Last year, 60 percent of Tennessee teachers thought Common Core standards would improve student learning. This year, that number has dropped to 39 percent.
The First to the Top survey conducted by Vanderbilt found that almost 40 percent now oppose the standards. Thirteen percent want to see implementation delayed.
The survey places teachers into three categories: those who are in favor; those who like the standards, but want them delayed; and those who want them gone completely.
Lucianna Sanson is one of those teachers who wants to see Common Core out of her classroom. She’s used the standards in her honors and AP English classes at Franklin County High School for two years.
“What you’re seeing in that survey is the difference between what we were told it was and a year of implementation,” Sanson says. “And that is why you have that drastic, drastic change. Because you start implementing it, and you’re like, ‘What is this?’”
Sanson is also the frustrated parent of a new kindergartener, who is being asked to write full sentences. She says this approach is not ideal.
“They are not teaching skill sets, they are teaching abstract concepts,” Sanson says. “Obviously, you need to learn concrete before you learn abstract.”
But state education commissioner Kevin Huffman says he’s found that most both legislators and educators have been calling for higher standards. Teachers who have received the most Common Core training are more comfortable in the classrooms.
“I think that if you talk to teachers and principals around the state, you find that most think their instruction has improved considerably,” Huffman says. “And most will tell you that kids have learned more.”
Huffman also points to the state’s improved test scores.
“We want our kids to be learning things that are just as difficult and just as challenging as kids in other states,” Huffman says. “It would certainly be inappropriate for us to say, ‘Gosh this is too hard,’ when other states are saying they believe their kids can do this.”
Overall, the survey says views against Common Core have become more negative since 2013.