Testing/Assessments and Learning Standards
May 06, 2013

AFT poll: Teachers support Common Core, want moratorium on high stakes

Author: Kara Smith
Source: NYSUT Communications

An American Federation of Teachers poll highlighted what many K-12 educators already know: Educators support the Common Core Standards, but don't believe their districts have given them the tools and resources necessary to teach them.

The nationwide poll, conducted in March, surveyed 800 K-12 teachers on the Common Core Standards for math and English language arts, which 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted. New York state and Kentucky administered Common Core-aligned assessments before full implementation, which includes aligning standards, curriculum, teacher training, instruction and assessments.

"The Common Core standards are crucial to preparing our children for college, career and life," AFT President Randi Weingarten said at a news conference during the just-concluded Education Writers Association's annual. "Because the standards are so important, we have to give teachers the necessary tools and resources to effectively teach to the new standards or they are doomed to becoming another failed education reform."

While 75 percent of surveyed teachers support the Common Core State Standards, only 27 percent felt prepared. The poll results reinforce Weingarten's call for a moratorium on the consequences of Common Core-aligned assessments - for students, teachers and schools - until the standards are properly implemented and field-tested. In the poll, 83 percent of teachers said they support a moratorium. For full survey results, download a copy at http://www.aft.org/pdfs/press/ppt_ccss-pollresults2013.pdf.

"The last thing we need is for teachers and the public to lose confidence in something that can actually transform teaching and learning. We've got to get it right," she said.

The AFT poll mirrored surveys of parents and teachers conducted by NYSUT. The statewide union has embarked on a campaign to have the State Education Department end its testing obsession and not to use this year's test results to make high-stakes determinations about students and educators.

Highlights of the AFT survey:

  • 75 percent support the Common Core State Standards.
  • 74 percent are worried that the new assessments will begin - and students, teachers and schools will be held accountable - before the new standards are understood and instruction is fully implemented.
  • 83 percent support a moratorium on consequences - for students, teachers and schools - until the standards and assessments are used for one year.
  • 27 percent said their school district has provided them with all, or most, of the resources they need to successfully teach the standards.
  • 78 percent of teachers in low-performing schools said they've received just some, few or no resources.
  • 53 percent said they received either no training, or inadequate training, in teaching the standards.
  • 57 percent said their school district is very, or fairly prepared, to implement the standards; 39 percent said their district is somewhat, or not, prepared.
  • 76 percent said their school district has not provided enough planning time to understand the standards and put them into practice.
  • 58 percent said their district has not done enough to have fully developed, standards-aligned curricula available to teachers.
  • 53 percent said standards professional development and training is inadequate.
  • 54 percent said their district has not done enough to align assessments to the standards.
  • 51 percent said there have not been enough opportunities for teachers to practice with students, ensuring they learn key concepts and principles.
  • 33 percent are very, or fairly satisfied, with the amount of teacher input in developing their district's plans for the Common Core standards.

The AFT is one of NYSUT's national affiliates.