Governor Christie Calls for Higher Standards That Come Directly From New Jersey Teachers, Parents, Communities
Reinforces Need for Student Testing and Continuing Teach Evaluations Through TeachNJ
· Governor Christie makes clear that Common Core is not working on the ground and in our classrooms. As Washington has increased its control over our student’s education, our children have fallen further and further behind their peers around the world.
Gov Christie: “It’s now been five years since Common Core was adopted. And the truth is that it’s simply not working. It has brought only confusion and frustration to our parents. 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.”
· Governor Christie is tasking DOE Commissioner Hespe to assemble a group of parents, teachers and educators to be the driving force behind developing new and stronger education standards for consideration.
o Gov Christie: “I have heard far too many people – teachers and parents from across the state – that the Common Core standards were not developed by New Jersey educators and parents. As a result, the buy in from both communities has not been what we need for maximum achievements. I agree. It is time to have standards that are even higher and come directly from our communities. And, in my view, this new era can be even greater by adopting new standards right here in New Jersey – not 200 miles away on the banks of the Potomac River.”
New Jersey College and Career Readiness Standards: This group will conduct a point-by-point review of previous state standards and may recommend a new set of higher, New Jersey-based standards for our children – to be completed by the end of 2015.
That review will answer and develop recommendations around the following criteria:
· Do the current standards reflect New Jersey’s real and distinct needs?
· Do they measure up to previous New Jersey standards?
· Do they reflect the expectations of New Jersey’s colleges and employers?
· Will they close the persistent and profound achievement gap?
Governor Christie also renews his call for student testing and the importance of continuing New Jersey’s teacher evaluation initiative through the bipartisan Teach NJ Tenure reform statute:
Gov Christie: “This will in no way affect our efforts to continue effective testing and measurement of our students through the PARCC test. We must continue to review and improve that test based on results, not fear or speculation. I will not permit New Jersey to risk losing vital federal education funds because some would prefer to let the perfect get in the way of the good. We must test our children because federal law requires it and because it is the only way to objectively judge our progress. Bringing educational standards home to New Jersey does nothing to change those obligations.
“We also must continue with our teacher evaluation initiative through our Teach NJ Tenure reform statute. On this we will be unyielding. No one should stand for anything less than an excellent teacher in every classroom – not parents, other teachers, administrators or our students. Accountability in every classroom must be one of the pillars of our New Jersey based higher standards.”
BACKGROUND: For Nearly A Year, Governor Christie Has Spoken Publicly About Listening To The Concerns Of Educators And Parents Alike And Reevaluating The Implementation Of Common Core. Today’s Announcement Is A Next Step In That Process:
· In July 2014, Governor Christie Established A Study Commission to Review the Effectiveness of All K-12 Student Assessments Including Common Core
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: “This Administration is committed to the educational success of every child, no matter the zip code. Since 2010 we’ve enacted a series of measures that implement rigorous standards, develop excellent educators, and use high quality student assessments to gauge the progress of student learning and the effectiveness of classroom instruction. Establishing this commission is just another step in ensuring we’re providing the best quality education possible to our students.” (Press Release, 7/14/14)
· The NJ Department Of Education Acting Commissioner Explained That The Review Commission Will Help To Better Understand All Of The Assessments NJ Students Are Taking
ACTING COMMISSIONER DAVID HESPE: “We want to understand all the assessments that our children are taking. We want to know: Are they all necessary and can we do it better? I think the answer is yes.” (Hannan Adely, “Christie delays use of student test scores in teacher evaluations,” The Record, 7/14/14)
· In July 2014, Governor Christie Said His Administration Is Working To Address “Legitimate Concerns” From Parents Regarding Common Core
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: “[On Common Core]… But parents and teachers have legitimate concerns about this and I’m going to try to address those concerns in a thoughtful way and not in a way that just reacts and then we got to re-react with another law.” (Town Hall, 7/1/14)
· In November 2014, Governor Christie Shared “Real Concerns About Common Core And How It’s Being Rolled Out”
GOVERNOR CHRISTIE: “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. I’m not an educational expert…So we put together a group of educators to review the Common Core stuff that has already been put in place and was put in place by the Corzine administration and they’re going to come back to me with recommendations by the end of the year I think as to what we need to do, so we’ve got a group working and looking at that now. Now PARCC and the testing regimen does not necessarily have to be connected to Common Core and we need a better testing regime to really know where our students are in terms of their achievement because if we don’t know that then we don’t know how to deal with each individual kid and try to make them better, so I think there’s separation between the two, but I have some concerns about Common Core… .” (Ask the Governor, 11/6/14)
Since Taking Office, Governor Christie Has Made Education Reform And Accountability At Every Level Of Public Education A Top Priority To Ensure Every Child Has Access To A Quality Education:
· Working With Teachers To Bring Performance-Based Pay To Newark Schools. For the first time in New Jersey history, teachers in Newark will earn raises and be eligible for additional bonuses based on annual performance evaluations that include measuring student progress. This new contract will enable Newark to retain and reward the best teachers and improve the quality of education for their students:
· Historic Bipartisan Changes To The Nation’s Oldest Tenure Law. Marking the first extensive reform of New Jersey’s tenure law in over 100 years, Governor Christie signed into law the Teacher Effectiveness and Accountability for the Children of New Jersey (TEACHNJ) Act, a sweeping, bipartisan overhaul of the oldest tenure law in the nation. The legislation:
o Transforms the existing tenure system to provide powerful tools to identify effective and ineffective teachers;
o Strengthens the supports available to help all teachers improve their craft;
o For the first time, ties the acquisition, maintenance, and loss of tenure to a teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom;
o Dramatically reduces the time and cost it takes to remove educators who are repeatedly ineffective in improving student outcomes.
The law was the result of nearly two years of consistent and vocal advocacy for real education reform by Governor Christie and good faith, bipartisan cooperation with members of the legislature, education reform advocates, and stakeholder groups.
· Focusing On The Lowest Performing Schools. The Christie Administration has undertaken bold reform to turn around the state's persistently failing schools. As one of the first states in the country to receive flexibility from No Child Left Behind, the Department of Education is recognizing high performing “Reward” schools and shifting significant resources and support to “Priority” and “Focus” schools, those schools that are the lowest performing in the state or that have significant achievement gaps. The Department is providing the day-to-day support of dozens of expert educators through Regional Achievement Centers to help these schools improve.
o Priority Schools: A Priority school is a school that has been identified as among the lowest-performing schools in the state over the past three years. There are 75 Priority Schools. Priority schools in this category have an overall three-year proficiency rate of 31.6% or lower.
o Focus Schools: A Focus School is a school that has room for improvement in areas that are specific to the school. As part of the process, Focus Schools will receive targeted and tailored solutions to meet the school’s unique needs. There are 183 Focus schools. After 2 years of RAC interventions, 20 focus schools have improved enough to meet the “exit criteria” and will no longer have the focus school designation.
· Taking The Lead to Turn Around Failing Camden Schools. In March 2013, continuing to act on his firm commitment to ensure that every New Jersey child has access to a high-quality education, Governor Christie took decisive, bipartisan action in Camden schools to fix a broken system and end the persistent failure to deliver results for the city’s children. With the support of leadership in the City of Camden, education advocates across New Jersey, and members of both parties, the Christie Administration took over the management of the Camden School District.