- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - Some New Jersey education standards would be changed under recommendations made Monday by a commission appointed by Gov. Chris Christie, while an exam aligned with the national Common Core standards would continue to be used.

The state’s board of education began reviewing the recommendations from the separate commissions Christie created after parents and educators raised questions about the tests and national education standards.

A final report from a study commission notes the concern over too much time spent on standardized tests, but recommends requiring the PARCC test be required for students to graduate starting in 2021.

Christie established the board made up of teachers, administrators and a parent representative to review the nationwide Common Core curriculum standards after saying they are not working. He said he was ordering the state to back away from them.

Another commission recommended making changes to 232 of the state’s 1,427 standards for math and language arts. The board of education Monday began the process of approving those changes - some as simple as moving the grade level that a student should be able to distinguish vowel sounds and some described as “anchor standards.” The recommendations include changing their name to the New Jersey Student Learning Standards and putting them into effect for the 2017 school year.



“I think we’ve accommodated the governor’s goal in both making the standards better but also making them our own,” said David Hespe, Christie’s education commissioner. “We now are not only going to have better standards but they’re going to be our standards, New Jersey standards, with a shared understanding and buy in.”

Common Core was established by a consortium of governors with the theory that it makes sense to have a nationwide standard for the skills and knowledge in key subjects by the time students graduate from high school. Most states have joined.

The federal government has encouraged use of the standards by making some major education grants dependent on it.

Common Core has especially vocal critics among conservatives who see it as an example of federal bureaucrats taking over something best left to local governments.

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