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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Common Core to cost Florida hundreds of millions of dollars

It turns out Ed Commissioner Pam Stewart did try to deceive the people of Florida about the price of Common Core

From State Impact: “Our analysis is that there is not additional cost with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.”

This is how Pam Stewart responded to a question about the cost of Common Core. The key word is additional.

Stewart argued Florida is already spending money on testing, and new Common Core-tied tests are not expected to cost significantly more.

State schools already regularly replace textbooks, she said, so there’s no additional cost to purchase textbooks updated for Common Core.

Florida lawmakers have required half of all instruction be delivered digitally by 2015, so Florida school districts would have to add more computers and expand school Internet networks. New Common Core-tied tests will likely be taken online by most students.

Several outside groups have tried to put a price tag on Common Core. The pro-Core Thomas B. Fordham Institute estimated a business-as-usual approach would cost $12.1 billion nationally while a bare bones approach using open-sourced materials would cost $3 billion nationally. The estimate for Florida ranges from $182.9 million to $780 million.

The anti-Core Pioneer Institute estimates Common Core will cost $15.8 billion in one-time costs and seven years of operational costs, nationally. Pioneer estimates Florida would spend $1.2 billion over the same period.

Many school districts say it’s not even possible to answer this question right now. They don’t know how many computers and how much bandwidth they’ll need for testing – and when — until Florida chooses a test. They don’t know what the 2015 digital instruction mandate will require.

So even though the estimates vary widely it’s going to cost Florida hundreds of millions of dollars. Either ed commish Stewart is ignorant or a liar, neither of which bode well for Florida.

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