PEMBERTON, N.J. – Gov. Chris Christie is backing away from the use of Common Core school standards, saying the system isn't working for students in New Jersey.
In a speech Thursday, the likely Republican presidential contender will make the case that the standards have brought confusion and frustration to parents and classrooms.
The Common Core standards spell out what academic skills students should master at each grade level. They have been adopted by most states and the federal government, through a grant program, encourages states to use them. But they are unpopular among many parents, teachers, and GOP voters nationwide.
"It's now been five years since Common Core was adopted. And the truth is that it's simply not working," Christie says in excerpts released by his office ahead of the speech at Burlington County College. "Instead of solving problems in our classrooms, it is creating new ones. And when we aren't getting the job done for our children, we need to do something different."
Christie, who says he'll announce next month whether to mount a run for the White House, is also expected to ask the state's education commissioner to convene a group of parents, teachers and educators to come up with new state-specific education standards for him to consider.
"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," he says in the remarks.
He'll also reaffirm his commitment to testing as a means of measuring student learning.
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."
Christie told attendees at a GOP dinner in Iowa in February that he had "grave concerns" about the way the standards had been implemented. In New Hampshire later that month, he appeared to reject the idea of national standards.
He stressed the need for high academic standards, but added that "those higher standards should be determined by the people who are educating the children in those particular states. And my concern about what the administration has done is the federalization of this that takes education further and further away from parents is not the type of education that I think we want in this country or need."