Christie Administration Takes Action to Implement Building Block of High Academic Standards in New Jersey Schools
Trenton, NJ –
Common Core State Standards Ensure New Jersey Students are Getting the Skills and Education Needed to Be College and Career Ready
Furthering the Christie Administration’s goal of moving forward with a meaningful and comprehensive set of reforms that modernize education in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie and Acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf today outlined the Administration’s ongoing action to implement high academic standards in New Jersey schools, ensuring students are receiving the skills they need to be ready for college and a career. In partnership with the Department of Education, school districts are implementing the first round of the new Common Core State Standards this school year.
Governor Christie and Commissioner Cerf met with teachers at Sharp Elementary in Cherry Hill, who are implementing the new math standards for grades K-2. Setting high standards that center around college and career readiness is one of the four Building Blocks for Success in New Jersey’s Schools - accountability and performance, academics, talent, and innovation - and part of a reform agenda that moves forward with the goal of delivering a great education to every single student in New Jersey.
“While New Jersey has one of the highest graduation rates in the country, we must ensure that all students, including our high school graduates, are fully ready for college and a career. The demands our young people face today in entering the 21st century global workforce and economy make our obligation to deliver a strong and relevant education to every one of our students more important now than ever,” said Governor Christie. “The Common Core State Standards are a building block in our state’s education system meant to ensure that teachers and districts can innovate within a framework of high expectations and accountability. They are based on the fundamental belief that every child in every classroom deserves an education that will properly equip them with the skills they need for college and a career. Our aggressive implementation of these standards in partnership with districts will ensure that our children have an education that will serve them well in the next stages of their lives.”
New Jersey is working closely with districts to implement the full Common Core State Standards over the course of three years. To help districts implement these standards, the Department of Education held over 300 presentations within the past year for teachers and administrators to provide an overview of the new standards. Additionally, Department of Education content specialists in math and English language arts (ELA) have worked with districts to support them in developing new curricula aligned to these standards.
This year, districts will implement the new standards in K-2 math. In 2012-13, districts will implement the new standards in K-12 ELA and 3-5 and 9-12 math. In 2013-14, districts will implement 6-8 math. As implementation moves forward, the Department of Education will continue with training sessions for districts, developing webinars and other web resources to provide resources and support for the development of curricula in the remaining grades, and serving as a resource to ensure that districts are on track at every step of the process. Beginning in October, regular regional trainings will be held to provide practical professional development to refine classroom practices to meet the new standards. The Department of Education will also seek feedback from teachers, principals and supervisors on an ongoing basis, and will continue to work with school leaders on the development of lesson plans, instructional materials, and instructional strategies within the classroom.
“The Common Core State Standards will allow districts to rethink curriculum and instruction, and also allow colleges to rethink how they train teachers,” said Acting Commissioner Cerf. “Because these standards are ‘common,’ they will allow teachers, principals, parents and students to have access to knowledge, lesson plans, new content and virtual learning opportunities not only throughout the state, but across the country. We think this type of content innovation, mobility and collaboration is a game changer in education – increasing the chances that anywhere learning takes place, it will be in the format that works for each child at each relevant stage of the learning progress.”
The Common Core State Standards are robust and relevant standards for K-12 math and English language arts developed by a consortium of states led by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers. To date, 44 states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the standards, and the New Jersey State Board of Education adopted the standards for New Jersey in June 2010.
The Common Core State Standards define the knowledge and skills that students should have in K-12 math and English language arts to ensure they are on track to graduate from high school ready for college and a career. As outlined by the Common Core State Standards Initiative, the standards:
- Are aligned with college and work expectations;
- Are clear, understandable and consistent;
- Include rigorous content and application of knowledge through high-order skills;
- Build upon strengths and lessons of current state standards;
- Are informed by other top performing countries, so that all students are prepared to succeed in our global economy and society; and
- Are evidence- and research-based.
New Jersey has also joined 23 other states and the District of Columbia in developing new K-12 math and ELA assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards, that will truly measure college and career readiness in the state of New Jersey. As part of a consortium called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), New Jersey is on track to implement these new web-based assessments in the 2014-15 school year. The PARCC assessments will not only measure student progress, but will provide valuable data to teachers to know how their students are performing, and where they need to customize instruction for individual students.