Christie flunks Common Core school standards in New Jersey, aims for state alternative

The federal Common Core State Standards for education are not working in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday.

“It’s brought confusion and frustration to parents, it’s brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work,” he said during a speech at Burlington County Community College. “Instead of solving problems in our classrooms, it’s creating morale problems in those classrooms and at home. And when we aren’t getting the job done for our children, we need to do something different.”

The federal standards aim to make every child who graduates ready for college or a career.

Christie said he’s directing New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe to assemble teams of parents and educators to recommend new state-based standards.

“This will in no way affect our efforts to continue effective testing and measurement of our students through the PARCC test,” he said. “We must continue to review and improve that test based on results.”

The leader of the state’s largest teachers union is taking issue with that stance.

“To continue with the PARCC test does not make any sense at all,” said New Jersey Education Association president Wendell Steinhauer. “The PARCC test is completely aligned to the common core.”

Still, Steinhauer said there are positive aspects of the governor’s plan.

“I like the approach that he’s going to bring in educators and make everything New Jersey flavored. That’s all great,” he said. “I hope he includes NJEA in that educator list this time.”

Christie has been gradually backing away from the support he expressed for the standards less than two years ago, when he declared that “this is one of those areas where I’ve agreed more with the president than not.”

“It is time to have standards that are even higher and come directly from our communities. And, in my view, this new era can be even greater by adopting new standards right here in New Jersey — not 200 miles away on the banks of the Potomac River,” said Christie, who says he’ll announce next month whether to mount a run for the White House.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.