Education Funding

N.J. Education Commissioner Fired Over Race to Top Error

By The Associated Press — August 27, 2010 1 min read

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie fired state Education Commissioner Bret Schundler in the wake of a mistake that may have cost the state $400 million in federal Race to the Top money, government officials said Friday.

Schundler, a former Jersey City mayor and gubernatorial candidate, is an outspoken proponent of educational reform.

On Tuesday, the federal Department of Education announced that nine states and the District of Columbia had won coveted Race to the Top grants aimed at sparking major educational overhauls. New Jersey was a top runner-up — but didn’t receive any money.

The following day, Christie accepted responsibility for the error, but he also blasted the Obama administration for docking the state precious points in its evaluation for what he called a “clerical error” on an otherwise strong application.

The mistake was giving budget figures for the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years where the application called for data from 2008 and 2009.

Christie said Schundler tried to correct the error in an Aug. 11 presentation to a federal panel that was judging the application.

“During that interview this issue was raised and Commissioner Schundler gave them, in the interview, the numbers for ‘08-'09 because the mistake was raised,” he said. “But they still didn’t give us the credit for the points.”

If the points had not been docked, New Jersey’s application may have finished ahead of Ohio’s.

Thursday afternoon, however, the federal Department of Education released video of the presentation. Spokesman Justin Hamilton said it was being released ahead of schedule because of the interest in the saga, but he would not comment on it further.

The video seems to contradict Christie’s account of the data being provided on the spot. In the video, a panelist points out the error and asks for the correct data. Some education officials seated with Schundler can be seen flipping through binders trying to find it.

A half-hour later, near the end of the questioning, a panelist unseen in the video again asks if the numbers had been located. The state officials say it hadn’t been.

During an appearance Thursday night on New Jersey 101.5, WKXW-FM, Christie said he had just heard about the video and had not seen it. He said he planned to review it later.

Related Tags:

Copyright 2010 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Schools Can Help Families Apply for Federal Help in Paying for Home Internet Access
Families who qualify for the free and reduced-price lunch program can get $50 off their monthly broadband bills.
2 min read
Image of a child's hand on a keyboard.
kiankhoon/IStock/Getty
Education Funding Miguel Cardona's First Budget Hearing Becomes Forum on In-Person Learning, 1619 Project
In his first public testimony to Congress as education secretary, Cardona also touched on standardized testing and student discipline.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, right, talks to 12th grade art student Madri Mazo at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. on April 22, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, left, talks to 12th grade art student Eugene Coleman at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. in April.
Mark Lennihan/AP
Education Funding States Are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.
Schools in some states have already started spending money from recent federal stimulus packages. Others don’t yet have the dollars in hand.
6 min read
Conceptual image of money dropping into a jar.
iStock/Getty
Education Funding Opinion The COVID-19 Stimulus Money Won’t Last Forever. Here’s What's Next for Schools
There are three important first steps for states to start helping schools prepare now, write two policy experts.
Zahava Stadler & Victoria Jackson
5 min read
a group of people water a lightbulb plant, nurturing an idea
iStock/Getty Images