As of today, Nebraska remains one of five states that has not adopted the Common Core in any capacity. Though offered the chance like every other state, Nebraska has too many questions in regards to the Core, often citing the belief that its way to teach is not what they see as the best way for their students. Beyond this, discussions are still being held, however the state does not look like it will be opting for adoption in the near future.
Refusing the Call
Back when Common Core made its big debut in 2010, most of the current states to have adopted it jumped on board. Nebraska chose to refrain since the standards weren’t even completed. Once they finally were, officials found the curriculum of both their state standards and the new Core to cover the same exactly material just in a different order.
Amid a lot of legal red tape also making adoption difficult, teachers actively voiced their opinions on both sides of the matter. Some despised what the Common Core stands for while others wanted to see it implemented so that Nebraska wouldn’t stay so far behind in educational standards. To that argument, many head educators laughed, claiming Nebraska is anything but far behind.
Cost of implementation has also kept Nebraska cold. With an estimated cost of $16 billion, the already cash-strapped schools would have no way to afford such a change and have a positive effect on the students. This number doesn’t even figure in the new standardized tests that would cost about $20 per student, nearly double what the cost is now.
The Common Core snub didn’t exactly come out of a statewide fear of federalization. Instead, it emerged after a yearlong battle to secure Race to the Top grant money from the government. This $4.3 billion dollar reward was offered to states that agreed to implement Common Core. In the beginning, Nebraska was onboard. Unfortunately, both applications in 2010 failed, leaving the state without any extra funding and no incentive to implement a costly educational overhaul.
Nebraska decided to take matters into its own hands and develop their Nebraska State Accountability system in 2012, a statewide assessment not related to the national tests. As far as curriculum goes, it’s very similar to Common Core but on a smaller scale. The state has set standards. Each district can alter these so long as the change is at least as rigorous as those put forward by the state itself.
As for Nebraska’s educational future? It is almost certain there will be no Common Core adoption for as long as the state can hold out, meaning their students will continue receiving the same education they always have. While Common Core has yet to prove its value through test scores, it will certainly be a point of discussion if the Core is proven effective.