Slap a “Made in Jersey” label on it – Christie on Common Core

This is a video interview in 2013 where Chris Christie widely supporting Common Core in New Jersey. He talks about how Common Core is one area that he agrees with Obama on more than others. He talks about Republican and Democratic governors moving education forward with Common Core – because they have to go into their schools and look kids and parents in the face and do what’s best for them. He claims that legislators care more about their primary than they care about anything else.

Now, it’s 2015 and he’s preparing for a presidential bid – and has turned into one of “those” legislators who “only cares about their primary.”

Christie on Thursday declared at Burlington Community College that Common Core is “simply not working,” adding it “has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents. And has brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work. 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.”

Over the past year, the potential 2016 GOP hopeful has said he has growing concerns about Common Core, and last summer appointed a commission to study the impact of the program.

Why the flip flop? Polling says Republican primary voters are inaccurately associating Common Core with Obama and Democrats and are against it. Christie, who is more moderate of a Republican than most, needs to find ways to build Republican support among the base and here he is!

Darrell M. West, the vice president and director of governance studies at the Brookings Institutions — who has defended Common Core— went further, saying, “Candidates are flipping on this issue because the GOP base is outraged about the Common Core. Even though it was developed at the state level, they believe it is part of the federal takeover of education.” He added: “They inaccurately attribute it to the Obama administration and believe liberals are behind this move.”

Just how Christie’s latest turn on Common Core affects his likely presidential bid remains to be seen. Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University, said it “does have the potential of bringing him support among GOP primary voters and it also serves to distinguish himself from Jeb Bush,” his ideological competitor. On the other hand, said Harrison, “it could open himself up to criticism that he’s a flip-flopper.”

This editorial suggests that Christie is shaping state policy to influence his presidential bid. The writer suggests that by creating a committee to look into developing NJ standards, that the “new standards” will be much like the current ones, with a new name.

That’s all that matters to Christie these days, pleasing national conservatives. So he says Common Core isn’t working — without actually saying how or why — and that he wants to replace it with a new model that a group of parents and educators are supposed to put together over the summer. The emphasis, of course, is on state control over the process. The standards themselves are a secondary concern.

This is nothing more than a rebranding of Common Core as a New Jersey product. Christie said he expects “new” standards to be in place by the end of the year, which is far too little time for a responsible overhaul. The standards will undoubtedly look much the same as they do now because there simply won’t be time to do anything more.

But this sort of reckless approach will only create more problems and confusion. If Christie’s dissatisfaction with Common Core was a genuine desire for more effective standards that would earn more support from parents and educators, this would certainly be a longer process to evaluate and revamp the entire program. Instead, Christie just wants to bang out something quick and slap a “Made in Jersey” label on it.

This NJ blog notes that NJ already accepted Common Core, spent time and money integrating to it and the education department is running with it. After all the revamping of curriculum to match the standards, teacher training…etc he’s just going to start over? Not likely. The writer also suggests renaming them will do the trick:

Let’s think about this.  In 2010 the State Legislature adopted the Common Core State Standards. In 2011 New Jersey’s 590 school districts and 2,500 schools began the complex process of adapting course objectives to align with the Common Core. The task is complete.

If we take the Governor’s advice and abandon the Common Core, then N.J. would have one of two choices: either revert to inferior standards, which would require school administrators and teachers to dig out  discarded material and remap curricula, or convene some coven of Christie-ites to start the expensive and time-consuming process of reinventing course standards that, if done properly, would mirror the Common Core.

Here’s a suggestion.  Leave the Common Core alone and spare students, teachers, principals, school board members, superintendents, legislators, and taxpayers from this shell game. Rename the standards the NEW JERSEY Common Core State Standards. Or, heck, how about the Christie Core State Standards. Christie-Core! That way, Governor, you get a talking point if you garner enough polling points to earn a podium at the GOP debates and the eroding faith of New Jersey in the political process stays at sea level.

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I trust candidates who stand up for what they believe in

I trust candidates who stand up for what they believe in

Stop The Lies Representing Warning Sign And Truth

Stop The Lies Representing Warning Sign And Truth

There are about 20 or so Republican announced or rumored candidates and while I am not planning to vote for a Republican it is interesting to watch their stances on education. I admire Jeb Bush for being one of the only candidates, and the only Republican right now that is still in support for Common Core. I am more likely to trust a candidate who doesn’t give in to what polling says or what the perception is about a topic. Whether or not he wins the nomination or the election, I’d much rather run on issues I care about that I know work than run on a bunch of lies. CNN reports:

Bush — unlike other 2016ers — is not backing away from his endorsement of Common Core as an effective method of measuring student learning. His brother, after all, pushed and ultimately signed No Child Left Behind in early 2002, which imposed test score standards on schools with lower-income students that received federal funding.

As for Common Core, Jeb Bush has expressed frustration with how the standards have been prone to misinformation that have in part helped turn the issue into a political football.

“Because people have a different view of what Common Core is, am I supposed to back away from something that I know works?” he asked at the same event in Bedford.

As two-term governor of Florida from 1999-2007, Bush focused heavily on education reform, which included implementing higher standards as well as a school voucher program. After he left office, he launched a nonprofit called the Foundation for Excellence in Education that ultimately became a leading proponent of Common Core.

One major problem with supporting Common Core today is that it has been tainted as a federal program (of course supported by Obama) and no one gets the message that theses standards were developed collaboratively across states. The federal government simply offered funding to states who adopted higher standards to help with implementation.

Contrary to what some believe, Common Core standards were not developed by the federal government but by the National Governors Association along with help from state education leaders, parents and teachers. The standards dictate what students in elementary school and high school should know by the end of each grade, and it’s up to the states to come up with testing and curriculum that align with those measurements.

The federal government got involved when it gave states financial incentives to adopt higher standards. Those standards didn’t have to be Common Core, but since the standards were available, 46 states have adopted them since 2010, though some have since changed or eliminated them.

At least as Jeb Bush campaigns he’s spreading the message that Common Core works and the truth about the program. We can only hope that will encourage others to question the other candidates as to exactly why they oppose common core, because it’s more than likely that its just a campaign ploy. Common Core is already tagged as a national program, and Republicans are anti-federal oversight, so this is seemingly low hanging fruit for Republicans to further their campaign agenda.

For his part, Bush has politely tried to correct some misunderstandings about Common Core on the trail, without trying to get to deep in the weeds. At an event in Manchester, a retired math teacher told Bush that he got frustrated with spending more time testing than teaching.

Bush explained that tests are only administered on the state and local level — not by the federal government — and proposed that states should mandate that school districts tell parents why they are giving so many tests. That would better facilitate a conversation between parents and educators on how to strike a balance.

“And that’s the way it should be. You can do that in New Hampshire,” he said, urging the man, John Potucek, who’s also a state representative, to push back on the state about his complaints. “But please make sure you have accountability around students, ’cause the net result is you’re going to have a decline.”

After the event Potucek told CNN he was surprised by Bush’s answer, and while he didn’t agree with everything Bush said, he said his Common Core stance wouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

“He explained it in a way that I wasn’t expecting, and I have to kind of chew on it a little bit,” he said.

It doesn’t always go well, though. At a town hall in Dubuque, Iowa, a retired local school board member named Les Feldman grilled Bush about his support for Common Core. After a tense back-and-forth that lasted several minutes, a somewhat exasperated Bush ultimately concluded with, “I’m just for higher standards, man.”

Keep speaking the truth Jeb, and maybe you’ll make a supporter out of me!

The bottom line, Bush has argued, is that students need better accountability and there are a variety of ways to make that happen with higher standards.

“There’s got to be a better way,” Bush said at an event in Manchester, New Hampshire earlier this month, saying only half of high school graduates are college or career-ready. “We can’t just keep fooling ourselves and just say ‘oh it’s because … kids in poverty can’t learn’.”

“That’s crap,” a man in the audience interjected.

“Thank you, brother,” Bush said forcefully. “That is crap.”

Democrats are cavalier about students

©Depositphotos.com/Margaret Paynich

©Depositphotos.com/Margaret Paynich

I’ve been looking for a comparable circumstance for a long time and finally found one watching the news recently. There has been a great deal of coverage about international issues and the US’s engagement overseas. A reporter was asking a Republican member of Congress about President Obama’s intention not to put “boots on the ground” overseas. The Republican Congressman talked about how he thought it was inappropriate to say we wouldn’t send troops because we don’t know the extent of the security risks…etc. Basically, he was saying he was willing to put US troops on the ground to accomplish a mission. Republicans have always been a bit cavalier about sending our men and women overseas and for extended periods of time. Like they just don’t give it s second thought.

This is exactly how I feel about Democrats who stand in the way of education reform. I’ll ask them what they would tell their constituent if he/she came to him and said they wanted more options for their children, that their assigned school is underperforming. I here time and time again, “Just wait, give us time, they’ll get better, we need to invest more funding in our schools and they will be better.” This is a very similar attitude I heard from a Warwick City Councilor in her response to a post about my HA experience. One legislator told me, “They need to wait for the betterment of the school system as a whole.”

Well, you know what? How rude is it to tell a parent “I know the school isn’t very good, but please stick with it, we’re going to fix it.” Kids don’t have time to waste or wait. Every minute a student sits in a classroom with an ineffective teacher, every day that student does not receive a quality education, is a day they will never get back. We can’t just “wait” until the schools are better and then take our kids back to school. This is an unfair notion that does not move education forward and really sets our kids at a disadvantage. I asked that legislator if he would say that to a constituent, and he said yes. Somehow, I doubt that!!

Our kids deserve the chance have a high quality education everyday, not just once the school gets around to it. I feel like Democrats are cavalier about our kids getting a high quality education right now, in the same way that Republicans are cavalier about sending our men and women to war.