SPRINGFIELD - Even though Illinois jumped feet first into the Obama Administration's national Common Core curriculum plan in return for $100 million from a federal stimulus plan, parents and teachers are resisting the demands Common Core is making on the state's districts. Taxpayers may soon join the resistance.
Two key objections to the Common Core plan are that all of the program's standardized testing must be done on computers - forcing schools to make computers available to each student. Those required individual computers will provide the second Common Core component parents object to - data collection - to be more easily accessible for school, district, regional, state and national databanks.
So schools are left with the expense of providing individual computers to their school's children at a time when 67 percent of Illinois' school districts are operating at a deficit. That can't go on too long without major upheaval in the state and school district's tax code, demanding more revenue to pay for more computers.
So, whether taxpayers know it now or not, Common Core curriculum and its required investment into personal computers for their students will soon cost property owners.
The Los Angeles public school system was one of the earliest to jump wholeheartedly into Common Core. In June, the district announced Apple won a contract with the Los Angeles Unified School District to provide iPads to its students, netting the provider $30 million. The agreement was to provide iPads to students at 47 campuses.
The iPads, engadget.com reports, cost $678 apiece (nearly $200 more than a standard entry level iPad) and come loaded with educational software. The tablets are priced at $678 apiece, so $30 million nets LA schools approximately 45,000 iPads, even though the school district is comprised of 640,000 students. The first contract signed with Apple was for 31,000 iPads (for both students and teachers) which come with Pearson Common Core System of Courses delivered "via a new app."
This week, the first phase of distributing the iPads in the LA school system hit a glitch when the students found their way around Apple-installed blocks to Facebook and other social media outlets. In a matter of days, 300 students at Theodore Roosevelt High School managed to work around protective measures placed on the Apple tablets, providing personal computer access to non-authorized persons. For now, the schools are banning home use of the iPads until Apple can come up with a better, more secure system.
Each of the students' schoolwork, tests, scores, personal records to be kept on school, district, regional, state and national databanks will be updated through these iPads providing Common Core courses.
McHenry County's Erin Raasch is a mom that has a background in data mining, and knows well how valuable data acculumation is.
"Our kids will be providing valuable information through the Common Core system, and that's a main part of what this is all about," she said in an interview with Illinois Review.
"Parents should also know that their child's demographics affect the curriculum questions they're asked. A poor black child in an urban setting will eventually be given different questions than a white child in a wealthier school district. It's how the system is built - to individualize teaching while preparing the kids to meet the Common Core national standards," she said.
While the feds provided Illinois with $100 million to jump into the Common Core system a few years ago, it is now incumbent upon the state's local districts to spend another estimated $700 million to fully implement the system.