Chris Christie Dumps Common Core…Sort Of

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Well, it’s official.  With a shrug and a “it’s simply not working,” Chris Christie has announced plans to dump the Common Core State Standards, The Washington Post reports:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who brought the Common Core State Standards to his state and loudly defended them as recently as 2013, said Thursday that “it simply is not working” and that he wants new academic standards.

Christie, whose animus toward the K-12 academic standards has grown alongside his presidential ambitions, said in a speech at Burlington County College that he will appoint a state commission to review the standards “point by point” with an eye toward replacing them with “something different.”

Christie’s turnaround on Common Core isn’t a major surprise: The New Jersey governor has been slowly shifting his support for the standards, admitting he had “grave concerns” about them in February.  What is interesting to note, however, is that Chris Christie’s new position doesn’t change his plans for the standardized PARCC exams that accompanied Common Core and fueled a lot of the backlash among parents:

Even as it looks to replace the Common Core, New Jersey will stick with the new annual exams designed to measure whether students have learned the Common Core State Standards, known as the PARCC, Christie said.

If Christie’s goal is to end Common Core in New Jersey, staying in PARCC doesn’t track. When testing is at odds with a curriculum, a lot of teachers tend to teach to the test, especially when the test is used in evaluations.   Dropping Common Core but continuing to force students to test their knowledge of the standards doesn’t sound like it will accomplish much in terms of getting the standards out of classrooms.  If Gov. Christie wants to have a real impact on education and not just make a political statement, he needs to lead New Jersey out of the PARCC assessments as well.

Nick Arnold is a researcher for American Principles in Action.