A wrong budget document pushes New Jersey to 11th place and out of the running for Race to the Top funds

A New Jersey newspaper is suggesting that a careless error on that state’s Race to the Top application cost it the 10th place ranking that would have won the Garden State $400 million.  New Jersey ranked 11th, narrowing missing being among the 10 winners to receive the coveted grants yesterday.

The 10th place winner, Ohio, scored 440.8 in the competition, in which awards went to those states scoring 44o or higher. New Jersey scored 437.8. But an incorrect budget document docked New Jersey 4.8 points. Without that error, New Jersey would have scored 442.6, putting it ahead of not only 10th place Ohio but ninth place North Carolina, which scored 441.6.

Of course, it may well be that careless mistakes marred all the applications and all states lost points here and there from minor errors, but the Star-Ledger is citing this blooper as a critical deal breaker for the state.

From the Newark Star-Ledger:

After making a high-profile bid for hundreds of millions of dollars in federal education reform money, New Jersey fell three points short of receiving “Race to the Top” funding, in part because of an error by the Christie administration in the state’s application, records obtained by The Star-Ledger show.

One five-point question on the application asked for budget information comparing the 2008 and 2009 school years. However, the state submitted information comparing the current year to 2011.

That mistake cost the state 4.8 points. The state lost points in other areas as well, the records show.

In the end, New Jersey received 437.8 out of a possible 500 points, placing it 11th in the competition, just behind Ohio, which received $400 million and was the last state to receive funding. The winners of the $4.35 billion competition were announced today in Washington, D.C.

“New Jersey did not supply the 2008-2009 data as required and therefore forfeits the points,” said the report from one of the federal reviewers scoring the competition.

According to the program’s rules, there is no appeal process.

12 comments Add your comment

catlady

August 25th, 2010
7:33 pm

Why, oh why, couldn’t Georgia have made this “terrible” mistake!?

The “Dr. Frankenstein” version of Deal would return the money so NJ could have the “honor.” That is, before he “saw the light.”

SWF Seeking Bliss Through Information Not Ignorance

August 25th, 2010
7:38 pm

Oh NJ gets all the luck!

d

August 25th, 2010
8:11 pm

Yeah, how can we mess this up and mess it up fast? Whatever happened to losing 10% just by not having the buy in of the state education association?

X factor

August 25th, 2010
9:17 pm

If they had factored in Maureen’s teaching experience in the state of New Jersey, would that have put them back in the top ten?

Maureen Downey

August 25th, 2010
9:25 pm

@X Factor, And the additional fact that I went to school in New Jersey? I think that would have vaulted the application above Massachusetts.

X factor

August 25th, 2010
9:31 pm

You would think. But I bet they would have won if they sent Tony Soprano.

By the way, great job for standing up for teachers today in regard to the APS snafu.

SWF Seeking Bliss Through Information Not Ignorance

August 25th, 2010
10:40 pm

X Factor & Maureen, LOL! U r cute and you made me smile thank you! Maureen- surely, at least a vault of 4.8 points! Easy!! :-)
Ditto X’s kudos on today Maureen! Well done!

Another view

August 26th, 2010
9:44 am

Actually, Maureen, you are falling for GOP spin. There were several reasons why this failed, and most of it lies with the GOP governor who refused to work with the Teacher’s union. The NY Times article on the matter provides you with more details.

“Mr. Christie cited only the clerical error in explaining the state’s loss, but a look at the score sheet, released on Wednesday, showed that the state lost more points in other areas of its application, in part because it got only 59 percent of its 645 school districts to agree to carry out Race to the Top reforms, and only 1 percent of its unions. In New York, which was among the winners, all districts signed on.”

The funny thing is that the previous governor and unions agreed to the submission, but Christie trashed it and had to rewrite the whole thing in a weekend, which he gave to one person to do. So, the blame for this failure lies squarely with not submitting the proposal backed by the teachers and the state assembly instead of one backed solely by ideology of a right wing governor.

Maureen Downey

August 26th, 2010
10:00 am

@Another View, I agree that states did not lose on a single issue, but this sort of error seems particularly galling as it was not anything meaningful, but a simple lack of attention to detail. We do not have teacher unions in Georgia, but I would have to say that we also did not project a lot of buy-in at the organic level for RTTT, so I wonder how much that mattered to the panelists. We had some major school districts sit out RTTT — although I suspect a few may be regretting that decision now.
Maureen

Ole Guy

August 26th, 2010
10:00 am

Well, it would appear that Georgia just won another accolade: Georgia just got off the top rung on the “stupid scale”…CONGRATS!

d

August 26th, 2010
11:35 am

Maureen – we may not have collective bargaining unions as you stated, but the rules stated “Union or Association.” Whatever we want to call it, GAE certainly qualifies as the latter.

South Ga Teacher180

August 26th, 2010
7:41 pm

The evaluation instrument is very flawed and it favors those states that have developed legislation that will help sustain this education agenda for years to come…if you research all the states who have received this “award”, you will notice that all of these states have laws that implement and commission some sort of charter school agency. This will help establish a back door entrance from the feds via state school boards or state departments of education to gain total curriculum control of the agenda for a small amount of funding allocated to the school districts who have signed on to this carrot of funding.

Georgia passed 4 or 5 laws that set up the IE2 and Charter Schools. These one of these laws was passed in the spring of 2008 ( the law the established the Ga charter school commission) in which President Obama was not even president yet….hmmmm….another tangled web that Georgia has walked into.