By Michael Hill
Gov. Chris Christie backed away from Common Core, bashing Washington for imposing it on governors who know best and saying Common Core — that promotes rigorous and critical thinking — is not meeting the challenge of educating New Jersey children.
“I have heard from far too many people — teachers and parents from across the state — that the Common Core standards were not developed by New Jersey educators and parents. As a result, the buy-in from both communities has not been what we need for maximum achievement for our kids. And I agree with that position. It is time to have standards that are even higher and come directly from our own communities,” Christie said.
It’s a big reversal from what the governor said two years ago.
“We’re doing common core in New Jersey and we’re going to continue and this is one of those areas where I’ve agreed more with the President than not and with Secretary Duncan. I mean, they haven’t been perfect on this, but they have been better than a lot of folks have been in terms of the reform movement. And I think that part of the Republican opposition that you’ll see in some corners in Congress is a reaction, that knee-jerk reaction is happening in Washington right now, that if the President likes something the Republicans don’t,” Christie said.
Now, the governor’s directed state Education Commissioner David Hespe to put together a group of business partners, administrators, teachers and parents to develop New Jersey educational standards.
“I want New Jersey parents and teachers to be the driving force behind the establishment of these standards inn our state,” Christie said.
While the governor said Common Core is not the answer, his administration still upholds PARCC testing built on Common Core to measure student and teacher performance.
“So here’s the crazy part. We’re going to change the standards but we’re going to keep giving the same flawed test that just lasted through two months of a fiasco and he’s going to keep doing that. That’s the part that doesn’t make any sense to me at all,” said NJEA President Wendell Steinhauer.
Julia Sass Rubin and Save Our Schools New Jersey urged parents to opt their children out of taking PARCC testing.
“It’s just completely illogical move to drop Common Core and keep the PARCC. These two things either go together or neither one makes sense for New Jersey,” Sass Rubin said.
Christie says New Jersey can set higher standards than Common Core, adopted five years ago so all New Jersey students can benefit from classroom learning.