Conservative estimates of #commoncore cost for implementation, let’s do a little math

I’m going to cite a rather conservative report on the costs of common core implementation and development nationwide, and on a per state basis. Here it is, from the Fordham Institute.  Now, from an ideological perspective, they would be ardent supporters of the CCSS. I’d have to check to make sure, but a pretty good guess. Thus, they would certainly be underestimating the eventual costs to make it sound more palatable. Perhaps. I mean, if anyone’s followed a bridge being built or other construction projects, these things ALWAYS seem to go over budget.

So, this is just an intellectual exercise, but I’d like to do a little math here. A balanced implementation of the CCSS, which relies on traditional and #edtech based delivery methods, puts the total cost at roughly $1.2 billion. For new standards. Untested. Unused. Fine.

For my purposes, let’s assume that is correct. We replace current standards with new ones, train teachers based on new ones, for $1.2 billion nationwide. What else could we do with $1.2 billion? Let’s see:

  • we could serve roughly 465,116,279 school lunches. With an average school population of 49.8 million, we could feed every student in this country lunch until about the year 2022.
  • With about 3.3 million teachers, their average starting salary is about $39,000. So, that money could hire 30,769 teachers. Granted, that salary is pretty low, not something we should write home about. But just a thought.
  • I like to buy trade books. When you buy them new, they’re expensive. As a teacher, you look for deals. But for the sake of argument, let’s say the average for a good picture book is $10. That could buy us 120 million books, or two for every school aged child in the US. Or, if we consider that there are on average 15 million children living in poverty, then that could purchase for each child roughly 8 books apiece.
  • The average cost of center-based child care is $11,666. For the sake of our exercise here, we could cover child care, even at this rate, for 102,863 children.
  • A family of four will pay, per USDA food stamp rates, in a moderate cost plan about $859/month on food. This could feed about 1.3 million families for one month or about 112 thousand families for an entire year. Or, a fifth grader would need, in a moderate cost plan, about $257/month on food. This could feed him for about 40,000 years, should he live that long. Or, given that there are about 15 million children living in poverty right now, the $1.2 billion could feed more than half of them, or close to nine million, for an entire year.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

1 Comment

  1. See what they left out – page 19. Of great interest, they left out the cost of: “The infrastructure costs of online assessments. These include both the hardware for students to take the tests (e.g., desktop, laptop, or tablet computers) as well as internet bandwidth.”
    This is the big one. It will cost billions to connect all students to the internet to take all those tests, and you can bet that the system will be obsolete soon after it is available. And there will be the inevitable flaws. A gift to the computer companies that keeps giving.


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