Edweek reported today on the conflicting studies completed aimed at determining how much the Common Core State Standards will cost. The Pioneer Institute and the American Principles Project in their report last February estimated a $16 Billion price tag. The Fordham Institute, a pro-common core think tank, estimates up to $8.3 Billion could be spent in their report which was just released.
Edweek quoted Chester Finn, Jr., Fordham’s president who said, ““Enemies and critics of the common core want you to believe the worst: that besides being hard, it will be very pricey and likely ineffective. But this report says otherwise. Implementation can be modestly priced and likely more effective if states are astute enough to (a) implement differently, (b) deploy resources that they’re already spending, and (c) take advantage of this rare opportunity to revamp their education delivery systems, too.”
One “enemy” responded to this the author of the Pioneer/APP study, Theodor Rebarber, said that Fordham underestimated the price tag on implementation by excluding the costs of computers, servers, and other technological infrastructure needed to complete the assessment.
He also faulted the Fordham study for being “a hope-based approach” to various ways states might save money, while the Pioneer study was a national extrapolation of “a handful” of actual cost estimates that states had done for themselves.
“Our basic approach was to look at evidence,” Mr. Rebarber said. “We think that’s the right way to do a conservative, prudent cost analysis. Theirs is more of an attempt to imagine ways to do things less expensively without any guarantee they will actually be able to pull it off.”
Rebarber encourages states to do their own studies. Fordham encourages states to partner together in order to collaborate (who ends up being in charge?) on things like curriculum and professional development tools.