Let’s Hold Off Giving Christie Kudos on Common Core Comments

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC-By-SA 3.0)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore, CC-By-SA 3.0)

Maggie said we should give Christie kudos on his Common Core remarks while speaking in West Des Moines.  I agree that there are others who have changed their minds on Common Core.  I also don’t want to apply the label of flipflopper on someone who legitimately changes their mind on the subject either as it will discourage people from doing so.

Here is what he said in response to a question he was asked (it wasn’t part of his speech):

I have grave concerns about the way this has been done, especially the way the Obama administration has tried to implement it through tying federal funding to these things. And that changes the entire nature of it, from what was initially supposed to be voluntary type system and states could decide on their own to now having federal money tied to it in ways that really, really give me grave concerns. So we’re in the midst of re-examination of it in New Jersey. I appointed a commission a few months ago to look at it in in light of these new developments from the Obama administration and they’re going to come back to me with a report in the next, I think, six or eight weeks, then we’re going to take some action. It is something I’m very concerned about, because in the end education needs to be a local issue.

Here is what he said in August of 2013:

We are doing Common Core in New Jersey and we’re going to continue. And this is one of those areas where I have agreed more with the President than not. And with Secretary Duncan. I think part of the Republican opposition you see in some corners in Congress is a reaction, that knee-jerk reaction that is happening in Washington right now, that if the president likes something the Republicans in Congress don’t. If the Republicans in Congress like something, the president doesn’t.

It’s not just the Washington Post calling him a flip-flopper. A local paper, The Star-Ledger is calling him one as well:

The governor who tells it like it is, who speaks from the heart, is now sucking up to the Republican base with a calculated flip-flop on Common Core, the program to establish national standards for educational achievement.

Common Core is toxic to the GOP base, which doesn’t like Washington playing any big role in education.

Gov. Chris Christie has pushed back on that in the past, arguing that America needs national standards, like every other nation on earth. But that’s changing before our eyes.

I guess I’ll hold off on giving Governor Christie kudos until I actually see him taking tangible action, not just appointing a commission, but real action like what is expected from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.  Iowans will expect him to walk his talk as well.  Saying one thing in Iowa and doing another in New Jersey won’t cut it.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles in Action, a frequent contributor to TruthInAmericanEducation.com and the editor of Iowa-based CaffeinatedThoughts.com.