Press Release

AFT Poll of 800 Teachers Finds Strong Support for Common Core Standards and a Moratorium on Stakes for New Assessments Until Everything Is Aligned

For Release: 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Contact:

Marcus Mrowka
202-879-4447; 202-531-0689 (cell)
mmrowka@aft.org

AFT's Weingarten: "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."

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Three-quarters of public school teachers surveyed support the Common Core State Standards, yet just 27 percent said their district has provided them with the tools and resources necessary to teach the standards, according to the results of a poll released by the American Federation of Teachers today.

The AFT surveyed 800 kindergarten- through 12th-grade teachers on the Common Core State Standards for math and English language arts, which 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted. At least two states—Kentucky and New York—already have given Common Core-aligned assessments before they had fully implemented the standards.

AFT President Randi Weingarten said full implementation requires aligning the standards, curriculum, teacher training, instruction and assessments.

"The Common Core standards are crucial to preparing our children for college, career and life," Weingarten said at a news conference during the Education Writers Association's annual conference. "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."

The poll results reinforce Weingarten's call on Tuesday for a moratorium on the consequences—for students, teachers and schools—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 the moratorium idea.

"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 survey of 800 teachers, conducted in March 2013, found strong support for the standards, a great deal of concern about districts' inadequate work to successfully implement the standards, and overwhelming support for a moratorium on consequences until the implementation is in place.

Highlights of the poll:

  • 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 for the results—before everyone involved understands the new standards and before instruction has been fully implemented with the standards.
  • 83 percent support a moratorium on consequences for students, teachers and schools until the standards and related assessments have been fully in use for one year.
  • 27 percent said their school district has provided them with all or most of the resources and tools they need to successfully teach the standards.
    • 78 percent of teachers in low-performing schools said they have been given just some, few or no resources.
  • 53 percent said they have received either no training or inadequate training to help prepare them to teach to the standards.
  • 57 percent said their school district is very or fairly prepared to successfully implement the standards, while 39 percent said their district is just somewhat or not prepared.
    • 76 percent said their school district has not provided enough planning time for understanding the standards and putting them into practice.
    • 58 percent said their district has not done enough to have a fully developed curricula aligned to standard available to teachers.
    • 53 percent said there has been inadequate professional development and training in the standards.
    • 54 percent said their district has not done enough to have assessments aligned to the standards.
    • And half, or 51 percent, said there have not been enough opportunities for teachers to practice with students to ensure they are learning key concepts and principles.
  • Just a third, or 33 percent, are very or fairly satisfied with the amount of teacher input in developing their district's plans for the Common Core standards.

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The AFT represents 1.6 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.