TOPS, by a 74-22 margin. More than half (54 percent) support increasing academic requirements for TOPS. Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) support a flat monetary award.
The combined survey includes 1,095 respondents, including 571 respondents selected from landline telephone numbers via random-digit dialing and 524 respondents selected from available cell phone blocks. Interviews were conducted from Feb. 4 to Feb. 24.
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