How much will the absurd Common Core SBAC Test cost Connecticut taxpayers?

The following is a “MUST READ” column for Connecticut’s parents and taxpayers.

In fact, it should be mandatory reading for Connecticut’s local school board members, superintendents, principals and all of the state’s local school officials.

So how much will the unfair and discriminatory Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium test cost Connecticut taxpayers?

It turns out that no one knows for sure, or if they do, they definitely aren’t telling!

Governor Malloy won’t give a number, nor will his political appointees on the State Board of Education.

State Legislators haven’t been told, nor have local cities and towns.

But starting in just over a month, every public school in Connecticut will be forced to stop teaching and start giving the Common Core Smarter Balanced Consortium SBAC test.

And not only will school districts have to put aside instructional time and give the Common Core SBAC test this year, but they will have to do it next year, and the year after, and the year after that, and every single year until this nonsense stops and the state’s elected officials finally have the courage to stand up and put an end to the Common Core test scam that is designed to intentionally judge the vast majority of Connecticut’s public school children as failures.

While most of Connecticut’s local school boards and officials are remaining quiet about this disaster, in California it is a whole different story.

In California (and in many parts of New York),  local school boards and school leaders have had enough and are pushing back against the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s agenda of turning public schools into little more than testing factories.

In California, local districts have even gone so far as to bring a class-action lawsuit to force the State of California to pay for the unfunded mandate called the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium SBAC test.

Today, the nation’s leading public education advocate, Diane Ravitch, writes about the lawsuit in a post entitled, “California: Districts Object to $1 Billion for Common Core Testing.”

According to media reports, the Santa Ana Unified School District of Orange County calculates that shifting from the previous paper tests to the new Common Core SBAC test “will cost the district about $12 million, including 8.1 million for new computers, $3.3 million for additional internet bandwidth and other costs associated with “accessories and training.”

The total cost of implementing the Common Core SBAC Test — after the State of California has already allocated more than $1.25 billion for the Common Core testing system – is estimated to be at least $1 billion annually for the state’s school districts.

Of course, when confronted with the news, in a statement similar to what we’d likely hear from the Malloy administration, “a spokesman for the [California] Department of Finance declined to comment because officials are reviewing the claim.”

Note that the projected $1 billion additional burden on local school districts in California COMES AFTER California State Government allocated  $1.25 billion to districts in one-time funds to help pay for classroom changes needed to implement the Common Core standards and Common Core SBAC Testing program.

The Orange County Register newspaper adds that the state provided another $26.7 million in state funds last year for high-speed internet access at schools with the highest needs and, “The governor’s latest budget proposal for next year adds $100 million for internet needs.”

However, here in Connecticut, relatively small amounts of state money have been allocated to help the state’s local school districts pay for the tremendous costs associated with ramping up and implementing the Common Core SBAC testing scheme.

Rather than spending their time and lobbying funds cheering on Governor Malloy and his corporate education reform industry agenda, perhaps the publicly funded Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE) and the publicly funded Connecticut Association of School Superintendents (CAPSS) should stop taking positions that directly undermine their own members – Connecticut’s local school boards and superintendents – and start talking about legal and legislative action to force the State of Connecticut to fund this unfunded mandate or postpone the testing debacle until proper funding is provided.

While it is true that Connecticut may not want to follow California’s lead on all things, it sure would be helpful if more of Connecticut’s local school districts and local school officials were following their colleagues in California (and other states like New York,) and standing up and fighting on behalf of their districts’ students, parents, teachers and taxpayers.

But NO – you want to know what the local taxpayer money that goes to CABE and CAPSS is being used for?

They are spending their time – and our money – joining the Corporate Education Reform Industry’s campaign to promote Malloy’s ant-public education agenda!

See:

CT’s Big Six to state legislators: “Continue investing in last year’s education reforms”

“A coalition of six of the state’s leading education and business groups – CAPSS, CAS, CABE, CBIA, CCER, CONNCAN – urge legislators not to back down from key pillars of last year’s education reform law

“This prompted the Big Six – a group composed of six education and business organizations – to urge lawmakers to protect progress made last year for Connecticut children by continuing to invest education reforms…”

And

BIG SIX INTRODUCES POLICY FOCUSES FOR NEW YEAR

“With the release of the Big 6’s Statement of Principles and Policy Recommendations, the coalition expects elected officials to keep education improvement efforts a priority during Legislative Session.

The Big 6 coalition represents key stakeholders and perspectives from the state’s leading education and business groups and continues to be united in a shared commitment to pursue systemic improvement in the state’s public schools so that every child gets an excellent public education.

Our partnership includes the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education (CABE), the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS), the Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA), Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now (ConnCAN), and the Connecticut Council for Education Reform (CCER).”

Interestingly none of the priorities pushed by the BIG SIX includes being honest with Connecticut’s students, parents, teachers and taxpayers about the real cost of these “initiatives” or the fact that much of those unnecessary costs will be dumped on the backs of Connecticut’s local property taxpayers.

You can read more about the Big Six in any number of commentary piece written by fellow education advocates, but a good place to start is with Sarah Darer Littman piece that was published in CT Newsjunkie and entitled, “Legislate Based On Research, Not Hyperbole.”

  • Jim Spellman

    Jon, you I, and the “usual suspects” can present fact forever – and have done so, None has been of impact to counter Common Core and the attendant Standardized Testing. Time to face facts – Teacher Association and Federation members are gutless – comment under Pen Names – and obviously are more job security interested than future of American Education concerned. The ones who delivered the the fatal fatal blow self administered it.

    • CTedFromTheTrenches

      I get closer and closer to throwing it all away every day. Sorry that my number one responsibility is to provide for my family. I love teaching, and I know that I do it well. Having to give it all up is a last resort that I don’t wish to carry out. To call us all gutless is quite offensive.

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    This is so simple and smarmy it defies description. Mr. and Mrs. Gates with the shit eaten grins, Eli Broad, the Hedge Funders did not throw money at Danny Boy because he was just a nice Irishman. They threw money at him so that he would throw it right back to them. Who the hell are the states buying the computers and the software from?????? Rob the teachers, screw the kids, rape the few middle class taxpayers that are left and reward the Edushysters. People in my community think Danny is an education governor. That is the value of spending the edushysters monies on PR. Anything but the children.

  • Jenn

    That is an interesting question. As federal fudning ran out for the test in September 2014, each member state must now pay a “membership fee” to SBAC in addition to paying for the test for each student. We have FOI’d that MOU that details the cost and have also asked and informed many legislators that they should also be FOI’ing the MOU that will detail our state cost for the test and for the membership fee. We have California’s MOU. Make note that the MOU is bwtween us and UCLA ( SBAC’s new home) and CRESST,National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing, which is housed at UCLA so they may conduct research on our children’s tests. According to SBAC”s website we have not signed it as of yet, as per my last checking. THen there is the issue of the lawsuit in MIssouri where a few taxpayers objected to the membership fee, which for them I believe was 1 million. The basis for that claim was that SBAC represents an illegal entitiy as an interstate contract without congressional approval in violation of the Compact Clause of the Constitution. The judge, in that case, in November, issued a temproary restraining order against the state of Missouri from making the payment, The case continues. The defendents of the case were the governor, their state education commissioner and I believe the attorney general. The case asks that SBAC be rendered an illegal entitiy and that the contracts be rendered null and void as such. Seems they are making headway. http://missourieducationwatchdog.com/judge-grants-restraining-order-in-case-against-state-participation-in-sbac/

  • paulbogush

    As of Sept 2012 the guess was sbac was going to cost $30 per kid per kid http://goo.gl/hPMUPh .

    It is the hidden costs. Additional staff hired to implement, teachers being paid to write new curriculum, PD being paid for, extra staffing for teacher evaluations, new textbooks, new computers, etc..

    That stuff get put into budgets and it does not scream sbac or ccss prep. Some of it is getting paid for with grants so districts will be able to slide it in easier.

  • CTedFromTheTrenches

    It was ‘The Big Six’ who got to meet with the CT BOE members on the morning of the common core hearing last year. No doubt, they set the game plan for all that would follow that day.

  • concerned

    Thanks for keeping us informed Jonathan. Keep up exposing the waste of public money on testing schemes. Yes, indeed, CABE and CAPSS are publicly funded organizations. Each school district pays about $20,000 I believe to belong to these organizations. What we get back is backstabbing….