Presidential Ambitions Over Student Needs:Chris Christie reminders!


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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.”

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.

Off To The Races … reminders to #voters2016


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First posted in 2015

5 Backwards and Out-of-Touch Comments From CPAC 2015

Earlier this week, we covered some of the rhetoric you could expect to hear at the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, that started Wednesday and runs through Saturday. CPAC is a prime opportunity for potential Republican presidential candidates to promote their platform, and as expected, there have been concerning statements from the Republican Party’s top 2016 contenders. We’ve rounded up five of the most backward, extreme, and downright wrong statements coming out of the conference:

1. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker compares protestors for workers’ rights to ISIS:
When asked how he would handle ISIS if elected President, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker said, “If I can take on a hundred thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.” The protesters Walker referred to were demonstrating against his decision to sign “right-to-work” legislation that significantly weakens labor unions by forcing them to provide services without payment from workers. (To his credit, Walker did later walk back the comment somewhat.)

2. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry criticizes the unemployment rate:
Rick Perry warned the CPAC audience not to put any faith in new numbers showing an improved economic outlook, calling the unemployment rate a “sham.” This was not Perry’s first time trying to discredit the unemployment rate. Earlier this year, Perry said the unemployment rate has “been massaged, it’s been doctored,” a claim that PolitiFact rated Pants On Fire.

3. Florida Senator Marco Rubio commits epic error on ISIS:
Senator Marco Rubio also failed when attempting to talk about ISIS, telling TV host Sean Hannity that “if we wanted to defeat them militarily, we could do it. [Obama] doesn’t want to upset Iran.” Rubio left out the fact that Iran is actually committed to fighting the terrorist group. In fact, late last year, President Obama wrote a letter to Iran’s supreme leader suggesting cooperation against ISIS. One might expect the Senator to know these things given that he is a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and the Select Committee on Intelligence.

4. Rubio also says he flipped to opposing immigration reform because it “wasn’t very popular”
Before CPAC, Rubio had already publicly flipped from supporting immigration reform to opposing it. But at CPAC, when Sean Hannity asked him about the immigration reform bill he sponsored in the Senate, Rubio said, “Well it wasn’t very popular I don’t know if you know that from some of the folks here.” Bold leadership, Senator. Thanks to Rubio and the Senate’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform, Republicans are now putting national security at risk to stop President Obama’s order to lift the threat of deportation for up to 5 million undocumented immigrations.

5. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie brags about vetoing funding for Planned Parenthood:
Speaking to a group of CPAC attendees yesterday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie bragged about vetoing funding for Planned Parenthood five times saying, “I was the first governor to ever speak at a pro-life rally on the steps of the statehouse in the state of New Jersey and I vetoed Planned Parenthood funding five times out of the New Jersey budget.” It was a sharp change of tune from Christie, who while running for re-election in New Jersey, had said vetoing the funds was merely a cost-saving measure. Christie’s politicking with Planned Parenthood funding has had serious impacts on the state—the state’s capacity to meet the need for family planning services for the state’s poorest residents has decreased 25 percent and nine health care centers have been forced to close.

BOTTOM LINE: From the economy and women’s health to national security and immigration, the potential 2016 GOP primary field is off to the races with comments that prove they are not ready to lead the country. The candidates on stage at CPAC have displayed early on that they are willing to say just about anything to appeal to the extreme conservative base, no matter whether those views are truthful or not, and no matter the serious problems they might cause.