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MetroNews West Virginia Poll shows Common Core faces uphill battle

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MetroNews West Virginia Poll shows Common Core faces uphill battle

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The MetroNews West Virginia Poll shows many state residents have heard of Common Core and most don’t like what they’ve heard.

Fifty-three percent of those questioned recently said they’ve either heard a great deal or a fair amount about the controversial teaching standards. Thirty percent of those questioned had heard very little about Common Core while 17 percent had either heard nothing or weren’t sure.

The poll shows of those who have heard about Common Core, 65 percent have a “very negative” or “somewhat negative” impression of the standards. That’s almost the opposite of a national Gallup poll from April 2014 that showed 39 percent of those polled across the country had a somewhat positive view of Common Core while only 19 percent considered it very negative.

Common Core is called Next Generation in West Virginia. State School Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano explained the standards during an appearance on MetroNews ‘Talkline’ in July.

“It’s a set of standards in both the areas of math and reading and that they are to clearly define what a child, a young person, needs to know at the completion of a course or the end of a grade level,” Martirano said.

Martirano had to fight for Common Core’s survival in the regular session of the state legislature earlier this year. The House of Delegates voted March 1 to repeal the standards but the measure didn’t make it out of the Senate.

“The overwhelming majority of West Virginians do not support Common Core Standards and our students deserve better,” House Education Committee Chair Amanda Pasdon (R-Monongalia) said following the House vote. “This is a first step in creating education standards that reflect our West Virginia values, and I am glad my colleagues joined in bipartisan support to stand up for our children.”

Martirano pledged to put the standards, which were adopted before he was chosen as state superintendent, back out for more public comment. The Department of Education launched a new website, West Virginia Academic Spotlight, and has started to hold public meetings across the state. A meeting was held last week in South Charleston. All of this is taking place while Senate President Bill Cole (R-Mercer) and House of Delegates Speaker Tim Armstead (R-Kanawha) have pledged to repeal Common Core during next year’s legislative session.

Cole called Common Core a “non-starter” during an August appearance on ‘Talkline.’ 

“We have too many people in the state, in the legislature, both parties, people who work in the school systems and I just hear horror story after horror story after horror story,” Cole said.

It’s time to start over, Armstead said.

MetroNews West Virginia Poll creator Rex Repass took a closer look at the numbers and explained them Monday on MetroNews Talkline.

“There’s no question overall, there is more negativity, about two-thirds of respondents are negative toward Common Core in this state,” Repass said.

The poll suggests that even among those residents who consider themselves liberal Common Core has a problem.

“Roughly 45 percent in favor, essentially, and about 54 percent negative. Even among those who are more likely to be supportive of Common Core state standards,” Repass said.

Meanwhile, Martirano said he would continue to attempt to educate the public of the importance of higher standards.

“The standards are the foundation and the bedrock of our educational delivery model. We want to make sure everybody understands the importance of those. They have to be right and they have to be strong,” Martirano said.

The MetroNews West Virginia Poll from Repass Research and Strategic Consulting included a sampling of 402 likely West Virginia voters who were contacted and questioned between Aug. 19-30 via random digital dialing, landline phone, cell phone and opt-in Internet panel. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent.

Created in January 1980, the West Virginia Poll is a non-partisan survey of public opinion. For the first time, MetroNews is partnering with Repass for the poll ahead of the 2016 primary and general elections.