Christie to pull New Jersey from Common Core
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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced Thursday he will pull his state out of Common Core, a move that could bolster his standing with grassroots Republican primary voters opposed to the education standards.

In an afternoon speech at Burlington County College in New Jersey, Christie said the program, which was implemented under his predecessor, former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.), has “brought only confusion and frustration.”

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“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 remarks provided by his office. “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.”

Christie’s decision will be viewed in light of his political ambitions. He’s considering running for president but trails badly in the polls as he seeks to recover from the scandal surrounding lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. 

Common Core has become toxic on the right, with virtually every Republican presidential candidate except for Jeb Bush vowing to kill the standards if elected president.

Christie set up a panel last year to investigate the program’s implementation. In recent months, he’s become increasingly vocal about his misgivings, saying he had “real concerns” about “how it’s being rolled out” during a November appearance on a New Jersey radio show.

On Thursday he argued that federal meddling has spoiled the education standards, which have become a symbol of government overreach among many on the right. 

“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,” he said. “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,” Christie said. “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.”

Christie said he will task David Hespe, the commissioner of New Jersey’s Department of Education, with assembling a panel of teachers, educators and parents to develop new standards.

Many believe Bush's past embrace of the standards could doom his candidacy. He did not implement them as governor, but embraced them since leaving office through his education foundation.

Bush has fought back by seeking to highlight Florida's education turnaround under his watch. Bush has argued that he supports high standards in general, whether those come through Common Core or not, and that he opposes the federal overreach that many argue have corrupted Common Core.