New Jersey clerical error in Race to the Top application costs state school chief his job

The clerical error that played a role in New Jersey losing out on a Race to the Top grant has now played a role in the dismissal of the state’s school chief.

According to the New York Times today:

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey has fired his education commissioner, Bret D. Schundler, in the midst of a controversy over the state’s failure to win a $400 million education grant, the governor’s office announced Friday.

A clerical mistake in the state’s grant application had led the state to come up short by just three points in the high-stakes competition, known as Race to the Top. Mr. Christie had defended his administration’s actions on Wednesday, in part by insisting that Mr. Schundler had provided the correct information to federal reviewers in an interview two weeks ago.

But federal officials released a video on Thursday showing that Mr. Schundler and his administration had not provided the information when asked. Mr. Christie, asked later Thursday about the videotape in a radio interview, said he would be seriously disappointed if it turned out he had been misled.

That same evening, the governor’s chief of staff, Richard H. Bagger, called Mr. Schundler to ask for his resignation, Mr. Schundler said in an interview.

Mr. Schundler said he told Mr. Bagger that he was willing to resign. “I said I know that I serve at the will of the governor, so if he would like me to leave I would leave,” he said.

But on Friday morning, Mr. Schundler said, he asked Mr. Bagger if he could instead be fired, citing his need for the unemployment benefits.

“I thought we were a very good team,” Mr. Schundler said. “I thought we worked together and that we made a very good start. And I’m disappointed.”

In a statement, the governor said he “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 and which I then conveyed to the people of New Jersey.”

“As a result, I ordered an end to Bret Schundler’s service as New Jersey’s education commissioner and as a member of my administration.

“As I have said before, I never promised the people of New Jersey that this would be a mistake-free administration,” the governor continued. “However, I did promise that the people serving in my administration would be held accountable for their actions. As I said on Wednesday, I am accountable for what occurs in my administration. I regret this mistake was made and will do all I can to have my administration avoid them in the


20 comments Add your comment


August 28th, 2010
2:19 am

Why couldn’t Mr. Schundler worked on Georgia’s application instead?


August 28th, 2010
6:50 am

NJ gets all the breaks.. Lucky!!!!!


August 28th, 2010
7:58 am

Let’s offer some tax breaks (we are good at it) and we can recruit this guy to Georgia. He doesn’t even have to pretend to create jobs!


August 28th, 2010
9:07 am

I’m all in..

And did yall see where the Atlanta mayor(muslim) proposed cutting the state budget laying off 10-15% of state workers?
How about him start in Atlanta cuttig some fat.
What an idiot…

And what ever became of Squirrly Franklin??


August 28th, 2010
10:10 am

If Georgia would jut show that Southern Hospitality, we would do the right thing and give them our “winnings.”


August 28th, 2010
11:09 am

JB and Proud Black Man. Two of a kind.

36 years in education

August 28th, 2010
12:01 pm

“My bad,” as the kids say.

another comment

August 28th, 2010
12:16 pm

Everyone is showing their ignorance, go to, and the NY times. Gov. Christie, pulled apart N.J. proposals just 4 days before it was due, because it didn’t fit his political philosophy.

Bret Schundler had worked out an original agreement with the teachers unions. All of the paperwork was done with with proposal. The Thursday before Memorial day the Governor, decided that he didn’t want that proposal to go forward, it didn’t fit with his agenda. So he ordered it changed he is the one who order the numbers for 2008 and 2009 not be put in to use 2010 and 2011 instead, as it would show that his policies were a failure if the correct data were used.

Christie is the one who should resign.

Beyond our means since LBJ's Great Society

August 28th, 2010
12:53 pm

This story is not about a Super of Ed in NJ. Nope, it is about the need for infusions of FED cash because we all are living beyond our means ………cities, counties and states and the Fed Gov.

Government is broke becaue of all of the taking from the rich to give to the deadbeats bent. Conservatives predicted this all of my life ……….bankruptcy, That is for all forms of government.

FDR and then LBJ in 64 and 65, when he said “We will end poverty as we know it.”
Post office is broke.
Military is broke.
Medicare is broke
Social Security is broke,
Welfare friendly states like Michigan, California, NY and Ohio are broke.
Public education is broke.
Counties are broke.
Fed Gov is BROKE.

Why does anyone ……….anyone……… think that government can deliver any form of GOOD health care with this horrible, failed track record???

Only true dead beats like out in East Point demanding vouchers for 2012 housing.

When I resided in East Point as a kid and teen in the 50s and the fabulous 60s,, we had gorgeous lawns and homes, late model cars in the well kempt driveways of freshly painted homes …………now? Look at that crowd of deadbeats. Look at East Point !!!!

Government changed it all to WE ARE BROKE.


August 28th, 2010
1:01 pm

Mr. Schundler probably earned a six-figure salary yet requests to be “fired” so he may receive unemployment benefits! Unbelievable…


August 28th, 2010
1:23 pm

Great for Georgia…..The rest of the country has to contribute to our 400 million surplus….hahahahaha

Burroughston Broch

August 28th, 2010
9:13 pm

I agree with NJ Governor Christie. The Superintendent should be fired for sending out an important document under his signature, with no quality control. The buck stops at his desk. I wish that it worked this way in GA……


August 28th, 2010
9:23 pm

Too bad our governor supported it. I would rather have Gov. Christie.


August 28th, 2010
10:19 pm

As long as the United States continues division instead of coming together as a country of people who includes all americans instead of ” a select few”, until we embrace one another as we should, we will always be a nation in trouble, no matter what form of government. Greed has caused an enormous amount of grief and will cease when we as a people understand, we are all in this melting pot together, which means we all must learn to co-exist together harmoniously for the sake of the good for all. Take a look at other countries and evaluate America.


August 28th, 2010
10:43 pm

To the comment from JB earlier in the thread

Kasim reed is a Methodist. Bringing up a man’s religion in the context of a education article that has nothing todo with the state or the city of atlanta says a lot about your character and laziness.


August 29th, 2010
6:44 am

A “limited-government”, fiscally responsible Governor like Christie disappointed that he couldn’t get his hands on more government money: Priceless.


August 29th, 2010
11:16 am

Hope ‘Ed’ woke up this morning, turned on Fox news and saw Washington express how things are going to change. You believe all you want about YOUR mayor all you want.
Any tool like him who proposes cutting state jobs and WASTES city money like the one in Washington will get a better picture of his ambient life.
Go away.


August 29th, 2010
2:53 pm

I find it revealing that the first words out of Mr. Christie’s mouth blamed the Obama Administration for the loss of New Jersey’s RTT funding. He wasted no time using the incident as a political football. The release of the video by federal officials shows that sometimes what a politician says happens, doesn’t happen., and has no relation to the truth. I wish New Jersey could have received some of the RTT funds, but the reason that the state didn’t receive the funding is the fault of state officials.


August 29th, 2010
3:08 pm

I want to make a short comment on the anti-government rhetoric. Until 2009 I taught U.S. History, civics/government and other social studies subjects in public schools in this state, and in none of those years was there an absence of some type of government intervention into public education. Public education is inherently subject to some type of intervention whether it be at the local, state, or national level because public means us and refers to both our taxes and our government.

Citizens need to stop railing against “the government” because they’re railing against themselves WE are the government, and any 8th grade civics student knows that in a representative democracy, government is a structure established by CITIZENS to make decisions on their behalf. This is the reason the Preamble to the Constitution begins with the words, “We the People.” Sheesh.

richard forte

August 30th, 2010
7:06 pm

when Schunder ran for Mayor of Jersey City he claimed to have made $35 million in the stock market. Now he needs unemployment checks? Something’s wrong.