During the GOP debate in South Carolina Thursday evening, Gov. Chris Christie said he “got rid of Common Core in New Jersey.” But is that true?
Last year, the Associated Press described Christie’s position on the unpopular education reform as “shifting,” and aptly so since, in 2013, Christie took to task other Republican governors who showed resistance to Common Core, referring to their opposition as a “knee-jerk” reaction to an Obama policy.
“If the president likes something, the Republicans in Congress don’t, and if the Republicans in Congress like something the president doesn’t,” Christie said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “It is this mindset in D.C. right now that says we have to be at war constantly, because to not be at war is to show weakness, and to show weakness is to lead to failure. And I just don’t buy that.”
Christie moved forward with Common Core, announcing, “We’re doing Common Core in New Jersey and we’re going to continue. And this is one of those areas where I’ve agreed more with the president than not.”
At CPAC in February of last year, however—when Christie was feeling out a run for president—he had a sit-down with conservative host Laura Ingraham and was singing a different tune.
“In New Jersey we’ve always been for the standards, for high standards, and we had standards beforehand,” Christie said, blaming his predecessor Gov. Jon Corzine in part for setting the table for his signature on the Race to the Top application.
“My concern now as we travel toward implementation is not only the heavy foot of the federal government coming in, but it is not doing all that we need to have done in New Jersey,” he added.
From that point on, Christie began speaking about his “grave concerns” about Common Core, focusing mainly on the reform’s implementation “not working.” In his own state, he did what many governors did—who would not break completely with Common Core but still realized its unpopularity was not going away—he set up a commission to “study” its effects.
Though some New Jersey lawmakers are moving to have the state exit Common Core test consortium PARCC, NJ.com reported several weeks ago that—with the state tied to “a four-year contract with Pearson, the test vendor for PARCC exams”—Christie said New Jersey would continue using the PARCC tests even though it may consider replacing the Common Core standards eventually.
That doesn’t sound like they “got rid of Common Core” in New Jersey.
“My small but mighty group has worked hundreds of days and hours for three years trying to get Governor Christie to hear us,” grassroots parent activist Jan Lenox told Breitbart News at the end of December. “He would not let our legislation be voted on, knowing it would pass in the Senate, and then he would veto it. Sound like some else we know?”
Lenox says that governors with “no spine” are simply “rebranding” Common Core, tweaking the actual Common Core standards, and renaming them to satisfy uninformed voters. “Any name you call it still smells the same!” she said.