Thursday, September 16, 2010

NJEA should take hit for grant loss

New Jersey lost the Race to the Top education grant
by 4.8 points.

Gov. Christie took shots at the President and the
federal government, with the Democrat fangs waiting
in the wings drooling over the opportunity to draw

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 prerequisite of the program required the
endorsement of the districts and the endorsement of
the unions — and only four 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 New Jersey
failed miserably in the first phase of the

However, four 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 state Department of Education.
Since the NJEA did not essentially approve, and the
reviewers clearly state that only 1 percent 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 an additional 15-20 points.

"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.

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 five-point question.

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

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

~ Joe Sinagra

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