Our School’s Too White? Outraged Parents Vow to Lie About Child’s Race to Keep City From Removing Teachers

Ivanka Trump, Betsy DeVos Tout STEM Education to 200 Students at Air & Space Museum

Black Girls 6 Times as Likely to Be Suspended as Whites. ‘Let Her Learn’ Looks to Reverse the Trend

WATCH: 4,000 Kids Take Over NYC’s Radio City Music Hall With America’s Biggest Academic Pep Rally

Where Education Research, Politics & Policy Intersect: 3 States Reveal How Data Help Shape Their ESSA Plans

Tennessee Bets Big on Personalized Learning, Launching Pilot Program & Eyeing Big 2020 Goals

MUST-SEE: School Films Epic 12-Minute ‘Trolls’ Music Video to Lift Spirits of Sick 5-Year-Old Girl

In Uniting Students With Prospective Employers, the Whether Job Search App Wins SXSWedu Tech Competition

More HS Students Are Graduating, but These Key Indicators Prove Those Diplomas Are Worth Less Than Ever

Race & Class: Chicago Schools Sue State, Claim Minority Kids See 78 Cents Per Dollar Sent to White Schools

KIPP v. UFT: Charter Network Sues Union, Arguing It Doesn’t Represent School’s Teachers

Supreme Court Sets New Standard for Special Ed, Unanimously Rejects Minimal School Progress

D.C. Approves ESSA Accountability Plan That Emphasizes Testing Standards & Transparency

Q&A: Why Miami’s Superintendent, Once an Undocumented Immigrant, Is Banning ICE From His Schools

No Warrant, No Way In: NYC to Prevent ICE Agents From Entering Schools Without Warrants

In California, a New Push for Teacher Tenure Reform as State Bill Would Extend Probation to 3 Years

VIDEO REPLAY: The 74 Moderates a Conversation on America’s Misleading Charter School Narrative

In Pitching School Chiefs on ESSA Plans, 2 Congressmen See Wildly Different Futures for U.S. Education

Effective, Efficient — and Limited: DeVos Lays Out Her Vision of Federal Role to State Schools Chiefs

The Contender: Nick Melvoin’s Plan for Combating Misinformation — and Unseating LA’s School Board President

Study: The Real Reason Some People Don’t Like ObamaCore, Er, Common Core

Photo Credit: Getty Images

June 6, 2016

Talking Points

Study: Dim views of President Obama strongly associated with opposition to the Common Core

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Don’t like President Obama? Then you probably don’t like the Common Core — or as some conservative critics call it, “ObamaCore” — according to new research, looking at what factors predict opposition to the controversial standards adopted in most states.
Outside an unpopular view of the president, the paper found that opinions on testing and school funding, and certain perceptions (and misconceptions) about the standards were correlated with opposition to Common Core.
(The 74 Flashcards: Understanding the Common Core: What It Is and What It Isn’t)
The research — conducted by Morgan Polikoff, Tenice Hardaway, and Julie Marsh of the University of Southern California, as well as David Plank of Stanford — relies on a 2015 California poll showing mixed opinion, and widespread misinformation about the Common Core. The latest study uses that polling data to determine what characteristics are related to views about the standards.
The research confirms what many have long suggested: President Obama and the Common Core have become inextricably entangled. Although the Obama administration had nothing to do with the creation of the standards, which began as a bipartisan initiative of the National Governors Association, the administration incentivized states to adopt them through its Race to the Top competitive grants.
Disapproval of Obama was strongly associated with opposition to Common Core, causing the paper’s authors to suggest “the results of the upcoming presidential election may decrease opposition somewhat.” Feelings about Obama were an even stronger predictor than political party identification.
But this effect likely cuts both ways: the link to Obama may have strengthened backing for the standards among the president’s supporters. So while Common Core’s association with the president appears to have alienated his opponents, the same phenomenon may have bolstered a favorable view of the standards among Obama’s fans. With the potential of affecting public opinion in both directions, it’s not clear whether Common Core wins or loses in that tug-of-war.
“My guess would be that it’s a net negative, but I don’t think that we have good empirical evidence on that,” said Polikoff, the study’s lead author.
The research might suggest that, as the upcoming presidential election takes shape, Donald Trump’s fierce (and factually challenged) opposition to Common Core could boost opinions of the standards among his detractors.
The study found that opposition to the standards was stronger among those believing schools receive sufficient funding and those opposed to standardized tests. Also positively associated with disliking the Common Core was an increase in claimed knowledge about it — though voters stating familiarity with the standards were actually likely to hold certain misconceptions about them, according to the original poll. Indeed, the incorrect belief that states are not allowed to add content to the Common Core was associated with skepticism about the standards.
There was no difference in support between parents with children in public schools and those without. This suggests that, at least in California, opposition to the standards isn’t driven by parents perplexed by seemingly confusing Common Core-aligned assignments.

The 74 Video: Math 2.0 Common Core Explained

Finally, the belief that Common Core limits teacher creativity was strongly connected to greater opposition. Polikoff, though, points out that there’s no evidence this notion is true, and, in fact, in a recent survey the majority of teachers stated that their autonomy had stayed the same or increased under the new standards.

An important limitation of the study is that it examined public opinion only in California, a liberal state that has not used test scores to rank schools for three years’ running and has seen little organized resistance to the standards.
Caveats aside, the findings suggest that opposition to the Common Core doesn’t seem to be just about the Common Core. There has long been anecdotal evidence of this. For instance, The 74 previously reported on Common Core opposition in New Hampshire, in which one top opponent linked the standards to an elaborate tracking system designed to funnel students into certain careers, including encouraging them to become rappers.
A series of conspiracy theories have also cropped up about Common Core, positing, for example, that it’s designed to indoctrinate students in Islam. Republican governors and candidates began swiftly flip-flopping on the issue once the standards became linked to Obama.
“To me, the broader takeaway is … that opposition to Common Core is largely driven by views about other things: the president, testing, [and] local control,” said Polikoff