- Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

Here’s a look at the state of education in New Jersey and some of Gov. Chris Christie’s stances on some school issues.

STATE OF THE SCHOOLS

On the National Assessment of Educational Progress, New Jersey is consistently among the top performing states. But that and other test results show a wide and persistent gap between the performance of schools in suburbs and in the state’s cities. That’s a longstanding and vexing problem in New Jersey - as it is elsewhere - and one Christie says his policies are aimed at addressing.

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TEACHER TENURE

The Republican governor joined with the Democrats who control the Legislature and teachers unions to reconfigure teacher tenure laws in the state. Lifetime job protections are now harder for teachers to get and easier for them to lose. The changes, though, did not go as far as Christie wanted.

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COMMON CORE

Two years ago, Christie unabashedly supported the national Common Core educational standards, which are optional for states to adopt but required for some federal grants. But in the last several months, he’s been saying he has concerns over the implementation, especially the tying of federal funds to participation. He has said recently that New Jersey applied for such a grant largely because money was tight when the grant was available.

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STANDARDIZED TESTS

Christie’s administration has been vehement that parents and students should not boycott new standardized tests being given this spring to measure how well students learn the Common Core standards. There have been boycotts over concerns that the exam results are used to grade teachers, that the tests themselves are unfair and that testing takes up too much time and takes away from learning. Christie’s Education Department has warned that districts where many students fail to take the tests could lose federal and state funding.

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SCHOOL OPTIONS

Christie supports the expansion of charter and other kinds of schools that are privately operated but publicly funded. He has also tried to get the state to pay to send students from some places with low-performing public schools to private schools, but that measure has never made it through the Legislature.


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