The latest series of polling data suggests that support for school choice in America is on the rise. A 2013 Luntz Global Public Opinion Survey (via National School Choice Week) showed that a majority of Americans fully support having more flexibility and more choice in their child’s education:

  • Public support for school choice is growing. 73 percent of Americans support school choice, compared with 67 percent in 2010.
  • Parents want more education options for their children. 64 percent of parents said that, “if given the financial opportunity” they would send one or all of their children to a different school.
  • Parents don’t feel they have enough options. 64 percent of parents agreed with the statement: “when it comes to the options to educate my children the way I want them educated, I have wanted more options for my children’s education.”

The Franklin Center recently released a new video touting their support of school choice and charter schools. Check it out here:

If we want to address the problem with public schools in America, we need to get over the idea that there’s a one-size fits-all solution to improving our education system.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) left students (and teachers) foundering in the wake of increased testing requirements and focus on scores, and now, the new Common Core standards have parents in even the most stereotypically liberal state in the union questioning whether or not the new policies help students succeed:

A new poll finds that 44 percent of registered voters in California have a negative impression of the Common Core standards compared to 38 percent who say their impression of the nationalized standards is positive.

The 2014 PACE/USC Rossier Poll also showed that nearly half of the voters polled – 47 percent – said they were familiar with the Common Core standards, a substantial increase from the 2013 poll when just 29 percent of voters were familiar with the standards.

Both findings suggest that, as more people become knowledgeable about the Common Core standards, their view of them is increasingly unfavorable.

Texas, Virginia, Alaska, and Nebraska have not yet adopted the standards, which makes sense considering the new standards appear to be a Pandora’s Box of terrible policies:

“The schools are telling parents they will no longer offer ‘math acceleration’ classes, in order to align with Common Core, and that grade skipping (for high achieving students) will no longer be the ‘best practice,’” she explained. “This will do nothing other than discourage the high-achieving students, frustrate the lower achieving students and force the teacher to ‘teach to the middle.’”

“Both parents and teachers are seeing their students being overly tested, with assessments being mandated on a continuous basis to monitor progress,” Brandon added. “Every time a teacher has to test his or her students, time is taken away from actual teaching.”

School choice works because it allows parents to send their children to schools that will offer a challenging and flexible curriculum. Putting students into classrooms where teachers are forced to gear their lessons toward the middle of the pack puts slower learners at a disadvantage, and forces high-performing students to conform their creativity to a one-size-fits-all standard that doesn’t allow teachers to work with statistical outliers.

If even parents in California have lost faith in federal curriculum programs, it would seem that the powers that be in Washington are going to have a tough time convincing parents in more conservative states to not send these new standards packing.