Unlike in New York where there will be RttT money to add more tests to every grade in every subject, to buy computer tracking programs to track those stats, to use those stats to fire teachers, close schools and continue to make an even worse mess of things in public education, New Jersey will NOT have the money to do those things.
Almost lost in the blame game over the state’s bungled chance to get up to $400 million in federal education dollars is what the money might have bought to help New Jersey’s children.
More frequent testing to gauge student progress. Computer databases for tracking academic performance. Support for turning the worst schools into charter schools.
After a week consumed by political turmoil and administration in-fighting, education experts and elected officials said those goals are in jeopardy.
The week started with controversy over a botched answer in the state’s 1,000-page application for Race to the Top funding. It ended with Gov. Chris Christie’s messy firing of Education Commissioner Bret Schundler.
Now the governor will try to get his agenda back on track without the money he needs and the man who was leading the effort.
Of the total amount requested in its application, New Jersey wanted $47.7 million to complete development of a computer program to track student academic progress and another $63.5 million for merit pay for teachers. But unless the state finds a new source of funding for these initiatives, it’s unlikely the governor will be able to enact them, education policy experts said.
"Without the money on the table, it’s going to take something pretty extraordinary to get those pieces in place," said Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based education think tank.
Which probably means most of them won't get done.
Also, the blustering bully governor has been exposed as a lying twerp.
He demanded an apology from the Obama administration for the RttT screw-up, then fired his ed chief for that screw-up, when apparently that screw-up was his alone.
So it's a win-win this weekend for New Jersey public education - no money to do the "needed" reforms and a governor with a big gaping wound in the side of his oversized ego.
UPDATE: I should add that I would not be happy to see Jersey lose out on that education money if they could have used to hire more teachers, reduce class size, buy books and materials, etc.
But the point is, RttT money CANNOT be used for those things.
It can only be used to fire teachers, close schools, add tests, buy test tracking programs and create test stat tracking data bases in order to fire teachers, close schools, etc.