Chris Christie Reverses His Position on Common Core
Today New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie turned his back on New Jersey kids for his own political gain. In a speech this afternoon Christie, a likely 2016 presidential candidate, reversed his position on Common Core, a set of education standards he had earlier supported. Christie was for the Common Core State Standards long before he was against them. Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, since 2010 when he adopted the standards, Christie has reversed his position in an attempt appeal to the extreme right-wing conservative base. From 2010 to 2015 Christie has slowly walked away from the standards. Below are a few examples showing his evolution on the issue:
- 2011: Christie fully supported the Common Core. He said the standards “are a building block in our state’s education system meant to ensure that teachers and districts can innovate within a framework of high expectations and accountability.”
- 2013: Christie called Republican opposition to standards a “knee jerk reaction” to the President’s support. “I think that part of the Republican opposition [to the Common Core] that you see in some corners of Congress is a reaction, that knee-jerk reaction you see that’s happening in Washington right now, that if the president likes something, the Republicans in Congress don’t.”
- 2014: Christie began to distance himself from the standards. He said, “I have some real concerns about Common Core and how it’s being rolled out and that’s why I put a commission together to study it.”
- Today: Christie said Common Core ‘simply isn’t working.’ In a press conference this afternoon he said, “It has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents. And has brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work.”
But the truth is that Common Core is working. Kentucky, which was the first state to adopt the standards, saw their college and career readiness rates increase from 34 to 62 percent in just four years after the standards were put in place. Common Core standards are designed to measure real world skills to help students graduate college and career ready and one set of standards helps level the playing field to ensure that all kids have an equal chance at succeeding.
Christie’s flip flop comes the same day that the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing a case Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, another marquee flip-flopper on the Common Core, has brought against the standards. Jindal’s lawsuit suggests that the federal government forced states to adopt Common Core in order to receive federal funding as a part of the Race to the Top program. But in fact, Race to the Top grants were awarded based on several criteria, and the decision to adopt Common Core standards was completely voluntary. Christie and Jindal aren’t the only GOP governors who have flip flopped on Common Core, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, are two other 2016 contenders who have reversed their positions for political gain.
BOTTOM LINE: Common Core standards level the playing field and help to give all students an equal opportunity to graduate ready for college or a career. Chris Christie should not play politics with the future of New Jersey’s students.