Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Friday, August 27, 2010

Breaking news: Governor Christie fires NJ Ed Commissioner Schundler

What a state we live in... No wonder the Federal government didn't trust New Jersey with millions of dollars in grants. Maybe if our state government could get its act together...

Published: Friday, August 27, 2010, 11:23 AM Updated: Friday, August 27, 2010, 11:28 AM

Josh Margolin/Statehouse Bureau

TRENTON - Gov. Chris Christie fired state education commissioner Bret Schundler this morning after Schundler refused to resign in the wake of the controversy over the state's loss of up to $400 million in federal school funding, two officials briefed on the situation said.

Christie's chief of staff, Richard Bagger, ordered Schundler to turn in his resignation Thursday night after federal officials released a video that appeared to contradict the commissioner's account of what transpired when the New Jersey delegation met with the federal officials to review funding application and review process.

By this morning Schundler had not quit, so Christie ordered his termination.

As education commissioner, Schundler was one of the highest profile members of the governor's cabinet. Governors can fire most cabinet members -- including the educational commissioner -- at will.

The controversy stemmed from the federal Race to the Top competitive grant program for education dollars. N.J. was seeking almost $400 million.

The Race to the Top application had asked for figures on state education funding from 2008 and 2009, but state officials provided figures for 2011. The oversight cost the state 4.8 critical points on a 500-point application. The state missed out on the grant by three points, placing 11th behind Ohio.

Christie originally blamed Washington bureaucrats at a Wednesday press conference, saying they refused to allow the state to fix a simple error in its application. But on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Education released video footage contradicting Christie's claim. The video shows state officials, headed by Schundler, struggling and failing to provide correct budget information during a 90-minute presentation.

In addition, a federal official said the state never provided the required information.


Anonymous said...

Your words from your own post on your own site:

"For our students, participating in the Race to the Top would be fiscally irresponsible and educationally marginal."

You cant have it both ways, Laurie.

Cristie botched this and Schundler refused to fall on the sword. He's the gov and he takes the blame.

Laurie said...

I'm sorry, maybe it's Friday afternoon and my brain is fried, but what is your point?

I was and remain leery of the Race to the Top. I'm not surprised Christie's group messed it up by trying to make-up their own rules instead of following simple instructions, and I'm not surprised his and his cabinet's response was to try and cover up their part in it.

If I somehow gave the impression that I was sad about the RTTT failure, I apologize. It probably would have helped in places like Newark, but wasn't really relevant for Ridgewood.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you mean we don't need the money here in Ridgewood Laurie? Weren't you and your BOE buddies blaming cuts in federal funding to justify your inability to give us a decent school budget?

I agree with 5:03. You can't have it both ways. But then, we've come to expect you to talk out of both sides of your mouth. You were doing that long before you joined the BOE. You must be a real master at it by now.

Laurie said...

#1 Of course we need money in Ridgewood.

#2 there were no cuts in federal funding. We don't get federal funding except for a little bit of ARRA funds this past year (we did sustain cuts in STATE funding).

#3 ridgewood would not have received money from the RTTT. We were told the likely formulas they would use, and by those formulas, we would have received nothing.

#4 RTTT could have resulted in additional costs for Ridgewood, to fulfill various requirements in areas for which we already have programs.

I don't know what you're referring to regarding "long before" the BOE, so....can't respond to that.

I'm trying to respond to questions and/or inaccuracies, but I'm not really sure what your point is? Do you have any other questions about my tepid response to RTTT? Or anything else?

Laurie said...

Oops, I mis-spoke re: federal funding. We do also receive a little bit of grant money for NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).