As school districts move ahead with implementing Common Core, here are some numbers provided to legislators Thursday on what the state is spending this year to help districts implement the new standards:
- $800,000 for 2,000 teacher “coaches” to be trained on the standards through workshops, online webinars and preparation for the new standardized tests aligned with Common Core that every student will begin taking next school year. These teachers will return to their districts to help their colleagues understand the standards;
- $1 million for faculty and future teachers at teaching colleges in Connecticut to receive training on the new standards. The funding will cover training for 600 faculty and future teachers;
- $250,000 for local school boards to receive training;
- $1.5 million to help preschool through Grade 3 teachers teach early literacy skills;
- $500,000 to provide tools to support students with special education needs and English language learners;
- Two new positions at the State Department of Education to help districts with questions they may have with implementing Common Core;
- $24 million for districts to upgrade their technology capacity so students can take the new assessments based on the Common Core by next school year.
In total, the state will spend $38 million over this fiscal year and next to help districts implement Common Core. This is the first time money was specifically earmarked for Common Core implementation in the state budget since the standards were adopted in July 2010.
But the state’s largest teachers’ union isn’t convinced it’s enough. Based on what’s been done and spent to date, it is calling the rollout so far of Common Core “botched” and “mishandled.” The Connecticut Education Association Wednesday released a poll of nearly 1,500 of their teachers, most of whom said they feel ill prepared and lacking of the appropriate instructional tools to teach Common Core.
Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor Thursday told members of the legislature’s budget-writing committee that not enough has been done yet, but that more help is coming. Next year, the state is slated to spend $7.7 million on training.
“We are very pleased with how that [training] has been going, but we need to do a lot more,” he said.