Forty-four percent of Idahoans believe their public education system, K-12, is worse today than it was five years ago, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll finds.

The Dan Jones & Associates survey, just finished last Thursday, also shows that around a third of Gem State residents say the state’s colleges and universities are about the same as they were five years ago – no better, no worse.

And a significant majority want the state to get out of the controversial Common Core public school standard program.

Polling by Jones in other states finds that the Common Core standards – which some parents don’t like – is greatly misunderstood, at least in where it came from.

Common Core is actually not a federal program at all – as many opponents of the standard measurement plan believe.

It was adopted by the National Governors Association with help from public education experts and suggested as a voluntary goal-oriented program by the governors some time ago.

It’s up to each state’s governor and public education governance system to adopt or reject Common Core, and there are NO direct federal dollars coming into the program, should it be adopted by a state.

Idaho adopted Common Core in 2011, and it became a campaign issue in many of the 2012/2014  gubernatorial and legislative races across the country.

Jones finds that only 27 percent of Idahoans support the state’s Common Core program, 57 percent oppose it, and 16 percent don’t know.

The 2015 Idaho Legislature increased public education (K-12) funding by an impressive 7.5 percent.

And lawmakers adopted a new teacher pay plan – aimed at getting teachers more money over time.

But Jones finds that many Idahoans are still not impressed with their public schools.

Jones asked respondents if they think their public schools have gotten better, stayed about the same, or gotten worse over the last five years.

He finds:

  • 44 percent of all Idahoans say their public schools are worse today, 35 percent said they are about the same and only 12 percent believe the schools have gotten better. Nine percent didn’t know.

Those are not good numbers, and certainly not a vote of confidence in the schools by their patrons.

  • Women tend to be more tuned into their local schools than do men since moms are often more involved in their children’s educations than dads.

And Jones finds that 46 percent of women believe schools are worse off today than five years ago, 31 percent of women say schools are about the same, and 12 percent say they are better.

  • The men’s breakdown – 40 percent say they are worse, 40 percent say they are the same, 13 percent say they are better.

The age group 18-29-year-olds most recently left public education. And they are not impressed with their schooling, either.

Jones finds that 44 percent of that age group say schools are worse off today than five years ago, 27 percent say they are about the same, and 16 percent said they are better.

Politically speaking:

  • 37 percent of Republicans believe public schools are worse off today, 36 percent say they are about the same, 16 percent say they are better.
  • 45 percent of Democrats say schools are worse off today than five years ago, 33 percent say they are about the same, and 12 percent say they are better off.
  • 45 percent of political independents say schools are worse off today, 36 percent say they are about the same, and 12 percent say schools are better than five years ago.

Jones also asked if Idaho’s public colleges and universities are better off today than five years ago, about the same or are worse off.

Results are split: Among all respondents, 19 percent said higher education is better off, 36 percent said it is about the same, and 32 percent said it is worse off. Twelve percent didn’t know.

Finally, Common Core is especially opposed by conservatives, as various right-wing groups accuse CC of being some kind of plot by the federal government to take over local and state education programs.

Jones finds that 62 percent of Republicans want Idaho out of Common Core, only 46 of Democrats want the state to drop the program while 59 percent of political independents say drop the program.

Among the “very conservative” politically, 74 percent want Idaho out of Common Core, 11 percent support CC, and 16 percent don’t know.

Jones polled 610 adults from June 17 to July 1; the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.