About this whole New Jersey RTT application error business: If the reviewers could see that New Jersey’s application contained budget data from a different year than the question asked for, why didn’t they just ask the state’s team for the correct year’s data in the interview session, and determine New Jersey’s score for the item based on that information? They adjusted plenty of other numbers up after the interview session (for example, New Jersey’s score for “enabling LEAs to operate other innovative, autonomous public schools” went from 0.6 to 6 after the interview), so why couldn’t they have dealt with this issue that way, given that there was clearly an error?
UPDATE: Apparently, the reviewers did ask the New Jersey team about this in the presentation--and this video suggests they were unable to provide a satisfactory answer to the question. But the way the question is asked is a little odd: Why didn’t they just ask them to give them the information, rather than telling them were it was in the application (presumably, nowhere)? Also, why didn’t prep teams working with New Jersey and other states to prep them for interviews catch this and make sure Schundler et. al. went into the interview with the data in hand (or even flagged the omission themselves and clarified it)? The Star-Ledger is reporting that Gov. Chris Christie has fired Education Commissioner Brett Schundler because of this.
The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.