Gov. Christie Repudiates Common Core, Wants ‘New Jersey-Based’ Standards

By Andrew Ujifusa — May 28, 2015 2 min read
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Declaring in a speech that the Common Core State Standards aren’t working in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie announced in a May 28 speech that the state will shift away from the standards by the end of the year.

In his speech at Burlington County College in Pemberton, N.J., Christie, a Republican who is possible candidate for a presidential run in 2016, said that the state will assemble a team to review the common core in order to improve the standards “and to make them New Jersey-based.” He also wants a review of curriculum and instructional practices in New Jersey. Christie wants this review finalized by the end of 2015.

“It’s time to have standards that are even higher,” Christie said in his remarks.

He added that on the issue of control over education, it was time to “wrest it away from the bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. who have now taken it over.”

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Christie would potentially repudiate the common core in his May 28 remarks.

Here’s one key point to remember: The state officially re-adopted the common core last year, and there was no record of Christie opposing the move.

Here’s another: Up until recently, Christie had been a public backer of the common core. I’ve previously highlighted this 2013 video of the governor speaking at a KIPP conference, in which he said that GOP opposition to the common core, at least in Congress, was due to “knee-jerk” political reactions. And, he added, governors were leading the push to make key K-12 policy changes including common core:

“We’re doing common core in New Jersey, and we’re going to continue,” Christie said in the 2013 speech.

It’s unclear whether Christie’s rhetorical attack on the common core will cause big waves in presidential politics: He’s far adrift of the frontrunners in recent polling of the GOP nomination, according to information from RealClearPolitics:

It remains to be seen if Christie’s plan will lead to a substantive end to the common core in the Garden State, or just minor changes to the standards.

UPDATE: The New Jersey Department of Education said that Christie’s speech made it clear that the state will continue to use the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, which was designed to assess students on the common core. On that basis, it’s unclear to what extent New Jersey will create standards that are radically different from the common core.

By this point, supporters are quite possibly accustomed to GOP presidential hopefuls, including Scott Walker, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal, switching their stances and deciding to oppose the standards.

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.