Most county school board members questioned in a recent survey are generally supportive of Common Core education standards, but they also have reservations.

The results come from a West Virginia School Board Association (WVSBA) poll during a board member training session last month in Charleston. 126 county board members completed the survey, representing 46 percent of all board members.

The members were asked a series of questions about Common Core, beginning with, “What are your thoughts regarding the “Common Core” educational standards as they are being considered or implemented in W.Va.?”

WVSBA reports that of the 113 written responses, 77 “could be deemed as favorable toward or supportive of Common Core Standards.”  A central theme among those was “stay-the-course.”

However, their backing of the controversial standards is not without qualifiers, with some board members saying they need to be “revisited.” They questioned whether standardized tests match the Common Core inspired standards and said parents complain they are now having trouble helping children with their homework, particularly in math.

Thirty-three of the respondents expressed views the WVSBA says “could be considered as against or negative” toward Common Core.

The opponents said things like the standards were pushed on the county board without local input and that they may not reflect the true measure of student performance.”  A few of the board members expressed frustration at what they considered federal intrusion into local public education.

The surveys reflected some frustration among school board members, some of whom are on their third set of standards in recent years.  “Just pick something and keep using it. Please!” wrote one person.

State School Board Association President Gregory Prudich sent out an accompanying letter with the survey results to the state Board of Education, the state School Superintendent, Dr. Michael Martirano, and a number of policy makers.  Prudich noted that the Association did not take a stand one way or another on the results, but he did say, “They are the opinions of those policymakers close to the classroom and thus, more in touch with the classroom.”

The Common Core Standards are a red hot issue in West Virginia.  Lawmakers came close during the last legislative session to tossing them out and starting over, and another effort at repealing is expected next session.

Meanwhile, Martirano has tried to assuage the critics by taking public input and promising adjustments to the standards where necessary.

That’s going to be a challenge.  As the WVSBA survey shows, even local school board members are divided, and in some cases, frustrated and confused, about Common Core.