New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie – who once supported the controversial, national Common Core education standards, unpopular among many conservative Republicans—declared on Thursday that the program is “simply not working.”
The remarks come on the heels of a likely Republican presidential bid. Christie has said he’ll officially make a decision on whether or not he’ll seek the nation’s highest office sometime next month.
The governor, speaking at Burlington County Community College, said Common Core “has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents,” according to prepared remarks. “And has brought distance between our teachers and the communities where they work. 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.”
Christie called on Department of Education Commissioner David Hespe to assemble a group of parents, teachers and educators to develop new education standards for consideration in New Jersey and “not 200 miles away on the banks of the Potomac River.” Critics contend the set of academic guidelines adopted by 46 states since being introduced in 2010 by the National Governors Association, amounts to too much federal government interference on what should be a local issue.
In the past year, the issue has come up at a number of Christie’s town hall meetings. The governor has said he has had growing serious concerns about Common Core and last summer appointed a commission to study the impact of the program.
Still, Christie’s remarks on Thursday are a big turn from 2013. At a school summit in Las Vegas, he said “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 than the president than not,” he said.
It’s an issue that has divided the emerging GOP field. Former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida has said he supports the standards, along with Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Others, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have vehemently come out against Common Core.