Around the country, the departments of education from various states are working to implement common core standards into their curriculum, leaving many worried about the cost. However, Education Week reports that a new study from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute shows that they could potentially save money by implementing the standards.
The study proposes three different approaches, one of which could have states spending $927 million less than what they are currently spending. They propose the following approaches: ‘business as usual,’ ‘bare bones,’ and ‘balanced implementation.’
• Business as usual – The business as usual approach is the traditional, and most costliest, approach to implementing new curriculum standards, that involves buying hard-copy textbooks, administering assessments to students and delivering person-to-person professional training. According to the study, the cost of implementing this would $8.2 billion more than what they are currently paying.
• Bare bones – this approach is the most cost-effective approach that would have the school districts using open-source materials, computer-based assessments and online professional development. This approach would save up to $927 million. However the authors note that the savings wouldn’t be surplus, but a reallocation of resources already provided.
• Balanced implementation – is a hybrid of the two approaches that would have them paying around $1.2 billion more. This approach would use components from both the ‘business as usual’ approach and the ‘bare bones’ approach such as a mix of instructional materials, and a blend of online and person-to-person training.
While the authors of the study do not offer any recommendations, stating that every state has different needs, they maintain that implementing common core standards does not have to be as daunting of a task.
As a state-led initiative by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the common core state standards were created as a rigorous method of preparing K-12 students for college.
Some of these standards include more rigorous reading and writing standards that has students reading a diverse array of literature while teaching students how to do research, and a strengthened focus on mathematics for K-5 students.
This study comes as many states and school districts are grappling with common core implementation. With 45 states signing on to implement the standards, many state officials are struggling with teacher and administer training.
For example, a recent report in Education Week explained that just one year ago, many top education officials were worried that principals were being overlooked in the training process. However, due to an increased awareness of the issue, the problem has subsided over the last few months.
“There is much greater awareness now about what we need to do to educate principals about what they should be doing for the common core,” JoAnn D. Bartoletti, the executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals said to Education Week.
However, as more studies on common core implementation arise, officials hope to reassure districts around the country in their efforts.
“The bottom line is that successful [common-standards] implementation does not have to be wildly expensive and could support changes that have a permanent and positive impact on the quality and effectiveness of teaching and learning,” the authors wrote in the study.
Jillian Reed is a writer for 360 Education Solutions