Poll: Few Americans Favor Federal Government’s Role In Education

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Most Americans object to a heavy-handed role for the federal government in public education, according to a new Gallup poll.

65 percent of those surveyed prefer local control of education over federal involvement. Only 15 percent want the federal government to have the greatest sway over education. 28 percent of respondents said that the state government should be in charge.

Although Democrats are more likely to favor federal government control than Republicans, 56 percent of Democrats chose local school boards as the best authority on education.

This unease with the federal government could explain the recent surge in opposition to the Common Core standards, which were heavily promoted by federal Race to the Top funding. Roll Call reports:

Much of the opposition stemmed from the Common Core standards and the federal government’s role in implementing them.
Sixty percent of respondents opposed the standards, including 62 percent of parents of children in public school and 76 percent of Republicans.
“It’s pretty apparent that Common Core has become a polarizing term,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said on a call with press Tuesday previewing the poll.
Among those opposed, 62 percent said the fact that “the federal government initiated the Common Core State Standards” was either a very or somewhat important factor in their opposition. Further, 68 percent cited the fact that “the Common Core State Standards will result in a national curriculum and national tests” as a very or somewhat important reason for their opposition.

The poll also found that favorable views of President Obama’s approach to education policy have plummeted, with 27 percent giving him an “A” or “B”, down from 41 percent in 2011.