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How Will Christie’s New State School Standards Play in Iowa, New Jersey?

Public has chance to be heard on new regulations, before state board votes, moves to implement

Department of Education Building

Today’s Iowa caucuses will give New Jersey -- and the rest of the country -- a chance to see what Gov. Chris Christie’s move away from the Common Core State Standards did for him politically.

But the longer-term consequences will be seen in the discussion and implementation of the revisions Christie’s task force recommended last month for both the standards and new graduation requirements.

The 200-plus recommendations for revising the standards -- including a new name -- were not terribly weighty in themselves, mostly wording and syntax.

But there were also some concepts and skills stressed in the report that so far have been getting a thumbs-up -- and some sighs of relief -- from education groups and state board members who will vote on them this spring.

For instance, there’s more emphasis on reflection in reading, as well as comprehension, one advocate said. Other recommendations appropriately shift some developmental skills to earlier or later grades.

Drawing even more discussion are the new high-school requirements that could kick in for the Class of 2021 – today’s seventh-graders -- when they will have to clear a new testing bar to get their diplomas.

Under a separate task force recommendation, those students will have to be able to pass the 10th grade PARCC test for language arts and the Algebra I test in math. There will be an appeals process, but this is a new level of achievement that could affect tens of thousands of students.

In the inaugural run of the PARCC tests this past spring, only a third of high-school students in the applicable grades were able to pass the tests.

The state’s current plan to shift to the new graduation requirement has its own challenges, with a group of parents and advocates going to court to contest their legality.

The public hearings on both proposals will start next week on February 10 at the state board meeting; more than more than 70 have already registered to testify on the new graduation requirements.

The following is the hearing schedule. To testify, a member of the public must register in advance through this online site.

Standards revisions and graduation requirements

Wednesday, February 10
New Jersey Department of Education
Judge Robert L. Carter Building
100 River View Plaza
Trenton, NJ 08625-0500
2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Standards revisions

Monday, February 22
Morris County Public Safety Training Academy Auditorium
500 W. Hanover Ave.
Morris Plains, NJ 07950
6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

Standards revisions

Southern Region – Tuesday, March 8
Camden County College
Dennis Flyer Theatre
200 College Dr.
Blackwood, NJ 08012
10 a.m. - noon

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