Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
When criticized by Florida Senator Marco Rubio during the Republican Presidential Debate on January 14th for supporting Common Core, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, "And on Common Core, Common Core has been eliminated in New Jersey."
The evidence on the New Jersey Department of Education website and in the state media, however, tells a completely different story. Although Christie should be commended for signing two bills that pare back testing for grades K-2 and does not penalize districts for having high numbers of students that opt out, the Garden State is still a member of PARCC, the national Common Core testing consortium:
The review panel reviewing the standards wants to keep the PARCC and actually make it a graduation requirement, which would negate the bill described above, that does not penalize districts for opting out. It would greatly harm the possibility for parents to actually use their inherent, God-given right to direct the education of their children, including by opting them out of state tests. The axiom that what is tested will be taught holds true. If New Jersey is testing Common Core, they will be teaching Common Core.
Regarding the standards themselves, the department seems poised to keep 84-85% of Common Core. This is the magic number that is required in the Race to the Top contracts each state signed that clearly required Common Core. The relevant text from Florida's contract says:
"The goal is to have a common core of state standards that states can voluntarily adopt. States may choose to include additional standards beyond the common core as long as the common core represents at least 85 percent of the state's standards in English language arts and mathematics." (Race to the Top Contract, p. 92, emphasis added)
So, as in Florida, the review panel is recommending that New Jersey still keep the bulk of the Common Read more
Republican Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and Rand Paul (KY) earned the best grades of A- while not surprisingly, former Governor Jeb Bush and current Ohio Governor John Kasich received failing grades for their positions and actions on Common Core. The graded review of 16 Republican candidates was done by the American Principles in Action group. The full report card is available HERE.
The report was based on how well candidates by their statements and actions have answered three questions: 1.) Have they spoken out and acted against Common Core?
Statements opposing Common Core must acknowledge that the standards are of low-quality, fail to meet the expectations of high-performing countries, and contain language that controls the curriculum and instructional methods used in the classroom. Recognition of these deficiencies is central in determining whether a candidate's actions have been a sincere effort to replace the Common Core with high standards or to simply rebrand it under another name.
2.) Do they understand and have they made a specific commitment to protect state and local control of education from further federal intrusion?
In particular, we are looking for candidates who understand how the federal government intrudes onto state decision-making and who advocate for structural changes to prevent such intrusions. Moreover, the candidate must understand that the intended division of power between the federal government and the state is meant to ensure that people can shape state and local policies. He must understand how the breakdown of that division destroyed the safeguards that could have, and likely would have, prevented Common Core.
3.) What efforts has the candidate made to protect student and family privacy interests against the rising demands of industry and central planners for more personal student data?
Such interests include the right of parents to control what type of information is collected (e.g., Read more
Apparently seeing his poll numbers tank in what is probably a significant part due to his support of Common Core, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has changed his position on the standards. Here is a set of his contrasting statements on Common Core courtesy of the New Jersey Star Ledger:
Here is what he said in 2013 at a charter school
"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."
And here's what he said Tuesday in Iowa:
"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."
Governors Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee have also changed their positions. Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran calls this position change a "flip-flop. Regardless, this now leaves Jeb Bush as the only major potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate who is Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Former governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush will be holding a closed fundraiser and an open education forum tomorrow in Tallahassee. Many on both sides of the aisle have concerns about that candidacy. He has been protested by anti-Common Core groups and Republican activists. The Florida Bad Ass Teachers (BATs) and the Democrat Party will be protesting the event tomorrow.
Other potential Repbulican presidential candidates are criticizing Bush's support for Common Core: Ted Cruz was on ABC's This Week and said:
"If he [Bush] chooses to run, it certainly looks like he's going to, he's going to have to make the case to Republican primary voters concerning his record, concerning certainly his support for Common Core, concerning his policies on immigration. And I think we'll have a debate on that," Cruz added. "But at the end of the day, I think Republicans are looking for a leader. What I would urge every Republican thinking about running to do, and this is true of senators, of governors stand up and lead. I'd be thrilled if six months from now we have a half-dozen Republicans standing and leading and making the case that there is a better way we can get back to the free-market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country and made this country a shining city on a hill."
Bobby Jindal said in a speech to the American Principles Project:
"Local parents, local teachers, local leaders need to make these decisions," Jindal said at a luncheon sponsored by the American Principles Project, a conservative group that has rallied opposition to the Common Core nationwide. "In our entire history as a country, we've never allowed the federal government to make these decisions for us. Now is not the time to start...."
..."Trust these moms," Jindal said. "I have more confidence in the moms in this room than I do in any collection of bureaucrats."< Read more