What will common standards cost?

It will cost $800 million for California to implement Common Core Standards, down from an earlier estimate of $1.6 billion, according to the state education department. That includes training, learning materials and testing.

Other states are starting to worry about the cost. Washington state estimates it will take  $300 million to prepare teachers and principals and buy new textbooks; updating the state’s testing system will be extra.

Massachusetts should know what it’s getting into, writes Jim Stergios on Rock the Schoolhouse. Massachusetts got $250 million over four years to implement the new standards and will require much more, even if California’s revised estimate is accurate.

Under federal pressure, both California and Massachusetts decided to trade well-regarded state standards for the Common Core.

 

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Comments

  1. “Under federal pressure, both California and Massachusetts decided to trade well-regarded state standards for the Common Core.”

    I get the impression that you think it is a mistake to exchange California’s and Massachusetts state standards for the Common Core Standards (CCS). I take it that you think that at this time, the exchanging of their state standards for CCS are unnecessary. Do I understand you correctly?

  2. Lightly Seasoned says:

    I don’t think this accounts for the hidden costs. My English teachers are going to spend the next two years realigning our curriculum instead of improving it — a task we just completed a couple years ago for the last new set of standards. We had WANTED to spend our PD time this year on reading instruction. No go. Common Core must be served.

  3. “Washington state estimates it will take $300 million to prepare teachers and principals and buy new textbooks; updating the state’s testing system will be extra.”

    This is a silly point. Washington will buy new books regardless. They will also spend money in Professional Development to train new teachers (and old) in the current system.

    Lightly seasoned seems to think that realignment and improvement are necessarily different and that the process of changing standards is a new thing. I’ve personally gone through seven different curriculum rewrites to align to standards, frameworks, GLEs, etc. This is simply the new fad. Spend your time on reading instruction, but throw in what the CC has. They’re not incompatible.

    What would be interesting would be the amount EXTRA needed with Common Core. My guess is zero.

  4. Lightly Seasoned says:

    Sigh. Unfortunately, time really is a zero-sum game. The CC work is mandated; the reading work is not.

  5. Zeev Wurman says:

    @Curmudgeon: textbook replacement cycle is about 6-7 years in most states. Common Core tests will be administered on a trial basis in 2013-4 and live in 2014-5. Textbooks in math & English must be replaced across the whole state by fall of 2014 at the latest, preferably by summer-fall of 2013 if you expect students and teachers not to see them for the first time on the first year of a live test. That’s a year and half from now. Throw in accelerated PD for the same reason.

    This is not business as usual. This is a highly accelerated schedule that requires a lot of additional money. And the accounting above doesn’t include the cost of massive introduction of technology needed to administer the new fancy tests that will be computer based. On the order of one *billion* dollars per one million tested kids amortized over five years. As a point of reference, California has 3.5 million tested students.

    Why do you think textbook publishers are promoting Common Core so much, and the likes of Apple, Dell, and HP are salivating?

  6. If this is a net cost to California, why doesn’t the California DOE just say, “No, thanks, we like our own standards?”

    I’m willing to believe that a state would spend $1B to get $300M in federal dollars (the race to the top funds seemed to work this way … the states seem to have lost money collectively), but … WHY? The company for which I work turns down business that results in loss instead of profit. Why are state Departments of Education so willing to make changes that cost them money?

  7. @Zeev Yes, the textbook cycle is 6-7 years and the “deadline” is 2014-2015 (three years from now) but the whole mess started three years ago, at least that’s when VT started talking about it. the idea is that the CC will be a national set of standards – the implication is that this will slow down the churning and turnover of all those individual state standards.

    Hopefully, a six year implementation cycle (which is three as long as the time my state took to change the last time) will be long enough.