National education standards to cost the state of Washington $300 million

posted at 1:20 pm on December 5, 2011 by Tina Korbe

It often happens this way when the federal government interferes with local and state affairs: What sounds reasonable — or even desirable — in theory proves to be expensive and ineffective in practice. So it is with national education standards, which — at first glance — might seem to be an advisable way to ensure children across the country receive educations of a similar caliber.

As a refresher, the Department of Education began to implement the Common Core State Standards Initiative through a back door. Rather than directly mandate the national standards, as would likely have resulted in an outcry from the states, the Ed Department tied Race to the Top dollars to the adoption of the common core. Cash-strapped state legislators who couldn’t resist the lure of badly-needed federal dollars sacrificed local and state control of education policy for a few bucks.

Now, in at least one state, it appears that that sacrifice of freedom and autonomy didn’t even improve the state’s fiscal outlook. In Washington, the state school superintendent has admitted the cost to implement the Common Core will exceed $300 million.

And, just as experts have warned from the beginning, as state officials have begun to adapt previous state education standards to the new Common Core, they’ve found the federal standards codify mediocrity not excellence. More from the Washington Policy Center blog:

The Common Core Standards Initiative are new learning standards imposed on Washington state by the federal government, soon to be followed by a federally- financed test and federal curriculum.  Experts on standards are warning that the quality of these standards is mediocre and not internationally benchmarked, as advertised.  Nor will they prepare Washington students for college or the workplace, as advertised.  They mandate a teaching of geometry that has never been used.  They will not purge from Washington classrooms the failing Discovery Math series responsible for confusing and discouraging math study in an entire generation of students.  They will require that half the reading texts assigned by English teachers must be non-fiction.  In Massachusetts, this means that teachers have been forced to drop literary masterpieces of the American tradition, including Moby Dick, Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Huckleberry Finn.  The science and technology standards will not teach our students what they need to know, as I show here. Teachers will have to change the questions they ask students under these standards, as I show here.

Fortunately, a way out exists. The American Legislative Exchange Council has moved forward model legislation to grant states an exit strategy from the standards. State legislators who are concerned about the ability to meet this unfunded mandate from the federal government — a mandate that, most importantly, hamstrings the ability of states to meet students’ needs — might want to consider that model legislation — or legislation to defund the implementation of the Common Core — for introduction in their own state legislatures.

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This isn’t an attack on Newt…

… What gives?


Seven Percent Solution on December 5, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Virtually everything wrong in American education could be remedied by removing federal interference in it.

Not even teacher’s unions can do as much harm.

Lily on December 5, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Fortunately, a way out exists. The American Legislative Exchange Council has moved forward model legislation to grant states an exit strategy from the standards.

We need a smart ALEC to set our kids straight!

Steve Z on December 5, 2011 at 1:31 PM

This isn’t an attack on Newt…

… What gives?


Seven Percent Solution on December 5, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Heh! Someone should keep count…be hard to beat the Cain numbers though…

winston on December 5, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Washington State could save a lot of money if they weren’t paying so many millions for illegal aliens.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2011 at 1:33 PM

Rather than directly mandate the national standards, as would likely have resulted in an outcry from the states, the Ed Department tied Race to the Top dollars to the adoption of the common core.

Actually that was to make it Constitutional. The Feds can’t mandate education policy to the states. However, the can tie mandates to funding as a condition. Been doing that for years. The idea is “it’s not mandatory because you don’t HAVE to take the money.” The 21 year drinking age was tied to highway funds. This is the Fed’s way of getting around that pesky Constitution.

Meric1837 on December 5, 2011 at 1:34 PM

The sad thing is that Wisconsin is working hard to bring their schools UP to the common core standards. (

The non-fiction requirement is so that students get experience in using informational text, not just literature. Where this falls down is when schools fail to assign appropriate literature and feed the kids literary porridge because the classics are “too hard”. My child’s middle school library (grades 6-8) is stocked with books that are primarily 4th grade and below.

An administrator actually told me that their goal in assigning kids to classes is so that they “learn to work with others of differing abilities”. I pointed out that his goal was supposed to be to educate the kids, and if a child isn’t getting new information to learn, then the school is failing at its job.

Daisy_WI on December 5, 2011 at 1:39 PM

After a handful of elections whereupon the WA voters declined to raise taxes, the initiative to raise the WA sales tax by a half-cent for the children seems to be getting much higher approval in polls than I would have expected.


Jeddite on December 5, 2011 at 1:41 PM

More great music from the Emperor Zero regime.

Mediocrity? That is a very kind evaluation.

dogsoldier on December 5, 2011 at 1:51 PM

OOps, wrong website. Try this one:

Daisy_WI on December 5, 2011 at 1:55 PM

Let’s save some time and money here…..

How about we just put this pic on the cover of EVERY SINGLE BOOK used in Public Education in this country.

Clear it up for the kids right away.

Kids YOU are part of the TEATER NATION……just pick whether you want to feed on the Welfare one, the Disability one, the Student loan one…..YOU PICK KIDS.

This way we can pound any sense of worth and value in them at an early age.

PappyD61 on December 5, 2011 at 2:05 PM

This way we can pound any sense of worth and value OUT OF them at an early age.

PappyD61 on December 5, 2011 at 2:05 PM

PappyD61 on December 5, 2011 at 2:06 PM

i have no idea what ‘discovery math’ is so i googled:

these are pretty frightening articles:

Math in groups doesn’t sound auspicious to me. And so people show up in college and can’t do the requisite math

lost generation i guess…or two. How many more until we can fire the DoE?

r keller on December 5, 2011 at 2:08 PM

This just proves my claim that the government has entitlement jobs that they fill with government employees with all the perks that really don’t amount to squat. The DOE is just one of them but the titles to most of them need a dictionary to decode. We never hear about defunding these entitlement programs or even cutting some of their budgets. WHOOPS! They do talk about cutting back on the military budget but I don’t consider the military a government entitlement program.

mixplix on December 5, 2011 at 2:19 PM

Want some fun? Try lattice long division. Google it.

One school I know banned it because the kids took so long drawing the little lattice pictures that they couldn’t get to the actual MATH.

A local 5th grade teacher told me that parents hate it because they don’t understand the higher thought required. No, Mr. S, we hate it because there are at least 2 ways to divide (long division and short division) that we don’t need an inefficient and slower method. (My DD’s teacher hates short division, because the answer is right but there’s no “work” to check.)

Daisy_WI on December 5, 2011 at 2:20 PM

Abolish the federal Department of(mis)Education. Get the feds out of education.

rbj on December 5, 2011 at 2:22 PM

I live in WA and have two kids in grade school. I look at this crap that they send home and my wife and I agree that they are trying to teach mediocrity to our children. When I was in school we learned our multiplycation tables and how to add, subtract and so forth. Now they teach them how to estimate and put the emphasis on rounding so it is like they just want them to get close enough and that is okay. Don’t teach them how to get an exact answer because that would make winners and losers. Some of the teachers that I talk to hate the stuff that they have to teach but have their hands tied. No wonder we have spoiled brats protesting at these OWS events. The dumbing down of America continues.

jistincase on December 5, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Yeah, I’ll be voting against the sales tax increase too, it would be foolish to reduce the competitiveness of our state when there is plenty of money that can be saved by ending services for illegal aliens and elsewhere.

FloatingRock on December 5, 2011 at 2:34 PM

I’m not sure you can count on the states either. I use to proctor a test called the PRAXIS, for teacher competence, it was given in three parts, reading/comprehension, math, and writing. It was not particularly rigorous and states could determine what was the acceptable numeric score for certification. When too many teachers couldn’t pass, the states just made up their own tests. And there is nothing like a bunch of teachers taking a competency test instill confidence in the education system.

Cindy Munford on December 5, 2011 at 2:36 PM

The Department of Education had nothing to do with “education”.

GarandFan on December 5, 2011 at 3:00 PM

There should be no national education standards. In a free nation, it is a local issue.

But who’s listening in the new police state

entagor on December 5, 2011 at 3:13 PM

What was Perry saying the other day? Sumpin bout the 10th and state and local control restored to schools. Time for him to do a comeback?

Also funny, given Mittness recent support of Arne Duncan, hucksbee’s forum didn’t challenge him on that, yet Mittness went on and on about local control of schools. To me that’s cognitive dissonance.

AH_C on December 5, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Seven Percent Solution on December 5, 2011 at 1:26 PM

Actually both Newt and Mitt supported “No Child Left Behind.”

bw222 on December 5, 2011 at 3:32 PM

It is time that states and municipalities simply stop enforcing a lot of these regulations. They can leave them on the books, but simply stop enforcing them. And I am talking about more than education standards, I am talking regulations across the board.

I have a friend that works for a city. One day I mentioned that maybe they should look at the ratio of city workers to residents in, say, 1970 and try to trim the current ratio to be about the same figuring with modern automation with things such as computers, surely the workers could be more productive now than they were in the 1970s. The answer was, no, it’s impossible, because they need a large number of additional workers just to handle all of the paperwork, research, and enforcement needed to comply with local, state, and federal regulations.

The regulatory environment makes the government so inefficient that it needs more per capita government workers just to do things like collect and dispose of garbage, provide water, pave streets, maintain bridges, treat waste, approve building permits, etc.

My reply was that maybe it was high time for the city to simply stop enforcing those regulations. If that city and hundreds of others across the state did the same thing, what is the higher level of government going to do, put the cities in jail?

Seriously. It is time to very quietly stop enforcing some of the regulations that add nothing to our quality of life and are sometimes quite idiotic. One example was the environmental surveys and approvals that were needed to fix a bridge. It literally took years. In the end you know what it said? Basically it said “the environmental impact of the new bridge will be the same as the current bridge that it is replacing”. I think Sherlock Holmes himself must have worked on that one. But it required surveys by experts and departments and buyoff from departments and hearings and all sorts of crap.

My country has become a nation of idiots.

crosspatch on December 5, 2011 at 4:38 PM

National education standards to cost the state of Washington $300 million

From the state that elects Patty Murray to the Senate. Go whine in the mirror.*

*I know there are many red-state types suffering there, just like we are here in California.

Feedie on December 5, 2011 at 6:57 PM

I strongly suspect this Common Core Standards Initiative is really an attempt to reduce the racial academic achievement gap by dumbing down the intellectual rigor of courses. Reading the links makes it clear that dumbing down is really it is doing. I have no doubt that this expensive nonsense would do a lot of harm, especially to the more able students (of all races) who will be cheated out of real learning and real academic achievement that would hold them in good stead. Leave it the Obama misadministration to harm real education.

I find it despicable that the Federal government, which constitutionally should leave education to the states, takes a lot of our tax money so that it can coerce states into doing its bidding – else the states won’t get their own money back.

Chessplayer on December 5, 2011 at 9:38 PM