Bennett Admits Common Core Tests Unaffordable

February 21, 2013 1 Comment

As opponents have tried to point out, implementing Common Core is going to be extremely costly.  Had more states conducted cost analysis’ before they adopted Common Core, they would have know this going into it.

The high cost of testing is even starting to be apparent in Florida, which is the “capital” of the Ed Reform movement, and where Indiana’s former Superintendent Tony Bennett, now serves as the appointed Commissioner of Education.  According to a recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, the Florida State Board of Education is requesting more than $400 million for new school technology!

The state’s new “readiness gauge” shows more progress on the standards than the technology, as many schools still don’t have the computers, bandwidth or high-speed Internet access needed for the tests and the state’s overall “digital learning” push.

The State Board requested more than $400 million for new school technology in the next year, but Gov. Rick Scott has proposed a smaller hike of $100 million.

“One hundred million won’t get done everything we need to get done,” Barbara Jenkins, superintendent of Orange County schools, told the board.

A February 19th article in State Impact Florida further reported that Commissioner Bennett has such concerns that he is looking into a “Plan B” in the area of testing:

Common Core will also mean a new standardized test in Florida, PARCC, or the Partnership for Readiness for College and Careers. Those math and English tests must be approved by a coalition of 22 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Bennett said Monday that some states are going to face sticker shock when they realize the cost of the new testing. Others, he said, might want to set lower passing scores than Florida.

It’s one reason he said he’s working on a “Plan B” in case Florida schools or the new tests aren’t ready by the fall of 2014 deadline.

The article quotes Bennett as saying the following:

Bennett said he plans to report back to the board next month. That report will include a date for the agency to make a go/no-go decision on Common Core and PARCC for the 2014-2015 school year. It will also include “Plan B” alternatives.

“I don’t want this to imply…to mean PARCC won’t happen,” Bennett said. “But I do believe it’s good management to consider what we’re going to do around a Plan B if PARCC gets delayed, or if for some reason PARCC doesn’t come to fruition.”

Florida is also the fiscal agent for PARCC, managing the $186 million federal grant funding the test’s development.

As taxpayers, we find it alarming that the individual who sold Indiana State Board of Education members on the federally-funded PARCC assessment, is now expressing concerns about its cost.  Even more shocking is the fact that this admission is coming from him as the Education Commissioner of the state that is the fiscal agent for PARCC!

SB193, in its new amended form, is looking more and more necessary every day.  The taxpayers of Indiana and local school corporations deserve at a minimum a proper cost analysis of how much this unfunded mandate will set them back financially!  They need to know what education programs will have to be cut to pay for the expensive new tests!

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