NC spent tens of millions on Common Core

Posted July 17, 2014
Updated July 18, 2014

— North Carolina has invested tens of millions of dollars to implement the Common Core academic standards that could eventually be abandoned in public schools statewide.

State lawmakers on Wednesday gave final approval to legislation calling for the controversial standards to be repealed and replaced by standards drafted by a new state commission. Gov. Pat McCrory has said he plans to sign the bill.

The repeal effort was backed by angry parents – mostly conservatives – who said the national English and math standards aren't appropriate.

Since 2010, when the state started preparing for Common Core, the Department of Public Instruction has spent $66 million in professional development for the 100,000 teachers responsible for getting students to meet the standards.

The money, which is over and above normal teacher training costs, was covered by a federal grant, but state officials said it could have been spent in other ways to upgrade North Carolina's academic standards.

"This $66 million is not a normal expenditure when we review and modify standards every 5 years. Normally the changes do not require training, only sharing. So $66 million is a huge cost, and one that will need to be covered if NC standards are significantly adjusted," said DPI's Philip Price. 

DPI didn't have estimates for the cost of developing the curriculum needed to implement the standards, as well as lesson plans, new state tests to meet the standards, or textbooks and materials for the new curriculum.

"I think it is very safe to say this is in the thousands of hours," said DPI spokeswoman Vanessa Jeter. "There are adjustments and lesson preparations that would need to be made beyond the professional development part."

The $66 million figure also doesn't include what local districts have spent on Common Core.

The Wake County Public School System spent $3 million since 2012 on Common Core training workshops alone. Officials said that doesn't cover the time individual teachers have invested in learning the new curriculum.

"If Common Core is about higher standards and those standards are embedded in the curriculum, it's a bit like asking, 'How much did you spend to carry out the state curriculum?'" said Wake County Schools PIO Tim Simmons. "It's a great question. It just doesn't have a nice neat answer."

Chapel HIll-Carrboro City Schools estimates it has spent about $2.7 million implementing the new standards since 2012. $1 million was federal grant money, and the rest was state and local. 

Other Triangle-area school administrators said it's impossible to estimate exactly what they've spent on changing to Common Core because it's part of the overall curriculum development and training effort, and isn't on separate line items in the budget.

They also said they don't know how much it will cost them to change to a new system in the 2015-16 school year once the new state standards are approved.

The legislation allows the new commission to consider retaining some of the Common Core standards if they are deemed better than alternatives, so it's still unclear how much will change next year, or how much that change will cost. 

"Anytime there is a transition in standards," said Jeter, "there is cost in terms of funds and time and effort."


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  • WralCensorsAreBias Jul 23, 2014

    Blame Barack, Arne and Perdue, this was their deal.

    Good riddance liberal agenda.

  • George Costanza Jul 23, 2014
    user avatar

    common core, no child left behind, eog's, eoc's will NEVER replace a good parent....of which there are few and far between. When I started teaching 22 years ago the number of engaged and concerned parents out numbered the poor ones....not any more.

  • Norm Samuelson Jul 18, 2014
    user avatar

    Privitize education and watch our science programs plummet to the bottom of the barrel. Church-based schools will do their best to eliminate creative and free thinking individuals.

  • swfsm Jul 18, 2014

    FWIW - the words of an actual 5th student who experienced Common Core as she is cleaning out her 5th grader binder-
    5th grader: "Know what this is? All the worksheets where we did things 5 different ways to get the same answers to problems I already knew before I started 5th grade."
    I'm sorry, but if you want to teach kids to think critically, you say here is the information we have, here is the question we would like to answer, now see if you can come up with strategies to figure out the answer. Then have them compare and contrast the strategies they thought about. What was showing them 5 different ways to get the same answer (rather than having them think through it themselves) and marking them off if they used strategy A, when the teacher wanted to see strategy B because they confused the "name" for strategy A vs B supposed to teach them?
    Not sure if it was the standards or the interpretation and implementation, but something seems to have needed to be fixed about it.

  • Ty Shrake Jul 18, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    No Child Left Behind was ALSO an epic failure. Almost all federal education programs are. Get the federal government completely out of education and education will improve. We've spent over 1 TRILLION dollars on the Department of Education and we have exactly what to show for it? Education is still bad (maybe worse). Get rid of it and ALL federal involvement in education. For that matter, privatize it all and watch education improve.

  • THE FOURTH ESTATE Jul 18, 2014

    We should have never spent the money in the first place! The Federal government dangles money in front of states to get them to bend to their will, in this case the "Common Core" (No Child Left Behind" "insert program name here". Then the indoctrination begins!

    Liberal or Conservative, most will agree education has gotten worse over the years in spite of the fact that class sizes get smaller and smaller, more money than ever is spent, and more “aids” are hired. There was no federal DOE when I was in school and I got a better education then what kids are getting today. Money is not the answer to everything, no matter what the propaganda ministers like WRAL say.

  • Jack Jones Jul 18, 2014
    user avatar

    NC Republicans fail yet again, and our children will pay the price.

  • paragchikmath Jul 18, 2014

    View quoted thread

    as opposed to No Child Left Behind which was an Epic Success - most were left behind.

  • paragchikmath Jul 18, 2014

    The article says most of those who complained about CCSS were conservatives. Here we go again - politics. That's what happens when we have right wing nut jobs at the helm. They don't think whats best for our kids. They're more involved in spreading their right wing propaganda to take us back to stone age while the kids in most of the rest of the world are moving full speed ahead and beating our kids in every aspect.

  • MrMourning Jul 18, 2014

    I encourage all to watch "The Revisionaries" and you will know why the CCSS exist.