Common Core is Not the Problem, Assemblyman Says
Officials with the New Jersey Department of Education announced Wednesday that committees would be formed to look into changes to the Common Core. On Thursday, the chairman of the Assembly Education Committee criticized the move and said the state was addressing the wrong issue.
"It's really a sad situation that this late in the game, they're doing a timeout, saying let's re-evaluate the Common Core," said Assemblyman Pat Diegnan (D-South Plainfield). "This timeout should have happened in the beginning, to get everybody involved. It's a confused, and confusing, and ultimately a negative process."
If the process wasn't so sad, Diegnan said, it would be laughable. He said New Jersey's education system is recognized as one of the best in the nation, and revisiting the Common Core standards could tarnish that reputation.
"It really is undermining the trust that parents, teachers, principals (and) administrators have in the whole system," Diegnan said.
A newly-formed committee would review Common Core information gathered by three subcommittees that will amass data through community focus groups, listening groups, and an online survey that was expected to soon be on the Department of Education's website. Final recommendations were scheduled to be made public Jan. 6, 2016.
"This is an opportunity to improve, inform and communicate what our academic expectations are," said New Jersey Education Commissioner David Hespe at a state Board of Education meeting Wednesday. "Until the review process is complete, your adoption process is complete and our timeline for implementation is complete, the standards will remain the same as they are currently."
Before any changes to the Common Core are implemented, Diegnan said he would invite education officials to testify before his committee to explain the plans. He also said that while the Common Core is being examined, the controversial PARCC test is not.
In May, Gov. Chris Christie announced that he wanted the Common Core standards to be examined and altered.
"I think the governor is attacking the wrong issue," Diegnan said. "We should be suspending PARCC rather than attacking Common Core."