N.J. Education Commissioner Ousted Over Race to the Top Error

Fallout from the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top competition for education funding has led to the firing of New Jersey’s education commissioner.

Race to the Top provides grants to states that are pursuing education reforms, and New Jersey’s application fell out of the running for $400 million in grants because of errors in its application—it submitted budget figures for the wrong year.

After the grants were announced, Gov. Chris Christie criticized the Obama administration because he said he had been told that federal officials would not accept corrections offered during New Jersey’s presentation of its application. But U.S. Education Department officials released a videotape showing that New Jersey Education Commissioner Bret Schundler was caught off guard when informed of the error and was unable to correct it.

In the wake of that revelation, Christie fired Schundler.

"I was extremely disappointed to learn that the videotape of the Race to the Top presentation was not consistent with the information provided to me by the New Jersey Department of Education," Christie said.

Schundler says he did not mislead the governor about what happened at the meeting with federal officials.

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