Monday, August 30, 2010

NJEA . . . The Race to the Bottom

By clicking on the above headline you can view the New Jersey Application #3550NJ-4

NJEA . . . The Race to the Bottom
by Joe Sinagra on Monday, August 30, 2010
New Jersey lost the Race to the Top education grant by 4.8 points.

Governor Christie took shots at the President and the Federal Government, with the Democrat fangs waiting in the wings drooling over the opportunity to draw blood.

Education Commissioner Bret Schundler supplied figures for 2010 and 2011, when the question specifically asked for data from 2008 and 2009. This was the reason that supposedly cost the state of New Jersey the loss of $400 million.

The New Jersey Education Association partied in the streets, the next morning, Schundler was fired.

The rationale of why he was fired is another matter. The real issue at hand is why the NJEA is not being held accountable.

A major perquisite of the program required the endorsement of the districts and the endorsement of the unions, out of which only 4 out of 591 districts, signed. The NJEA claimed that they did not have a chance to review the application over the holiday weekend and wouldn’t sign on to the program, unless it was submitted as they had previously agreed upon with Schundler. This latter agreement clearly did not meet the terms of the program nor those of the Christie administration, and NJ failed miserably in the first phase of the competition. However, 4 districts of the NJEA had affixed their signatures to the Christie version of the application, along with 289 of the 591 school districts.

The application has a section on the endorsement of parties involved, which include the NJEA, the school districts, and the NJDOE. Since the NJEA did not essentially approve, and the reviewers clearly state that only 1% of the unions had agreed to the proposal, the reviewers took off 15-20 points.

Then there is another section on implementation and how they will make it work. Since the union would not agree to the application, the reviewers say that this would hinder the implementation of the plan, deducting further additional 15-20 points.

The reviewers of the application state on the reviews, that the NJEA had cost New Jersey 30-40 points on the application. Yet, the NJEA was dancing like a cat on a hot tin roof over a missed 5-point question.

The investigation should be over why the NJEA lost the grant, not the less than 5 points lost by the incorrect information supplied by Schundler.

"While much of the New Jersey proposal is strong, one important fact makes it unlikely to succeed," one reviewer wrote. "Forty nine percent of the state's LEAs will not participate in this proposal. That is a significant number and ... New Jersey will find it difficult to implement even successful elements of its RTTT (Race to the Top) proposals."

The lack of the union's endorsement alone cost the state 14 points on the scale.

NJEA President Barbara Keshishian, owes the people of New Jersey an explanation for why this application failed, not Christie.

View Application:

1 comment:

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