New Jersey Adopts New Standards to Replace Common Core

Published June 7, 2016

The New Jersey Board of Education has adopted a revised version of Common Core involving small changes to the original standards Gov. Chris Christie (R) said last year were “simply not working.”

The “New Jersey Student Learning Standards,” adopted in May 2016, outline the skills students must learn at each grade level. The new standards retain approximately 84 percent of Common Core’s 1,427 math and language arts skills and alter about 230 of the standards. 

Most of the alterations involve clarifications or enhancements, and a handful modify the old standards to alter when a student should be able to master a particular skill.

The changes are set to go into effect with the 2017-18 academic year.

Common Core Concerns Continue

Michael Bohr, a parent and founder of the Committee to Combat Common Core in New Jersey, says he’s concerned the true purpose of Common Core and its nearly identical replacement “is to monitor and adjust student behavior.”

“[Common Core] taps into a student’s ability to think, [causing] kids to have meltdowns and succumb to unnecessary stress,” Bohr said.

Bohr says children are often marginalized for not following Common Core’s methodology, even when they arrive at the right answers and learn the required skills.

“Children and parents must do it the school’s way or fail,” Bohr said.

Reaching the Standards?

Eric Hanushek of the Hoover Institution says although Common Core is a “great battleground, educational standards alone are not the most important policy decisions” implicated in this debate. Hanushek says the discussion should really be about whether students are learning, and knowing the difference between declaring what kids should know versus whether they actually know it. 

In Massachusetts, for instance, standards are high and students perform at a similarly high level, whereas in California, standards are high but student performance remains poor, Hanushek says. 

“Just because a standard is established, it is not clear whether teachers can teach to those standards,” Hanushek said.  

Glen Sproviero ([email protected]) writes from Fair Haven, New Jersey.