120% of Idaho Teachers Love Common Core

Filed in Uncategorized by on January 15, 2014 3 Comments

The title is facetious, but when you look at the data used it’s only slightly less accurate.

Thanks, April, for doing the research.

By: April Craig 

Research – something anyone can do to learn more about any topic they choose. Before going to bed last night, I decided to peruse Facebook. Scrolling landed me face to face with an eye-catching post authored by Superintendent Tom Luna. I read it, disagreed with it, but loved the fact that he had finally acknowledged, in print, that the “Idaho Core Standards” were in fact the Common Core State Standards. Part of his post read:


“According to a recent Scholastic survey, more than three-quarters (78%) of teachers in Idaho are enthusiastic about the implementation of the Common Core State Standards in their classroom.”


I shared my smidgeon of elation with the Common Core resistance, and our fearless leader, Stephanie Zimmerman, (April’s words, not mine,) was kind enough to point out that “Scholastic got a rather large donation from the Gates Foundation.” This simple phrase sparked my research fuse. In less than 20 minutes, I was able to fact-find my way to discrediting what was felt to be a survey of substance and significance.


The survey referenced by Mr. Luna comes from Primary Sources.  Primary Sources is “A project of Scholastic and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.” Details at the conclusion of the survey indicate that the Harrison Group, a YouGov Company, surveyed 200 teachers in Idaho from July 1-22, 2013. All else aside, isn’t this the timeframe when Common Core training was just peaking for our teachers? (http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources/2013preview/state-idaho.htm)


Jaunting further down the research trail this morning, I came across data from the National Center for Education Statistics showing that Idaho has 15,201 public school teachers. This would mean that Primary Sources is referencing a 1.3% sample of Idaho’s public teachers. Does that sound like a scientifically objective sample to you? (http://teaching.about.com/od/ProfilesInEducation/a/Idaho-Education.htm)


Utilizing this link, http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm, I was able to access an online calculator designed specifically for computing the size a population sample should be for any given study. I plugged in a 95% confidence interval (reliability), a 2.5 confidence level (5-point margin of error), and the known population of 15,201. To adequately represent Idaho’s teachers, a valid sample for the survey referenced by Mr. Luna and touted by Primary Sources would need to be 1396 (9.2%) – NOT 200.


Do you know what the best part of this is? (Well, yes, exposing the truth!) I’m the product of an Idaho public school education. I was able to do my own research, make simple calculations, draw educated conclusions, and compose this summary without the Common Core State Standards ever touching my student career.



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