HARRISBURG, Pa. – Questions about Common Core continue to mount, even as the new, nationalized learning standards inch closer to final implementation in more than 40 states.
That’s especially true in Pennsylvania, where lawmakers are reviewing the new math and English standards in advance of a series of legislative votes about whether or not to continue down the Common Core path.
A major concern to both Common Core supporters and detractors is how much the education overhaul will cost Pennsylvania schools, many of which are already struggling to pay for their normal day-to-day expenses.
In order to transition to Common Core, many school districts are purchasing all new textbooks and instructional materials, providing extra training to educators, and adopting expensive, computer-based student assessment tests.
Nobody can say how much Common Core will ultimately cost schools in the Keystone State, but the Pennsylvania State Education Association – the state’s largest teachers union – estimates it will be around $300 million, according to WITF.org.
That exorbitant price tag has union leaders thinking twice about their support of the one-size-fits-all learning standards.
“We’re not opposed to the implementation of Common Core, but discussing raising academic standards without including a discussion of resources is, in our opinion, divorced from reality,” PSEA spokesman Wythe Keever told PhillyBurbs.com. “There is a school funding crisis going on in this state, and both lawmakers and the (State) Board of Education need to address that.”
Detractors are also concerned about the price of Common Core, though it’s only one in a series of concerns they have about the K-12 revamp. They see the entire initiative as a backdoor attempt by the federal government to strip control of public education away from local and state officials, and to let D.C. bureaucrats determine what gets taught in the nation’s schools.
Gov. Tom Corbett put final approval of Common Core on hold this spring, until state lawmakers could examine the standards’ impact on Pennsylvania schools, notes PhilllyBurbs.com.
MORE NEWS: How to prepare for face-to-face classes
“The Senate Education Committee has scheduled its next hearing on Common Core for Aug. 29,” the news site reports. “The regulations will need to clear both the House and Senate education committees and the Independent Regulatory Review Commission for final approval.”
In addition to those hearings, lawmakers in Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives will soon debate a series of anti-Common Core bills, one of which would pull the plug on the entire initiative.
State Rep. Paul Clymer, a Republican, doesn’t expect any of those bills to pass the House, and predicts the state will give its final blessing to Common Core sometime this fall, PhillyBurbs.com reports.