State-Specific Common Core Implementation Costs

Sep 6, 2013 by

by Henry W. Burke


We can make numerous valid arguments against the Common Core Standards, and many people have offered excellent reasons to avoid or drop the Common Core Standards (CCS).

I have chosen to focus my attention on the costs to implement the Common Core Standards.  For many people, the high implementation cost of CCS is the easiest argument to understand.  As taxpayers, we are vitally concerned about the burgeoning cost of government at the federal, state and local levels.  The Common Core Standards represent another huge government program, and taxpayers will be forced to pick up the tab.

We know that the promise of federal money drove most of the states to adopt the Common Core Standards even before they were written.  Under the guise of a federal competition, Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan convinced the states to drop their own state standards and embrace the unknown Common Core Standards.

Buried deep within the $787 billion Stimulus Bill was money for the Race to the Top program.  Obama and Duncan’s devious plan was to use the $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTTT) program to move states into the Common Core Standards (national standards).

Their plan worked splendidly and 45 states plus the District of Columbia signed up for the Common Core Standards before the standards documents had even been finalized and without any international benchmarking or piloting to see how academically effective such standards might be in the classroom!

Obama and Duncan bragged about the success of their Race to the Top (RTTT) scheme.  A 2011 White House press release for the Fiscal Year 2012 Education Budget stated this about RTTT:

Adapts the Race to the Top Model of Com­petition to Transform Lifelong Learning. Widely viewed as leveraging more change than any other competitive education grant program in history, the Race to the Top (RTT) initiative spurred States across the Nation to bring togeth­er teachers, school leaders, and policymakers to achieve difficult yet fundamental improvements to our education system.

In their words, Race to the Top is “leveraging more change than any other competitive education grant program in history.”


My logic in focusing on CCS implementation costs is rather simple.  If money (federal competitive awards) drove most states into CCS, the high cost to implement CCS can convince states to withdraw from the Common Core.

The states competed for the coveted federal dollars, but they did not calculate what the costs would be to convert to the Common Core.  Theodor Rebarber, CEO and founder of AccountabilityWorks, explained: “States did almost no costs analysis” when they signed on to adopt the Common Core standards.  They sorely needed the money and viewed CCS through the proverbial “rose-colored glasses.”

When I was searching for reliable cost estimates on implementing the Common Core Standards, I found an excellent White Paper report published by the Pioneer Institute entitled National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to the Common Core Standards by AccountabilityWorks, No. 82 – February 2012.

The Pioneer Institute white paper includes costs for four categories: Testing, Professional Development, Textbooks, and Technology.  For these four categories, the Pioneer Institute calculated that the national cost for the 46 CCS states (45 states plus D.C.) would be $15.8 billion!


Based on this outstanding Pioneer Institute white paper, I wrote the report “States’ Taxpayers Cannot Afford Common Core Standards,” by Henry W. Burke, 10.15.12.  This report lists the CCS implementation costs for each of the 45 CCS states plus D. C.

In the above-mentioned report, I listed the CCS cost for each state and compared that cost with the federal competitive awards.  Here are a few examples:

The CCS implementation cost in California will be $2,188 million ($2.188 billion), while the federal awards total $104 million.  When I subtract the awards from the CCS cost, I get $2,084 million ($2.1 billion).  In other words, California will need to find $2.1 billion to fund the CCS implementation.

For Illinois, the CCS cost is $799 million and the federal awards are $66 million.  This means Illinois will lose $733 million on CCS implementation.

Pennsylvania will experience a $647 million loss; Michigan will see a $569 million loss; and New Jersey will have a $564 million loss on CCS.

I also wrote a companion report applicable to the states that did not adopt the Common Core Standards, “Non-Common Core States Will Save Millions of Dollars,” by Henry W. Burke, 10.18.12.  This report covers the five non-CCS states (Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia).



In addition to the full reports, I have prepared state-specific cost analyses for all of the 45 CCS states plus D. C.  Because each analysis applies to only one specific state, it allows interested parties to focus on the situation in that state.  These analyses are entitled “State Common Core Implementation Costs.”  For example, the report for Alabama is “Alabama Common Core Implementation Costs.”



In the majority of cases, the state education departments adopted the Common Core Standards without the knowledge and approval of the state legislatures.  Many state legislative bodies are now feeling the pressure of the citizens and are re-examining the states’ decisions.

I suggest that you focus your attention and pressure on your state legislature.  Your State Department of Education approved the Common Core Standards, and your State Board of Education probably went along with the state DOE.

Education and knowledge can make a difference in your fight against the Common Core Standards.  Education expert Donna Garner has written hundreds of articles and reports on the Common Core Standards; she has prepared an excellent list of resources which she continually updates. Please do an Internet search under “Donna Garner, Anti-Common Core Standards Resource List.”


If you would like a state-specific cost report for your state, please send an e-mail message to me with your e-mail address and name.  Please clearly indicate in your request which state you need.  I will send the desired report via e-mail to you free of charge.

Henry W. Burke

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  1. Natalie Germaine

    Please send me the cost report for the states of Arizona and Colorado.

  2. Kim Fink

    Please send me the information for NC.

  3. Laura Courtney

    Please send me the cost report for Alabama. Thank you.

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