By JILL COLVIN
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s position on the Common Core education standards has shifted as he has positioned himself for an expected presidential run. Here’s a look at how the Republican’s statements on the topic have evolved in recent months.
Less than two years ago, Christie was touting his state’s commitment to the standards, which he’d signed onto as part of an application for Race to the Top funds.
“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,” Christie told the audience at a school summit in Las Vegas on August 2013, according to video footage of the event.
By November 2014, Christie was publicly distancing himself. “I have some real concerns about Common Core and how it’s being rolled out and that’s why I put a commission together to study it,” he said during his monthly “Ask the Governor” radio show. He repeated those concerns during a television interview that December and in another radio appearance in January.
At an Iowa GOP county dinner in February, the nature of Christie’s opposition appeared to have shifted.
“I’ve said this publicly before: I have grave concerns about the way this is being done, and especially the way the Obama administration has tried to implement it through tying federal funding to these things,” he said. “And that changes the entire nature of it, from what was initially supposed to be a voluntary type of system and states could decide on their own to now having federal money tied to it in ways that give me really, really grave concern.”
There has been no change in implementation and the standards remain voluntary.
Christie also appeared to disavow the idea of national standards at a GOP dinner in New Hampshire later that month.
He stressed the need for high academic standards, but added that “those higher standards should be determined by the people who are educating the children in those particular states. And my concern about what the administration has done is the federalization of this that takes education further and further away from parents is not the type of education that I think we want in this country or need.”
As educators in New Jersey await the completion of a report on the issue of student assessments commissioned by Christie and due at the end of July, Christie made clear during an editorial board interview with New Hampshire’s Union Leader newspaper in April that he was looking for alternatives.
“I’m open to changing it because it’s not working in New Jersey,” he reportedly said.
Christie disavowed the Common Core standards in a speech and announced the appointment of a new working group to come up with an alternative. “It’s now been five years since Common Core was adopted. And the truth is that it’s simply not working,” he said, according to prepared remarks. “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.”
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.