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Poll: most approve of Common Core State Standards, want funding

Education Trust-Midwest

Most people don't know much about the Common Core State Standards, which Michigan adopted in 2010, according to a poll commissioned by The Education Trust-Midwest.

But the poll also finds that, once people get more information about the standards, the majority approve of them -- and think the state legislature should fund their implementation.

The Common Core State Standards are intended to emphasize greater proficiency in math and English, critical thinking skills, and a philosophy of "quality over quantity."

David Zeman is Managing Director for Content and Communications at the Education Trust-Midwest.

"They go slowly, they go deeper, they learn the why as well as the how of math," says Zeman, "and then they're able to build on that in future years."

Funding at the state level to help schools implement the standards this year is controversial. Some Republican state legislators fear the standards are another mandate from the Obama administration.

Zeman says, while the common core state standard is a national program - it is not a federally mandated education program, like No Child Left Behind.

The controversy is why Zeman asked a polling firm associated with both major parties to ask the questions - and why people were asked if they would vote against a legislator who approved funding for Common Core.

Ten percent of people said they'd be less likely to vote for a member of the State Legislature who voted to restore the funding. One-third would be more likely. "I think this is going to give them (legislators) comfort," says Zeman, "but it's not going to tell them anything they don't already know from talking to their educators in their district." 71% of those polled said they favor implementing the Common Core State

Standards, after hearing a basic description of them. Even after both sides of the argument were presented, a majority of both Republicans and Democrats said they sided with supporters of the standards.

"What's heartening about the data here is just how broad the support is for Common Core," says Zeman.  "It cuts across political parties, geographic regions, age, race, income level, parental status, everything."