Most Americans back the creation of nationwide standards for students, and also say that math and English are the most important subjects at school
Since the 1990s educators and state officials have been working together to develop a set of common education standards that states and districts across the country can adopt. The first 'Common Core' standards, covering English and Math, were finalized in 2010 and have now been formally adopted by most states. The process was led by state governments, but the federal government has strongly encouraged the move, a policy which has led to something of a backlash, as parents, teachers and activists in parts of the country increasingly voice their objections to Common Core.
The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans (64%) support the idea of establishing common national standards for education, though 36% think that it's more important for states to independently set their own curricula and adapt to local circumstances. Support for national standards is particularly strong among Democrats (78%) and Independents (65%), but Republicans tend to oppose (58%) rather than support (42%) nationwide standards.
Common Core itself, however, is largely unknown, with 44% of Americans not having an opinion on the project. Of those who do know about it, however, most have unfavorable (33%) rather than favorable (23%) opinions on the initiative.
The Common Core initiative has, so far, primarily focused on standardizing assessment for math and English. The public tends to agree on this focus, with an overwhelming majority of Americans (88%) saying that math is a critical subject to learn in school, while 81% say that reading and writing skills are also among the most important subjects. Science comes third (71%), followed by history (66%) and computer classes (52%) - beating literature into a distant sixth place at 28%. Art (9%) and music (12%) are the least likely to be viewed as important classes for students.
Full poll results can be found here.