At the risk of flooding the Obama Administration with sudden Libertarian support for Common Core Standards, I feel compelled to predict that Common Core will put the kibosh on public education as whole in less than a decade.
The reason is very simple: Common Core, like most federal programs, is not financially sustainable.
Sure, there were Race To The Top grants for some states and school districts that were quick to the punch line in adopting the Obama Administration’s education agenda, but even these will be as bankrupt as Detroit once the one-time moneys has been spent. And that won’t be long.
How many states and school districts do you know that are so flush with cash they can replace all textbooks, re-train every teacher, and fund a whole new state testing system that uses technologies they don’t already have? Yeah, I can’t think of any either.
The price tag for Common Core Standards and the cost of keeping it going is purposefully vague. And you know it’s bad news when the federal government starts acting like it’s selling you a vacation time share; taking you on an imaginary tour selling you the dream of a development that doesn’t already exist, while being avoiding the actual cost of the joint. The difference is that even the cheesiest timeshare sales person eventually reveals the cost, even if the payment terms are just as creative as the scheme itself. The Obama Administration however, is selling an imaginary education world where a one-size-fits-all nationalized education platform, controlled by a privacy-violating, data-mongering government, makes it possible for the United States to compete internationally with the rest of the K-12 world. And the fact that they are leaving the price tag out for us voters and taxpayers is very telling.
For a moment, let’s put aside the whole argument of constitutionality and morality of Fed led education aside, and the fact that Common Core standards lower academic rigor in most states, and let’s talk turkey.
How much will Common Core cost?
Let’s consider that every single textbook in all schools, public, private, and homeschooled, is soon deemed outdated and need replaced to meet the new government value system. Estimating an average of $500 per student, multiplied by 54.7 million students in elementary and secondary schools (excluding homeschool), it would cost $27 billion just to replace the curriculum.
The cost of re-training teachers is more difficult to calculate as little data exists for training costs and the feds tight lipped about their own estimates. But whatever the number is per teacher (and by the union’s giddy support of Common Core we can assume this number is large) multiply it by 4 million teachers and we have a hard cost. This of course doesn’t include the price of taking a teacher out of the classroom for ongoing trainings, the substitutes (who also needs training), and precious time learning lost for students.
And lest not forget the cost of implementing an entire new testing system for each state, training such staff, and setting up the oversight bureaucracy. The state of Florida has already spent more than $400 million developing Common Core State Standards Testing. Let’s multiply that by the participating 46 states and we can estimate an $18 billion price tag for new tests.
States are already straining to pay costs for public education, usually the largest discretionary item in most states’ budgets.
Where will they get the money when the federal money disappears? Detroit?
So far we have not seen one state put the common core tax increase question on the ballot for voters and its’ unlikely legislators would vote for it either. It’s just being sloughed onto us like a British tax on tea. The cost of Common Core is education without representation.
While it is crystal clear that textbook companies and unions will profit like mad from this new government program, we can be just as sure that we, the taxpayers, will be on the hook for the bill.
But let’s not be too hard on the textbook companies and technology corporations who will benefit from these changes. We’ll need this new 1% elite to bail out America for the rest of the 99% as Common Core bankrupts the country via public education in the next decade.